Kitchens around the world, regardless of their cuisine, face many of the same challenges. The relationship between quality and pressure seem to go hand in hand on an upward trajectory as chefs strive to continually refine and improve their trade.
In many cases the pressure comes from above and trickles down through the ranks. This passion, aggression, tension and fear produce an energy which fuels the kitchen and breathes life into the restaurant’s soul.
Energy, according to my understanding is neutral. Its conversion into a positive or negative element is dependent on how we choose to manage it. What if we could deliberately manipulate the energy we have in our kitchens to harvest positive energy consistently? What effect would this have on your team and their ability? your operations? and mainly, your food?
First we have to understand what energy currently exists and how it manifests itself in the kitchen.
As most restaurant employees will explain, Front of House and Back of House seem to be in a continuous game of tug-of-war. The pressures of the kitchen and those of the service can often lead these two teams towards an ongoing battle, fought daily.
Rationally we know that neither side is the enemy, nor should they even be entertaining the idea of working against the customer, as they are ultimately working towards a common goal; customer satisfaction.
However the reality is; chefs at every rank have pressure on them as do the service team, the pressure of delivering the best quality in a particular time frame, with the fine details all in place. This is the battle. But for it to be a battle there must be an opposition, an enemy. So who is it? The answer lies within ourselves and around us. In a nutshell, we are at war against ourselves and time.
We are at war with ourselves during the service, with how fast we can work, how skilled we are, how prepared we have been and our ability to maintain control. During the service you are battling against your own ability and capability, pushing ourselves by determination and being held back by ability, whether it be mental or physical.
This internal conflict is fuelled by the pressures put upon us by our superiors and ourselves. The passion, aggression, tension and fear that produce this energy drive this internal conflict, which can often convert what could be a positive force into a negative one.