Positive Leadership Takes Centre Stage at the Upcoming Chef Network Kitchen Culture Event

Chef Network, Ireland’s professional chef community which represents over 3,700 chefs, is asking the question ‘What does good leadership look like?’ at their Kitchen Culture Symposium which is taking place on Tuesday the 19th of November at the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin. 

This is the third annual Kitchen Culture event. Employers, managers and all in the hospitality and foodservice industry are invited to join chefs in taking positive action to improve the industry and promote the chef profession. 

Last year’s event saw the launch of the Kitchen Workplace Charter – a set of guiding principles that every professional kitchen can follow to create a positive work environment – and looked at how the industry can promote the chef profession more positively. This year’s event will build on last year’s themes, but with a key focus on leadership in the industry.

Ruth Hegarty, spokesperson for Chef Network, said, “A key element is learning about what good leadership looks like and how it can be achieved. We are looking at this both from the perspective of very experienced and renowned chefs like Ross Lewis who will share what they have learned over the years, but also from the point of view of chefs at an earlier stage in their career who can speak about what they want in a workplace and how good mentorship has impacted them.”

Ross Lewis of Chapter One, Paula Stakelum of Ashford Castle, Laura Dent of Gather & Gather, and Tom Flavin of the Limerick Strand Hotel will each speak about their experience of leadership throughout their career. This will be followed by a Q&A with the speakers which will be moderated by Ruth Hegarty.

Ruth added, “The event is also about celebrating our positive leaders. We have incredible role models in this profession; they need to be recognised and their wisdom needs to be shared. We want to champion those who mentor and nurture the next generation of chefs, and we want to highlight the many positive examples of leadership in the chef profession.”

The event will also see the launch Chef Network’s new training and upskilling initiative, the Stage Listing. The online service, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, will be available to access on the Chef Network website and will facilitate the connection of chefs looking to take part in a stage with employers looking to open up their kitchens to other chefs. 

A stage is a short period of time that a chef spends in another chef’s kitchen in order to gain new experience, or hone their skills in a particular area. The chef taking part in the stage – ‘stagiaire’ – could be someone starting out in their career who wants to get a taste for different sectors or types of kitchens, or they could be a head chef or restaurant owner who wants to learn from a peer. 

Ruth said, “We are really excited to launch this initiative because from the very beginnings of Chef Network our mission has been to create an open and collaborative community, sharing skills and knowledge between peers, and creating learning and career progression opportunities for chefs. The Stage listing represents all of this. It is open to chefs of all levels, brings together kitchens across all sectors, and offers learning not only across culinary skills but also around how kitchens and teams are managed and businesses are run, so the opportunities are immense. We hope that this initiative will help chefs to find the right place for them in the industry, stay motivated and inspired, and progress their skills and careers.”

The Kitchen Culture Symposium is taking place on Tuesday the 19th of November from 5:00pm until 7:00pm at the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin and will be followed by an end of year celebratory social event with a food and drink reception.

Bookings can be made online at www.chefnetwork.ie/events and the cost is €20 for Chef Network members and €25 for non-members. 

Chefs can sign up to Chef Network for free at www.chefnetwork.ie where they will also gain access to an online community where they can ask for advice, find and post jobs, and read blogs from other chefs on topics such as wellness, sourcing sustainably, experiences travelling and working abroad, and much more.

Keep up to date with the latest news by following Chef Network on social @ChefNetworkIRL.