Back

Kitchen communication: 8 expert tips for constructive conversations

Effective kitchen communication is the foundation of success as it brings a range of benefits. Constructive conversations among chefs foster a positive working environment, enhance team collaboration, and drive continuous improvement. When chefs have open and professional dialogue, it ensures that everyone is on the same page, reducing misunderstandings and mistakes. Inclusive conversations allow all team members to feel valued and heard, promoting a sense of belonging. Constructive feedback helps chefs refine their skills and performance. 

Ultimately, clear and respectful kitchen communication, whether giving feedback or speaking to superiors, is essential for a thriving, efficient, and harmonious kitchen.

Read on for eight tips from our ambassadors on how to do this! 

Turn feedback into constructive conversations

“If the team makes a mistake, be clear about what the problem is, but not in a mean way. People do not respond to aggressive communication. Explain the correct way to do things. Give people time and space to ask questions, to ensure everyone understands. To prevent reoccurring issues, create a plan that addresses the pain points. This helps the team understand the issue so they can develop and learn.” 

Fhred Batalona
Owner and Head Chef, Barangay

Open kitchen communication helps the team grow

Kitchen leaders should guide rather than just tell others what to do. This promotes personal growth and problem-solving skills, especially for younger team members. If you feel shy about approaching your superiors, remember that they are there to help. Asking questions benefits everyone! Voice ideas and suggestions openly. Even the most inexperienced chefs can contribute creatively and be heard. The ideal kitchen communication is clear, confident and respectful. This encourages active dialogue among staff and benefits everyone.” 

Angela Tarin Alderete
Chef, Casino Arizona

 

Inclusive conversations with neurodivergent chefs

“To create a supportive environment for everyone, leaders should learn about neurodivergences, including autism, ADHD and sensory processing disorders. Talk to neurodivergent colleagues about their kitchen communication preferences and any adjustments they might need. Clear and direct communication is key. Use explicit language, avoid sarcasm or indirect requests. Also provide written instructions or visual aids. Routines and predictable workflows help to create a more structured environment. This can benefit neurodivergent individuals. Approach each individual with empathy and respect, recognising the unique strengths that neurodivergent chefs bring to the culinary team.”

Vanessa D'Souza
The Autistic Chef 

Keep communication professional during busy periods

“Positive communication is vital for younger chefs. Start conversations with what is working, then talk about how you can turn any issues into learning experiences. Support your team members with guidance on what needs to be done. Then work with them to implement the solution the best way. Even during the most stressful times in the kitchen, give instructions and feedback in a professional and constructive way. Ask younger chefs how they would approach a situation. We can all benefit from new insights and perspectives.”

René-Noel Schiemer
Chef, Unilever Food Solutions Germany

 

Have regular meetings to support kitchen communication 

“A culture of open communication is vital. Have regular team meetings before or after service to build this. Share your feedback with the team and listen to what each person has to say. Agree on areas where you can focus and improve. This helps the team feel like they are all working towards a common goal. Encourage healthy competition in the team and publicly congratulate those who do well. Provide each team member with everything they need to reach their full potential. This could be emotional support or alternative methods of communication.” 

James Brown
Executive Chef, Unilever Food Solutions UK & Ireland

 

Start the conversation! Download your free poster to take An Hour for Us.

Inspire your team with constructive communication

“Be a genuinely good listener. Take the time to understand your team members and respect their views. Communicate with honesty and compassion for others. Be aware of your own bias and set it aside. Speak to each individual with respect, regardless of their age or role. Help them flourish.”

Dianne Araneta
On-Trend Flavour Lead, Unilever Food Solutions

Communicate confidently with senior chefs

“Even if you feel shy about approaching your manager, act confident. Stand up straight, breathe deeply and fake it till you make it. Remember that your leaders are there to help you grow and contribute to the team’s success. When you ask questions, it leads to solutions. When the pressure is high, stay level headed and professional. Express yourself clearly to avoid misunderstandings or arguments.” 

Esai Raya
Chef, Casino Arizona

Respectful communication helps a kitchen team thrive

“When kitchen leaders communicate with compassion and respect, it motivates the team to perform at their best. Treat your colleagues with dignity. This builds a positive working environment, where we can work in the best and most efficient way. Commit yourself to learning and take every opportunity to strive for success. Always ask your team questions and stay curious.” 

Alxs Galit 
Sophomore Apprentice, The Greenbrier

 

 

In the fast-paced world of hospitality, constructive kitchen communication is essential for success. By fostering open, respectful, and inclusive dialogue, we can create a harmonious and efficient environment for everyone. 

Are you ready to develop your leadership skills and learn the art of open and inclusive communication? Sign up for our free training! 

Follow us on FacebookInstagram or LinkedIn to join the discussion around #FairKitchens.