First job as head chef. Seasoned chefs i need your wisdom.

7
14
Joined May 16, 2017
Hello everybody! It's been a few years since the last time i was here.

I found myself at the centre of a project. Will as the headchef of the restaurant and with time. The executive of the chain for the region.

In few words i got ducked over by two establishments one after another. And a big 1.5 year gap of unemployment with the exception of being a private chef for a sports club. Best 10 days of being employed. Other than that. It was a dissaster. I took a big hit mentaly because of how it happend. Fell at depression at some point. Until i got my shit together. Got thrown like garbage just some people had the power to do it. I was about to give up on profession. When this opportunity came by.

I do not have the luxury to make a false step.
Apart from money. I need it to regain myself.

Without prolonging this any more. I made a parkour move. From luxury italian restaurany. Which i worked. Im signin up. To brewhouse style.
More then technichal skills for this job is required to be a leader.

I am both very exited and terrified at the same time.

Would be very happy if you share some of your wisdom to me.

How can i be a good leader. How do i hold my position without letting sous and group. Take my role and job. Which im sure they will contest it if given the chance.
Or for example how to win my authority.
And more....

Thank you kindly for reading it.
 
1,259
797
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Congratulations!

Here's my $.02. I will answer your questions as you presented them.

How can I be a good leader? - Be yourself.

How do I hold my position without letting sous and group take my role and job? - Be yourself.

How to win my authority? - Be being yourself and not making the mistake of giving your authority away.

A leader leads by example and does work when there is work to be done. Do not pal around with your subordinates or try to be their friend. That's not your job and in the end, they will not respect you for it. That doesn't mean you should be a tyrant, either.

Honestly assess your staff. If someone is not cutting it, your job is to figure out why and how to fix it. Your job is also to figure out when an employee can't be fixed and needs to be let go. If you honestly and accurately assess your staff's strengths and weaknesses, you are able to fulfill your next role, which is to assign the kitchen tasks according to the strengths and weaknesses of each staff member. This is for you to decide, no one else.

Start with your Sous. If your Sous is not suited for the role of the sous and you don't fix it, your life is going to be a lot harder. Once you have sous position filled with the right person, move down the ladder and repeat the same process with the other staff but, include your sous in the process. Make him/her part of the evaluation process. After all, they will be leading your kitchen quite often, especially when you're doing "chef only" stuff and can't be in the kitchen. The staff has to know that the sous carries the same authority as you and there's no better way to build that than by making your sous part of the staff's evaluation process. Remember, the final decision in the evaluation is yours, not the sous. Ask his/her opinion and input but, keep your decisions to yourself and then execute those decisions with efficiency and with all deliberate intent.

As for everything else, you'll learn as you go. Be confident in your decisions. If you make a mistake, own it and correct it. If you don't know the answer to a question, "I don't know" is a perfectly good answer. Just make sure you find out the answer to relay it to your subordinate in due time. Not knowing the answer to a question is often a great opportunity for you and your subordinate to find the answer together and turn it into a teaching moment for both of you. It builds trust and gives your subordinate the sense that you care about them and their work which translates into respect. Respect is priceless.

Good luck. :)
 
7
14
Joined May 16, 2017
Congratulations!

Here's my $.02. I will answer your questions as you presented them.

How can I be a good leader? - Be yourself.

How do I hold my position without letting sous and group take my role and job? - Be yourself.

How to win my authority? - Be being yourself and not making the mistake of giving your authority away.

A leader leads by example and does work when there is work to be done. Do not pal around with your subordinates or try to be their friend. That's not your job and in the end, they will not respect you for it. That doesn't mean you should be a tyrant, either.

Honestly assess your staff. If someone is not cutting it, your job is to figure out why and how to fix it. Your job is also to figure out when an employee can't be fixed and needs to be let go. If you honestly and accurately assess your staff's strengths and weaknesses, you are able to fulfill your next role, which is to assign the kitchen tasks according to the strengths and weaknesses of each staff member. This is for you to decide, no one else.

Start with your Sous. If your Sous is not suited for the role of the sous and you don't fix it, your life is going to be a lot harder. Once you have sous position filled with the right person, move down the ladder and repeat the same process with the other staff but, include your sous in the process. Make him/her part of the evaluation process. After all, they will be leading your kitchen quite often, especially when you're doing "chef only" stuff and can't be in the kitchen. The staff has to know that the sous carries the same authority as you and there's no better way to build that than by making your sous part of the staff's evaluation process. Remember, the final decision in the evaluation is yours, not the sous. Ask his/her opinion and input but, keep your decisions to yourself and then execute those decisions with efficiency and with all deliberate intent.

As for everything else, you'll learn as you go. Be confident in your decisions. If you make a mistake, own it and correct it. If you don't know the answer to a question, "I don't know" is a perfectly good answer. Just make sure you find out the answer to relay it to your subordinate in due time. Not knowing the answer to a question is often a great opportunity for you and your subordinate to find the answer together and turn it into a teaching moment for both of you. It builds trust and gives your subordinate the sense that you care about them and their work which translates into respect. Respect is priceless.

Good luck. :)
Thats quite a detailed reply! Yeah ill make it work!

If i learn to distance myself and not pal around as you said it. That will be the biggest win. Because ive a very kind nature. Which people try to exploit for their own benefit. It is a hard process but rewarding.

Thank you!
 
138
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Joined Dec 29, 2019
Thats quite a detailed reply! Yeah ill make it work!

If i learn to distance myself and not pal around as you said it. That will be the biggest win. Because ive a very kind nature. Which people try to exploit for their own benefit. It is a hard process but rewarding.

Thank you!
You're blaming other people for your shortcoming.
But if you don't see it as a shortcoming ...
 
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5,508
946
Joined Oct 10, 2005
My two rules are:
Always know as much or more about the technique, item, etc. than your subordinates.

Always work as hard or harder than your subordinates.

This almost always addresses any problems with authority.
 
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Joined Nov 27, 2012
Well this is quite a tricky subject.

My 2 cents would be to not be afraid of making mistakes, do things 1000 times till you get them right before passing them on. You might look weird wasting 100 steaks before getting what you are looking for but training staff on something you are not sure about will be way worse down the line.

Ideally you'll get things right on the first try but this is your first time as the head so odds are that you won't. Make sure that the staff under you watches you repeating things over and over till you get them right. Don't pose as something you are not, if you can't be god to them you might go for the guy that tries everything until he get exactly what he wants.

Nothing loses respect faster than a poser, no matter what career you are in. Most people can respect a hard worker no matter how much they might not like you personally, fakers can be spotted a mile away.

Nailing everything on the first try will come later down the line. Focus and consistency will get you there.
 
4,699
931
Joined Aug 21, 2004
How can I be a good leader?
Be friendly, not a friend.
Do what is right, not popular.
Be fair.
Be consistent.
Don't ask anyone to do what you are not willing to do yourself.
Be the kind of leader, you would be glad to follow.
Hire people. Tell them what you expect. Show them what you expect. Live what you expect. Let them do their jobs without micromanaging but giving feedback (both good and bad, good is important), support, and advice.
Walk your talk.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
 
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