Inspiration and growth

Joined Aug 16, 2008
Looking for a good biography or business minded book to spur growth or a new way of problem solving or engaging my team. Any books or podcasts you've benefited from? Not just Culinary either. Open to any gems you've enjoyed. Cook books? Programs? Clubs? How do you refresh and redefine yourself?
Joined Jun 28, 2017
If you have Netflix, Chef's Table is a great program... my fiance (also a restaurant professional) and I set aside time every couple of weeks to watch an episode together and discuss. I think it does a great job of looking at how different chefs define excellence and how they got to where they are in their careers. 
Joined Aug 15, 2003
Lessens in Excellence from Charlie Trotter...he was kind of a pompous ass but nobody can deny he was a great chef. 

Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman...very good read with 3 stories about 3 different chefs with different styles and approaches. Great section about Thomas Keller when he still just had the French Laundry. 

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh...pretty good read. He is the CEO of and talks about the journey to creating the famous culture they have at that company and ideas how to build it and make it work for your own enterprise. 0 to do with food, but good for motivating a staff and instilling a culture. 

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey...classic. Oldie but goody.

As mentioned above, Netflix has some really good food documentaries. I second Chef's Table (and Chef's Table France)...some episodes are better than others, but they are all pretty good. Gorgeously filmed. 

For Grace is a great one about Curtis Duffy and his experience at Alinea, Avenues and opening of Grace in Chicago. Really good stuff. 

Mind of a Chef is really good as well...again some seasons are better than others. 1st season is all David Chang, then it starts doing 2 chefs per season...they each get like 8 episodes. The latest one with Gabriela Hamilton and David Kinch is probably my favorite. 

Thats all I got for now. 
Joined Jun 28, 2017
Back with another thought re: new ways of engaging with your team... The sous at my first serious restaurant job used to run a team based Iron Chef Staff Meal competition every Sunday (our easiest prep day). Every Saturday night we'd get our team assignments and find out our theme (a featured ingredient or technique), then on Sunday we would compete to make the best staff meal dish with that theme, FOH were the judges. The only rules were that all our prep had to be done and service could not suffer - the reward was pride/bragging rights. I think there was also some sort of medal/trophy that you got to hang on your locker if you won that week. We all got really, really into it - like, we'd stay late Saturday night to plan out our strategy and research stuff in our chef's cookbook library, then bust our asses all day Sunday. Even FOH pushed themselves - looking up info online about the theme so they could be better judges etc. Looking back, it was an awesome way to encourage us to work together, to see each other's strengths, and to be more thoughtful about growing our individual skill sets. It made the more experienced cooks feel a sense of responsibility to mentor the less experienced ones, and the less experienced ones worked harder because they wanted to contribute to the team. It made all of us feel a lot more energized about cooking in general, because it pulled us out of the day to day slog of prep work and into something creative. 

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