In our previous blog on Decoding Professional Kitchens, we took a deep dive into the Poissonnier station, mainly responsible for handling, preparing, and cooking all ingredients related to the sea. This week we'll be taking a closer look into the...
With the massive transformation that the foodservice industry has undergone in recent years, being a successful Chef is more challenging than ever. It takes much more than having the talent to cook. Therefore, managing your team and understanding the trends in this competitive industry is crucial.
Many chefs have years of experience in the kitchen and carry with them a series of knowledge that they naturally possess and that many of them do not know are what differentiate them from other Chefs. That's why in this article, you will learn how to lead a restaurant and some of the skills needed to be a successful chef.
1 - Know the Basic Culinary Techniques
The first step to becoming a successful Chef is to know the basic cooking techniques. It does not mean that you need to attend a formal cooking school (which helps a lot). But knowing cutting techniques, measurements, sauce bases, soup bases, different ingredients, how to cook different types of meat, and more, is essential because a chef de cuisine is responsible for developing the menu and managing the team. Have you ever noticed how many different types of knives are on the market? Each knife has its specific use, and this is an excellent example of how much a Chef needs to learn. Chef Sac collaborated with Der Säbel to launch a 8 inch Chef Knife and a 7 inch Santoku to offer the best tools for a chef. You can click here to check all the knives that we recently launched.
Chef Sac x Der Säbel 7 inch Santoku Knife
For all these reasons, it's necessary to have this knowledge to pass it on to the team successfully. Each team member in the kitchen has a level of knowledge, and the Chef is the primary source of information. And for being responsible for developing the menu, the more techniques the Chef knows, the more creative their recipes will be.
One of the options to develop this knowledge is to attend a culinary school or specialized cooking courses. Or even learn from experience. The important thing is to advance from kitchen to kitchen, learning alongside chefs involved in the day-to-day business of managing a professional kitchen.
2 - Build a Network
Building a network in this field is critical as it is very competitive. And it is hard work. It may not be decisive when you're starting, but finding great professionals and retaining them is of paramount importance when you've been managing a kitchen for a long time. When you have good team members in your kitchen, the work runs smoothly, and it will help you on those peak days, where tickets don't stop coming, or on those holidays when everyone would prefer to be with family or friends. Therefore, sharing information and communicating regularly with team members will ensure that your work is continuously renewed and updated. In addition to opening doors for better opportunities in the future!
3 - Commitment to Work
Cooking professionally in restaurants is not an easy job. You have to deal with long hours of standing work, work on weekends, holidays, and night shifts, deal with demanding customers, deal with the pressure of peak hours and kitchen hazards, make sure everything is ready for work and at the end of the day, keep the kitchen clean for the next day. That's why being committed to the job is one of the critical characteristics of a successful Chef. It is necessary to be aware that each member of the team and each activity carried out will result in the smooth running of the service throughout the working hours and even throughout the week. For example, a preparation made in advance is vital for the service to be smooth, and if that doesn't happen, it can slow down the whole process and result in unhappy clients due to missing items or long wait.
4 - Become a Good Manager
As a cook advances in his career, they will leave positions where they have to get hands-on preparations and require more administrative and management skills. It doesn't mean that your ability to grill, stir-fry, or bake food becomes less important. It just means that there will be a need to take on more administrative tasks, marking a career evolution. That's why the highest position in a kitchen is of Executive Chef because even before assuming this position, the professional has already started to exercise new skills and have new responsibilities. Activities such as menu creation, cost management, dealing with suppliers, hiring employees, preparing schedules, inventory control, placing supply orders, keeping equipment on the maintenance schedule, ordering repairs, and other tasks are examples of activities that a Chef will take on their career.
5 - Problem-Solving Skills and Quick Decision Making
Picture these scenes. One of the employees arrives in the kitchen to start work, and the warmer is broken. Or the night before starting the shift, there was a power outage, and one of the refrigerators broke down. As a result, all the preparations and ingredients were out of the ideal temperature for hours, and it is necessary to throw everything out following the sanitary norms. Or the restaurant is super crowded, and a reservation with 20 people arrives. In all those situations, the Chef needs to remain calm and know how to make a decision quickly. Is there any other way to keep the food warm if the warmer is broken? Are the preparations in that refrigerator essential for the service, or are they quick to prepare? Can you make these preparations until the moment to start the service, or will you have to delay the restaurant's opening? How does the Chef manage a high-demand night? All these decisions will have to be made by the Chef, so the Chef needs to have critical thinking and great emotional control.
6 - Be Resilient and Passionate About What You Do
Long working hours, days that you spent most of your time in the kitchen and little time with family and friends, missing birthdays, and important dates are some of the downsides of life as a Chef. On the other hand, having the opportunity to work in a creative environment, surprise customers with great food, meet co-workers who often become lifelong friends, work in an industry that is constantly evolving, and learn something different every day is very rewarding. Having a goal and loving what you do will make a cook become a Chef. It's an essential area for the population, so knowing that people enjoy your work and come back often because they had an unforgettable experience motivates a chef every day. The kitchen is a very challenging environment, but knowing which problems are part of the job will make you overcome these issues and thrive, making not only you but your team and the restaurant renowned.
7 - Always Evolve
On TV shows, we can see how competitive the kitchen environment is. Usually, on those Culinary shows, chefs are portrayed as snobby people, which comes from many years ago. Today, this is changing. Even renowned chefs know that they must constantly learn, as the kitchen's world is in constant evolution. New techniques and ingredients emerge at every moment. We acquire new traditions and rediscover old ones. Therefore, the desire to keep learning and always remain curious is an attribute that will make you stand out. The kitchen is a fascinating world that will never make you bored!
Aside from the challenges, the food service industry is rewarding and spontaneous. It requires endurance, energy, and creativity. Those who stand out the most know that virtues such as open communication, efficient organization, and proper management are needed to thrive in this field. Over time, your knowledge and experience will gain fair recognition.
Chef Sac x Der Säbel 8 inch Chef Knife
And it doesn't matter if you are an expert or a beginner. A well-equipped chef can cook in any space and make their clients have an unforgettable experience. And Chef Sac is here to equip you with the best culinary tools to celebrate your journey. Find out more about our products in our shop and be ready to rock!
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