As you probably know by now, I love good food. I plan most of my vacations around where I am going to eat. I also cook, but not because I love cooking, but because I love eating. My OCD gets put to good use in the kitchen. Yes, I like my spices in alphabetical order! It’s efficient! Don’t judge. I never considered myself to be an incredible cook, but I have made some pretty incredible meals. I think it is because I pay attention to details, I use high quality ingredients, and I want to get everything just right.
I am always trying to find ways to encourage my team, other than my traditional method of using a ‘stick’. If pressed to choose, I still think it’s the most effective way. However, I do find motivating this generation of millennials to be a challenge. So what do I turn to? Food. Food seems to be my answer to everything. (Listen to one of these podcasts on how I solve racism, world issues, etc. with food)
Each quarter I award one of my assistant instructors with the GOLD STAR DINNER. Remember those charts when we were growing up of gold stars when you did your chores? No? Then you weren’t around in the 80s.
To earn a star, one has to go above and beyond. So no bare minimum effort. I expect everyone to show up on time and do a good job, so to earn a star they have to do something extraordinary. At the end of each quarter the stars are tallied up and the winner gets the dinner!
The winner of the Gold Star Dinner gets a tasting menu prepared by me! (O especially liked this idea because he gets to partake in the dinner also) I thought it would be a good motivator and keeps me on my toes for creativity in the kitchen. I make everything from scratch. Yes, even the chocolate! My plating techniques are lacking, but I do my best. The kids get a kick out of eating fancy foods, and we also enjoy our dinner and get to spend quality time with them. The meal takes me about a week to ‘plan’, and the prep work takes a couple of days. I am a stickler for food coming out piping hot, so I am normally not sitting through the meal, but cooking and serving. It’s been a fun experiment and a little friendly competition is always healthy. So for now, we will keep going with these dinners, and hopefully I won’t run out of new ideas. Have ideas for the next winner? Share!
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Here’s an example of the latest dinner won by young Joshua Chinfatt.