Preparation and reaction

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Related tags: United biscuits, Chef

Preparation and reaction
I remember my days at United Biscuits; one of our core values was 'stretch' - an 'attribute to inspire others' by showing the amount you can stretch...

I remember my days at United Biscuits; one of our core values was 'stretch' - an 'attribute to inspire others' by showing the amount you can stretch your role and responsibility. Or, in the majority of cases, be stretched by your role and those with responsibility!

As a chef in the food manufacturing industry, you will be pulled, pushed and most certainly stretched by everyone! You're a valuable resource and provide a role that, not only can no one else do, but also, no one else understands - this can be your 'get out of jail free' card - but use it sparingly.

When working in a restaurant, chefs must prepare and react. This means preparing as much in advance as possible and keeping your food as fresh as you want it to be served. You plan your menu around your skill-set and the resource you have available, or you hire people!

When chefs make the move into food manufacturing, they struggle for a long time until they begin to understand who the customers actually are. You cannot service every customer and give them everything they want (off the menu) to the standard you demand, unless you have unlimited resource, which you don't!

You need to manage yourself and the people within the business you work for. I would estimate that 95% of the time, you can manage every possible situation within your own business, provided that you never say yes to anyone who you do not directly report into (unless it's at director level).

As the driving force for innovation in any business, you should be one step ahead. Spend time researching and developing ahead of the request for that information - not easy to do, but if you get into a routine, you'll manage it.

And finally, make sure you understand your resources: use your suppliers, colleagues and even your friends! Before you start doing anything, ask yourself the question: "Have I prepared to react?"

Mark Rigby​ is director of the Development Chefs' Network (DCN)​ and business development chef for Premier Foods

Related topics: NPD

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