Andrew Maggitti, CEC, Executive Chef of Chartwell G&CC, offers resolutions and self-reflection tips to make 2020 your best year yet.
It’s a brand new year. And while I know some of you in warmer climes are still going strong, others are just catching our breaths after a busy holiday season. Nows the time to sit back and regroup. It’s time to reflect on the past year and see how we can better ourselves and our operations as chefs.
First and foremost, I would encourage each of you to spend some must needed quality time with your family and friends. Get reconnected with the people that matter most. After all, these individuals are a huge part of why we do what we do and the support that they give, sustains us.
I would also encourage you to carve out some time to self-reflect. It’s key to becoming a better person as well as being a better chef.
If you’re like me, then you are the most critical on yourself and push yourself very hard. Have you ever considered how you were you perceived over the holiday season as a result?
Be honest with yourself. Ask, “Could I have handled that situation a little better with the server? After all, they are here to provide a service to the members.” Or “How was I to my staff? Could they come to me when things got rough? Have I made it clear that I have an open-door policy and am here to support my crew no matter what?”
You as the chef are the cornerstone of the kitchen. You must take care of your staff by being in control.
Self-reflection also helps to build emotional awareness. By taking the time to ask yourself the important questions, you gain a better understanding of your emotions, strengths, weaknesses and driving factors. Ask yourself deliberate questions, like what do I do well and how could I improve, will give give valuable insights into how you operate as a leader. This process will also strengthen your emotional intelligence, help you become clearer on your core values and help to strengthen your integrity. It will also boost your confidence.
Some little things I do that I feel go a long way include:
- Writing a simple thank you note and hanging it up on the entrance to the kitchen. This lets my kitchen crew and servers know how much I appreciated that they were there. I do this for Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve annually.
- During Christmas, I also hand out a handwritten card that thanks each member of my team for their hard work and dedication. I also give an example of what I saw them do that was above and beyond their job duty. I want them to know that I see how important they are and that I value them and their work ethic.
- I take my crew out to dinner just before the Thanksgiving holiday. I know it is tough to do. We’re all busy and we see each other often. But the reward is worth the effort. My staff walks around with a little more bounce in their step after this annual dinner. They feel that the club values their opinion and truly cares about them. They understand that we are all a team and here to support each other. (I know some of you may be saying “That would be nice, but my club cannot afford it,” or “my GM will not approve it.” This is where budgeting comes in. Allow yourself to budget $100 per person for your dinner. That $100 will bring you back four times in value to your members. Now, if you can’t afford that, then just do something together. Host a cookout at your house or go bowling and have your staff bring their spouses and / or children. Either way, be sure to make time to do something fun and enjoyable away from the Club.)
Lastly, make time in the calm before things ramp back up again to create a list of 2-3 goals for yourself on how you are going to be better. By making a list, it’s final. It’s in print and it holds you personally accountable. Most importantly, hang it up somewhere you can see it EVERY SINGLE DAY.