Whether you own a food truck, you’re working in a diner or a 5* restaurant, if you care about your job and have a real passion for cuisine, then your approach should be the same. You should be passionate, creative, and be able to think quickly on your feet.
Working in a kitchen is relentless, and in a job where your primary concern is the satisfaction and happiness of others, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. To succeed in this industry, you’re going to need a lot of drive, energy, and grit. Not only do you have to be able to communicate and meet people from all backgrounds, but you’ll also need to be able to plan and design menus and coordinate the entire kitchen and front of the house so you can create a good dining experience.
But, what else do you need to make it as a chef? Here we’ll look at 4 tips for success that every chef should know.
1. Look after your Eyes
As mentioned above, being a chef can take its toll. Particularly on your eyes, whether you’re reading tickets in the kitchen, checking out recipes in small print, dealing with the intense heat and steam from the stove and grill, and coping with sweat. Looking after your eyes in the kitchen is important and a pair of glasses that are nice and light is a good choice. They’ll not only look good, but they won’t feel heavy on your face after a long shift in the kitchen.
2. Never underestimate Kitchen Teamwork
Teamwork is what makes kitchen work. And whether you’re in a 5* kitchen or you’re in your food truck with a couple of employees, a good chef can harness the skills and aptitudes of everyone around them to serve great food and provide great service.
3. Master the Art of Time Management
Unless your customers don’t mind waiting for hours, without mastery in time management – you’ll never succeed as a chef. In a busy kitchen, dishes of all sorts have to be prepared in minutes. You need to have a few watches and clocks on the walls, and maximize every second of your time from the moment an order is made. Create a good plan with exact timelines for each task, and you can easily build a highly effective kitchen. Here are some more time management tips on Escoffier.
4. Become a Data-Driven Chef
This doesn’t mean you need to learn to code or become a computer geek. DDDM or Data-driven decision making is the new norm, in every business, also in restaurants. It’s the practice of collecting and analyzing data and basing your decisions on the insights you derive from it. Don’t get me wrong – in many cases, you’ll be better making decisions based on instinct, tradition, or gut feeling. However, as a Chef, you need to know which items sell best at different times of the day. You should know how much each dish costs to produce and how much it contributes to your restaurant’s revenues. You should also know tiny details like the yield from every ingredient in the kitchen, the labor quantity needed to produce each dish, and so much more. Data-driven decisions are more objective and you can easily evaluate them according to their impact on your metrics. You can read more about DDDM in this article.
5. Ensure your last dish is as good as the first
Whether it’s been a fast-paced lunch rush, or an incredibly hectic dinner service, any chef that is hoping to make a success out of their food truck or restaurant has to create a reputation for excellence and consistency. Therefore, ensuring that your last dish is as good as your first is essential.
6. Keep Your Chef Ears Open
Your mouth might be working over-hours in the kitchen, but be sure to keep your ears working as well. To become a truly successful chef, you better listen to your customers, even if it hurts at times. Listen to your staff’s ideas and implement them if you think they’re good. Keep your ears open to your competition and the entire restaurant industry. You need to know what’s happening around you.
7. Keep Learning Chef Skills
The culinary world is a competitive one, and the last thing you want is to lose customers because someone else is offering something new and exciting. As a chef, you need to keep learning and honing your craft. Sampling new flavors and trying new dishes that you could then adapt to match your culinary business. So, get out there and try some new techniques and flavors!