Everything is about relationships and communications.
How can a group of individuals from all different backgrounds, country’s, different egos (usually in kitchens they can be quite big and self serving if not trained to thrive on positivity ) chefs coming with different knowledge and educational backgrounds and capacity, language differences, all with different capacity and levels of sensitivities and perceptions and human make up altogether come together – as one?
Many kitchens just completely ignore this and you are expected to conform to something that is very unclear and impersonal so no wonder the industry is experiencing so much turnover in staff a year.
Everyone wants to create something individual, personal specific unique etc however not many look at this aspect starting from trying to create a base with the people one works with.
Usually there is a head chef with his most closest assistance and then the rest so the foundation does not really reach far enough to sustain a healthy and thriving operation.
Humans are as sensitive as nature and everything in life is based on “responses”. A negative environment filters through to everyone and as easily if changed will filter into positive one by applying specific changes.
Nature and animals respond as a group to the environment. Yes they often have a leader however the movement is a shared sense and instinct and very important for survival.
I initially trained as an art student to then become a contemporary dancer working for different dance theatre companies for over 10 years and what you see here in this video from Mugaritz below, is very much the kind of work we used to do in order to build a sense of movement and connection as a group.
No matter how different one is from another one can engage in training through play to spark off from each other more positively. I mean to really be able to learn to take the other persons energy and use it to turn into something positive to feed back into your work leaving your ego out of the way.
One can always use every energy that is around and spark off from it creatively therefor establishing a positive flow in your work environment.
It is important that everyone in a restaurant is focused on to create a constant positive movement with positive flowing intuitive solutions.
That will also help to be more flexible and adapt to unforeseen situations.
No matter how much you have a fixed idea in your head and plan for a long time over and over there is always an element of the unknown and therefor to flow throughout his is better then frustration and stagnating by perhaps getting aggressive about it.
As you do these practices in a group you will intuitively find creative solutions for everything and everyone will respond more responsively and creatively aiding the flow of everything.
Appreciating the individuality of each other and coming together in playfulness is the foundation of creation.
In a restaurant you are never working alone so your team is everything. I wish everyone would invest this time to create better foundations.
There is obviously more to be said about this approach and how this benefits a team. Chefs just work incredibly hard and this kind of work will loosen your spirit and you dance through the service with your established trust with others. I really recommend this work and approach!
You can not create playfulness, humour and emotions etc on the plate if everyone is suffering in a hostile, harsh and negative environment!
Yes negative, many Michelin kitchens are based on constantly putting pressure and using negative affirmations to a worker over and over. What does not kill you makes you stronger attitude. It goes as far as chefs taking pleasure in the other chef making mistakes and setting them up to do so. Giving people shit all day. You work 14-16 hours a day and go away every night feeling like a piece of shit no matter how hard you try to please everyone. In fact the more you do that the more you are taken advantage of. It is really sad and really the result is only effecting the overall potential of the restaurant itself. I have unfortunately experienced this even in very famous 3 star michelin kitchens to.
Lets say this is one way but certainly not the only one so why not try another way.
Energy is only wasted in this way and if one can train to be more skilful and work on group flow and trust, this is all energy – that then can be used to create a better result for the restaurant and what ever you want to create.
Andonin is a genius to have included this approach to his restaurant in Mugaritz.
Mugaritz latest collaboration with La Fura dels Baus. We want to share this experience, Work in Progress, because no one is better at making us learn through laughter than this experimental theatre company with whom we have already shared more than one gastronomic adventure (“Titus Andronicus”, 2010 and “Macaron de Caza”, 2012).