Let's face it, being a chef is not just about cooking anymore. You need to be a good negotiator, a team player, a good leader, a teacher, an accountant, all clued up in HACCP, OH&S, RSA and any other number of acronyms, a counsellor and sometimes a bouncer in-between the BOH & FOH staff; and that's before we even get to the cooking or the customers! So what do you do when all you want to say it go fork yourself? Here are some simple tips on how to keep your cool in the kitchen.
- The 5 p's - Prior preparation prevents poor performance - if your mise en place isn't in perfect order and your drystore and fridge's aren't clean you may as well be steering a sinking ship - get organised ASAP!
- Don't be arrogant - Yes, we secretly all know that being a chef is as close to God as you can get - but don't let your staff see that side of you. Listen to other's opinions and take the time to get to know your staff - it will do wonders for your productivity.
- Let your food speak for itself! - If you turn out beautiful food on time all the time the respect from your team will come naturally. No jumping up and down required!
- Mistakes stay in the kitchen! - Even if service has been like an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, it is no excuse for sloppy plates. If you wouldn't eat it yourself don't serve it - it could cost you your reputation. Take a deep breath, re-plate and carry on.
- Get out of the kitchen in your split shift - Even if you are chasing your tail, a coffee up town, a quick gym work out or some fresh air will do wonders for your headspace!
- Share a meal with your team before service - Yes, actually sit down and eat! It can be a quick bowl of pasta but a team that dines together stays together!
- Get to know your customers - I know after a long shift you would rather stab your eye with a fork, but even just a walk through the restaurant will do wonders for morale and this will make your job a whole lot easier, invest in people and they will invest in you!
- Before you pack up tonight...make sure you make a quick list for tomorrow morning, not just a prep list but things to address with your staff, suppliers, order to place etc. - remember the 5 p's.