Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Welcome to the 14th installment of Being a Chef Ain't Easy; where every Wednesday I explain everything that it takes to be a Chef in my eyes. This series will by no means be exhaustive, but I will certainly do my best. If you're a Chef and want to share your opinion I'd love to hear what you have to say. Aspiring Chefs: if you have questions feel free to reach out. I'm always looking for an excuse to talk about Chef Life.
Ok, so far in this series we have covered the importance of Passion as well as a commitment to quality in regards to your effort, a commitment to food quality, Menu planning, Temperature control, The Ability to Pass on Knowledge, Building a Recipe, Leadership, High-Level Communication, Cost Control, Roasting, The Ability to Handle Pressure & Patience. Today I'm going to do something a little different; this week we're going to talk about how all the different components we've covered so far work together.
Cooking is the part everyone knows about being a Chef. People generally think of the celebrity Chef that always has something critical to say about the cooking of others, works magic in the kitchen and a slew of other qualities, but there's plenty about being a Chef that's beyond that.
The most important part of being a Chef in my opinion is the passion. Passion is what holds a person to a higher standard. This relates not only to the quality of ingredients you use or the standard that you expect yourself to perform at, but what you create as well as your own ability. When it comes to passing on knowledge to those who are less experienced to the Chef there a few things that really matter to getting through to them. Passion is what instills the fire in them. Passion and excitement is infectious. When a person with passion shares their enthusiasm on a topic with others they can't help but be receptive to it.
In all things an important aspect to being a leader in any environment is the leader's ability to show expertise in the field they have chosen to specialize in. We are all allowed to make mistakes of course, but there are some things that are just expected of you. For instance a Chef that doesn't know how to keep people safe through something as basic as temperature control. If you're getting people sick on a regular basis not only will people not want to follow you, but the state health department will be forced to shut down the establishment as well.
Everyone wants to have a strong environment, but not everyone knows how to cultivate one. The strong communicator is a person that knows how to incite passion in others. In a kitchen a Chef that knows how to communicate with others can transfer their skills to others. Ultimately the goal is to make a line of strong talented cooks that can execute any of your recipes at least as well as you can. At the same time a strong communicator knows when they must show patience to bring along their staff.
Finally, every good Chef should know how to build a menu. This isn't just about expressing creativity, but its also about knowing your staff well enough to know who is best at executing what techniques. This will manipulate not just your food cost based on what cooks get the most yield from a product but as well as deciding how many people are on the line at one time making a direct affect on the labor cost.
Before you go I'm going to ask a favor; I want to hear what you think. If you think I don't know what I'm talking about say so, heck share it with your friends and say "look at this guy calling himself a Chef, he has no idea what he's talking about." If you agree let me know, share it with your friends, you know how we like to see that other Chefs see the world similar to ourselves, get a good laugh out of it.
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