The job of an executive chef is no easy gig.
But there are plenty of things you can do to make it as easy as possible for your team to fill that position.
Here are a few tips on how to get started.
The first step to being a great executive chef, according to one expert, is to be able to cook.
“We’re really, really lucky in the restaurant world because the majority of our jobs are being done by humans,” says Mike McQuade, a food and beverage director with the company SABMiller, which owns the New York City-based Darden Restaurants.
“And so cooking is a great way to get a person to do a lot of things that are really difficult.”
McQuade points to the example of one person he knows well: chef-owner John DeMarco, who was a chef at a French-inspired restaurant in New Orleans for nearly 30 years.
DeMarco, a self-described “meathead,” was also the chef at the former restaurant, which was called the Bistro de La Défense in 1996.
When he retired from the job, he decided to take a year off and found another job.
He opened a second restaurant in San Francisco in 2011, and in 2013 opened a new one in Manhattan.
McQuades team of five has made it through a number of cooks in New York, and he hopes to keep that pace.
He recently had a chef from the Darden family join his team.
“I think we’re very well prepared for the challenges we’re going to face,” he says.
McQade says the job requires a certain level of expertise, but he’s also encouraged by the fact that a great chef can also bring a certain amount of self-belief to the table.
“The best chefs, even if they’re not the best cooks in the world, can take that responsibility and get out there and do it, and the other people can follow,” he explains.
McGrady says that a big challenge is that the average person doesn’t know how to cook, but she believes she has a way to help make the process easier.
“You’re the only one who has to teach them the basics of the food and how to make a dish, and then they’re going, ‘OK, what else can I do?,’ ” she says.
“You get them in the kitchen and make them feel like they’re part of the team, and you’re making the food that you want to eat.”
She also suggests that a lot more chefs should be aware of how to treat their food, something that might come as a surprise to some.
“There’s a certain element of being a professional chef that is not so easy to get to, especially if you’re a young person with no prior culinary experience,” she says, adding that she’s heard of chefs who weren’t prepared to be on the job.
McKenzie agrees, saying that it’s important to have a good understanding of the importance of cooking, and how it can be used in the context of a restaurant.
McKinney adds that she is also encouraging people to make the time to learn the fundamentals of their craft.
“What you’re trying to do is learn how to do it well, so that you can have a great job,” she explains.
“That’s the way I see it.
I’m just saying that the more experience I have in cooking, the better I can be at it.”
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