#FairKitchens Believes Effective Leadership is Key to Creating Positive Kitchen Culture and Retaining Staff
Englewood Cliffs, NJ – Today, #FairKitchens, a global movement driving change to secure a healthier and more sustainable foodservice industry, is launching a new leadership training program, free to any hospitality business. Entitled “Leading a Fair Kitchen,” it aims to improve working environments and address staff retention issues by empowering leaders with insight and practical tips from others in the industry. The training is presented by Unilever Food Solutions, one of the co-founders of #FairKitchens, together with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), which lent its expertise as an industry service.
More than 30 chefs and experts across the world worked together to create the free online program, which combines a series of short videos and actions to complete afterwards. Available for chefs and operators with any level of leadership responsibilities, the program is designed to teach participants how to be effective leaders.
“We want to empower industry leaders to build the best possible environment for their teams. That’s why we’re proud to launch this online educational series for #FairKitchens, which captures the insights, learnings, and experiences of kitchen leaders and industry experts from all over the world,” said Einav Gefen, executive chef, Unilever Food Solutions North America. “This is the time for us to stop, pause, and think about who we want to be—as chefs, and as people who have the privilege to nurture our staff through their careers.”
Iliana de la Vega, chef and owner of El Naranjo, Kimberly Brock Brown, executive chef/president of the American Culinary Federation and Steven Satterfield, executive chef and co-owner of Miller Union are among a few of the chefs and experts that developed this training series. Leaders from Union Square Hospitality Group provided their insights as well.
“One of the goals of this leadership training, to help chefs or operators reflect on their own practices, to grow their skills and develop their team. If you’re in a position of leadership, cultivating open communication amongst your team is vital. The best leaders don’t simply talk and instruct; they listen and respond,” said Kimberly Brock Brown, executive chef and president of the American Culinary Federation.
In addition to helping individuals hone their leadership skills, the aim of these trainings is to drive culture change from the top. #FairKitchens aims to give leaders alternatives to simply mirroring the behaviors of head chefs in the kitchens they grew up in. By sharing honest reflections, lessons learned along the way, and practical tips, the training is designed to help leaders create an open, inclusive, and fair environment for their teams.
“Being a good leader means making the people around you the best they can be, no matter how long they are part of your team. This online program creates an opportunity to show everyone that strong businesses are those where their people come first. When we invest in our teams and our staff members are happy, that shows in our food and it shows to our guests,” said Matt Johnston, director of product and menu experience at Pita Pit Canada, training contributor.
Leading a Fair Kitchen covers seven modules—one introductory module around four minutes in length, and six more detailed modules which take between 30–35 minutes to complete.
- Module 1 (Introduction): What is Leadership
- Module 2: Self Awareness and Self-Management
- Module 3: Communication
- Module 4: Recruitment and Onboarding
- Module 5: Building Diverse Talent and Teams
- Module 6: Wellbeing
- Module 7: Crisis Management
Each detailed module recommends learning actions for the participants to complete afterwards. Following a short assessment at the end of the modules, participants may earn a Certificate of Completion from the CIA. To access the Leading a Fair Kitchen, free, online leadership training program, chefs and operators can visit FairKitchens.com for step-by-step instructions.
The team at The Princess of Shoreditch. Photographer: India Whiley-Morton.
The #FairKitchens movement was founded in 2018 amid growing awareness of wellbeing issues at the heart of foodservice and hospitality. Believing that this industry will thrive only when the people who work in it thrive, Unilever Food Solutions came together with a group of chefs and partners including Naama Tamir, Michael Gulotta, Kat Kinsman, and John Vitale to initiate the #FairKitchens movement as founding partners.
Three years on, the movement has expanded globally and attracted the support of chefs, operators, hospitality businesses and experts from all over the world. It opens a conversation around unhealthy working conditions, recognizing the underlying issues and focusing on bringing solutions. These solutions take the form of sharing success and challenges from operators around the world who lead Fair Kitchens, plus resources, training and tools from partners.
About Unilever Food Solutions
Unilever Food Solutions is the B2B foodservice division of Unilever. We provide world-renowned culinary expertise through food brands such as Knorr Professional, Hellmann’s, and The Vegetarian Butcher. Everything we do is focused on making operators life a little easier. We aim to inspire not only through our products but through training and tools that can help the smooth running of business. Our extensive span of solutions helps to grow our customers’ businesses whilst offering their consumers joyful, trusted, and sustainable experiences. Find out more at ufs.com.
About The Culinary Institute of America
Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to developing leaders in foodservice and hospitality, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, food business management, hospitality management, culinary science, and applied food studies. The college also offers executive education, certificate programs, and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences, leadership initiatives, and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of more than 50,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food world. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.
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