Setting Team Member Goals In A Kitchen Project or Don’t run on faith that the other person(s) are on the same page as you.
First a little history. I spent my life working in kitchens. I started when I was in foster homes, working as a dish washer in a truck stop in Healdsburg, California before going to college. The cooks on duty would often teach me how to make something and I soon found I was very happy “creating food recipes”, although I am sure the “creations” were very simple at the time.
I had always been good at drawing, oil painting, and some charcoal. I tried my hand at water color but it wasn’t my medium. The one thing that I really enjoyed was how all the colors worked together if you followed a few basic rules. Thus it was an easy transition to working in a kitchen when you learned what colors worked with each other, how to create a picture with food and how to make something taste even better than it looked after you had worked to make it look perfect.
Slowly my reputation grew and at the age of 27, I landed my first Executive Chefs job. I think my head was too big for my chef’s hat but soon reality set in and I learned how to manage my staff. For the most part, all they really required was clear cut instructions on what I expected of them. Once that was established, my job became easy.
I am retired now, after about 40 years as an executive chef, overseeing a very large kitchen. The job allowed me to travel around the world. I have been in Germany, England, Poland, France and Russia just to name a few. I worked with some very well known executive chefs setting up kitchens and training the staff to run them once we were gone. It was a great life.
So here we are where I want to talk to you about teaming up with others on food projects and how to make it work. About 9 months to a year ago I was approached by an online food Blogger. Actually, this person is much more than that. This persons life mission is to help kitchen bloggers succeed. We formed a partnership. I was to receive 50 percent of the profits if I provided 75 percent of the recipes. Sounds simple, I have 1000’s of recipes in my files.
We put in 60 to 80 hour work weeks for three months. To date, We have not made a dime and my partner has spent a lot of money trying hard to make it work, So what went wrong.
It was simple, we both were so excited about what could be, that we forgot to iron out the details in detail before we started. I was working against my partners deadlines to try to produce recipes that met my partners requirements of being gluten free, whole food, no added sugar and simple while my partners goal was to get something up and available to the customers in as short a time as possible.
The recipes I did have had little value and all had to be reworked to remove and replace the gluten, remove the sugar, get rid of the white starches and stay as true to Whole foods as is humanly possible. All the recipes had to be reworked.
There were many, many other pieces to this project, my partner was to promote menu plans, making shopping lists etc. and while my partner planned to help with about 25 percent of the menus, my partner had other projects that required attention so I would be asked to cover some of the parts partner was going to do.
As we would go along with this project I would recieve emails telling me that I needed to change something to meet my partners goals and expectations. When ever that happened, I was back at square one. I would be informed that my partner made some adjustment such as “I changed week four to the free week, so week one becomes week four” or something along those lines. That was as it should be for two reasons, It was my partners project and I have been invited to join, and the changes fitted my partners goals.
My partner had ideas of what goals were wanted and invested a lot of time and money in trying to make it work. I think very highly of my partner and in fact, I am a client of of this person in other projects.
I am writing this to make you aware of the problems of what can arise when you do not sit down with a new team mate and nail down what is expected of each other. It is not a simple you do this and I will do that. It must be in print where you can look at it from time to time and make sure you are doing what is expected of you.
Know exactly what is expected of you and do it to the best of your ability. An example is that I user “Tbsp”. And my partner used a “T.” I also used tbsp. while my partner wanted a simple “t”. Of course, we did not discover this until we had a few doz. recipes together, which meant that we had to go back and change them all so they would match.
Do not be afraid to reject any “can you cover me on this” requests from your partner. Once you have agreed on what each of you will do, it can become very stressful to add new projects that will cut into your personal time. Give each other 100% of what you agreed on in the beginning and you both with be successful.
I really do like this person very much. I like their other projects and what they are doing, I like where they are taking their business and I like that partner offered me a chance to make a little money online. It didn’t work out so far this time but who knows, had we shared a couple of recipes to take apart and adjust so we were both on the same page, it might just have been very special. If you decide to team up with someone on a food project, spend a week exchanging information before diving into it. It might save a lot of heartache in the long run.
When Setting Team Member Goals In A Kitchen Project keep all those things in mind. Iron out every detail before going very far into the project because the changes and corrections are killers to any schedule you set up.
Would I do it again if given the chance? No, I do not think I would. I have spent many years in kitchens working 60 to 80 hour weeks to have things “just perfect” when they go to the customer. Those days with those kinds of hours are passed except when I cook for family and friends. I am retired, living in a tropical paradise, I think my time is better spent enjoying each and every day of sunshine and beaches.
Would I like to make some extra money working online, darn right I would, but I have a couple of blogs for that. If it works great, if not, I enjoy sharing what I can with those that read my blog posts and those posts only require a couple of hours in the morning before the house comes to life.
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