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« British Kitchen Terminolgy, Translated To American English | Main | Getting Lost In London. »

06 October 2008


"He" can be told but "she" needs to be shown? Was that on purpose?

hello Friend Raspil, Yes. Very on purpose---- the point here is to switch pronouns because (we especially know) it's not just men in these roles, all of them. - Shuna


Once again...and you know what I am saying, because I always say it when it hits home. I wish you were around to kick my butt sometimes.

Thank you.

I think this is the best essay you've ever written.

I will certainly be sending it to a few people.

Great post. As usual.

Awesome! I see this essay as a rough-draft proposal for your future business self-help book: "Management Secrets of Superstar Chefs." You don't need to write only about celebrity chefs, of course. They're just in the title to sell the book to the thousands of people who watch chefs on television. These viewers might love to hear about management techniques from star chefs--and from you, too. The kitchen could be a microcosm and a metaphor for the business world, where inspiring leadership is rare and valuable.

Great food for thought, Inspiring at times, making me remember situations in others and plain hilarious when it struck close to home...

Chalk one more up on the "Must-read" list.


"I beg of you, raise that flag before it's too late."

So true in my life, especially when my toddler is screaming and some days I just want to leave the scene!

Ms Shuna.
not much to write here, but damn yo...that was some serious shit. come back to the bay soon, i miss you. cooks everywhere need to read this.

very nice

Amen Sista! Pressure makes diamonds.

Two thoughts:

- Your ideas about management apply not just in the kitchen but in any high stakes profession. I've been down these same roads on software projects more times than I can count.

- I wrote about what being in the weeds is like from the much more limited POV of new kid in the kitchen. Very interesting to compare! I'm glad to hear you don't think it is a sign of weakness to ask for help when you are hopelessly in the tall grass.

I forwarded this to about 25-30 people I work with -- all different kinds of jobs/careers -- and they're all writing back with things like, "whoa... she's describing my life" and "so it's not just [my job] that works this way.]

Nice work, friend. Love this post.

Shuna, Shuna, Shuna...if only you knew that cooking is not your only talent and maybe you do; but this surely should be handed out to every would-be cook or perhaps you know a film-maker who is willing to shoot you in documentary action for sale to PBS.

I have never been in a kitchen, but you painted a very clear picture without use of paint or photography.

Utterly awesome advice that is relevant not just for the kitchen, but for anyone managing a team. Thank you.

THAT was a great essay Shuna. It certainly rings true for every cook. Even those of us at home who get "in the weeds" when preparing a 12 person dinner party can learn from that. Step back. Breathe. Admit you screwed up. Fix it. Move on.

And of course I can't help but relate your "Cowboys on islands become clueless chefs who lead their team into The Weeds every night single-handedly" to those prima donna financial "geniuses" who have our country floundering right now. Funny how the food biz relates to the money biz relates to the etc. biz! Thanks for sharing!!

I'm not in the business but a pretty amazing essay and some of your thoughts can be applied to a lot of work situations but I realize some are very specifically tied to being in the kitchen and what being a professional cook really means....thanks for giving me the reader, a glimpse of it...

Thank you Thank you Thank you Chef.

I'm just a small fry in this business, part time cook and full time student. I work a line but nothing like from 5-midnight. The feelings however are still the same and after reading this post I can already feel myself getting stronger at my position. Or at the very least, knowing better where I stand.
Thank you Chef

That is hardcore... I Love it!

You have probably said what a lot of chefs wanted to say and what most probably needed to hear.

I see you are London, I've just moved here about 8 weeks ago. How long are you in London for?

Just reading that will probably give me anxiety dreams all over again... thanks.
But seriously, it's great to have an exacting definition as you have offered. Many cooks think that being in the weeds simply means being busy. You can be in the weeds with 2 tickets or 25 tickets. The point at which you 'hit the weeds' is a point of measure for a chef... seeing how much you can handle... and as you mentioned, to see if you will actually ask for help or let the entire reputation of the chef and the restaurant go down because of your stupid line cook pride. Marco Pierre White said the most poisonous sauce in the kitchen is the chef's ego... that goes for the guy on saute as well.

Great post Shuna. Totally spot on in the kitchen and out.

Brilliant and so true in so many ways. I am just getting ready to be Executive Sous in a new place, with a team of folks, some selected to be better than I am at some things. We can all learn from this. Thanks

So many other said it well in previous comments...but this applies all across the board. I work front house and have for five years or so. Those are five of the longest and best years of my life. I learned that weeds are a state of mind and being. Learn what you need to learn to keep yourself from drowning. If you can't then you should find a new place in the tribe. Like every tribe, you may not love them all, but they are your family. You need each other to live.

thank you. sometimes i lose focus... a trip to this site usually brings me back around... you rock. great writing style. it's nice to see im not the only one who has some of these issues .. i used to feel really alone. I'm proud to tell people when they ask .. yes , I'm a chef ..

incredibly meaningful and beautifully written
loved it
you're amazing

Hi Shuna, just to say first time exploring your blog (was curious how people in London are experiencing the snow) and I can see you are a talented writer. Your particular workplace/professional observations apply universally. A small suggestion: at least on my screen the variety of fonts and sizes are making it hard to read. You are a good writer; don't use all that stuff for emphasis as it distracts from your words. Again, thanks for your efforts and sorry, never mind, if this is a technical problem you are already tackling.

I have recently stumbled upon your writings. I enjoy them quite nicely. The weeds are never good, or fun; however, the times when a team steps up and comes together to efficiently work their way out of the weeds can be one of the most rewarding experiences one can have. In my humble opinion.

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