Sir Chris Bonington – chefs need to earn the respect of a kitchen brigade

01 January 2000
Sir Chris Bonington – chefs need to earn the respect of a kitchen brigade

Even star chefs need to earn the respect and dedication of a kitchen brigade who, in turn, help them produce the meals they are famous for, Sir Chris Bonington told the conference.

Drawing parallels between the skills required to manage people in hospitality and those involved in climbing Mount Everest, Bonington said: "If top chefs didn't have everyone else working behind them, it wouldn't matter how good the food was they were serving to the customer, it would still be mediocre."

Bonington used the various stages of his 1985 conquest of the world's highest mountain to demonstrate the use of good management skills to motivate and inspire staff.

He highlighted the qualities of good leadership, saying this was less to do with being a macho personality than it was about caring for people and being a good listener. He added: "The head of a team should always be able to step aside and let others go first. The leader isn't someone who grabs all the goodies, but will share them around."

Bonington also touched on the importance of recognising the contributions of all team members and giving praise when it is due. "It seems pretty obvious to acknowledge a group of people, but it is amazing how many people don't do it," he said, adding that the lowest person on a team is as important as the highest.

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