Chef writes open letter that ALL chefs should read

Chef Writes Open Letter That All Chefs Should Read

Chris Hill is a chef, television personality and writer who has appeared on stage at TED and written for a number of high profile publications.
 
Hill also runs My Bachelor Kitchen – an online portal designed to encourage people to fall in love with cooking.
 
We featured some of his work before, when he wrote a piece on the eight key points that make a great chef, and now he’s back with a poignant open letter that all chefs should read.
 
The letter is addressed to all those people pursuing a passion and career in the kitchen and is packed with sound knowledge and advice.
 
If you are a chef, want to be a chef, know a chef or just like the idea of chefs – this is a letter you should read.
“DEAR CHEFS,
 
They won’t understand you. They won’t.I know this, because I used to be on their side, stuck in a dead end office, working a shitty job, making decent pay. My family and friends were convinced I’d lost my mind when I gleefully leaped into the unknown abyss of cooking. I suppose they thought it was a phase I’d soon grow out of. Could this be you? Maybe finishing high school and are contemplating a life in the kitchen, or are already in culinary school. Maybe its not you, but rather someone close to you. Whatever the circumstances, if you’ve gotten this far, I implore you to keep reading.
Chefs are a rare, often misunderstood breed and if you’re amongst the naysayers, I don’t blame you, I really don’t, however if the smallest piece of you is debating a life in the kitchen, or have already taken that plunge finding yourself needing reassurance, you might find that here. There’s also ample evidence to scare you away, there is plenty of that here. It just depends on the way your mind works.
 
Most will never know what it’s like to make a living as a professional cook or chef, and that makes me smile. It’s something of which I am arrogantly proud. No, not because I think we’re better than anyone, but because of the fact that to be a really good cook or chef it takes tremendous physical, mental and emotional fortitude. Most people don’t have, nor appreciate the gifts we’ve been given, and this often includes our front of the house counterparts.
Seven days a week, we show up willing to get our asses kicked. We sign up for this in exchange for an opportunity to express ourselves through food. There’s no such thing as weekends or holidays. We might get a random Tuesday off, and if we’ve put in the proper dues and happen to be in cahoots with the chef, we just might have the good fortune of being exonerated from working the dreaded Sunday Morning brunch shift. No one wants to work Sunday morning. We work longer days than just about anyone. Days start early and end late, typically when the rest of the western world is changing into their PJs, brushing their teeth and hopping into bed. The length, isn’t the hard part though, it’s the depth. Fifteen hours on your feet is grueling enough to scare away some fence-straddlers, but on top of that, consider the kitchen atmosphere where everything is either excruciatingly hot or sharp as hell.
Cooks scurry around cussing, the printer spewing out tickets as fast as it can, and for hours every inch of one’s body is physically tested. Emotions are tested, and sometimes you will fail that test. You’ll break into frustration mid-shift, relying on a teammate to help pull you through. Your mental strength will be tested — misreading tickets, overcooking steaks, undercooking pasta, or completely blanking the fuck out on any number of things, once again having to rely on a teammate to pull you through.You’ll do the same for him — it’s how we survive. Close call finger-nicks and tears shed while chopping onions don’t phase us, not even secondarily. Screaming hot 50-pound pots of salted water simmer away, not boiling fast enough most of the time.
 
Read the letter in its entirety at Fine Dining Lovers

3 takeaways from ‘The Leadership Playbook’

^ Realistic goals are based on our past and are limited by our experiences; logical goals are based on what can be done based on time, capacity, and commitment.

^ Make it important and it will be important: Goal setting is a benefit. Everyone agrees, yet most of us keep talking about it and don’t do it, so just do it!

^ We believe our kids can be anything they want to be in life and yet we think we can’t change careers or be number one in business because we haven’t done it before. Whom are we lying to?

The Leadership Playbook: Creating a Coaching Culture to Build Winning Business Teams is now available at your library.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

Author: Simon Sinek
Publisher:  Portfolio (January 7, 2014)
ISBN:  978-1-59184-532-4

The New York Times-bestselling follow-up to Simon Sinek’s global hit, Start With Why.

Why do only a few people get to say “I love my job”? It seems unfair that finding fulfillment at work is like winning a lottery; that only a few lucky ones get to feel valued by their organizations, to feel like they belong.

Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled.

This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders are creating environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things. 

In his travels around the world since the publication of his bestseller Start with Why, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams were able to trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives were offered, were doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. 

“Officers eat last,” he said.

Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What’s symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: great leaders sacrifice their own comfort—even their own survival—for the good of those in their care.

This principle has been true since the earliest tribes of hunters and gatherers. It’s not a management theory; it’s biology. Our brains and bodies evolved to help us find food, shelter, mates and especially safety. We’ve always lived in a dangerous world, facing predators and enemies at every turn. We thrived only when we felt safe among our group.

Our biology hasn’t changed in fifty thousand years, but our environment certainly has. Today’s workplaces tend to be full of cynicism, paranoia  and self-interest. But the best organizations foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a Circle of Safety that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.

The Circle of Safety leads to stable, adaptive, confident teams, where everyone feels they belong and all energies are devoted to facing the common enemy and seizing big opportunities. 

As he did in Start with Why, Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories from a wide range of examples, from the military to manufacturing, from government to investment banking.

The biology is clear: when it matters most, leaders who are willing to eat last are rewarded with deeply loyal colleagues who will stop at nothing to advance their leader’s vision and their organization’s interests. It’s amazing how well it works.

Rules & Tools for Leaders

Author: Perry M. Smith & Jeffrey W. Foley
Publisher: TarcherPerigee; 4th edition, updated & revised (August 6, 2013)
ISBN: 978-0-399-16351-7

Rules and Tools for Leaders offers insightful and useful advice that avoids the flavor-of-the-month management theories that are long on speculation and short on practical application.

This is a fully revised, updated, and reorganized edition of a classic management handbook. It never loses sight of the big picture of how any company should operate. It provides useful and time-tested advice that can be implemented immediately to the benefit of the entire organization. From defining the qualities of outstanding leaders to putting good leadership skills into practice, from managing yourself and others to handling the difficult tests that leadership brings, this book includes valuable checklists and reviews. In addition, it highlights some of the best leadership programs and presents a host of compelling and instructive anecdotes that illustrate the ideas throughout.

The Leadership Playbook

Author: Nathan Jamail 
Publisher: Avery (July 31, 2014)
ISBN:  978-1-592-40866-5

There are enormous differences between managing and coaching. Yet many companies and organizations encourage their leaders to coach teams without ever teaching them how and without creating a culture that supports coaching.

Nathan Jamail—a leading consultant, professional speaker, and the president of his own group of businesses—trains coaches at several Fortune 500 companies and learned that it takes not only different skills to achieve success, but a truly effective coach needs an organizational culture that creates and multiplies the success of every motivated team member. The Leadership Playbook shows leaders the skills necessary to be an effective coach and to build effective teams by:

  • Fostering employees’ belief in the culture of a company
  • Resolving issues proactively rather than reactively and creating an involvement that constantly pushes employees to be their best
  • Focusing on the more humane principles of leadership—gratitude, positivity, and recognition—that keep morale high
  • Holding teams and individuals accountable
  • Constantly recruiting talent (“building the bench”) rather than filling positions only when they are empty

Combining research, interviews, and inspiring stories with the lessons that have earned Jamail the respect of the world’s foremost corporations including CISCO, FedEx, Sprint, the U.S. Army, and State Farm; The Leadership Playbook will dominate the category for years to come.

The 15th Invaluable Laws of Growth

Author: John C. Maxwell 
Publisher:  Center Street (October 2, 2012)
ISBN:  978-1-5999-5366-3

Are there tried and true principles that are always certain to help a person grow? John Maxwell says the answer is yes. He has been passionate about personal development for over fifty years, and for the first time, he teaches everything he has gleaned about what it takes to reach our potential. In the way that only he can communicate, John teaches . . .

  • The Law of the Mirror: You Must See Value in Yourself to Add Value to Yourself
  • The Law of Awareness: You Must Know Yourself to Grow Yourself
  • The Law of Modeling: It’s Hard to Improve When You Have No One But Yourself to Follow
  • The Law of the Rubber Band: Growth Stops When You Lose the Tension Between Where You are and Where You Could Be
  • The Law of Contribution: Developing Yourself Enables You to Develop Others

This third book in John Maxwell’s Laws series (following the 2-million seller The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork) will help you become a lifelong learner whose potential keeps increasing and never gets “used up.”

Act Like a Success Think Like a Success

Author: Steve Harvey 
Publisher:  Amistad; Reprint edition (September 15, 2015)
ISBN:  978-006-2220332

When Steve Harvey was thirtysomething, he was living in his car. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make to give it his best shot at becoming a comedian. After several months of this lifestyle-washing in public bathrooms, eating fast food-he had considered giving up. Before calling his mother to ask if he could stay with her, he checked his voicemail. The Apollo Theatre wanted him to perform! Great opportunity, but Steve did not have enough money for gas to get from Tennessee to New York. He prayed about it, as he was too proud to ask for money. The following day he had a message from a club in Florida. The audience loved him so much they asked Steve back for a second night. The gig provided him enough money to fly to New York. Although he had no place to stay, walking around all night with a bag that held everything that he owned, it did not get him down.

In his new book, Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success, Steve explains this as a “Pushback, Pushforward” moment. He believes we all have these kinds of situations in life when we have to make a conscious decision to move forward with our dream or walk away. He also believes that anyone aspiring for a better life should be prepared for accidents. This means that one should constantly work on developing their gift, the gift that God has given each of us, so that when opportunities arise we will be ready. Steve addresses discipline-sleeping a maximum of five hours a night. Anyone who sleeps more is not serious about getting the rewards life has to offer. He also discusses concepts of work versus effort and rich versus success. He focuses on taking the lid off the jar. In other words, remove messages from yourself and others that will limit dreams.

Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success is a book about success that is rich with anecdotes from Steve’s life—from sleeping in his car to becoming the $40 million dollar man! This invaluable guide is written for everyone, whether you are just beginning your career or are well situated in the c-suite.