Leadership Qualities of an Executive Chef Frankie Miranda Georgia Northwestern Technical College An Executive Chef is one who is in charge of the entire function of the kitchen which includes; menu creation, staff management, scheduling, payroll, ordering, and plate design. From this definition it is clear that to be a successful Executive Chef, one cannot rely on their abilities in Culinary Arts alone; they must also possess exceptional leadership qualities. A successful leader is one that able to lead a team of chefs and cooks from average to excellent.
It is my belief that for anyone to be a successful leader, specifically in this discussion – an Executive Chef, they should have positive characteristics in the following leadership styles: Personal, management, communication and accountability. 1. Personal Style: The Executive Chef should be excited about their work. Their team members should be inspired by them. The Executive Chef should be kind, nurturing, caring, patient, encouraging, efficient, and organized. They should be an individual that team members are not afraid of. 2.Order now
Management Style: The Executive Chef should always lead by example and always have a positive attitude. They should always be on time, meet deadlines, pay attention to detail, be persistent, and never lose track of the basics of the Culinary Arts: Quality, service, sanitation and safety. The Executive Chef should challenge their team to display their skills and talents; challenging them to continuously improve their skills and talents. 3. Communication Style: I believe that communication is the most important leadership quality.
Without communication the team is not a team; and to be a successful team, there must be communication. The Executive Chef’s communication style should begin with always informing team members of anything new or any changes. A good tool to use would be a log book that would be used to inform the team of all situations of change, upcoming events, etc. The team members would be required to read and initial the log book before starting their shift. Additional communication tools that could be used are: Daily meetings before shift and formal weekly meetings.
By having these meetings, everyone would feel included in the process and it would give an opportunity to celebrate successes from the week before and to introduce the menu, events, etc. for the current week. 4. Accountability: The Executive Chef should require team members in their supervision (i. e. Lead Cook, Sous Chefs) to possess the same leadership qualities as does the Executive Chef. The reason for this is to have a team that works together. Being held accountable creates a trusting environment. To ensure accountability of team members, a good tool to implement would be job descriptions for each position.
This would allow the team member to know what exactly is expected of them in their position and would allow the Executive Chef a tool to measure their performance. Two good laws that I ran across regarding accountability are: Accountability Law #1 “Whatever you accept from your least effective team member becomes the minimum acceptable standard for the whole team. ” – Don Miller. Accountability Law #2 “Failure to hold team members accountable for doing their jobs in accordance with the established standards creates an unfair work environment.
This unfairness can escalate to an overwhelmingly negative work environment delivering poor food, poor service, hostility and high turnover. ” – Don Miller. After reading different articles and chef biographies, I have a better understanding for the need of an Executive Chef to have good leadership qualities. I understand the need for a Sous Chef, Head Chef – any chef to have good leadership qualities…it makes a better team in the kitchen, which serves better food to the customers, which makes for a great restaurant or food service establishment.
To be a successful Executive Chef it is important to posses the qualities outlined above. It is equally important for the entire kitchen team to have very similar qualities; reason being, as stated earlier, so that the team works together. A team that works together is much stronger than one that does not. A weak team is a picture of a weak leader. No kitchen can be successful with a weak leader or a weak team.