Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Before I get started I want to apologize for having missed last week. No excuses, my fault. Back to it.
Welcome to the ninth installment of The Requirements to be a Chef; 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 Today we will be talking about High-Level Communication.
As most of these requirements this is a highly transferable skill. Communication is imperative in all team oriented operations though if you've spent considerable amount of time in a restaurant you know that aside from a battlefield there's perhaps no place where poor communication is more of a hindrance. Starting from the moment a guest walks in a minimum of 4 positions are already aware of their presence from the host to the Chef. The kitchen is always buzzing with sounds, not just knives on boards, or pans on stoves, but people talking to each other to keep each other safe with calls of "behind" indicating they are behind each other; "passing" indicating that they are either passing them as they walk by or are passing along an item; "behind, hot!", indicating they are behind them with something hot and many other calls all indicating different yet key situations that happen and innumerable amount of times a day in any given restaurant.
The most evident time communication is key is when we get busy. It takes a strong communicator to keep the different parts of the kitchen in sync. When a party of 50 walks in (which happens way too often; CALL IN ADVANCE PEOPLE!) its time for the Chef on duty to do what they do. Its up to the Chef to ensure that everyone on the line know when they need to start certain items. That isn't to say that they micro manage every position; rather they need only tell the good cooks what they are going with and what their "long tickets" (item that takes the longest to cook). This is what cues the line on what and when to start their portions of the ticket. A good Chef has developed their team to get to the point where they understand the instructions given to them, they are strong cooks, know how to work well with each other all of which leads to a smooth experience for the cooks and the guests in the restaurant.
Like I said: communication is one of the most important parts of a Chef. It explains how to make sure the cooks know how to follow the recipes, keeps everyone safe, builds the culture and guides the restaurant through the difficult parts of the shift.
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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