Imagine a room full of food from all around the world, maybe some of your favorite dishes are present – perhaps there are foods you’ve never even heard of before! What about Tapixte from Veracruz, which is a dish used for local parties and weekend events on Papaloapan. We also tried Costa Rican tamales and Chifrijo, a dish commonly found in bars in Costa Rica.  Now that you can smell the food, where do you think you are – maybe a five start restaurant or even a fancy hotel room? What if I told you that Cisconians experienced this – at work!

At the Cisco offices in Mexico City, we hold a Year End Cooking Contest. The rules are pretty simple; each participant must prepare a dish from their region or country of origin. They have to make enough for three judges to evaluate the meals and for 20-30 people within our office to taste.

Always up for a challenge, Cisconians took to this idea immediately.  We have people from all around the world working with us – and we all love learning and celebrating each other’s cultures whenever possible.

On the day of the Cooking Contest, we were introduced to Venezuelan, Costa Rican, Brazilian, San Vincentian, and European dishes. This cultural diversity through food culminated to an intense explosion of flavors and ingredients on every dish!

As this particular event helps us to close out the end of the year and celebrate some holidays as well, there was a large line of food enthusiasts ready to have a taste of what all these countries had to offer – but it was worth the wait! I managed to taste three different dishes and even dessert! As I am not much of a desert person, I went with the Chifrijo – that was my favorite dish when I visited Costa Rica last year.

I loved hearing each contestant’s presentation on the history of their dishes, the ingredients they used, and learning about the region we were getting to know through food. You might be wondering who won the contest, though – and I can’t blame you! I’d like to think that it was everyone who got to enjoy all the amazing meals! But we had to choose a winner, and the winning meal was a delicious Pierna Mechada – a roast pork leg with the bone in.

The End of the Year Cooking Contest reminds me of why I love working as a TAC Engineer at Cisco so much. The Cisco workplace facilitates and encourages learning about so many different cultures, and we do this without forgetting the roots of our own backgrounds – which, for me, is my Mexican heritage.

On a daily basis I work with fellow Cisconians, customers, and partners from all around the globe. I am pushed to always learn, and to view every situation from as many different perspectives as possible. Whether it is a brand new way of thinking for solution solving, or to consider the different ideas and thoughts of each unique culture – I am never bored here at Cisco because I never know who is going to be on the other end of the line when I call, and what I’ll learn from that person and experience. Maybe I’ll even make a new friend!

I have great friends from all around the world thanks to Cisco – and we all value and respect one another, while still being encouraged to broaden our horizons so that we can learn together, innovate together, and grow together.

Being a part of events that are like our End of Year Cooking Contest reinforces what I believed to be true since my very first day at Cisco: I am working in a multicultural company, with significant cultural diversity. I am encouraged to participate, learn and grow – and to, most of all, be myself. So not only am I learning through co-workers about other countries and cultures, but I am also able to contribute to my own heritage as I educate those around me about Mexico.

Want to join a company that encourages you to celebrate your culture? We’re hiring!



Daniel Benitez

Customer Support Engineer