Conversations with… my chef

Conversations with… my chef

When was the last time you saw a chef so smile?

The Benjamin just launched a new restaurant after a lengthy renovation. For several months prior, our Executive Chef Paul was busy up to his neck, literally, in paper ? not food. He worked tirelessly on budgets, pre-opening planning, hiring a team, training, and designing something like 30 to 50 different menus. For those three months, I never saw him smile ? once!

As the restaurant began its friends and family tasting weeks and the practical training of Chef?s new team, the excitement and nervousness was building. I went to the kitchen to see how he was holding up and saw something I never thought I would see: Chef was happy! Laughing, smiling and rallying his team, his energy was motivating the entire kitchen team, and patrons in the dining room could feel it, too.

I went back to the kitchen and had to ask ? who was he and what did he do with my chef? His response was simple: He was doing what he loved to do ? being in a kitchen with a great team and teaching cooks how to create great food. 

While he is a talented business manager, his true passion and greatness is in the kitchen. It made me ask myself: How happy is my team in their current roles? Do they feel as rewarded as Chef while working? These are good questions to ask your team to be sure everyone feels good about coming to work. The guests notice.

I thanked Chef for everything he did ? and is doing ? to make the restaurant a success. And, I thanked him for reminding me how important it is to help my staff nurture their true talents and pursue their passion.