This is my office in the warm weather month, and gladly so on a beautifully mild July morning. It has all my creature comforts, such as Internet access, outdoor sound system and a cot. The surroundings I love, its the work I don’t thrive on.
I’ve been able to hire two new chefs this summer. They have already shown me why I need them on staff. The bigger our business grows, the more focused I need to be, which is to pay more attention to the restaurant as a whole, and not just on the food coming out of the kitchen. My title is Executive Chef. I love and understand the chef part of the role. It’s the executive part that needs more attention.
If you are an aspiring chef, keep in mind that being an Executive Chef is more than just having free reign over what and how you cook. If all you can do is cook, you may not be cut out for this role.
Being an Executive Chef means you must know how to execute your entire operation. You must be adept at more than flavor composition. You must lead, motivate, organize, coordinate, and manage. You need to observe trends and adapt to them. You have to recognize the source and nature of complaints. You need social skills and possess a level of self-understanding if you are going build a successful destination.
Cooking is only part of the equation. I remember meeting guys in graduate school who believed they were intended to be a pastor, all the while I’m thinking you can’t even speak with proper grammar, let alone the fact that you have bad personal hygiene and gastly B.O. Aspiration doesn’t supercede the necessity of having some type of skill already in place.
I’ve been at the spreadsheet more than the stove this week, but if I’m going to keep cooking great food, I’ve got to keep the books from getting cooked.