'We do not accept any abuse in this kitchen.'
Anyone who's worked in a restaurant will know how intense it can be, especially in the kitchen. It’s hot, the cooks are stressed, someone’s always yelling about something and dishes, well, sometimes they end up broken. In upscale restaurants the pressure is even higher, so when this chef began to explain how he turned his kitchen around to be more harmonious and less chaotic, I stopped to listen.
In this short two-minute video, Chef Eric Ripert, who was trained in France, explains the toxic and abusive training he received that molded the way he worked. When he was in charge of his current restaurant, he simply repeated the abusive pattern. He tells Entrepreneur that he had been yelled at, had dishes thrown to the floor and was even punched in the shoulder. While Ripert says he has never physically assaulted his staff, he did admit to being verbally abusive and throwing dishes. He also noted that not only was his staff miserable but he was as well, and something had to change.
Coming to the realization that misery indeed enjoyed company, he decided to turn things around. No more yelling and certainly no more throwing dishes in the kitchen that he ran. Ripert leaned into kindness and patience to reach a place of mutual respect with the other staff. The new system isn’t perfect because people are human, and in a high stress environment, tempers can flare. But Ripert has a solution for those human moments: apologies.
We could all learn a thing or two from this chef’s transformation and surely his kitchen staff is thankful for the shift in environment.