I’m very careful about creating teams or ‘crews’ as they’re called in the catering industry. I can train anyone to do the tangible work in the kitchen, cutting, chopping, washing, serving, etc. but each individual has very different ’soft' skills so most of the time, I will start a new worker at a big event with lots of support and I will get a feeling for how he or she works in the group. The next step is to have them work a few days in a small event, just me and that worker, so I can tune in with how efficient he or she can be. I have high expectations for quality and customer service but working for me is not so difficult. I think of myself as a teacher and the best teachers help their students remember the lessons by making it fun. I try to keep things fun and light by cracking jokes, ’talking story’ and showing I care by learning myself. I am constantly learning about the personalities of my workers.
Once I get a sense for their working style, then I can find the right partners for that person, this will grow the joy and skill set of the whole crew. There are those that are friendly and good for hosting, others that keep their head down and just work away, some like to be only in the kitchen, others mixing among the guests, some need extra encouragement to keep them going. I work with and welcome all types of people. The main thing I look for beyond the quality of work is that they are good people to be around. I want to know that the day they’re gonna come to work with me, that they feel happy to come to work and I let them know that I’m happy to work with them. If they don’t feel happy, they can stay home because a large part of our job is to make people happy and it starts within each of us. At the end of the day, we’re more like a family than a ‘crew’. We prep, cook, and clean up all together and after the last course of dessert is served, we share a meal and some laughs. Then we get ready to do it all again the next day, always together, and always with a warm smile for each other and our guests.