9.29.2010

Inspiration, Insight and Intrigue...




A good friend forwarded me this link to an article written by a professional cook-turned-food writer posted on the San Francisco Chronicle's on line web site www.sfgate.com . It is about her experience staging(spending the day in the kitchen o
r elsewhere) at The French Laundry with chef Thomas Keller and his brigade. I found it a very interesting read, and one that was inspiring and motivating to say the least. I immediately made about a dozen and a half copies for my team, addressed them all and handed them each one and demanded they read it and really think about what is written here. In lies touch points about the pursuit of perfection, professionalism, the dedication to excellence, the constant need to be driven to doing what is right and never settling for less than the best. That said, I also realize that TK is in a realm that many of us only hope for and dream of. Meaning, we are all not as fortunate to not have to think about the price of an ingredient(although I have been known to shop like that many a time), or be so fortunate(during these difficult economic times) to have a fully booked restaurant by well heeled and affluent guests seemingly not thinking for a second about dropping $250-500 a head everyday! But what I find overwhelmingly exciting and inspiring is the devotion to it and the commitment by everyone there to be at the complete top of their game. The article also shows the philosophy of TK being unraveled to the journalist as he sees his world, and for that matter...the life and world of many others who are in search of that same perfection. The chef's stamp on everything, and yet the personal perspective and creativity of each cook, and the collective and collaborative interaction, all working together in harmony. A statement about a philosophy posted on the wall("sense of urgency" and "finesse"), a positive affirmation("work ethic is established today" and "the rule of no repetition in an ingredient") or in a word generously gifted to a cook...now that sets an example! From where I hail, the notion and concept of everyone meeting only after the service is over, the stoves have been cleaned, the orders placed and the stock turned down to a gentle simmer to meet and discuss, contemplate, and imagine the creative ideas of the next dish or menu was very much the m.o. of the day. After reading this article, I walked away with a new perspective on running an operation...a refreshed view of leadership and an inspired outlook on food itself. It is because on one hand, the whole thing seemed to mirror how I think and on the other... it was a whole different world. There are so many different and intricate layers here, both written in the article and as well as in a real life professional kitchen such as The French Laundry that it almost only makes true and complete sense only to someone who has done time in one, such as this writer...both her and I! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and that you find your own inspiration from it.

2 Comments:

Blogger dan said...

it was an inspiring read

12:33:00 AM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

cool. glad you found it inspiring. I did. Here's to another day in the kitchen...

12:11:00 AM  

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