Think Julia Child, Joël Robuchon, Gordon Ramsay and Auguste Escoffier. These chefs have earned many distinguished accolades throughout their careers and influenced food culture with their ingenuity.
Not all chefs, however, seek fame and recognition: they just want to create the food they’re passionate about and share it with their patrons. But to lead a successful kitchen team and build up your clientele, you need to capitalize on your personality and share your love for the culinary art – it’s your biggest asset in an incredibly competitive industry.
Finding your voice and becoming a thought leader will serve you in many positive and rewarding ways. Read on to find out how you can achieve this, whatever level of notoriety you’re after.
Build your network
One of the best ways to boost your professional development is to interact with other chefs and industry trailblazers. This will help you to advance your technical skills and gain new perspectives. It also gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas around that could spark your creativity or lead to your next big career move.
Sometimes, we get to know ourselves better by collaborating with others or studying the paths they have taken. Professionals in your sphere can offer insight into customer trends or point you towards the best suppliers and resources in your area. Having a reliable and mutually beneficial contact list can be incredibly advantageous.
Develop a personal brand
To gain a devoted following of customers and dedicated employees, you have to project the kind of personality that draws these people to your establishment.
The days of the angry chef are over. Having strong interpersonal skills will help you to build enduring relationships – and avoid any HR disasters.
Your personal brand is what differentiates you from other chefs, it conveys your interests in the culinary realm, your values and motives, and helps you to gain the trust and support of everyone you impact.
A great way to begin putting your ideas out in the world is by starting a blog. Talk about what you know, what you care about, and what you specialize in. If you’re keen on cooking with seasonal produce, then share your ideas and recipes with your readers.
Showing integrity, transparency and genuine passion for what you do will help you to remain relatable and interesting to your target audience. We live in the era of the personal brand and insta-famous chefs; now is the time to start carving out your niche.
How to differentiate yourself
It’s not all about posting perfectly styled pictures of your dishes: it’s about making your own unique statement. Find alternative and exciting angles to talk about culinary matters. Do you see new trends coming? Have you got an opinion about current events or new technologies being introduced into the kitchen? Articulate your ideas and give voice to your thoughts.
To enjoy a rewarding and long-term career, you also have to make a commitment to continuous learning – it’s the only way to claim expertise. Keeping abreast of industry news will help to keep your discussion topics compelling.
Give tips and advice to your audience
The likelihood is, your patrons won’t be eating at your restaurant every night of the week – although that would be great. But you can still remain in their hearts and help them to take home a little bit of your distinct flavor. Sharing easy to follow steps with your audience is a fantastic way to get engagement.
If your readers are more likely to be other chefs, get them involved in the conversation. Pose questions, share your wisdom regarding the path you took to achieve your level of professionalism and reward your followers with valuable content. It all goes towards boosting your profile and expanding your fan base.
Yes, of course, your main focus should be what happens in your kitchen. But to get ahead of the game and spread your culinary ideas far and wide, you have to find your platform. In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to get in front of your audience.
The more content you put out, the more discoverable you become. Producing videos, podcasts and blog posts doesn’t have to be a costly affair. A little bit of research and patience can help you to start publishing your thoughts and uploading them on the World Wide Web in no time.
This is not only a fantastic way to build a community, but you’ll incidentally also create a robust catalogue of information that prospective employers, business partners and investors can discover you with.
Remember, to be successful in the content department, you have to stick to your personal brand. Coming across authentic, conversational and approachable will keep viewers, listeners and readers tuned in. And don’t rush to hit the upload button too often, make sure you’re always offering your audience quality over quantity.
Share your story
Every step you take in your career, every interest you choose to pursue, every ingredient you experiment with, every mentor who’s influenced your technique, every triumph and epic failure in the kitchen has shaped you into the chef you are today. Think about your own culinary heroes: at one point or another, something in their narrative has resonated with you.
You can still keep your personal life personal, but you definitely shouldn’t shy away from sharing your career story with your audience. Discussing your own journey establishes credibility and helps them to identify with you and support you even more.
Quietly toiling away at the back of a kitchen will not help you to expand your prospects. The culinary arts have always fostered creative, passionate and tenacious individuals. You don’t need to work in a 5-star kitchen to have something say. Use the tools and platforms at your disposal to cause a stir, to uplift and inspire other chefs, and to share your recipes and ideas with the world.