The saying is too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth, and we all know managing egos can be just as delicate as deboning a salmon. A kitchen needs to work like a well-oiled machine, especially in the heat of peak service periods.
To help you ease the tension, here are some tips on managing the people around you, maybe even the Head Chef.
- Try and set clear responsibilities for each person in the kitchen. If you are in a position to assign tasks, do so to keep a clean and organised work process. This will enable people to own their tasks which they will find rewarding. It also reduces the possibility of staff overstepping the mark with fellow colleagues.
- Communicate effectively with your fellow chefs. Ensuring everyone is on the same page will also help keep people in check. This might mean suggesting a regular team meeting before opening time.
- The best way to diffuse the land mine that is one of your fellow chefs is by not setting them off in the first place. Pressure in the kitchen will mean there will always be unanticipated shouting, but do your best to control them by understanding what triggers a meltdown, and avoiding it. If your Head Chef comes close to beating you with a spatula because you separated the sauce, try everything within your power not to do it again.
- So your colleague still thinks the rules don't apply to them? They regularly take all the credit for team work, and pass blame for anything that goes wrong? Start ignoring their calls for validation as much as possible. Feeding their ego with unnecessary compliments and attention will only reinforce their behaviour. Work on fostering relationships with other chefs. Look for someone else to act as a mentor, give you advice, and serve as a reliable reference.
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