Filed under: — Doug Contreras @ 2:29 pm on

On August 18, 2008 I attended the YES Network taping of an interview with Bobby Flay by Michael Kay in New York City. I have enjoyed watching Bobby practice his culinary magic on Iron Chef and Throwdown, but my real purpose in attending was to serve as driver and escort for my wife. As an accomplished pastry chef, she has the knowledge and experience to better appreciate his success in the kitchen.

Much to my surprise, there was an element to the interview that piqued my interest, as well. As a business consultant who prides himself in teaching others how to lead, I am impressed with Bobby’s style of management. Much of what he practices is the type of leadership I try to promote. Here are some points that surfaced in the interview:
  • Bobby has focus. In spite of being a national television celebrity, his passion and priority are his restaurants.
  • Bobby leads a staff of 500.
  • He is a strong believer in a normalized workweek for his people - 40 hours and 2 days off each week. If you know anything about restaurants, an 80-hour workweek is not unusual.
  • He believes in a civilized approach to getting the job done. Restaurant kitchens deal with constant turmoil since preparation of food and demand for service are always in a state of flux, Bobby’s rule is, "No yelling in the kitchen."
  • He encourages ideas for improvement from his staff, including changes to some of his tried and proven recipes and menus.
  • He believes in teaching by providing examples.
  • He has tons of self-confidence, as well as a solid grasp of the value his restaurants bring to its patrons. When Michael Kay asked Bobby if someone could take his Mesa Grill Cookbook and duplicate the restaurant’s menu, Bobby said yes, but he added that there is more to his restaurants than recipes.
  • He believes in passing his knowledge along to others and is active in the community.

A great recipe for success!

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