Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, 2018
I am a very punctual guy. Punctuality is one of my core values in life and also one of my most important ingredients in the kitchen. I do not like unpunctual people.
In Germany, where punctuality is highly valued and encouraged, it was drilled into our minds during our childhood and in school. My mother raised me to be punctual too. This is how I am today, and it has been always good that way. I do not need to mention that I demand and expect absolute punctuality in my kitchen. For me nothing is worse than if someone is late without giving proper notice. These people really make my day. I understand that in other cultures the clocks are ticking differently, but in the kitchen, you must have discipline, if you want to be successful. It is all about respecting your and other people’s time. People who do not understand this, will have tremendous difficulties. Better stay home then. Because when you stay home, there is no chance of ever being late.
To ensure that all my section heads turned up on time for my kitchen morning briefing in my office at 10:30 am sharp every day, I came up with the following: I placed a box near the entrance door. There was a small slit on top of the box.
Whenever one of my section heads was late, he or she had to drop a certain amount of money inside the box.
If he did not have enough money, he then had to leave the office immediately and he missed the briefing. I can tell you that this tactic worked wonders. I can also tell you that I did not become rich. Only an exceedingly small amount of money was inside the box after some time.
Why is discipline and timing so important? Because everything in the kitchen is about proper timing. The restaurant opens on time for breakfast, so therefore the food needs to be ready on time. It is the same story with Lunch and dinner. When you work in the kitchen and you want to become successful you need to understand the concept of punctuality and timing, otherwise you are lost.
When you prepare certain recipes, especially in the pastry kitchen, then you must be able to read the clock. If the recipe demands that this cheesecake is to be baked seventy-five minutes, then it is seventy-five minutes. Period. Most people automatically learn to organize themselves, but some never.
Successful chefs are excellent time managers. They know how to set priorities. You need to learn that too. You must learn what a priority is and what it is not. One of my favorite quotes is: "If you do not have time then you do not have priorities."
You need to be amazingly effective and efficient with your time. By the way: what is the difference between effective and efficient? Correct: Effective means that you do the right things. And you are efficient when you do these things right.
Thanks for reading this post!
Have a good one!