Startup MGZN

5 pieces of leadership advice from The Cacao Lounge & Restaurant’s executive chef

Chef Carlos Lizarraga is a passionate Culinary Arts graduate with a specialisation in Cross-Cultural Cuisine from Universidad Anáhuac México Sur, Mexico, The Culinary Institute of America, New York, and an MBA Certificate in Restaurant Management from Universidad Anahuac del Sur, Mexico. He has worked various countries across the globe, including the US, Ukraine, and several other countries where he trained his staff members and supervised them.

Chef Carlos is the Corporate Executive Chef in the International Business Group (IBG) and the Head Chef at The Cacao Lounge & Restaurant, here in Bahrain. To him, The Cacao Lounge and Restaurant is a fine-dining restaurant concept that allows him to lead a large team of young aspiring individuals and enhance their culinary skills, and at the same time lead a successful and happy restaurant.

Today, Chef Carlos shares with us 5 simple steps on being the ideal leader for your team:

1- Lead with a heart and soul and a vision. Keep in mind that being a great boss is not about doling out orders and delegating tasks. The best managers are the ones who identify each team member’s talent and strength, nurture those talents, and lead them to improve those skills for the growth of the restaurant. Believe in your brand and believe in your team and listen to their woes to help them, and train them so they can give their best. A happy team is a motivated team and that in turn leads to the success of your restaurant.

2- Your workspace, your canvas. Cooking, marketing, designing, are all forms of art. The plate is your canvas and the ingredients are your inspiration as you paint away to craft a delicious bouquet of flavour, just as it is with an empty paper or an empty backdrop you need to add design to. You can learn the basic skills, study at the best schools, but you cannot find creativity in technical books. You must keep an open mind and always be willing to try new things and create new styles by seeking inspiration from the culture around you and your customers.

3- Never cut corners. Something that all excellent bosses have in common, they never lower their standard of quality to deliver on a promise. Being idealistic and a particular perfectionist is a necessity, your eye to detail and choosing the best and leading your team to give their best at all times is what will set you apart from the rest and is what will differentiate your work from others. Never compromise on this.

4- You have imperfections. Acceptance is important, Growth is KEY! Even Michelin Star Chefs, and major CEOs have something to learn every day and they have the task of maintaining consistency in the quality of their product and service. Focus on learning and delivering excellence, and always be willing to handle criticism, regardless of how seasoned you are as a leader. Use each criticism to build your record of excellence and let each feedback be a brick in your wall of prosperity.

5- Keep working at your dream! A cliche, but one that holds the simplest truth. It takes many years of hard work and endless shifts and re-training the staff on the simplest elements till it becomes a way of life to lead a successful restaurant. Those bandages are worth the final result as there is no purer joy that seeing your team grow and to serve up great food and an experience that everyone believes in.

Don’t know about you but all this talk just made us even more eager to visit The Cacao Lounge & Restaurant. The restaurant is located at R.U.W Corner, Riffa and is open from 12 PM to 11 PM on weekdays, and 12 PM to 12 AM on weekends.

And make sure you follow them on their Instagram to be up to date with their yummlicious and mouth-watering cuisine!

Obai and Hill