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Being the Chef » Kitchen Staff

Sous Chefs: The First Follower

In this TED video, Derek Sivers shows just how important the first follower (AKA: Sous Chefs) are to leadership effectiveness.  One of my mentors used to say that a leader without a follower is just out for a walk by himself.  Come on chefs….start a movement! … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Featured, HR, Kitchen Staff

The Right Way To Increase Motivation

Here is a superb video on the science behind motivation, and trust me when I tell you that you may be quite surprised by the results. This is an animated video of a talk given by Dan Pink at the TED Conference. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Kitchen Staff

Thank you For All The Things I Never Do

This morning, for some reason I noticed the trash can in our employee locker room.  Nothing special about this trash can, but I realized that I had never myself taken it out, nor had I ever asked anyone else to take care of it, but it has always been taken care of ever since we opened this building.  I know what you’re thinking, “Whooptee do! Some one took out the trash.”.  It may seem like a small thing, and indeed it is, but the important part is that I didn’t have to ask and I’ve never had to do it.  I started thinking about all the little things like this that I have never noticed over the years.  I am all over the big items, finding and fixing problems, but … Read entire article »

Filed under: Kitchen Staff

Crossing The "Fault" Line

Two Hundred guests had come to dinner that night for a prime rib dinner that was now way over cooked.  I was a sous chef at this time in my life and still had quite a bit to learn about management. Being young, arrogant and driven, I “knew” I was ready to be the chef of my own property, so this was a pretty big blow to my esteem.  The previous week, our dishwasher had been cleaning the alto-sham and must of turned the temperature dial up when he was wiping the front of the equipment. Then on the night we needed to cook the prime ribs, my cook seasoned the beef, through it into the alto-sham, set the timer and walked away never checking the temp. As dinner time approached  … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Featured, Kitchen Staff

How to Kill the Motivation of your most Productive employee

Sometimes you just know that you blew it.  It’s funny that even if you know the right answers, you can still take the wrong actions.  By reacting to poor advice from a manager, I almost killed the motivation of one of my strongest employees. Here is how the scenario unfolded: In an impromptu meeting with one of our fellow managers, I was told how a particular employee seemed to have too much down time when I was off property and was playing around too much.  Most chefs have had to deal with this from time to time and many chefs deal with this weekly, and as a result get very little time off.  But this was especially troubling for me, as I pride myself on building teams and systems that enable … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Kitchen Staff

Confessions of A Job Hopping Chef

Oh no!  I am a job hopper. While I was working on a background page for my website, I started to realized that a quick glace at my resume would label me a job hopper. I hate the label “Job Hopper”, mainly because I never felt that I portrayed any of the characteristics of the stereotypical hopper.  I have never been fired, been socially or mentally unbalanced, and I’ve never left a position because I wasn’t capable of doing the job.  I have left every single place I’ve worked on good terms and have received glowing recommendations on my work ethic and many accomplishments. Additionally, almost every new position I’ve taken has been a progressive move, meaning that I have consistently moved to higher volume, higher quality establishments with larger staffs … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Kitchen Staff

10 Reason's Every Chef Should Have A.D.D.

As I read this article on the advantages of A.D.D. or Attention Deficit Disorder by Jennifer Koretsky, I was struck by how many of these strengths are essential to being a good chef.  I have dealt with my own A.D.D. most of my life and had always considered it a blessing within my chosen occupation, but reading through this article helped to pin point the corelation between A.D.D. strengths and the characteristics of a successful chef. Creativity- It goes without saying, this is a big part of most chef positions and is usually what first draws us to the occupation. Drive- There are no successful lazy chefs, it is a hard job and without an insane amount of drive most would just flounder. Problem Solving- Whether it is coming up with the daily … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Kitchen Staff

Don't just do something, stand there!

“Is your team there to support you or are you there to support your team?” This was the topic of conversation the other day between myself and a corporate VP.  There are times when the work is mostly driven by the Chef and the staff is just there for support, but this tends to work only in small venues. Our conversation started with a comment about how well I take care of my guests, to which I replied that I don’t do much for the guests at all because my job was to take care of my staff.  I then explained how it was my staff’s job to take care of our guests.  My job focus, I went on to explain, is to make sure my staff are trained, equipped and part … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Kitchen Staff

Cell Phones Banned in Professional Kitchens

Photo by tomsun Do you believe in capitalizing on new tech in your kitchen or are you old school and think cell phones and such should be left at home?  I have watched as several companies tried, in vain I might add, to ban all cell phones in their kitchens.   I understand the worries and even the possible problems employees with phones might pose, but I do think that there are just as many if not more reasons to allow them. The Pros : Calling – This one is about as basic as it gets, but is often overlooked in it’s simplicity.  I have managed large properties and the ability  to call my cooks where ever they are working has improved my life considerably from the days when I had to walk all … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Kitchen Staff

Need a Spreadsheet to Schedule Your Staff and Track Labor?

Ever need a simple spreadsheet tool to plan your staff’s schedule but also need to track your payroll?  Here is a spreadsheet that not only tracks your planned schedule budget but also helps to track your actual hours worked.  In addition to tracking individual employees, it also provides a entire staff overview. You can download the file here: Schedule Template with Labor Budget or you can use our template with Google Docs @ Schedule Template … Read entire article »

Filed under: Chef Life, Free Templates & Downloads, Kitchen Staff