It takes a certain type of person to be attracted to the life of a chef – dedicated, inspiring and hardworking are among the qualities to possess.
However, successful chefs also need to be hardy and able to withstand vast amounts of pressure while getting on well with all their kitchen brigade.
Many people are attracted to chefing as it appears fun and exciting, not to mention all the delicious food and innovative methods that most professional kitchens are now equipped with.
If you are just starting on your chef journey, or have been in the industry for years, we have compiled for you a guide of the seven things that all successful chefs do every day.
1. Plan Ahead
Being a successful chef is all about planning. You might be cooking ingredients for a dish in a deal you secured months ago. Cooking is all about seasons, and the best chefs know when the time is right to be using seasonal ingredients. With such a huge focus on local produce in many restaurants these days, the head chef should always be thinking ahead to what their kitchen will be plating up next week, next month and even the following year.
Whether it’s clearing your food prep area or organising crates of deliveries in the stockroom, being highly organised is something that only successful chefs do well. From stock rotation to knowing which of the pie crusts in the fridge are gluten-free, a leading chef will be the master of their kitchen and know where every last item is, down to the smallest side plate.
3. Be Detailed To The Last Second
A chef needs to have superhuman abilities of time management –if they aren’t born with them, it is something they tend to pick up after the 300th time plating up a Sunday roast!
Successful chefs realise that even a few seconds can be the difference between a perfectly cooked egg for an executive breakfast or a Crème Brulee that goes ‘over’.
4. Be Innovative
The demand for exciting, innovative food has filtered down to even the smallest of cafes; people now expect to be wowed by every plate that comes out of the kitchen. Successful chefs take this challenge and relish it. They love to create exciting dishes for their customers; this can mean anything from changing the way the dish is plated up to replacing whole elements.
We aren’t saying that they should change the menu every night, but chefs who have a real passion for their job will take delight in adapting dishes ever so slightly for many reasons; they may have just got their hands on a great new ingredient, or they just feel like changing things up.
5. Be a Team Leader
At every step in the chef journey from kitchen porter to executive chef, owning your station is vitally important. To progress in your journey, you have to prove that you can be a team leader, whether that means faultlessly delivering 100 covers or helping the waiters stack empty plates. Leadership is an integral part of being a great chef, as each member of your team needs to see you as a role model. All great chefs will tell you the reason they got into chefing – that they were inspired into the profession by another great chef.
6. Be a Good Communicator
In the kitchen, communication is king. It can be noisy, busy and hard to concentrate, so being clear with your instructions is so important. Successful chefs take the time to communicate every stage of the cooking so that each team member knows precisely when they are needed, as this can change quickly in a kitchen.
This does not mean shouting at your staff, but being clear, concise, and keeping the language clean.
7. Have Fun!
Working in a kitchen is among one of the most stressful occupations, but not only this there can also be periods of monotonous work and stretches when there’s not a lot to do if the restaurant is having a quiet night.
A great chef understands this ebb and flow and should always come to work with an understanding that the only way the kitchen team can make it through a stressful service is to remember the reason they got into chefing in the first place – that they enjoy it and that it’s often great fun.
Are you a chef looking for your next challenge? If you’ve been thinking about a career move for some time, get in touch with us today, and we will talk you through the vacancies we have available. We are always on the lookout for top chef talent, and we want you on our books.