Go lateral

You get to choose the direction you want your creative sabbatical to take. You can further your professional development, or you can choose to go lateral: explore a completely different field to yours. I encourage you to choose the latter, if you are willing, chef. It makes you use your pattern recognition skill, which is vital for a creative profession like ours.

That is the reason why I am holding Monday’s Fireside Chat on creative sabbaticals: this lockdown might feel like a limitation, but we still have the ability to stretch our minds and our creative potential. Link in profile for more information.

Creative sabbaticals for chefs

What really counts as a creative sabbatical in our industry? For sure, closing your restaurant to run experiments six months per year. Even a single day spent with your team cooking for a good cause counts. Anything that interrupts the normal work routine greatly supports your creativity.

But the ‘being’ is as important as the ‘doing’ here – like a field laid fallow, you cannot tell what is being regenerated within you when you make time for rest.

If you feel called to, and are able to undertake a simple creative project this month, join me on Monday’s Fireside Chat – even if you do not currently have any ideas for your creative sabbatical.

Fireside Chat 3: Creative sabbatical

Earlier this year, I posted a series on creativity that looked at, amongst other things, creative sabbaticals. Now I extend an invitation to you to join me in crafting your own mini creative sabbatical for the month of May, chef.

While we might be low on resources during this lockdown (disposable income, access to ingredients), our most precious resource (time) is, for once, in abundance.

You might have a project that you have always wanted to take on, or like me, you might just be open to seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. You might want to expand your professional skills, or learn something totally new.

Join me for our Fireside Chat on Monday at 3pm London (UK) time as I share ideas on how you can hone your creativity outside the kitchen.

The Need to be Useful

Empty space is always rich with potential. This is the same for the breaks during our shifts and also unexpected breaks in our careers like this lockdown. What will you use this precious time for? Do you have to use it at all? Can you turn it into a creative sabbatical, chef?

Join me for our second Fireside Chat on Monday at 3pm London (UK) time looks at The Need to be Useful. Check this link for details.

Time to lean

Our culture informs how we view our service: some of our beliefs imply that a chef can only add value to the kitchen by keeping busy. How we relate to productivity could possibly be both the cause and the effect of our gruelling workloads.

Maybe I am wrong, but this approach could also be driving how women and young chefs are valued in the kitchen, unfortunately. If the perception is that you are weaker or that you have not reached your full capability, perhaps you are seen to be less productive.

In the current crisis productivity means nothing. Many of the people currently keeping our world afloat are professionals like us – undervalued, under-compensated and under-appreciated. It is easy to quantify our work – we prepared 500 meals today – but will that ever capture what being nourished meant to the vulnerable person or frontline worker who received that meal?

All this and more in our Fireside Chat on Monday. Join me, chefs!


It is only natural to miss your work or to encounter boredom during this lockdown – you are simply adjusting to a very disruptive change in routine. What is a little more difficult to reconcile with is not feeling useful or helpful. Especially when our work is to be of service.

In my research on work-life balance, I found that the need to be useful impacts our lives as chefs in more ways than one. For example, many in leadership find it hard to step away from their responsibilities at the cost of their own wellbeing.

Join me for a Fireside Chat on Monday 20th April at 3pm London (UK) time as I explore how this lockdown teaches us that service is not only about productivity.

More info here.

Cooking is alchemy

Cooking is, amongst other things, alchemy. By nature, chefs are predisposed to taking base ingredients and creating something better out of them.

The past few weeks, we have all witnessed food businesses transform their service to benefit so many who need it. In their own homes, we are making good use of what we have to hand, and sharing that valuable wisdom with those seeking inspiration.

Whatever the future might hold, remember that your very training has been about making the most of your circumstances, chef.

Reminder: Fireside Chat this Monday

Here is everything you need to know about our first Fireside Chat on Monday:

  • What: These Fireside Chats are informal 30-minute sessions for us to gather together and connect with our work
  • When/Where: We meet on Zoom (which is free to download) at 3pm London (UK) time. Links to a Zoom user guide and a time zone coverter are available here.
  • Why: What can we hold on to that’s true, in the midst of all this uncertainty?
  • How: We explore the bigger picture (The Essence of our Service) and break that theme down into the wisdom it holds for each one of us
  • Anything else? Please invite a colleague from the industry who might find this useful

I look forward to connecting with you on Monday, chefs!

The Essence of our Service

Join me, chefs, on Monday, the 6th of April at 3pm London (UK) time for our first Fireside Chat.

Next week’s theme is The Essence of our Service

In an instant, our work has been stripped down to its essence. The transactions are pure: the chefs who are still working are simply offering wholesome food and ingredients to those who most need it or want it.

What can we draw from this about our own work and our purpose as chefs?

Introducing the LLTC Fireside Chats

Chefs, starting next week, I will be holding weekly Fireside Chats for us to gather together and stay hopeful during this challenging time.

We are the kind of people who will cook six days in a row and still feed someone we care about on our day off. How do we keep that incredible spirit of service alive when our work is temporarily put on hold? How do we continue to hold faith in the power of our work?

This is the purpose of these chats – to keep that fire burning. To keep us connected to the spirit of service that exists within us. If you’re wondering what these 30-minute sessions will be like, expect the inspiration and encouragement that you draw from this platform, but to experience that same quality live.

Join me next Monday, 6th April at 3pm London (UK) time. More details here.