Tom Hall, Executive Chef of Green Spring Valley Hunt Club, says he wants to be more adventurous, prioritize self-care, enable others to problem-solve, measure progress and improve the industry.
January brings me a moment to catch my breath and reflect on the past year as I consider what we’d like to improve upon in the future.
Here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2022:
- Stepping out of our comfort zone.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to work at the same club for almost seven years. I have a comfortably sized membership and I have a good idea of what works and doesn’t for events and menus. While it’s great to have this valuable information, it can lead to getting comfortable and just relying on the same bag of tricks. I want to push myself, my team, and my membership a little bit more this year and try some new things that we all may be uncomfortable doing. Pushing these boundaries will teach all of us some incredible information along the way.
- Working on self-care.
Self-care is something every chef I know struggles to prioritize. Many of us are great at making excuses for why we don’t take care of ourselves mentally and physically. This year I’d like to get back to working out as well as spending time doing things I enjoy. Burnout doesn’t necessarily happen because we are tired from working too hard. It is caused by not doing the things that make us happy.
- Stop being the person to put out all the fires.
I work in a small kitchen with a fairly small team. It’s rare that anything that happens in the kitchen gets past me, with the exception being when I’m in a meeting or off property. I can’t tell you how many times something has gone wrong and I run over to put out the proverbial fire. I rarely give my team a chance to put it out themselves and I know for a fact this is holding them back. We all know that there are mistakes we’ve made in our careers that have taught us incredible lessons. While I don’t necessarily want my team to make mistakes that will make it to the dining room, I do want to teach my team how to deal with them. Our jobs would be easy if everything always went according to plan. An important part of being a chef is learning how to deal with the unexpected and I need to let my team work through those issues without fixing them for them.
- Developing OKRs.
Just the other day I heard about “OKRs” and realized I need them in my life. OKR stands for “Objectives and Key Results” and they are a way to develop measurable goals and track outcomes. I know we all write budgets each year and we work hard to hit those numbers. I’d like to start breaking down the year into smaller, more achievable goals that help our team stay on track for the entire year. It’s a lot easier to fix a labor issue if you’re looking at it week by week rather than looking at your financial statement at the end of the month. The same is true with the rest of the budget. I don’t spend much time in the office and coming up with some concrete goals and measuring the results is high on my list of things to do in the new year.
- Be the change we want to see in the industry.
We all know things have been tough this past year. We’ll all need to work extra hard to come up with great ideas to make our clubs an attractive place to work. My goal this year is to try and get my team working 4 days a week, 10 hours a day. Providing 40 hours while being able to give my staff an extra day off is something that I think our industry as a whole needs to think about. We need to forget about going back to the way it was pre-COVID and start trying new things. We are only as good as our team and we need to adapt to what the young culinarians in the industry are looking for.