By KIM BELLARD
The New York Times had an article that surprised me: Current Job: Award Winning Chef. Education: IHOP. The article, by food writer Priya Krishna, profiled how many high-end chefs credit their training in — gasp! — chain restaurants, such as IHOP, as being invaluable for their success.
I immediately thought of Atul Gawande’s 2012 article in The New Yorker: What Big Medicine Can Learn From the Cheesecake Factory.
Ms. Krishna mentions several well-known chefs “who prize the lessons they learned — many as teenagers — in the scaled-up, streamlined world of chain restaurants.” In addition to IHOP, chefs mentioned experiences at chains such as Applebee’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Chipotle, Hillstone, Houston’s, Howard Johnson’s, Olive Garden, Panda Express, Pappas, Red Lobster, Waffle House, and Wendy’s.
Some of the lessons learned are instructive. “It was pretty much that the customer is always right,” one chef mentioned. Another said she learned “how to be quick, have a good memory, and know the timing of everything.” A third spoke to the focus that was drilled into all employees: “Hot food hot. Cold food cold. Money to the bank. Clean restrooms,”Continue reading…