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A pastry extravaganza and employee engagement.

Who would have thought that as I sipped champagne and nibbled exquisite pastries that I would receive a lesson in leadership, innovation, team building and loyalty?

As a birthday treat my friends gifted me the Cédric Grolet tasting menu at The Berkeley. We sat at the chef’s table and observed as she carefully prepared and explained the intricacies of each of our courses. The sweet and savoury pastries were delicious. The beauty and whimsy in their creation were remarkable.

And what I also noticed was the number of staff who came up to her, saying goodbye and offering a fist bump. As a leadership coach and team facilitator, I’m always curious about how people collaborate. So I asked about her colleagues. She told me of their camaraderie and how they checked in with each other as they turned over from the morning to evening shifts.

Given the notorious reputations of some celebrity kitchens and the treatment of women chefs, in particular, I wanted to learn more about her experiences. She described how each chef, waiter and kitchen hand took accountability. Further if errors were made their spirit of collective responsibility meant that everyone quickly addressed the issue without finger pointing.

They felt privileged to work in the kitchen of the renown Grolet and she gave credit to him and the head chef for creating a workplace culture of respect and accountability. They were also clearly inspired by Grolet’s artistry, dedication, sense of fun and hard work as he climbed to the top of his profession having started out at the age of 11 in his grandparents’ hotel.

If you would like to  improve your leadership, how you engage with your teams and colleagues  let’s have a conversation. Call me on my mobile +44 (0) 7952 068133 or send a note to


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