Being a head chef means you have lots of responsibility in the kitchen. You're responsible for getting food orders out on time, ensuring each dish is made to a high standard, and the other chefs are working well together.
While you might not be cooking, you are in charge of the kitchen, and if you fail in your responsibilities, food standards will decline, and you will get fewer customers (and more complaints)!
There are certain qualities you need to be an excellent leader:
1. Be an inspiring leader
The most essential quality of a head chef is leadership. Head chefs need to be able to lead and direct their team successfully. Have a plan in place, so all your chefs know what they are doing when it's time to work. Some of those chefs will want to be a head chef, too; they will be watching and learning from you. In the future, you want them to look back and think you were an exceptional teacher and leader.
2. Encourage teamwork
Get your chefs to talk to each other. Working more than 40 hours a week means chefs will get to know each other very well, but they need to work together as a team. During your rounds, you should see which chefs work best together. Perhaps there is one chef who struggles to get their voice heard. Work with every team and encourage everyone to get involved and work together effectively.
3. Don't shout!
While it's common for Gordon Ramsay to shout and curse at his chefs, you shouldn't. You will lose respect very quickly if you swear and yell at your team. Even when the kitchen is busy with orders, and there are problems to fix, it's crucial to stay calm. Getting stressed and shouting at your colleagues will only cause more problems and radically decrease morale.
4. Delegate tasks
Some head chefs fail because they put all their responsibilities on their own shoulders. The weight stresses them out, and they do a bad job. Having meetings with your sous chefs can help you delegate important tasks so you can focus on other things. That's why there are sous chefs; they are there to help you.
5. Take time to get to know your staff
Understandably, you have a lot on your plate. But taking the chance to know your staff will help you become an effective head chef. Getting to know them as people will help you become a better leader because you will know what their strengths and weaknesses are. You will know what stations they enjoy working at and how they want to improve. When you know your staff better, it's easier to talk to them, and they will find it easier to talk to you.
6. Listen to ideas of the chef working on a dish
While most of the time, all the chefs will have to follow recipes in the kitchen, there are opportunities to change the menu up a bit. While it's the responsibility of the head chef and sous chefs to plan the menu, a good head chef listens to suggestions from the entire team. They may be aware of new food trends people like to order. Asking for other chefs opinions increases morale because they will feel like they have the opportunity to get involved in big decisions.
7. Look after your staff's safety
Creating a safe work environment is a key priority for head chefs. You're responsible for keeping your team safe when they work. If you ever see any hazards in the kitchen, they should be cleared up immediately. As your colleagues will be busy working on their tasks, they may not see a puddle of water or broken glass on the floor.