This is a direct message to all of those young cooks just starting out, dishwashers, culinary students, and seasoned veterans of the kitchen – you can go as far as you want to go in the food business as long as you are willing to put in the work, build a plan, and stick to the plan.  Am I exaggerating?  NO!  I believe this wholeheartedly, there is no limit to what you can achieve if you believe that you can and invest the energy and time.

Whatever you want to achieve, and whatever position you seek: Restaurant Chef, Research Chef, Personal Chef, Restaurateur, Food and Beverage Director, Teacher, Author, Consultant, or Product Developer are all within your reach.  Yes, this is ABSOLUTELY TRUE.  The only person who can get in the way of your success is YOU.

So, what should you be doing right now to set a course for a great future in the kitchen?  Here are fifteen “must do” methods:

[]       START WITH A PLAN:

You have to want to find a specific level of success and that begins with a “how to” plan.  Do you want to be a chef some day in a high-volume family style restaurant?  Then connect with chefs already in that role and ask what skills are needed and how they managed to acquire them.  Build this into your plan.  Do you want to aspire to become a restaurant owner someday, then do the same with successful restaurateurs.  What are the skills, what are the steps, and how might you meet those requirements?

[]       BE WILLING TO TURN ON A DIME:

One of the interesting things about a career in food is that you never know what opportunities might come your way.  As important as your plan is, be willing to realign with a new plan if one of those great opportunities does emerge.  Trust me – you never know where a career in food might take you.

[]       COMMIT TO CONSTANT SKILL DEVELOPMENT:

Learning will never cease.  If a day goes by that you don’t actively pursue skill growth, then you should view it as a day of missed opportunity.  Commit to constant learning.

[]       BE INQUISITIVE:

If you don’t know – ask.  If you see someone exhibit a unique skill, then find out how you might do the same.  If you face a challenge that is outside of your wheelhouse to fix, then find someone who can lead you on the path to solving it.  Asking WHY is one of the most beneficial steps in the pursuit of a successful career.

[]       TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN:

Sometimes learning is not “on the clock”.  Sometimes you will need to volunteer, work without pay after hours, shadow an expert, take a class, or even click on a YouTube video.  Do whatever it takes, whenever it is offered, to build your portfolio of skills and knowledge.

[]       EXPAND YOUR PALATE:

Not just your palate for taste and flavor, but also your palate for understanding people, their traditions and culture, why they cook the way they do and what environmental influences make their food unique.  This is how cooks become accomplished chefs with the ability to represent different cuisines with some level of authenticity.  Tap into the diversity in the kitchens where you work and build an understanding of what makes people tick, what makes them special and in return you will grow as a professional.

[]       THINK PAST TODAY:

Sometimes the challenges of today seem to eat up all of our time and effort.  Sometimes today is so challenging that we find ourselves totally focused on how to get through it.  A career requires that you think beyond today, accept the challenges, find the time, invest money that you don’t have, and be a little humbler than you might like knowing that the end game is your reward.

[]       KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW:

Admitting that you need to improve, that you are not great at everything, that some things are simply beyond your ability right now, is an important step in building a future career.  Once you know what you don’t know then addressing those obstacles becomes part of your plan.

[]       WORK FOR THE RIGHT PEOPLE:

Select your employers wisely.  Work for operations that can build on your skill set, work for chefs who will push you to get better. Think outcomes vs. paycheck in the beginning, The money will come once you have a lot to sell.

[]       COMMIT TO IT:

If you really want it, then commit fully to the process, to your plan, and to your desire to be all that you can be.  Without the “all-in” commitment this will not work.

[]       LIVE THE SEVEN “R’S”: (Responsible, Relationships, Resist, Read, Remember, Results):

  • RESPONSIBLE:    You are responsible for your own skill set, your own learning, and your own future – don’t relegate the responsibility to others and blame them for your inability to reach your goals.  The ball is in YOUR court.
  • RELATIONSHIPS: Choose your friends, acquaintances, employers, and mentors wisely.  Make sure that they represent what you aspire for yourself.  Do they fit into your plan?
  • RESIST:      In the restaurant business especially, there are a number of temptations that can pull you off course: lack of caring for your health, drugs, alcohol, late nights, more money with the wrong employers, etc.  Cooks with an eye on their future work hard at resisting these temptations.
  • READ:        Invest the time to read everything you can.  Trade magazines, business books, management and leadership, self-help books, novels, travel journals, cookbooks, etc.  These will open your eyes and help to build your intellectual brand.
  • REMEMBER:        Remember all of the individuals who help you along the way, stay engaged with them, and by all means – take the time to thank them over and over again.
  • RESPECT:   Remember, the professional that you want to become is an individual who respects the people he or she works with and for, the guests who choose to spend their money in a restaurant, the ingredients that are available, the people who dedicate their lives to growing, raising, and harvesting those ingredients, and the facilities where every cook works.
  • RESULTS:   All of your investment will fail to produce the right outcomes unless you can chart a history of positive results.  Record those results, track them, create a portfolio of accomplishments, and build on them.

[]       BUILD AND ENGAGE YOUR NETWORK:

Throughout your career it will be those unique connections, your network of influence, that opens doors and helps to continually build your personal brand and portfolio of skills.  Again, build this and stay connected.  Help them and they will help you.

[]       DEPENDABILITY FIRST:

Never forget that trust in your skills and focus on outcomes, trust in your consistency as a person, trust that you will be there when you are scheduled, and trust that you will produce excellent results with every task no matter how small or large is the single most important aspect of your professional brand.  This is what will pave the way for all the success you seek.

[]       BALANCE THE BUSINESS WITH THE ALTRUSITIC REASONS TO BE A FOOD PROFESSIONAL:

Know that you are being paid to produce positive business results and customer satisfaction.  You can never push these facts aside, but at the same time, we all need to feel as though we are doing the right thing and making a difference in the world.  Both outcomes are essential.  Never sacrifice one for the other.

[]       WORK ON YOUR BRAND EVERY DAY:

Everything that you do, every step that you take, ever product that you make, and every associate whom you follow, or lead is part of your brand.  People will invest as much in you as you invest in yourself.

PLAN BETTER – TRAIN HARDER

Harvest America Ventures, LLC

www.harvestamericacues.com  BLOG

700 articles from the chef’s desk

Follow exceptional interviews on CAFÉ Talks Podcast

https://cafemeetingplace.com/cafe-podcasts

A CHANCE TO BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE

This is a direct message to all of those young cooks just starting out, dishwashers, culinary students, and seasoned veterans of the kitchen – you can go as far as you want to go in the food business as long as you are willing to put in the work, build a plan, and stick to the plan.  Am I exaggerating?  NO!  I believe this wholeheartedly, there is no limit to what you can achieve if you believe that you can and invest the energy and time.

Whatever you want to achieve, and whatever position you seek: Restaurant Chef, Research Chef, Personal Chef, Restaurateur, Food and Beverage Director, Teacher, Author, Consultant, or Product Developer are all within your reach.  Yes, this is ABSOLUTELY TRUE.  The only person who can get in the way of your success is YOU.

So, what should you be doing right now to set a course for a great future in the kitchen?  Here are fifteen “must do” methods:

[]       START WITH A PLAN:

You have to want to find a specific level of success and that begins with a “how to” plan.  Do you want to be a chef some day in a high-volume family style restaurant?  Then connect with chefs already in that role and ask what skills are needed and how they managed to acquire them.  Build this into your plan.  Do you want to aspire to become a restaurant owner someday, then do the same with successful restaurateurs.  What are the skills, what are the steps, and how might you meet those requirements?

[]       BE WILLING TO TURN ON A DIME:

One of the interesting things about a career in food is that you never know what opportunities might come your way.  As important as your plan is, be willing to realign with a new plan if one of those great opportunities does emerge.  Trust me – you never know where a career in food might take you.

[]       COMMIT TO CONSTANT SKILL DEVELOPMENT:

Learning will never cease.  If a day goes by that you don’t actively pursue skill growth, then you should view it as a day of missed opportunity.  Commit to constant learning.

[]       BE INQUISITIVE:

If you don’t know – ask.  If you see someone exhibit a unique skill, then find out how you might do the same.  If you face a challenge that is outside of your wheelhouse to fix, then find someone who can lead you on the path to solving it.  Asking WHY is one of the most beneficial steps in the pursuit of a successful career.

[]       TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN:

Sometimes learning is not “on the clock”.  Sometimes you will need to volunteer, work without pay after hours, shadow an expert, take a class, or even click on a YouTube video.  Do whatever it takes, whenever it is offered, to build your portfolio of skills and knowledge.

[]       EXPAND YOUR PALATE:

Not just your palate for taste and flavor, but also your palate for understanding people, their traditions and culture, why they cook the way they do and what environmental influences make their food unique.  This is how cooks become accomplished chefs with the ability to represent different cuisines with some level of authenticity.  Tap into the diversity in the kitchens where you work and build an understanding of what makes people tick, what makes them special and in return you will grow as a professional.

[]       THINK PAST TODAY:

Sometimes the challenges of today seem to eat up all of our time and effort.  Sometimes today is so challenging that we find ourselves totally focused on how to get through it.  A career requires that you think beyond today, accept the challenges, find the time, invest money that you don’t have, and be a little humbler than you might like knowing that the end game is your reward.

[]       KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW:

Admitting that you need to improve, that you are not great at everything, that some things are simply beyond your ability right now, is an important step in building a future career.  Once you know what you don’t know then addressing those obstacles becomes part of your plan.

[]       WORK FOR THE RIGHT PEOPLE:

Select your employers wisely.  Work for operations that can build on your skill set, work for chefs who will push you to get better. Think outcomes vs. paycheck in the beginning, The money will come once you have a lot to sell.

[]       COMMIT TO IT:

If you really want it, then commit fully to the process, to your plan, and to your desire to be all that you can be.  Without the “all-in” commitment this will not work.

[]       LIVE THE SEVEN “R’S”: (Responsible, Relationships, Resist, Read, Remember, Results):

  • RESPONSIBLE:    You are responsible for your own skill set, your own learning, and your own future – don’t relegate the responsibility to others and blame them for your inability to reach your goals.  The ball is in YOUR court.
  • RELATIONSHIPS: Choose your friends, acquaintances, employers, and mentors wisely.  Make sure that they represent what you aspire for yourself.  Do they fit into your plan?
  • RESIST:      In the restaurant business especially, there are a number of temptations that can pull you off course: lack of caring for your health, drugs, alcohol, late nights, more money with the wrong employers, etc.  Cooks with an eye on their future work hard at resisting these temptations.
  • READ:        Invest the time to read everything you can.  Trade magazines, business books, management and leadership, self-help books, novels, travel journals, cookbooks, etc.  These will open your eyes and help to build your intellectual brand.
  • REMEMBER:        Remember all of the individuals who help you along the way, stay engaged with them, and by all means – take the time to thank them over and over again.
  • RESPECT:   Remember, the professional that you want to become is an individual who respects the people he or she works with and for, the guests who choose to spend their money in a restaurant, the ingredients that are available, the people who dedicate their lives to growing, raising, and harvesting those ingredients, and the facilities where every cook works.
  • RESULTS:   All of your investment will fail to produce the right outcomes unless you can chart a history of positive results.  Record those results, track them, create a portfolio of accomplishments, and build on them.

[]       BUILD AND ENGAGE YOUR NETWORK:

Throughout your career it will be those unique connections, your network of influence, that opens doors and helps to continually build your personal brand and portfolio of skills.  Again, build this and stay connected.  Help them and they will help you.

[]       DEPENDABILITY FIRST:

Never forget that trust in your skills and focus on outcomes, trust in your consistency as a person, trust that you will be there when you are scheduled, and trust that you will produce excellent results with every task no matter how small or large is the single most important aspect of your professional brand.  This is what will pave the way for all the success you seek.

[]       BALANCE THE BUSINESS WITH THE ALTRUSITIC REASONS TO BE A FOOD PROFESSIONAL:

Know that you are being paid to produce positive business results and customer satisfaction.  You can never push these facts aside, but at the same time, we all need to feel as though we are doing the right thing and making a difference in the world.  Both outcomes are essential.  Never sacrifice one for the other.

[]       WORK ON YOUR BRAND EVERY DAY:

Everything that you do, every step that you take, ever product that you make, and every associate whom you follow, or lead is part of your brand.  People will invest as much in you as you invest in yourself.

PLAN BETTER – TRAIN HARDER

Harvest America Ventures, LLC

www.harvestamericacues.com  BLOG

700 articles from the chef’s desk

Follow exceptional interviews on CAFÉ Talks Podcast

https://cafemeetingplace.com/cafe-podcasts