Cooking Great Food & Building Strong Bonds: What TEAM Really Means

TEAM is a commonly used acronym for “Together Everyone Achieves More,” but what does it really mean when it comes to cooking food?

In the culinary industry, teamwork has the power to make or break your business. Chefs who work well together will succeed as a whole and, in turn, push one another toward achieving their own goals. Chefs who don’t will eventually find themselves surrounded by a kitchen in shambles.

At the UT Culinary & Catering Program, we emphasize the importance of teamwork in all that we do, because it’s the only way any of us will cook great food and impress our guests. Working together as a team means…

We trust each other.

Without trust, there is no team. We trust that we have one another’s backs, that everyone will pull their own weight, and that the designated student executive chef will make decisions that are in the best interest of the group.

We respect each other.

Trust and respect go hand-in-hand. We have mutual respect for one another. We recognize that every job in the kitchen is important, and it is up to each one of us to do our jobs correctly to ensure the production line runs smoothly and everything is cooked, plated, and served to exceed our guests’ expectations.

We communicate.

Good communication is complete, honest, consistent, and timely. We keep information flowing from the top down and back up to ensure that any misunderstandings are immediately corrected.

We are always improving.

No matter how great you think you are, you can always be better. We learn from each other, share what we know, and are open to critique and new ways of doing things.

We encourage each other.

Our jobs are hard, but we have so much potential! By raising the bar, encouraging one another, giving tough love, and a toast for a job well done, we can become better chefs together.

We don’t take all the credit, and we don’t point fingers.

If we succeed, we congratulate one another because we don’t work in the kitchen alone. If we fail, we all take responsibility for what went wrong, because if someone is having a bad day, it’s on us to step up and help.

We work hard.

There is no substitute for hard work, not even experience. When we put our aprons on, we commit to giving our all, and we don’t stop until the kitchen is spotless at the end of the night.

What’s really unique about our program is that in just 12 weeks, you’ll not only earn your culinary and catering certificate, you’ll make friends for life. Our class sizes are small, which lends itself to a more intensive work environment and a stronger bonding experience. We often have students find jobs together after graduation to continue where they left off in class. Some of our graduates even come back as instructors or mentors and reach out to incoming students, welcoming them to the family.

Tara Garland UT Culinary & Catering GraduateTara Garland graduated our program three years ago and now works in the food and beverage leadership development program at the Omni Hotel in Nashville. She recalled what she learned about perseverance and the power of teamwork in the kitchen during her time here:

Balancing the UT Culinary & Catering Program while continuing my studies as a full-time student meant long days and long hours, which was demanding both physically and mentally because I had to be in-the-moment all of the time.

What really got me through was my great team and the constant reminder that we were all in this together. The small class size that the program offers allowed us to bond, and by the time we graduated, we were like family.  – Tara Garland, Class of 2014

If you’re interested in learning more about other ways our 12-week culinary and catering certificate program will use real chef experiences to prepare you for a career in culinary, register for a free information session online or by calling Pam Quick at 865-974-3181.