dcsimg

Culinary Student Advice from Chef David Gilbert - Developing a Winning Chef Team

We chefs are a unique species of human beings, if not gluttons for pain. Who else has the passion to spend hours upon hours in a confined hot, intense kitchen, a leader driving perfection into their heads all day?

Culinary Arts

There's a reason the saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." It's a tough job, both physically and creatively demanding. So what makes it all worthwhile? Knowing that you're a master of your craft, and that your customers were moved by the experience you provided. Success--however you define it--drives you, but it's never been a one-man (or one-woman) show. While it's one thing to refine your own technique and push yourself over the top, you simply cannot reach true excellence alone. Everyone enjoys being part of a winning team in the kitchen. Here's my formula for creating one.

Rule 1: Every Cook Has a Say

If you want to succeed as a team, it's important to maintain open lines of communication, and that means every cook in my line is free to make suggestions and share their ideas. I do not run the typical chef dictated kitchen we're all bound to endure at some point in our careers. I only hire those I feel are going to be industry leaders. They are self-motivated, driven by passion, and they all support the vision of my cuisine. When they contribute their ideas, I know that there's an unbelievable chance that they are going to make me-make us-better at our jobs.

I am a firm believer that no idea is a bad idea. When you break into the culinary world from culinary school, remember to not allow your great ideas to simmer too long. Likewise, if you lead your own team some day, remember that (despite the executive in front of your title) you may not have all the answers. Listen to your team.

Rule 2: Set Goals in the Kitchen

I am a firm believer in surrounding yourself with great people. When every member of your team is ready to excel, learn and grow, you are all destined for greatness. As long as your team is constantly evolving and reaching new highs, you succeed as the leader. You must, however, take the time to constantly define and redefine your vision, setting realistic goals for all your chefs.

At LuQa, we spend a tremendous amount of time investing in our employees' development, from leadership positions to internships. Periodically, every cook has an opportunity to share their personal and professional goals, and it is our job to make sure both are achieved. We set short- and long-term goals and are always striving together to achieve them. It's an important lesson for a new chef. Whether you're a green newbie or a seasoned leader, remember to always evaluate and reevaluate your culinary goals-always set the bar higher. Share your goals with your team, ensuring you're all on the same page. Support one another.

Rule 3: Respect Your Fellow Culinarian

It's true that a great chef team works almost as a single machine, sharing common goals, passions and successes. Never forget, however, that we all have different backgrounds, beliefs, upbringings. Understanding where people come from and what is important to them on a personal level is invaluable. You're all, after all, sweating it out in the hot kitchen hour upon hour, day after day. The camaraderie you develop is like none other. It is critical that you always treat those you work with-from sous chefs to executive chefs-with great respect. Help them become the chefs they want to be-it can give you many miles of great performance at work.

Rule 4: Never Lose Your Passion

This is a little insight into the Luqa kitchen and the leadership philosophy behind it. We all know that being a chef takes a tremendous amount of work and dedication. While it's easy to become buried in your own expectations, never forget to have fun. Otherwise it isn't about your passion anymore-it's all just work. My team loves coming to work because they know they are a part of something more than just a creative kitchen. They are part of a team. Working with a great crew not only makes you better at what you do, but inspires you to continue doing it, even when you have those days when everything goes wrong.

A Final Word about Building Great Culinary Teams

Culinary school can teach you how to be a better chef, but only experience can teach you how to be the kind of person fellow chefs respect. If you're a culinary student or new chef, I sincerely hope you step away form this column having learned a thing or two about how to be not just a great leader, but a fantastic chef to work with. Learning how to communicate effectively with your culinary peers, constantly setting and reevaluating your goal-personally and as a team-and, above all, respecting those sweating it out on the line alongside you will not only make you a better chef, but a better rounded individual. It will certainly make you the sort of chef we at Luqa love to hire.

Featured Culinary Schools

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America , Online (campus option available)
  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
1 Program(s) Found
  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
  • Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Dedicated to providing a hands-on, career-focused education since 1953.
  • Offers classes online, as well as at 14 campuses across California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia.
  • Develops curriculum with input from employers, subject matter experts.
  • Has small class sizes to promote one-on-one, student-teacher interaction.
  • Makes no-cost tutoring available in every subject to every enrolled student.
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities. 
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Students can complete an entry-level technician program in about a year, and manufacturer training and graduate in as little as 18 months.
  • Provides technical education training programs for automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle, and marine technicians.
  • Partners with many well-known manufacturers, including General Motors, Porsche Cars North America Inc., and BMW of North America LLC.
  • Offers internships to students and alumni for first-hand experience.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
Show more [+]
  • Financial Aid
  • Has students attend one four-week class at a time and take their final exam before moving on to their next class.
  • Offers 24/7 online tech support, with a typical response time of 4 hours or less.
  • Has online help centers that offer assistance with writing, statistics, medical assisting, and more.
  • Provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.
  • Researches trends for growing fields to tailor a more effective curriculum.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Offers training in various types of massage therapy, physical therapy/sports rehab, and personal fitness training & wellness.
  • Teaches in an environment that promotes learning and encourages empathetic and compassionate therapists.
  • Career service professionals work directly with students from the start of their program, and help them pursue employment in day spas, luxury hotels, cruise ships, and other locations.
  • Students can work in the SOCHI Massage Clinic to gain experience and build their career skills.
  • Financial aid representatives help students develop a personalized financial plan to finance their tuition.
Show more [+]
  • Financial Aid
  • One of the largest massage therapy schools in the nation teaching since 1979.
  • First massage school in California to be nationally accredited.
  • Has a successful job placement record— 86% of graduates get placed into work in massage therapy.
  • Provides massage therapist education with multiple methods to ensure every student learns the material.
  • Offers lifetime career placement assistance and holds partnerships with a variety of employers.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
Milan Institute , Bakersfield
  • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
  • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
  • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Gives students the option to choose from day, evening, and weekend classes to fit their schedule.
  • Offers public spa and salon services at all campuses for students to gain real-world experience.
  • Provides short specialty programs and workshops open to non-students as well.
  • Has 60 campuses across the United States.
  • Accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences (NACCAS).
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
  • Ranked 21st among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Offers online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in health systems administration, international health, and more.
  • Instructs with a blend of interactive online class sessions, social connections between peers and faculty, and real-world clinical experiences.
  • Houses a multimillion-dollar research program that receives funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, The Commonwealth Fund, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Has over 350 employees who provide personalized, one-on-one live student support.
  • Partnered with AmeriCorps to create the Segal AmeriCorps education award that pays up to $5,500 towards tuition.
  • Provides 100% tuition assistance for military service members who qualify.
  • Offers JANET, the Job Assistance Network that covers instruction on résumé writing, cover letters and weekly job leads for up to three years.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses

Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

  • Online Courses
Charter College , Lancaster
  • Offers a program that translates work and military experience into college credit, transfers in credit from other college programs, and offers the flexibility of day, evening and online coursework.
  • Provides in-person tutoring, IT support, access to library resources, and job placement assistant for graduates.
  • Features a new blended-learning curriculum, which involves a mix of campus and online courses.
  • Has 11 campuses across Southern California, Washington, and Alaska, and online courses with campus support. 
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid