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Scallops – 20 minutes

One of the major differences between my wife and I is the way we view food. My wife likes to savor new foods and enjoy the delicate interplay between the seasonings. Me, I’m more concerned about how long it takes to prepare and eat. My wife accuses me of only having two taste buds, both attuned to the level of heat in the dish. None of this explains why we enjoy watching cooking shows together or why I enjoy watching Gordon Ramsay with her.

The answer is simpler than you might think and comes down to what my wife calls my obsession with communication. How does that apply to Gordon Ramsay when he’s always shouting at people? I hope you already know I don’t consider shouting an effective form of communication. For those of you with doubts, please read my post on shouting as a form of communication.

Turkey sandwich – 2 minutes

Back to Gordon though, I don’t know what you think of his shows or him as a person. I find him manipulative and often mean spirited. As long as people accept his superiority, he gets along fine with them. Express an opinion opposite his and his curses will rain down on you.

In case you’re wondering, this is not my idea of entertainment. I’ve always felt that cursing was the last resort of a limited vocabulary and I’ve worked for too many megalomaniacs to enjoy his antics. What does impress me is his constant push for communication in the kitchen. As my wife says, it’s an obsession for me.

Think about your typical restaurant kitchen. It’s full of boiling water, oil that will cause third degree burns and any number of sharp implements. Small wonder the number of movies staging their fight scenes in kitchens every year. It’s dangerous in there.

My point is that they’re working in crowded conditions with the potential to cause life threatening injuries. Add to this the pressure to coordinate meal service to each table and you truly have an opportunity for disaster. Without constant communication among the individual staff members, accidents will happen. With luck it’s only the food that will suffer.

By forcing everyone in the kitchen to announce when they’re moving and share their progress on each item they’re preparing, Gordon is forcing his staff to focus on cooking. They have no time for petty grudges, they’re not concentrating on their plans for finding a new apartment, they can only concentrate on preparing your food and coordinating with the other occupants of the kitchen.

When your teammate announces that the main course will be up in five minutes, you know exactly how much longer you have with the side dish.  If you know it will take you eight minutes to finish, now’s the time to ask for more time. That or let him use a heat lamp but I get the impression that heat lamps are far from the norm in Hell’s Kitchen.

Hearing your teammate announce they’re moving behind you, means you’re not going to choose that same moment to turn around with a pot full of boiling water. For those of you with a paranoid nature, you know who you are, it also means that sound behind you isn’t Freddie Kruger looking for new victims.

You’re right, unless your goal in life is to be the best chef you can be, this would become tedious very quickly. Then again, if you’re working for Gordon Ramsay, that probably is your goal.

My obsession with communication aside, why do I find this entertaining? Because when it works, this kind of teamwork provides an amazing example of just how well it works. I’m not saying that your next project review should involve everyone singing out where they are on the project schedule (interesting as that could be), there’s still the project tempo to be considered. A typical design project may take years, it only seems like the waiter is taking years to deliver your meal. Still, I’ve been on very few projects that wouldn’t improve as a result of better communication.

The next time you see Gordon Ramsay, ignore his antics, instead watch the way his team performs as they communicate status and position. It really is a thing of beauty. Maybe we can all learn something from his methods.


PS: I always have my wife read my first draft. Having done so, she feels she’s suffered enough and seldom reads my published post. As first drafts often do, this one was missing the final few paragraphs and had not gotten around to explaining why I enjoy watching Gordon with her. Odds are low that you will ever meet her but just in case, I see no reason to let her know it’s a communication thing and not a quality time issue. Know what I’m saying?

 

TV Night with Gordon

TV Night with Gordon

© Copyright 2019 Byron Seastrunk, All rights Reserved. Written For: Opinion by pen
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