One of the world's best chefs limits his cooks to a 48 hour working week, with four days on and three days off.
Ben Shewry of Melbourne's Attica, number 32 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants List, revealed his motivations in a recent Instagram post. He feels he gets more out of his cooks if they work four twelve hour days rather than cooking six or even seven days a week:
"We've built the restaurant on the values of questioning everything, EVERYTHING. This year I feel we took a major leap forward in the development of our culture by putting the young men and woman who work in our kitchens on a 48 hour weekly roster. 4 days on, 3 days off. Are the old ways of flogging yourself and having no life outside of the kitchen right? In my opinion no. Do I regret working the hours I have? No, however there wasn't another option. Changing the roster structure to accomodate the fact that cooks are humans, not machines and indeed can have lives as well has been cathartic for not only the team but also the business. We get an elite 48 hours out of each one of them and all of our cooks can work on multiple sections at any given moment, becoming multi skilled in the process."
He also suggests fine dining kitchens aren't neccessarily the best environments for chefs to develop:
"It might sound like an odd thing to say but many Chefs don't learn how to cook properly at fine dining restaurants. You get stuck on a section, you pick a ton of herbs and plate tons of beautiful looking food but often you don't get into the real depths of cooking hard. It is very important to me that our cooks to leave here with the ability to cook properly."
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