The Total Package Chef

I haven’t written a blog in awhile. I have been pretty busy; I lost some staff, and had to tackle multiple projects at both work and home. We all go through times like this, periods of overwhelming challenges, deadlines, personnel commitments and sometimes health related issues. Thirty days ago I wondered if I would fail or could I rise to the occasion and execute at the expected level? I was reading one of my older blogs and thought it may help to motivate others toward both personal and professional success. I have seen many chefs and cooks with top notch skills and good intentions never reach their potential. An ongoing pattern of self destructive behavior and poor decision making has sidelined them from the fast track. We all need to take a look in the mirror from time to time and give ourselves an attitude adjustment. If you can change your thinking you can change your habits, that’s all it is, bad habits. If you want to be successful in today's no excuses, just get it done world you need to be a Total Package Chef, no ones going to pay you for half of the package.

Attitude is everything! You are going to do whatever is asked of you, like it or not. I choose to like it. I can't tell you how many times I grunted and groaned over last minute seemingly impossible requests only to execute with excellent results. If I had approached those situations with a positive attitude from the beginning I would have set a better example for others and added points to my reputation bank.

Lead by example. You should get out of the office and on the line as much as possible, a few extra hours of work won't kill you and the payback is huge. Don’t curse, tell offensive jokes or talk politics, religion or baseball. I have my own thoughts and ideas; I just choose to keep them to myself. Keep smoke breaks and personal phone calls to a minimum if you want the staff to do the same.

Hold People Accountable. No one likes to be the heavy. Honest and straightforward ongoing dialogue is necessary and most people actually appreciate it. If you are like an Ostrich its time to take your head out of the sand, it gets easier the more you do it. You can't afford to have non productive and problematic associates in the ranks.

Train! Train! Train! I hear it over and over, "I can't afford to stop and train, it eats into production, I am to busy blah! Blah! Blah!" Without training you will never realize the level of success that you are capable of, you can't do it all yourself and you can't afford not to train.

Keep Developing Yourself. Our industry is constantly changing, trends come and go quickly, new products are constantly introduced, techniques and methodology are refined and new technologies applied. There are many Chefs in my age bracket who no longer cook, study food, attend industry events, seminars or engage in any activity that will better them. Even the best and brightest in the industry realize the need to constantly move forward and evolve. Join the ACF, attend trade shows, read Escoffier, Plate magazine or Martha Stewart it doesn’t matter, knowledge is everywhere.