Restaurant Sat Bains is the subject of a new medical report investigating how team behaviour in a two Michelin-starred kitchen can potentially be used in an operating theatre.
A number of processes observed at the Nottingham restaurant were included in the report as potentially beneficial to the surgical environment, such as the “stop moment”, whereby a vocal communication is used to pause service to correct a problem.
Closed loop communications, which sees every communication in the kitchen confirmed by the recipient saying “oui, chef” or “yes, chef”, as well as using cameras to track the progress of diners were also included.
The “Food for thought: skills of a Michelin-starred restaurant potentially transferable to theatre” report was spearheaded by Charles Maxwell-Armstrong and the University of Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre.
After dining at Restaurant Sat Bains in May 2013, the colorectal surgeon asked Bains if he could observe a service because he said it occurred to him that a high-end kitchen might have the same issues as an operating theatre.
“It sounds a little bit crazy but the whole point is you’re both working in a very stressful environment, it’s time sensitive, and you’re both geared towards the highest possible outcome,” he explained.
“And that’s something I disagree with Sat about. His idea is that surgery is dealing with life or death stuff and that all he’s doing is cooking a meal.
“My view is that we’re both striving to attain the highest standards we possibly can.”
Maxwell-Armstrong invited the the chef to swap his whites for operating scrubs to watch him perform two back-to-back bowel surgeries. As a result of the professional exchange, the surgeon put a PHD student in Bains’ kitchen for four months to observe one service a week.
The research was polled with operating theatre staff members, who found the “stop moment” to be the most feasible for implementation (76%) and the greatest potential for improvement in patient safety (85%).
Bains also came away from the exercise with ways he might improve service in his kitchen, in particular the idea of a post-service briefing, and he welcomed the prospect of more cross-fertilisation of ideas between professions.
“There are so many parallels in different industries,” he said. “Charles described it as a process-driven craft; we’re doing a task that takes X-number of moves.
“And that’s exactly what it is. We’ve still got to put [a plate of food] out at the end of it. Surgeons have to sew someone up at the end to fix their problem. But when you look at it as process-driven, it’s the same thing.
“I’d never thought of it like that before, but it’s the same thing.”