Let’s Fix Work Episode 70
This week’s podcast features a guest who was a real treat for me. I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Jeff Gordinier, Food and Drinks Editor at Esquire Magazine. Jeff is also the author of a book about the most famous and most celebrated chef in the world, René Redzepi. The book, Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World, is about leadership, innovation, creativity, and saying, “Yes,” to experiences that can change your life. I mean, come on, if that doesn’t say, “Let’s Fix Work,” I don’t know what does!
Whether you are reading what Jeff is writing in the New York Times or listening to our conversation about risk-change transformation and René Redzepi, you are bound to be transfixed by his witty, engaging, and creative demeanor. So if you want to hear from a disaffected Gen-X writer, go on a road-trip food tour, and enjoy a conversation about risk-change transformation, then sit back and listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- Who René Redzepi is and why Jeff decided to write a book about him
- About being drawn to peak experiences and to the prospect of enlightenment
- Leadership in the kitchen and how it could be modeled in other businesses
- The importance of creating a connected and natural work environment, and how it affects the employee experience
- Why it’s good to have more diversity and inclusion in the workplace
- About it being a golden moment for women and black chefs in gastronomy
- How Jeff defines visionary chefs
- When work is at its best, it does feel like a community
WHAT DOES LEADERSHIP IN THE NOMA RESTAURANT KITCHEN LOOK LIKE?
René Redzepi has a way of pushing people by creating a sense of mission in the workplace. It’s a sense of elevated mission and focus. Noma is a global kitchen. The staff has been charged with the task of creating a new dish while doing their normal work at Noma, which is substantial. They have also had to create something that reflects their own culture, their own spirit, their mindset where they all put their dishes out and they made enough that everyone in the kitchen can eat. By creating this atmosphere, this sense of community and mission, René has been able to lead in such a way that keeps everyone more energized and fired up. His mode of leadership is one many leaders in offices of all different kinds of fields could learn from.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO CREATE A CONNECTED AND NATURAL WORK ENVIRONMENT?
Connectivity and naturalism in the workplace transform staff from just staff to something akin to family. And René has transformed the kitchen culture at Noma. He has surrendered a lot of his ego and has certainly lessened his anger and now sees fostering hospitality as a collaborative experience in a way that maybe he didn’t early on. All across the restaurant world, the culture is changing in the same way, which probably leads to better cooking and better moods in the workplace.
WHY DOES DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE MATTER?
It’s good to have more diversity and inclusion and showcase many different voices. It’s good for everyone, but it’s actually even good for you because you’re listening. This kind of real honoring of collaboration and listening is the future for so many businesses.
WHAT IS JEFF’S DEFINITION OF A VISIONARY CHEF?
“Innovation is so beautiful. There are dead ends and wrong turns with innovators, but there’s something about that compulsion to move forward that has a kind of radiance to it. When you see it in retrospect, you just think how brave you were to risk everything just because you loved the result. René Redzepi is that kind of thinker and what he cooks at Noma is nothing you have ever tasted in your life.”
Resources from this episode:
Noma Restaurant (Denmark)
Eleven Madison Park (NYC)
Via Carota (NYC)
Meson Sevilla (NYC)
Angus Barn (North Carolina)