It takes a while, when someone can call themself not a dick head chef. It takes the acceptance of the people from the same profession and all of the customers, who are willing to accept your tastes and your point of view on the very thing we all depend on. And that is the fuel that keeps us going. It´s called food.
The same head chefs that I´m talking about, have lost the touch of innovation and motivation, because corporate scissors have cut their balls like they do during a spring cleaning at a mutton farm. They have probably been stuck to their comfort zone for longer then it is healthy, which turns people into ignorant pieces of a kitchen tool, who think that they are hipe as a head chef can be, but are actually just stuck to their old habits. And that´s what makes me sad, probably themselves aswell. Although they can´t realize it.
The worst thing is, I met three of them in a very short period of time, and all of them were in the farest north of Finland. What makes me even more frown, is that two of them share the same nationality, but not the mentality, that one should be running a kitchen with. Isolation for a long period of time and mumbling around through the vast kitchen space, that one has been provided, has taken the toll on the very fragile thing that is a state of mind.
Although I can´t say I was the pattern worker at the first place, because of all of the misleadings and personal disagreements, I´ll make a quick list of how some head chefs have been juicy with their behaviours:
Head chef ONE:
I never knew I was hired to only prepare breakfast. As he started to give me more work with lunch, he started to teach me how to cook solyanka, while providing me with only “viinerid” to put in the soup. It´s a standard to put atleast as much different meats in the soup as you have got fingers on one hand. Vacuum packing brioche buns, refreezing them and throwing them away after they have been smashed was an other funny thing. Working in a kitchen alone makes you a lunatic.
Head chef TWO:
That´s an even funnier guy. What can you think of a guy who promises to order you kitchen shoes, tells you twice over a two week period that they have been ordered, but you never get them? Oh yea, did I mention, that I only saw him twice in 3 months? Not much to talk here.
Head chef THREE:
Now that guy is a mystery. I only hung out with him twice, but boy, could I see the frustration in him. From telling chefs the duties that one has to perform through other chefs for a prolonged period, to constant rage behavior over pseudo – problems, that guy makes the NUMBER ONE on the list of all the wierd head chefs I´ve ever encountered. Oh, did I mention he messaged a girl/chef after her boyfriend had left that he is lonely?
And all of that leads us to the very bottom of this post, how not to be a dick head chef in the north. It doesn´t take that much, just three simple principles.
First of all, if you feel stressed, don´t bother coming to work. You can order stuff from home aswell.
There is nothing worse than a prick in the kitchen, taking everybodys motivation down. Your sous chef can handle everything that is going on, without you being there, acting like you have just lost all your savings at the casino. Learn to relax.
Accept that you are not the wisest.
You think your crew doesn´t know how to attend meetings and order shit? Some of the workers might be even more capable of handling your postition then you do, so STFU! Always listen to what your crew has to say, and make adjustments according to them. Everybody still works as a TEAM you know?
Communicate, socialize and talk.
Being a head chef is being a cook, a nurse, a psychologist, a mentor, an arts teacher and a handyman in one person. That recquires lots of words spoken out from your mouth. If you are not willing to lead, which needs a lot of spoken words, then don´t do it. Although it is not that hard to speak actually.
That´s really all it takes for not to be a dick head chef. It comes down to taking care of your team and being the silverback of your team. Somehow, people seem to forget that.