4 Ways to Better Mentor Your Culinary Crew

Mentor Your Culinary Crew
Photo by Bobech

When you’ve gained experience and knowledge in any industry you’ll probably feel like it’s time to share what you’ve learned and your enthusiasm.

In fact, this is a great way to ensure traditional skills are continued and merged with modern alternatives, ensuring that any business can keep up with the latest developments.

However, what you may not realize is that mentoring others takes time and patience, but, it is also very rewarding. You only have to pause and remember when you were first taken under the wing of a skilled chef, you probably felt fantastic. It also helped you to become the chef you are and be in the position to mentor others.

Perhaps the most important distinction that needs to be made is that mentoring is not the same as leading, although the two are often confused. You’ve probably seen Gordon Ramsay at work, a talented chef who gets his way by shouting and inducing fear in his staff.

He’s not alone, there are many other chefs who employ the same tactics to get the best results.

However, you’ll be more likely to inspire your culinary crew if you mentor rather than just lead them.

The Difference Between Leading & Mentoring

For many, the first step into the culinary world is through an accredited course, designed to give them a career in Hospitality. This is a great place to start as it helps to develop all the skills you need in the workplace, not just the ability to cook.

With the qualification many people may accept to start a job and be gently guided through the process of developing and improving, that’s mentorship.

The reality is all too often leadership, where the head chef simply dictates what is to be done and expects you to do it.

Mentorship encourages loyalty, learning, and respect. The leadership of the style described above simply encourages fear and high staff turnover.

To become a great leader, you need to develop your mentoring skills.

4 Ways To Improve Your Mentoring

  1. Learn To Listen

As a mentor and leader, you need to share your knowledge. This is the only way in which the culinary team will learn and improve.

However, just because you have knowledge and experience, there is no guarantee that you have the right approach.

Whether your culinary crew has heard of a new approach, been told about it in their studies, or simply has a process-driven suggestion, it’s important that you listen to your crew.

Listening doesn’t mean you have to do what they suggest. It simply shows respect for their opinions and willingness on your part to try different methods. Providing you properly consider each suggestion you’ll find that your culinary crew develops a greater level of respect for you.

This will improve the morale of your team and their productivity, without the need to induce fear.

Ways to Better Mentor Your Culinary Crew
This will improve moral…

You never know, some of the ideas may even be good!

  1. Set An Example

There is no doubt that being a chef is stressful. One minute you’re preparing a delicious meal, the next you have 10 orders backed up and a complaining customer or two.

It’s easy to get stressed and vent.

However, this is a great opportunity to teach your culinary crew how to handle stressful situations properly. Simply take a deep breath and remain calm, they will follow your example.

By doing so you’ll remove the stress from the situation without removing the urgency, and you’ll get a much more productive and responsive culinary crew.

The same is true for everything you do, whether preparing a signature dish or cleaning up afterward, by showing your team how to do it and doing it yourself, you’ll instill good habits into them.

  1. Connect Emotionally

When you’re prepping vegetables next to your culinary team you have a fantastic opportunity to connect with them on a real basis.

You can share stories about the difficulties and challenges you faced on your way up and how you overcame them. It reminds your staff that you’ve been where they are and understand.

It can also inspire them and if you can get them to share some of their own stories you’ll create an emotional bond. This encourages your culinary crew to see each other, and you, as human beings, ensuring greater respect, loyalty, and commitment to the job.

It also makes the workplace more enjoyable which will help you to retain staff, allowing you to develop a team that is truly exceptional.

  1. Anyone Can be Mentored

We’ve all heard of the kid who has gone from job to job because no one can handle them or they are simply no good at anything.

In most cases, they simply need someone to mentor them and inspire them. By showing them a little respect and listening you can help them to find their passion and talents, you just have to be willing to try.

That’s the real beauty of mentoring, by adopting these steps you never know who you may be helping and how great they’ll become. Not everyone can become a great chef, but anyone can be mentored, you just need to be prepared to try.