Friday, April 29, 2016
Life lessons from the restaurant biz
Words can never hurt you. The people in this business are not all sunshine and unicorns. The chefs, supervisors, the customers--all can be pretty terrible. Many are "hangry" (hungry and angry). If you work there, you have to let this wash over you and focus on the job at hand. Like anything, this can be learned with practice.
Teams can do amazing things. In this business, everyone is a cog in the machine. If one cog screws up, it affects all. Think about a busy Mother's Day rush--you could never handle it alone.
Stress is inevitable, but can be handled. Shift work, overtime--stress levels rise. Take up running, try meditation. This is probably the highest stress job you will ever have. Learn to cope now and you're good for life.
Creativity can bring great rewards. The culinary world is more than plopping a protein, starch, and fiber item on a plate. It is constantly innovating and changing. Fusion, flavor foam, one-bite meals, etc. Bring your ideas.
The value of preparation should never be underestimated. Restaurant workers know the value of "putting in place" (mise en place). This is the work that begins often before dawn, but long before any diners arrive. Portioning, defrosting, peeling, chopping, making stock. Even if a restaurant worker moves to another sector, it will be second nature to have a plan before a presentation, a roadmap.
Education and background don't determine success. Although the business is full of people who have gone to exclusive culinary schools, others have apprenticed for years. Talent, stick-to-it-tive-ness, creativity, stamina all of these can transcend technical ability.