When you make out of “perfection” your career, then you know you are in for the tough ride!
He made his career, a truly stunning work of art!
You have worked in a Michelin star operation for so many years, your career Neil is incredible!
How did you cope with the “pressure of perfection”?
It was very hard at first and I have always said to my colleagues that you’ve got to have passion and understanding of what perfection is otherwise the job is not for you. Working in Michelin starred environment is not the job that would get you rich, but it’s a job that would give you the satisfaction if giving a high standard of food and service is what you are after.
Can you explain the process to achieve a star? What is the “to do list” of a Restaurant aiming to get one?
First and foremost is food. Michelin is always about food to achieve the first star you’ve got to be unique and have originality. Food must be perfect and have consistency. Second is service, you cannot be serving a high standard of food with a mediocre service. Service relies on how food is presented, how it is served, type of environment and type of clientele. Third is atmosphere, if you are serving a fantastic food whilst giving a nice service but the lighting is wrong, the music is too loud and most important of all, a lack of personality then it would not work. Every detail in a Michelin starred environment affects one another and if one fails the rest will follow.
What are the top three skills a Manager should have to run an operation efficiently?
1. Understanding – you must be able to put your own feet in your colleague’s shoes regardless of their position. Trust and loyalty of your team is key into having a great service.
2. Be able to work under pressure – there’s nothing worse than when the ship is sinking and the captain is the first one to jump ship, you have got to be able to calm the waters and show that if you can do it then the rest of the team should be able to as well.
3. Be part of the team, be a leader – there’s a difference between a boss and a leader. A boss dictates and lets the rest do the job. A leader shows the way to success and stays with the team all throughout the process.
What would you suggest to those aspiring to become a GM in a high-end environment? What area should they focus on to be ready to take the responsibility of running a Restaurant independently?
First thing they should focus on, is if this is what they want to do and if gives them a satisfaction and a reason to get up in the early morning and stay as late as possible. Be true to yourself, if you think you do not have enough experience to be able to take a challenge, find a way, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be able to adapt into any situation and more importantly gain the trust and loyalty of the team.
If you could send a message to your fellow colleagues out there, waiting to get back to work or currently job seeking because of the virus. What would you say?
Times are very tough right now, but if the hospitality industry is where you want to be, then do not loose hope and be patient. It may take some time but eventually everything will be back to what it was, if not better, as we all had time to reflect on ourselves and the reality and we will need each everyone of you to make our industry stronger, now, more than ever.
Erika Visentin Bonomo - Permanent Division Manager