Product designer @signalsciences | Colorado native living in Venice Beach | Skier | Ocean swimmer | Lover of love, health, laughter, nature, and succulents
As Virginia Woolf wisely wrote: “one cannot think well, love well, sleep well, [or build the first Next Generation Web Application Firewall (NGWAF) well,] if one has not dined well.” Ok, so she clearly didn’t say anything about NGWAFs, but the value of delicious home-cooked food being shared with wonderful people is a core part of our culture here at Signal Sciences.
About half of the Signal Sciences team lives and works remotely, so as my colleague Jennie Duong wrote about, we all meet up at our Venice Beach, CA headquarters twice a year for what’s become known as “Camp SigSci”—a week of intensive teamwork, company-wide goal setting and review, and of course fun and good food. A couple weeks ago at Camp, we continued a beloved tradition of cooking our 6th Family Dinner together, and this one might have been our most delicious to date.
We cook for each other because it’s part of taking care of each other. We have a very familial and supportive work environment in general. And we just love food.
A few weeks before Camp SigSci, we signed up to cook various dishes in groups of three or four. Team leaders emerge naturally during the sign-up process since some people have a specialty item or dish they love sharing with everyone. To create a sense of cohesion and harmony for our feast, we like to set a theme…you know, to avoid having pasta carbonara served alongside green curry. This time, we wanted to take advantage of the amazingly fresh summer produce we’re so lucky to enjoy in Venice, so the theme was Local SoCal Summer. The challenge was to incorporate at least three fresh seasonal ingredients into every dish, and our chefs did fabulously with that task. Ingredients like corn, green beans, basil, sugar snap peas, mint, lavender, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, and purslane (which no one used shockingly), are in season right now, so the options seemed endless.
Here’s what our menu included*
Summer corn soup with red peppers and potatoes
Carrot fritters with cumin-lime cashew cream
Beef tenderloin with a thyme, rosemary, basil rub and red onion marmalade
Paella with mussels, chicken chorizo, and farm-fresh zucchini, red and yellow peppers, and fennel
Watermelon, mint, spinach salad with feta and avocado
Farmers market Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs
Blackberry peach cobbler with sour cream biscuits and Salt & Straw ice cream (one of our favorite spots on Abbot Kinney)
*Hope you’re not hungry while reading this. Or if you are, don’t drool too much on your keyboard.
With our growing team now at 25 people, there were many chefs in the kitchen preparing the half-dozen delectable dishes. This many cooks could spell disaster for some folks, but perhaps due to our experience working together designing, building, and selling a SaaS security product, we were able to whip everything up with an impressive amount of ease…and dancing. (We love music at the office and always have our #sonos playing everything from Led Zeppelin to Drake…unless we’re working, then it’s something more ambient.)
Here are some highlights from the evening
Laurie and Andrew knocked our socks off with their vegetarian-friendly appetizers: carrot fritters and summer corn soup.
James proved yet again he’s not just a #devops guru, but a grill master with his beef tenderloin and caramelized onion marmalade. With help from Max, Chris, and Vernon, these guys could probably take on Bobby Flay in a #throwdown.
The Brians (Brian and Brian) made making perfect paella look easy. It’s not, so don’t be fooled.
We learned that Zane and Tyler have very interesting ideas about summer cocktails…Shandies and Kalimotxos anyone? #thoughtleadership or weird wine decisions?
Jennie and Andy revealed themselves to be salad ninjas. Our team absolutely loves meat, but there was hardly any of the Greek and watermelon mint feta salads left at the end of the night. Kudos on getting everyone to wolf down some super fresh veggies!
To conclude the meal, Hala, Andrea, and I brought back SigSci’s favorite summer dessert — blackberry peach cobbler topped with sour cream biscuits — for the third summer in a row. Pro tip: make way more than you think you need (we 5Xed the recipe), and serve with generous amounts of Double Fold Vanilla ice cream from #saltandstraw. 8 pints for 25 people? That’s exactly right.
While the food was all incredible, spending quality time with coworkers who are usually in places as far-flung as New York to Tokyo made it all the more wonderful. Throughout the evening, our office was filled with constant laughter, music, and interesting conversations that can only happen when you have time to savor with each other over a lovingly-cooked meal. Watching all of my smart, talented, and caring coworkers gather for our summer feast made me feel incredibly lucky to be part of such a dynamic team. The truism that relationships make the world go round—and make industry-changing security products get built—seems more accurate than ever after another delightful Signal Sciences Family Dinner.
Interested in joining us for our next Family Dinner? We’re hiring.
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At Signal Sciences we are building the industry’s first Next Generation Web Application Firewall (NGWAF). Our NGWAF was built in response to our own frustrations of trying to use legacy WAFs while enabling business initiatives like DevOps, cloud adoption and continuous delivery. The Signal Sciences NGWAF works seamlessly across cloud, physical, and containerized infrastructure, providing security without breaking production traffic.