Leadership lessons from Chef’s Table

Brand + Business x Christine Moody*


Watching the Netflix produced Chef’s Table, I’m impressed by the lessons this show has for leaders and for their brands.

Chef’s Table is an acclaimed documentary series, which is in its second season. Both Season 1 and Season 2 feature some of the world’s most renowned chefs, with each episode focusing on a single chef who has created a piece of culinary heaven—often in an out-of-the-way and unexpected, but very beautiful place.

In this original docu-series, find out what’s inside the kitchens and minds of the international culinary stars who are redefining gourmet food.

The show takes us inside the kitchens and the minds of these culinary stars who are redefining gourmet food. We learn their unique personality traits, talents, and passions and are also given a glimpse into their personal lives.

Chefs featured include, Australia’s Ben Shewry (Attica Restaurant in Melbourne) and Masterchef Australia‘s Matt Preston, Magnus Nilsson (Fäviken, Järpen Sweden), Francis Mallmann (El Restaurante, Patagonia Sur, Buenos Aires, Argentina), Niki Nakayama (N/Naka Restaurant, Los Angeles, California, USA), Dan Barber (Blue Hill Restaurant, Stone Barns and New York City, USA) and Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy).

As well as being beautifully shot—with great music and of course mouthwatering food—the series creates drama by detailing the behind-the-scenes struggles of each hero chef. In doing so, the show reveals the chef’s distinctive leadership story.

Each and every one of the chefs featured in Chef’s Table was creating amazing food when they decided to open a restaurant. They all thought they would be successful from day one—or at least have a few customers. However, they all struggled and came close to throwing in the tea towel and closing the restaurant door.

Inspiringly, despite their restaurant ventures floundering, not one of the chefs gives up or looses faith in their food or themselves. Instead, they go back to their culinary roots for inspiration to pivot their offerings. They talk to regional farmers and suppliers, get out into the streets and taste the local cuisine and learn from local cooks as well as chefs in top restaurants. In the process, they find their own voice in the culinary world.

They refuse to compromise on their values or their food beliefs, but they make it out the other end. Through persistence and resilience, they all find success eventually.

It’s not just about the food, it’s not just about the restaurant, it’s about something more…

Chef’s Table isn’t just about the food, it’s not just about the restaurant, it’s about something more…this series has it all. For me, the best part of this show is the lessons that can translate into leadership lessons:

  1. Believe in yourself and do not compromise on quality
  2. Keep going and pivoting to bring great products to market
  3. It takes only one happy customer to make it
  4. The struggle is part of the journey—enjoy the process
  5. Keep making great stuff
  6. Innovation is the key motivator
  7. Get out and see what is happening in your community
  8. Stand out for all the right reasons!

Watch the series and let me know what other leadership lessons you can identify with.


*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential.

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