Why We Should All Aspire to be Like Chefs
It occurred to me whilst watching an episode of my favourite Netflix show ‘Chefs Table’ that everybody, regardless of profession should aspire to be like chefs. Let me explain.
From many angles, being a chef doesn't look like a very good job; it's highly stressful, you work very long and unsociable hours and the hot cramped kitchen isn't the best environment to be in. So why do thousands of people each year dream of becoming a chef?
Love of the Craft
It's all down to passion. You don't become a chef because it is the easy route; you choose that path because you love cooking and the thought of being in any other job seems terrible. The need to cook and become a chef makes all the inconveniences and challenges seem trivial.
All professions have elements which aren't great and could be improved but if you love what you do then they don’t seem so bad.
100% Customer Focused
Being a chef puts you in one of the few professions where you get direct feedback from the customer almost instantly. If they are not happy with the meal that has just been put in front of them, you will know about it. This creates and fosters a culture that everything must be perfect to please the customer. They have the final say and it’s their feedback which will either help or hinder your progress & reputation.
This culture should be engrained in everyone for everything you do. The relentless drive to help customers or to provide exactly what they want will always benefit you, and in-turn, your company. Looking after the people who ultimately keep your business going is the best way to improve and grow it.
Started from the bottom
Starting from the bottom is not unique to being a chef - we all have to start from somewhere. Where being a chef is different, is that it is very hard to bluff your way to the top. You have to earn your place and respect from the other members of the kitchen. Every time you show up for work, you’re being tested.
What I'm saying is that you have to earn the right to be there and your reputation. It’s such an intangible quality but it has the ability to take you far. Knowing that everyone started from the same place helps to keep egos in check because you all remember what its like (although I know this isn't always the case).
Following on from the direct feedback loop being a chef provides, it also provides total responsibility. If the part of the dish you are creating is not of a high standard, there is nowhere to hide. This means that everything you serve must be up the quality standard set, if not higher.
This is something every individual can put into practice in everything they do, whether work related or not. Once you start taking responsibility for things, you quickly find your standards have increased and the extra 10% seems worth it. This quality is arguably the most important and can have the biggest impact. Once you start taking responsibility, everything else will start to follow.