By Jensen Cummings
Our connections to the foods we grew up with are some of the deepest and most timeless we will ever encounter. The memories of grandma’s house, mom’s cooking, dad on the grill, and holiday meals become lore. When we become professionals in the food biz, often these food memories become the basis of our menus and our expression. Our personal worth and our livelihood become fundamentally tied to our ability to transport others back to those moments right along-side us. So how do we inspire our cooks to have the same passion, the same commitment, the same attention to detail, when they didn’t live our lives? This is the challenge every restaurateur faces. The way they navigate their ability to communicate and instill that sense of family legacy into their team will likely determine their chances for success.
For all the restaurateurs, it’s time to call in reinforcements. It’s time to summon your family to feed your new restaurant family. If it’s grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, childhood friends, and neighbors whoever can sit at a table with your team, break bread, and give them that North Star to keep them motivated when they are sweating, tired, and working on the eight-seventh order of that same dish. What will keep them going won’t be the job or the pay, it will be those moments of sharing your food memories. Nurturing that sense of belonging will be the inspiration that defines your success.
Check out “Who Gets to Cook Asian Food” (audio podcast) with Ching-yuan Hu with Look Hu’s Cooking as we explore this very notion of passing on a food legacy while navigating the line of cultural appropriation. How Ching passes along her Chinese roots and her Asian food vision for her food to her future employees is key to their success.
Families thrive on tradition which yields a legacy to be left for future generations. Restaurant owners help to create that legacy for their families and communities by opening new businesses. 7shifts is born out of Jordan Boesch’s relationship with his father, and the time they spent working together in his father’s restaurant. It is because of this deep commitment to family and legacy Best Served is motivated to partner with 7Shifts, underwriter of Best Served New.
Jensen Cummings is a fifth-generation Chef & Certified Cicerone based in Denver, CO. His brands’ Best Served Creative and Best Served Podcast exist solely to unlock and amplify the worth and work of those who feed their community. From chefs to restaurant pros to farmers and every one in between, this work manifests with storytelling media, coaching, and strategy meant to acknowledge and empower people to do what they were meant to do. He is committed to hustle and communicate everyday to serve this mission. When he’s not out building a new model for restaurants that’s equitable, profitable, and sustainable, he’s spending precious time as a husband, a father, movie buff, beer nerd, and fan of the LA Dodgers.