Chef Passion Media

Mental Revolution 2: Managerial Skills

A pastry chef is not all about making good pastry products

It is important to notice that a pastry chef is a manager, a leader with managerial skills. Pastry is not all about making good, delicious, best-selling products. “I’ve met pastry chefs who return from Dubai, Maldives, etc, who are great at making products, showpieces, but lacking in managerial skills, such as calculating food cost. Let say they know the food cost is 35%? Do they know why we come up with the number? What is the ideal food cost?” said Chef Rahmat Kusnedi.

Pastry chefs also must be able to set budget for his department, from how to count manning (the number of people needed in the kitchen), how many shifts do we need, to calculating the overhead cost. The most interesting part is to retain the staffs and managing conflicts in the kitchen. “Handling conflict is easy for me, because basically, everyone wants to be appreciated, regardless of their backgrounds,” Rahmat said.

Most often, Rahmat also become a psychiatrist for his staffs. He’s willing to analyze and take note of everyone’s problems, both personal and professional issues. Back then, one of Rahmat’s staff felt that he is ready to become a pastry chef, but he hasn’t got the promotion. “You want to be a pastry chef? I’ll make you one tomorrow, but are you capable? I’ll give you a paper work project and the guidelines. And then he said, ‘I’m not really good with computers, but I can make any products you want’. You can’t manage the monitoring system of the outlet, how can you communicate with other departments in hotel? You can’t even read monthly budget and forecast,” Rahmat recalled.

Perhaps, the most troublesome cases for Chef Rahmat is the one he called as ”Stuck Corporal”, in which Rahmat refers to as someone whose age should already be a general, but he’s still stuck at corporal, along with corporal’s salary that can’t keep up with his house’s rising demand. Dealing with one of them resulted in a serious threat to Rahmat’s life, he got his staff pointed a cleaver to him.
The case started when Rahmat discovered that one of his senior staff stole products. “He was working in night shift, from 23.00 until morning. Due to the lack of monitoring, he was able to sneak some products out and sell them outside the hotel. I didn’t warn him directly, I switched him into morning shift. He got mad, points his cleaver to me and ready for a death match. After he cooled down, I listened to all of his complaints, about his two kids who just graduated to junior and senior high school and he needed some cash,” Rahmat remembered.
The conflict ends peacefully, the man, who was also a boxer and a bit of thug, then was able to become a supervisor. “These kinds of moments truly make me happy, because I was able to handle things apart from technical issues. It is about how we retain, protect, the kitchen staffs. Actually, I have many similar conflicts and they are interesting enough to be adapted into movies about the life of chefs in the kitchen. It would be cool!”

Mental Revolution 1: Instant Gratification

Mental Revolution 3: Hard Feelings