The power of everybody knowing the part they play

My partner and I enjoyed a fabulous meal recently whilst we were in London courtesy of The Palomar restaurant. What struck me was how efficiently everyone on the team played their part.

Published April 22, 2019

It would all start to happen like magic

Everyone on the team played their part

My partner and I enjoyed a fabulous meal recently whilst we were in London courtesy of The Palomar restaurant.

As their website announces …

The Palomar is a Soho restaurant in the heart of Theatreland, serving the food of modern day Jerusalem. A menu influenced by the rich cultures of Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant. The passion in our cooking has been nurtured in this cultural mix, and we’ve given it a contemporary approach.

The Palomar restaurant website

… and they do it extremely well.

We took the option of of sitting up at the bar right in the heart of the kitchen, we had the best seats in the house directly opposite the often used charcoal oven. The food was amazing complimented with a very pleasant bottle of Vino Blanco but the real joy was the social interaction with, and opportunity to observe, a team of talented chefs at work and just get a real feel of the speed, timing, and energy flow of an environment like that.

The Palomar restaurant

What struck me was how efficiently everyone on the team played their part. “Chef” would rattle off the order at pace, something like “One Kubaneh, Two Labneh, Tree of Life, Shakshukit – Yep?” to which two or three chefs would respond enthusiastically “Yep Chef!”

And instantly it would all start to happen.

For example “Tree of Life” would have one chef place broccoli into the charcoal oven whilst another would prepare the bed of feta – the baked broccoli would be whisked out of the oven, placed on the bed of feta. Instantly another chef dressed the broccoli with tomatoe and pine nuts passing the finished dish to “Chef” for final check to then be placed in front of the diner by the final pair of hands to ‘attend’ to your dish. Multiple dishes would be simultaneously prepared by multiple chefs at pace. Then there might be a lull for a moment until the next batch of orders came in and off they would go again.

It appeared that every aspect of the business was as efficiently run – couple next to us finished their meal and departed and from somewhere a member of the team appeared and efficiently cleared away and re-set the two spots in a matter of seconds before the next patrons arrived.

What was absolutely clear was every member of the team knew the part that they played in delivering the overall experience. An experience that absolutely differentiated them from other restaurants and meals we have had.

A role-model for leadership

As an avid ‘people watcher’ I found it fascinating to observe and to start to clock all their respective roles. What was really interesting was I began to notice a very quiet chef who hadn’t demonstrated the same extrovert and entertainment qualities of some of the others, to the point where he had almost gone un-noticed.

He piqued my curiosity, and the more I watched him the more I appreciated his leadership qualities. Sure enough, when we had our own conversation, I discovered he was the “Head Chef”.

Very quietly he was observing everything that was going on, watching the technique being applied, tasting every now and then. Finishing off a dish if one of the other chefs was having to do something else. Complimenting their work and having a quiet word here and there. Demonstrating a wonderful calm and respectful leadership style that absolutely promoted The Palomar team rather than the profile and ego of the head chef. Lessons for all in leadership.

So what can you do to ensure everyone knows and is committed to the part that they play?

So how would you and your team compare to The Palomar team?

Does everyone know the part they play and are willing to contribute for the good of the whole?

What might be the one thing you could work on in the next 90 days that could make that so?

Oh and if you happen to get to London make sure you visit The Palomar and, if like me you have a sweet tooth, you have to try the ‘Jerusalem Mess’ – Labneh mousse, citrus curd, almond crumb. One of the best desserts I have ever tasted!