As you all know by now, I love drama. So it should come as no surprise that one of my guilty pleasures is reality TV (American Idol, Dancing With The Stars – I love the competition!) And then there is Top Chef – each season, the “Team Challenge” episode is always the most dramatic and exciting. The knives come out, someone ends up crying –and in the end one team cooks their way to victory. It’s thrilling and some of the best TV there is out there. We cringe as the contestants fight with each other to create their own vision. Season after season, it is the stubborn chefs or artists who fail, and the ones who are willing to collaborate and compromise usually do succeed.
While I may be guilty of spending a little too much time in front of the TV these days and not enough at the gym, these shows bring me back in time when I first discovered the joy of winning. We all remember our grade school gym teacher’s favorite words – “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’” Although it often seems like a restaurant is most recognized and defined by its notable chef or famous owner, the key to success is dependent on the collaborative effort of every single person involved.
A great example of collaboration is the team at Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar, located in the Lodge at Sonoma, a Renaissance Resort and Spa in Sonoma, California.
At any restaurant, the kitchen and front of house must be in sync to provide diners with amazing experiences. At Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar, Chef Janine Falvo and Sommelier Christopher Sawyer – are literally the dynamic duo. They work together to give each guest the ultimate Wine Country food and wine experience.
Falvo and Sawyer also maintain close relationships with the farmers, foragers and vintners who make personal visits and deliveries to the restaurant to help them craft their menus. They have built great partnerships with these suppliers, allowing them to make special requests and get ingredients and wines not immediately available elsewhere. For these two, communication and collaboration are the keys to creating the unique experiences that have won the restaurant accolades and fabulous critical praise.
So I encourage you to visit your favorite restaurant tonight and watch the team spirit in action. You can learn a lot that can be applied to you own business. Collaboration can be a beautiful thing – and really pay off big time. I’m crying here.
On a personal note—I want to thank my team members Leith Steel and Stacey Faber for collaborating with me on these blog entries.