Thursday, August 21, 2014

What Students can learn from Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares?

Yesterday night, while having dinner I was flipping through channels on the television. Suddenly I stopped. This is what I heard!

“You are the worst general manager I have ever seen. You are such a fake.” Gordon Ramsay to the general manager of a restaurant in New York.

Students. Gordon Ramsay. Why are you writing this post. How are they related?

First things first, a little background information

Who is Gordon Ramsay?

He is a Scottish celebrity chef, restaurateur and television personality. His television shows on cooking and restaurants are quite popular.

What is the show about?

In each episode, of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, he visits one failing restaurant, finds out what the problem is and tries to make things better for them in one week’s time. There is lots of drama in each show. Lots and lots of drama.

“I've had a phenomenal 10 years making 123 episodes, 12 seasons, shot across 2 continents, watched by tens of millions of people and sold to over 150 countries.” Gordon Ramsay on his experience filming the show So what in the world, can you learn about learning and education from a television show? It seems like you can learn a lot, at least from this show. 


The episode that I got a chance to view was about an Indian restaurant in New York called Dillon’s. Watch the episode here

Problems with the restaurant

There were a variety of problems with the restaurant. The food was not good and the menu was not great. The staff was not well trained, and the restaurant did not have good interiors. The kitchen was unhygienic and the cooks and waitresses had a communication problem.

Solutions to the problem

So Gordon comes in, he is shocked to see the lack of professionalism in the restaurant So he brings in one of New York’s top Indian chefs, Mr Vikas Khanna to help re design the menu. They change the menu, change the interiors, give the employees a pep talk, do the right promotion around town and are now ready for a new start.

At the end of the episode, the restaurant is shown with a full house of customers, Vikas in control of the kitchen and the owner and employees ready for change and a new start.

Then I come across this article in the website, with this headline,


How were Vikas Khanna and Gordon Ramsay different?

Because Vikas Khanna and Gordon Ramsay were thorough world class professionals. The restaurant did well, until they were in charge of it.

But once they were gone, even with the superior facilities and new menu, the team at Purnima Dillon’s did not fare well. Over time they were one of the restaurants that had to close down.

They had a better menu, better ambiance, better interiors, better promotion. They seemed to have it all. What was missing?


The people…

The People that were truly world class at their art. The People that were genuinely passionate about the Indian cuisine they wanted to serve. The people that were crazily and madly in love with what they were trying to do there. There are very few of these kind of people in the world. And the world is in dire need of more of these kind of people.


 Why did I write this post?

I am a student. Certain things troubled me about the way I was being educated.

I started thinking about the several thousand graduates that pass out of the colleges of our country every year. We pass out of undergraduate and post graduate courses in a variety of different fields like engineering, hotel management, commerce, fashion designing, media and more.

How many of us are really passionate about the courses we are studying? How many of us want to become the Vikas Khanna or Gordon Ramsay of our fields? How many of us really want to make a world class contribution to the evolution of the industry we work in over time?

This was a question Gordon Ramsey was going to ask me?

What was I studying for, if I was not studying it to become world class in a field I was really passionate about?

I did not want to answer this question till I got to college, because it was not important as long as you scored a good grade in class. But you can come out first in a school exam, without understanding anything at all and just fake learning all of it. But you cannot follow the same approach in the real world

If you want to fake your way through a job, you will always bump into a Vikas Khanna or Gordon Ramsay in your industry or in your company. These people have put in years to master and develop the skills for that job.

The big difference between them and most other individuals in that industry, is that they are not only trained academically or technically, but they are also Crazy Passionate about the field. They would not mind working in a restaurant when they are bored or when they have some free time.

Their work is their leisure.

For Vikas Khanna and Gordon Ramsay the real joy is not only the money they receive. The real joy is also the magic they create around cooking good food. They take this very seriously. The time they spend with customers, the time they spend mastering a new dish, the time they spend understanding a new cuisine, the years they spend training for their job. This is the real joy for them.

The employees at the restaurant in New York were in it, only for the economic rewards. They did not love what they were doing. So every customer that came to the restaurant, could understand that the employees of that restaurant were not really passionate about the craft. It is not too hard to see through a fake.

They respected the craft enough to understand and become better at it.

Ramsay is good at what he does. He is world class at what he does. The idea is not to copy Gordon Ramsay, but to learn from the high degree of professionalism and standards of quality that he has for his work.

The restaurant employees on the other hand were very different. Their lack of professionalism showed that they did not respect the craft of cooking and creating an ambiance around it. They did not want to take it seriously, they did not want to develop the skills to become world class at it.

This post included some of the reflections that went through my mind as I saw the show that night. Here is a short summary:-

There are two kinds of people in the world. There are people that madly and crazily love the work they have committed their life to. Then there are people that do the job, for money, acceptance and other external factors.

Which one is more likely to do better over time?

Robert Frost once wrote, “Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

You are a student in school or college. You have the chance to choose sides today. 
Which side are you part of? Which path will you walk down? I made a decision. I decided to finally ask myself these questions

Abhishek, What do you love doing? Abhishek, How can you become world class at it?

Now stop wasting time and start doing it!

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