Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bon Appetit

Ever been to a restaurant before it opens? You are on the outside looking in and you see the workers sitting around the table eating. Being American and living the last few years in Spain we would sometime find ourselves not able to eat quite so late when we went out. So we would go to dinner around 8:30 or 9 pm and some of the restaurants were still closed preparing to open for the traditional late start dinner in Spain.

I would see the workers sitting around eating. I must confess that I sort of felt like they should be opening the restaurant to feed me.

Then I became interested in cooking. I am not ready to claim it as a hobby. I have actaully cooked four times this year for our family. They are not crying out for me to take it up as a hobby either. However I can make great lattes and cappuccinos. This holiday season I actually even picked up a magazine in our apartment here in Germany. I found this really cool paragraph talking about why the workers eat before the restaurant opens.

Bon Appetit - September 2008, p.146
Before a single customer walks into a restaurant, there is a lot to be done. Stock the bar. Set the tables. Eat.. At most restaurants, that pre-service meal is called family meal. Why? Because of the intense pressure of the restaurant world turns coworkers into family. Much like an actual family does, the employees sit down, eat, and catch up over dinner. And the food on the table is often as casual as the conversation. It's good, hearty fare (think meatloaf, pot pie, mac and cheese) that will keep going until that last diner heads off into the night. "At family meal, there's no heirarchy," says Seattle chef Tom Douglas of Dahlia Lounge. "You're breaking bread with your friends, For those 30 minutes, everyone is equal- and hungry."

When I read that I started thinking about teams and how important community is. If the community is strong within a team I believe in most cases it allows the team to function more effectively. Communication flows freely up and down the chain of supervision because instead of being tied to giving and receiving orders you are sitting around the table together sharing life. Granted that given the source of this paragraph the restaurants they are talking about will be certain to have a good chef. It would be hard to sit around the table eating food you did not like. I dont know if this story would hold up in some restaurants. But I think you get the picture. But it made me think about some team stuff.

How often do you eat with your team?
What do you talk about?
Are you sharing life together?

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