A seat by the kitchen, please!


By Alysa Vasapolli, Director of Talent Acquisition

Burnt cheese. An uproar of laughter. Leftover turkey chili. Brussels sprouts. The ferocious shaking of anonymous ingredients creating smooth textured healthy drinks. The occasional clink of ice cubes against glass, after 5 pm. And microwaved salmon.

Got the picture?

There’s a plethora of activity, conversations, and aromas that waft through our open office space, depending on the hour and day. And I like it. And that’s good, because I sit right next to the culprit—the Cult Kitchen, our community base camp.

The Cult Kitchen is our epicenter. It’s our 8x8 hub. Along with the side-by-side refrigerator, it houses five other counter appliances, as well as a slew of gadgets, including a margarita maker and the “you never know when you’ll need it” 30-gallon Gatorade cooler.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “That would drive me insane to sit by the kitchen.” You’re surely wondering if these daily occurrences distract and interfere with my workflow. And you’d be right that sometimes the traffic, culinary endeavors, and odors can be a little, how should I say, annoying, but on the whole, I find my colleagues’ kitchen rituals fascinating and an essential piece to the overall company energy.

To give you an idea of how bold the comings and goings of the Cult Kitchen can be, first imagine your old school lunchroom, but modern, with stainless steel appliances, and without the mean lunch lady. Think about the nostalgia of sloppy joes and cold pepperoni pizza. Celebrate the pleasant flow of people walking in and out without having to fork over a dollar. Now add steroids. That’s what I live and breathe, every day. And again, I like it.

Now I could have chosen to sit in a number of other areas around the office. I could have chosen to sit in the back by the printer room, witnessing numerous color copies never make it out to the real world (the truth hurts.) I could have camped out in the coveted corner window property which offers both a lovely view of midtown Manhattan and the soothing sounds of that mysterious guy who yells, “Hey. Hey. Heyyyyy,” at about 3:30 pm each day. No, I turned that all down to be where the action is.

Sitting by the Cult Kitchen has most definitely been eye-opening. With almost 6 years under my CultHealth belt, I’ve seen it all. I know who washes their fruit, who empties the dishwasher, who eats early, and who’s on their 9th cup of Nespresso. I know the vegans, vegetarians, and lactose-free; the shellfish sensitive and fungi haters; the gluten intolerant and sugar-free; the Paleos, Weight Watchers, and Nutrisystem-ers.

Sometimes I see a bit more than I want to though. I’ve seen tooth-brushers (oh yes, I have) and garglers; ice smashers and dribblers. I’ve seen texters, hide-outers, and blatant robbers (yes, we’ve all stolen salad dressing even if your name was on it). And then there are the toasters, the leave-behinders (yes, that was my croissant and coffee!), and the glass breakers (with no Jewish wedding in sight).

Because of where I am seated, I also have built a special bond with the refrigerator. It shares sweet nothings with me all week long. Sometimes it does it in the form of old hard-boiled egg fumes, and other times with leftover fried rice, gone bad by four weeks. But my favorite is always the soft, melodic “do-da-loop, do-da-loop, do-da-loop” which means, “Someone has left me open so shut the front door before everything else will go bad.”

Yet, through all the smells and sights, chatter and feasting, I wouldn’t change a thing. I recognize why the Cult Kitchen is so important to me and probably to all of us. It makes us all feel at home. And considering we spend so many hours at our job, Cult is really our second home.

So, for now, I will keep my seat near base camp. I will continue to admire the sights, sounds, and smells of our bustling hub.

And about that microwaved salmon. Yeah, don’t do it.

Oh, and the things I’ve overheard!

Next blog.