Chef – Don’t slaughter the goose! Martin Probst, Learning & Development Whiz at Leading Chef Academy

You may have heard of Aesop’s fable of the goose and the golden egg.

Just to refresh your memory, it’s about a poor farmer that had a goose which started to lay one golden egg per day. First the farmer couldn’t believe his luck and was over the moon. Over time his wealth grew and so did his greed and impatience, to the point he decided to slaughter the goose to get all the eggs at once. But when he opened the goose, there were none and the chance to get any more vanished the moment he killed the goose – the goose that produced the golden egg.

I often use this fable as a metaphor to demonstrate that even though we can and should appreciate the golden egg in business, we must never forget to nurture the asset (goose) that produces the outcome (golden egg).

Unfortunately, I witness this Golden Egg mentality in hospitality too often.

I know there are owners and stakeholders in our beloved hospitality industry that are merely driven by the ‘shiny syndrome’. Hypnotized by the sparkly golden egg, they want more with fewer resources and often completely forget to nurture and look after the goose (employees), just like in the fable.

But it doesn’t mean that we Executive chefs need to be cross-contaminated with this bug and spread it all over our kitchen! And yes, I understand that…

  • The business purpose is about the outcome (golden egg).
  • This puts a lot of pressure on Executive chefs to perform and produce more with less.
  • Margins are tight
  • It is ‘hard yakka’ to lead and manage a kitchen with looming deadlines, busy service periods, increasingly demanding customers, shortage of experienced and skilled staff and so much more…

Exactly because of all these reasons we must nurture the goose. This of course includes you – Stop trying to produce all the eggs yourself – you can’t do it! And by trying you just get stressed, become sick and burn out. Why? Because you don’t nurture yourself.

What you CAN do is creating a healthy business / kitchen environment that will produce better profits. As you know better than anyone else, happy birds lay bigger and better eggs.


So, cutting labor cost, swearing at staff, paying them peanuts and squeezing them like lemons is very short-sighted and will not pay off long term. Your reputation will turn sour at the same pace as loyalty is decreasing and trust is broken. Your kitchen brigade will start to disappear the moment they find a more supportive and appreciative environment, where they can produce their golden eggs in return for a safe, happy and rewarding environment.

My rule is simple: treat your employees as you would like to be treated and as you would like them to treat your customers.

Summary: The biggest and most important ‘things’ in a business / kitchen are the human assets (employees) as they look after the physical and financial assets in a business. So make sure you nurture them and yourself and invest in your and their health as well as personal and professional development through learning and education, in order to avoid limiting your options and getting stuck.

Check out the interview with Glenn Wright, Executive Chef Hilton South Wharf Melbourne.


Gaining Trust and Respect Get the Foundation right 3D coverGaining Trust and Respect Plan Ahead 3D cover

If you would like to get more information on this topic and how you can get peak performance from your team (the goose) throughout the crazy season, produce the results (golden eggs) and at the same time retain your staff, then download our resources here.


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By Martin Probst

In a nutshell, Martin Probst is the Managing Director of LEADING CHEF ACADEMY. He is not interested in teaching you how to suck eggs and is convinced that you are a top banana if it comes to your cooking ability. His mission is to add to your existing kitchen experience a blend of innovative LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT, EMPLOYEE MANAGEMENT & ORGANISATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS skills, so you can taste the success you deserve for all the hard work you put into your career over the years. His vision is to connect modern chefs around the globe and take them to the next level with our online education & training solutions.

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