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Kitchen Leadership is Crucial to Achieve Success

#FairKitchens launches free chef kitchen leadership training programme

FairKitchens, a global movement driving change to secure a healthier and more sustainable foodservice industry, has launched a new kitchen leadership training programme, free to any hospitality business employee.

Entitled ‘Leading a Fair Kitchen’, the programme aims to improve working environments and address staff retention issues by empowering leaders with insight and practical tips from others in the industry. The training is presented by Unilever Food Solutions, one of the co-founders of #FairKitchens, in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).

More than 30 chefs and experts across the world have worked together to create this free, online programme, which combines a series of short videos and actions to complete. Available for chefs and operators with any level of leadership responsibilities, the programme is designed to teach participants how to be effective leaders.

Participants will learn from leaders who prioritise their people, such as Michelin-starred chef Chris Galvin; president of the American Culinary Federation Kimberly Brock Brown; and the Princess of Shoreditch’s head chef Ruth Hansom. Hospitality Action and Westminster Kingsway College have also contributed expertise, while the Craft Guild of Chefs has endorsed the training.

In addition to helping individuals fulfil their leadership responsibilities, #FairKitchens aims to accelerate culture change from the top down, by providing leaders with alternative behaviours to those developed in the kitchens in which they grew up. By sharing honest reflections, lessons learned along the way and practical tips, the training is designed to help leaders create an open, inclusive and fair environment for their teams.

Several operators, including CH&CO, Brakes and Care UK, have already taken the training.

‘Leading a Fair Kitchen’ consists of seven modules – one introductory module around four minutes in length, and six more detailed modules which take 30-35 minutes to complete.

The modules

  • Introduction: What is leadership
  • Self awareness and self-management
  • Communication
  • Recruitment and onboarding
  • Building diverse talent and teams
  • Wellbeing
  • Crisis management

Each module recommends learning actions for participants to complete afterwards. Following a short assessment, participants may earn a Certificate of Completion.

Alex Hall, executive chef and culinary team leader for Unilever Away From Home, said: “With staffing levels continuing to pose a challenge, we want to help leaders build the best possible environment for their teams.

“In this training, #FairKitchens ambassadors, partners and friends from all over the world share their experiences of good kitchen leadership so others can learn and reflect on their own practices. The end result covers everything from how to give individuals ownership and spot wellbeing problems, to talking openly about decisions that need to be made, so you can do what’s best for the whole team.”

Ruth Hansom, who contributed to the training, added: “I think this conversation about leadership is crucial right now to stop talented people being lost to other industries. We have to start putting our teams first. If we stretch people to the max they just burn out and staffing problems get even worse. Many of those who’ve left won’t have been nurtured or led well.”

Chris Galvin added: “So much conflict in the kitchen happens because of poor leadership. We owe it to our teams to do better, to learn how to support their performance and help them develop. A happy team will always produce good results if they’re well-trained and well-led. Good leadership is about understanding the heartbeat of the team, what motivates people and getting to the root of problems quickly.”

The original version of this article was first published in The Caterer 

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