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Why I’ve Learned to Celebrate the Daily Successes

By Marcus Samuelsson | April 11, 2016

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To stay successful is to find balance in your life between your work and your personal time. I am naturally a workaholic — working nearly all the hours that I am awake. That means the metric for success is finding time to set aside work for my family. Specifically, I think of how much time I spend with my wife and family in Smögen at our summer home. It is truly the best place to get away from work in the kitchen, the emails, phone calls, and meetings. It’s peaceful and serene, simple, and comforting. It might be the only place I actually unplug.

When I was young, we spent about 8 weeks a year here; relaxing, cooking, fishing and enjoying the summer. Now that life has evolved and changed so much for me, in terms of my geographical location and work load, on a good year I aim for three weeks. The reality is, that based on this system of measurement, I fail more often than I succeed. I can think of one or two years when I spent only 8 hours in Smögen. As any Arsenal fan will tell you, sometimes you have to go through a rough time to end up on top. Each year I start fresh and set a new goal like anyone else, but the busier my business becomes, the less time there is to set aside.

Yearly successes can be overwhelming so measuring day by day is just important. On a daily basis, I look at how much time I’m able to spend being creative or close to my art. Through my creativity in food, I’ve been able to see, experience and share the things that make me happy. If I get one chance a day to share my craft with someone new or teach somebody the places anyone can go with drive and passion, I consider it a good day. Cooking classes with youth, exploring a new restaurant, tasting a different flavor that inspires me to get in the kitchen, these are daily successes.

This is a post that originally appeared on LinkedIN as a contributing post to a series where professionals describe what numbers govern their happiness. Read all of the stories here.

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Why I’m Working on Time Management Outside the Kitchen

By Raquel Jacquez | January 28, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 11.40.35 AM

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At the start of the calendar year, I am always reflecting on the previous year, but also looking toward the new year to make important changes in how I operate and accomplish my goals. I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years and people have definitely guided me in becoming more skilled and creative — both in the kitchen and in business. Over time, I have learned that it is really important to surround yourself with quality people whom you can trust. This year, I will be working harder to focus on the big decisions so that I can leave the minutia to my team. In order to do that, I’ll be working on one essential skill that is critical to success in business — time management.

Time management is really just one tool in setting yourself for success. When I was a young chef working the line at Aquavit, I had to learn the dance that is a dinner service. Each dish was timed out just so and there was little room for mistakes. There weren’t timers there to keep us on top of each dish, but an internal clock that guided us through from start to finish, maximizing each moment and multitasking as we went along. I’ve figured out that I have to take this same approach outside of the kitchen as well.

As the list of projects grows, there is less and less time to make smaller decisions throughout the day. Time management is an essential skill that I am constantly challenging myself to improve so that I can be more efficient throughout the day and overall, be more effective in the work week. I have a lot of projects coming up this year, and I often rely on my team to keep me focused. I have the ultimate trust in the people I work with, so when things are critical and time is limited, collectively, we can just get things done when needed instead of needing the last approval from me.

Traveling is also a huge part of my business and work life, so utilizing my time effectively while moving from event to event or traveling overseas is becoming easier, thanks to technology. This year, I’ll be working on designing my travel schedule so that I can be overseas for longer periods of time to prevent too much back and forth. The longer periods of time in one place also allow for a rhythm to set in and consistency to shine through.

This is a post that originally appeared on LinkedIN as a contributing post to a series where professionals describe the skills they’re building this year. Read all of the stories here.

 

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This is the Year When Chefs Will Become Front-of-House Educators

By Raquel Jacquez | December 15, 2015

Marcus In the Herb Garden

There are many challenges that chefs face as a result of a multitude of factors — our industry, the environment, consumer wants and needs, and most importantly, our vision and artistry. Fortunately, chefs are wired to find creative solutions to difficult problems. As I look toward the new year, I am excited by the potential that chefs have to help train and grow our own employment pool and drive sustainable practices as solutions to many of our world’s climate and environmental challenges.

As restaurants fill their seats with more experienced and savvy diners, the industry is facing a shortage that impacts us all; skilled workers. One of the organizations I spend time working with addresses this directly and will be hugely influential in 2016.  C-CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program, provides culinary training for under-served youth and helps students to gain entrance to culinary schools, find scholarships and eventually jobs in the work force. They do so by asking industry leaders what training should be mandatory and then turning this into a teaching strategy. The success rate is high and the personal stories coming out of the program are incredible and inspiring. C-CAP benefits not just the restaurants like my own who are challenged with finding reliable and passionate employees, but it benefits the student, the culture of urban American cities and it chips away at the jobless rate in neighborhoods like my own.

Bringing in young talent also gives me the opportunity to teach and elevate the conversations in the kitchen to a dialogue about food waste and efficiency. When I think about Harlem, I see that there is even more possibility for growth in practices that sustain local markets. I speak with my team on daily basis about embracing our neighbors. Communicating with local vendors and farmers help to sustain people within the community and when we utilize local markets to create specific menu items — it reinforces that message to our guests in the restaurant. It’s exciting to see dishes in my restaurants, Red Rooster and Streetbird, that were created specifically for what is available locally and seasonally. I truly believe that chefs can be the voice of these kinds of messages — messages that encourage models that are moving toward more sustainable practices in the food system.

In the next year, chefs will be challenged to think creatively about how to use all parts of the plant or animal and make serious considerations for sourcing responsibly. It is critical that as we learn, we teach others what we have learned, through programs like C-CAP. 2016 will challenge us as chefs, to utilize our platform in order to educate each other and reinforce the important messages of sustainable practices in the restaurant and beyond.

This post was originally published in series of posts by LinkedIn Influencers. In this series, professionals predict the ideas and trends that will shape 2016. Read all of the posts here and be sure to follow Marcus on LinkedIN.

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Notes from Linked In: Obesity Rates Expected to Double

By Marcus Samuelsson | December 5, 2012

Photo: Thomas Hawk

This article was first posted on LinkedIn on December 3, 2012.

A friend forwarded me a link to this slide show (it’s at the bottom of the page) and it was startling. Created by the Center for Disease Control, it simply shows the changes to the geography of U.S. Obesity from 1985 until 2010. As you sit and watch, this simple set of maps starts from nearly all blue and just gets redder and redder, effectively and dramatically showing the yearly increase of American wastelines. While we’ve all heard the phrase “Obesity Epidemic” being thrown around, this visual really hit home for me how recently and dramatically this excessive weight gain has happened in our nation. Read More

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