Defining the difference?
Whilst it is widely recognised that Commercial kitchens require a degree of Management and overall supervision, where that line is crossed and staff become abused has been argued recently.
Kitchens after all can be very dangerous environments, with often dangerous equipment and service areas and someone needs to be a leader and show overall control.
Catering is a strange and unique profession in the fact that many Head Chefs aren’t qualified or trained in running a kitchen and that many of the people skills that they need are often learned “on the hoof” and often after mistakes have been made.
Many Head chefs have little time for training their own staff, let alone receive much training themselves and are often promoted by just being in the right place at the right time or are promoted purely on their culinary skills and not their ability to run and control a business.
Few realise that dealing with people of various distinctions, ages sexes, religions and cultures can be hugely daunting and complex.
So it is that under this type of untrained semi managerial skill base that sometimes “Tribal Kitchens” evolve where Head Chefs are not the leader people want them to be but insist on still being “one of the crew”
Respect dissolves, the line between leader and friend becomes blurred and harmful and “Tribal Kitchens” evolve into environments for abuse and harm. Loud music, shouting, swearing and “playground” humour all mix into this breeding ground for abuse.
The abuser feels no threat or shame as he/she is simply one of the team and the team will support and encourage that abuse. The Team become a pack, often agreeing and applauding that abuse, vindicating that abuser, and so the vicious circle continues.
The abuser is no longer in control, but uses bullying as a form of control. Their own self-esteem and confidence is low and so seek control in boastful gestures and abusive manners.
Truly skilled and talented Chefs rarely need to exert authority. Their skill and authority are absolute, their demeanour approachable and trusting, their care and compassion without doubt.
Few realise that being in control of a kitchen also means being in control of themselves too?