Monday, July 14, 2014

Goodbye individual, hello team*

images courtesy of and

*Moving forward,'daily ramblings' will change to 'random ramblings'. Why? Because 'daily' assumes every day, and trust me I'm not planning to ramble every day - or wait, am I doing that already? But I digress. So from this point on, I will post a random ramble whenever a topic I feel like babbling about pops into my head. Which brings me to the current topic rumbling 'round my brain - the importance of teamwork.

Back in my culinary school days and working in various kitchens, I was taught the fundamentals of cooking - techniques, culinary terms, equipment, kitchen safety - all of it. But one thing that was constantly reiterated by my instructors and head chefs at work, was the importance of teamwork and/or working as a team. In the kitchen, there is truth to the adage "safety in numbers". If you want to be a participant in the culinary game, you have to learn and be able to work together with a variety of people and personalities. There is no such thing as independence - well, eventually, but certainly not at the beginning of the cooking career. No, it's all about teamwork.

Now I'm sure I'll have a slew of articles sent to me by my reader that feature writings about a number of top chefs who have gone onto fame on fortune by forging their own culinary path. There is no denying that happens, but every single one of those chefs could not have arrived at their current destination of success without a lot of people helping, guiding and working with them - side by side.

There is no question that this business can and does celebrate the singular, massive ego of a great chef, but make no mistake - that ego was fed in part by a hunger to be number one, but also by the participation, support and 'buy-in' of people who embraced that chefs concept of great cuisine, and wanted to be a part of that world. Together. Along with plenty of tears, tantrums and freaking hard, hard work, they all created a team atmosphere that was conducive to success. You will need it if you're going to make it in this business.

So is talking about teamwork really just a random ramble? Well now that I've written the piece I'm thinking perhaps this shouldn't just be a random piece after all, but something that needs to be repeated - and often. In a world where individualism is encouraged and celebrated, and personal development revolve around the 'me' word, we sometimes need a jolt and a shake to remind us why being part of a team is noteworthy, necessary and needed.

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