Best-selling author, Malcolm Gladwell, studied lives of very successful people to find out how they achieved their success. In the book “Outliers: The Story of Success”, Gladwell determines why some people and organisations achieve success far beyond their peers. Through direct statistical relationship between hours of practice and achievement, he comes to the conclusion: it takes 10000 hours to achieve mastery in a field. Is 10000 hours enough to become a master chef?
Celebrities which have done their hours
That amount of time firstly sounds daunting, but it makes the world of a difference between good and great. Practice is what propel individuals to the league of legends. Take a look of the football player David Beckham. He is known for his incredibly accurate passes, crosses and free kicks. When he was young his talent was obvious, but talent is something that many carries. To reach the top, there is a lot of hard work needed. David Beckham’s father made sure when his son was young that his talent wasn’t going to be wasted. They practiced passes and crosses A LOT which obviously paid off when he got older. A common duration for soccer practice is 2 hours. In that case you’ll need to train over 5000 sessions! For a young Beckham, who spent every day of practicing intensely, 10000 hours would totaled to 14 years of soccer practice. Through sheer hard work, Beckham achieved An accuracy in his crossing like no other.
The case was the same with Jimi Hendrix, whom many say was blessed with natural talent. After all, he could even play the guitar with his teeth! But Hendrix was an incredibly hard worker (or maybe just had big passion for playing the guitar). Hendrix was so attached to one of his guitar (Epiphone FT79) that he even took it to the bathroom. He probably clocked his 10000 hours very early on.
Jiro Ono, the most famous sushi chef in the world
Becoming THE MASTER chef in a field takes a lot of time and hard work. In the great documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”, which achieved critical acclaim in 2011, audiences are introduced to the legacy of 85 year-old sushi master chef Jiro Ono and his continuing quest for creating the perfect sushi. Even though Ono’s restaurant “Sukiyabashi Jiro” has been rewarded a Michelin three-star restaurant, he feels that he hasn’t reached the top and fervently believes he can improve and achieve more. We highly recommend watching it – food junkie or not. “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is an inspiring, magnifying story that showcases what true passion and dedication is about. We prepared a teaser for you:
“I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more.” – The master chef Jiro Ono
The sushi restaurant only has 10 tables and is located in the quiet basement of an office building near the Ginza subway station. Don’t expect glitz and glamour here, it’s all about the food and guests flock over to taste the most perfect prepared, mind-blowing fish. President Obama, who ate there last year, claimed that it was the best sushi he ever had in his life. Needless to say, the restaurant is usually booked for at least 3 months in advance.
“Even at my age, after decades of work. I don’t think I have achieved perfection. But I feel ecstatic all day.. I love making sushi. That’s the spirit of the shokunin” – The master chef Jiro Ono
Jiro Ono’s sushi restaurant was awarded the three stars in 2009, which means that he reached that level of quality and reputation at the age of 84. Does that mean you need to spend your entire life to reach mastery at something? Let us look at chefs’ career path in the context of Gladwell’s theory of 10000 hours.
Are an executive chef also a master chef?
A chef works approximately 12 hours a day, 6 days a week (no kidding). To achieve 10000 hours, a chef would have worked 138 weeks or approximately 3 working years.
Now imagine how refined their craft would be after 15-20 years of experience! Believe it or not, many of them start working in the kitchen from the age of 15 years old as a kitchen helper or an apprentice. When it comes to chefs’ career, certain stages can’t be skipped if they want to become a master chef.
By the time one becomes a sous-chef (the right hand of an executive chef), not only do they become responsible for the execution of a restaurant menu, they are also involved in managing other cooks and kitchen staff. In addition to excellence in cooking, other skills become vital: ability to organise oneself and others, ability to delegate and communicate effectively. Only by developing leadership skills can a chef eventually become an executive chef, who is the head of the kitchen and becomes responsible for everything happening there. Executive chefs select staff, manage payroll, food costs and vendors, design menus and restaurant strategies, becomes the face of their restaurant and communicate their value to clients and media. To become a master chef, you need to achieve mastery in several areas.
Why chose a master chef?
Executive chefs gather so much life experience and interact with so many people that they can manage almost any unexpected or bizarre situation. Now you probably understand why Clubvivre carefully handpicks master chefs and why most of them are executive chefs with more than 10 years of experience. We know that Clubvivre customers are in safe hands even if an event takes an unexpected turn or a last minute situation crops up. We know that not only is their food is great, but the chefs are also emotionally mature, know what is appropriate and what is not, set a positive example to service staff, and actively support the host of any party.
And surely, anything can happen. We do have a lot of interesting field stories from Clubvivre chefs. For example:
A corporate client of ours booked a celebrity chef for a kick-off of their international meeting, so all the guests were arriving to the dinner straight from the airport. The menu was designed based on the finest seasonal ingredients that were carefully sourced. Secretaries of guests informed us of any dietary preferences and allergies, so that the chef could accommodate their needs. On the day itself one guests arrived halfway through the dinner, looked at the menu and stated that he can’t eat most of the dishes. The chef quickly sent his junior chef to get new supplies from nearby vendors and managed to carve a special menu just for this guest without keeping him waiting.
Another Clubvivre chef shares that he is used to cooking even in the most uncomfortable environment, as he used to work on a super yacht. He had to prepare meals for a huge sailing team and VIP guests even during sea storms, when everything in a galley was moving and many people around were sea-sick (we leave it up to you to imagine what was happening).
By far, one of the most memorable stories is of a master chef who once took a bet to prepare the perfect chicken breast in a toaster. Just to prove that he can do it!
“I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach to the top.. but no one know where the top is..” – Jiro Ono
With this post we pay tribute to all master chefs and their 10000 plus hours of hard work, sweat and enormous passion for their craft.
So, the next time you book a Clubvivre chef, tap him or her on a shoulder and thank them for their hard work and passion!
Please comment your thoughts below, master chef or not. We would love to hear how you are working on achieving mastery in your field.