Now, on the other side, a chef can never sit back and ignore new trends, techniques, technologies or approaches to food. If a chef is to remain relevant, regardless of age, he or she must stay current; read and observe, learn and apply what is available. In an article in Business Insider, Carmine Gibaldi of Harvard University presented ways for older employees, in any industry, to stay relevant. A few of these are very applicable:

1. “Don’t speak of the past, and the way things use to be done or were. Reminiscing can be deadly, and create a chasm between you and the younger workers.”
OK, I see her point, but the need to understand how and why something was done in the past gives us a starting point for determining whether or not this is still appropriate or if this can be used as a benchmark for change.
 
2. “Work late 1-2 nights per week, communicate that you are a “go-getter”, and can put in the time just as everyone else does.”
This is rarely a problem for chefs; the job demands that extra time.
 
3. “Stay positive. As people age, they seem to complain more, and communicate a negative vibe about many things. Don’t communicate that your best years are behind you.”
You are only as young as you project (rather than as you feel). There never seems to be a shortage of things to complain about, but the chef needs to show enthusiasm and excitement for the job and the desire to learn what is new. Your best years are always now.
 
4. “Obviously, many people over fifty or so are not as techno savvy. Just don’t highlight it.”
Technology can be our friend or enemy. It is a battle that you can’t win. Deal with it! Embrace technology as a great tool and learn all that you can. Anyone, at any age, can learn new things if they have the desire to do so.
 
**To read more about Ms. Gibaldi’s article, go to this link:
 
http://www.businessinsider.com/11-ways-for-older-employees-to-still-feel-relevant-at-work-2012-8
 
There is a transition cooks go through during their careers. It is important for chefs to understand their career is not terminal once they reach the Executive Chef level. We (aging chefs) should view the career track as follows:
COOK – ROUNDSMAN – SOUS CHEF – EXECUTIVE CHEF – MENTOR & COACH
 
In the long run, our ultimate role is to teach the next generation to appreciate the foundations and traditions and to be prepared for creating what will come.
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PLAN BETTER – TRAIN HARDER

Harvest America Ventures, LLC

www.harvestamericaventures.com

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