Chris Hill Blog: 4 abilities that are more valuable than skill

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th June 2017

Chef and restaurateur, Chris Hill, shares his top tips on how to help you stand out in the kitchen without using any skill or ability.

The bottom line is that good cooks are a dime a dozen. So are programmers, artists, whatever the skill, someone is out there that can probably do it better than you. Sure, there is the shortage of cooks and all, but if I need to replace you, I can. Sorry to break the news. Sure, if you think outside of the box and are pushing the envelope that can help you stand out. But there are other ways that can elevate your career, and they have nothing to do with your actual ability and skill level in the kitchen. The cooking will come, in the meantime, you can move closer to success in the following ways:


The desire to figure things out, to ask questions, and the desire to understand why things are a certain way. It’s not enough to just know what a Maillard reaction is – you need to be curious enough to want to know why it happens, because then you can use it to your advantage and apply as a science, not just a tactic. When you start becoming curious, it becomes more and more a part of you, you continue to ask those important questions, and all of the some you are trying to figure everything out and as a result, your creativity THRIVES.

Work Ethic

There are a lot of great players who just don’t have enough heart – maybe it’s a kitchen worker, maybe it’s an athlete that could have been the next Lebron, but thought he didn’t have to work for it, because things always came naturally. At the end of the day, someone with a strong work ethic will figure out how to be better than the uninspired cook, because their heart is in it and they just want it more. That’s what maybe happened with Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, and it’s why certain incredible potential superstars, in whatever field, fall so short of who they could become. If you don’t think you have to work for it – for anything worth having in life, you’re living in dangerous reality.

Team Player

If you are a team player, not only will the people around you love having you in the building, you’ll be taken care of and appreciated for and all of this comes about, because you are trusted, and respected. If you go to bat for the people around you and for the organisation, they will both do the same for you. On the other hand, if you’re just interested in yourself and getting yourself ahead, it will be so apparent to the people around you that the dynamic will not work and you’ll be the dispensable one, even if you are a better cook.

Growth Mindset

In anything in life, things are going to happen that set us back – we try things at work that fall flat on their faces, we get our hearts broken by the one we thought we’d spend the rest of our lives with, we get passed over for the promotion – all of that sucks. It stings. But, it’s also an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to either sit back and feel sorry for ourselves (which accomplishes nothing and puts us further behind), or we can see these types of situations as opportunities to learn and grow and get better at whatever it is what are looking to do. Personal growth through adversity is essential for success. Anything worth doing is going to have its fair share of adversity. The head chef gives you free reign to put together a special for the weekend – you totally blow it? Okay. What’s done is done. What can I learn from this experience? What can I do better next time? Figure out what you need to keep growing and moving forward, instead of falling backwards into the mentality of “I’m not good enough, “this won’t work”, or “I’ll never amount to anything”. It’s an opportunity to grow, and if you don’t buckle up and take full advantage of it, you’ll never reach your full potential – whether you’ve got the skill or not. The only way to become a great cook or chef or anything in this world is to commit to growing into one – expecting it to be hard along the way.

Chris HillChef Chris Hill left a job in the business world to follow his heart and passion into the world of cooking and the kitchen. Chris opened his first restaurant at 28 and grew into the role of executive chef.

Having taken his experiences in the corporate world, as well as those in the kitchen, Chris has built a large social media following centred around TV appearances all over the Southeast U.S., his writing, TEDx talks, and his mission of helping industry workers to lead fulfilling successful careers.

Chris' first book comes out in the Summer of 2016 and is a dive into what makes for a successful career in the restaurant world, and includes exclusive interviews with some of the world's leading and most respected chefs.

You can follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and read more of his work here.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 29th June 2017

Chris Hill Blog: 4 abilities that are more valuable than skill