Chef – Think and succeed

By Martin Probst, Learning & Development Whiz at Leading Chef Academy

How would you explain ‘thinking’ to somebody who doesn’t know what thinking is? Although we are doing it quite often, most likely you will find it quite difficult to explain, right?

Hhhmmm. As I mentioned in one of my recent blogs, I believe thinking is nothing else than asking yourself questions.

Therefore it is essential that you think critically as it provides you with the key to unlock your intellectual independence and the power to solve problems yourself. Critical thinking is about using your brain in a way that you can create your own effective solutions to a multitude of unfamiliar problems, rather than memorising a solution to a particular problem.

Critical thinking is not easy, by all means. Humans have a strong desire to belong and fear to be standing out of the crowd because of a different opinion. We fear to be different because we might be judged and singled out. But at the same time…

Critical thinking separates the followers from the leaders.


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How can I acquire Critical Thinking?

You need the ability to think in a more comprehensive way and see a situation from many perspectives. This requires you to challenge the often limiting beliefs stemming from your upbringing and culture. Guided by knowledge and facts, you need to replace these, be willing to be curious, to widen your perspective and to increase your awareness.

Critical Thinking is about moving away from black-or-white, good-or-bad thinking to increase choice. We often think in contrasts, which can easily draw false conclusions. For example: We might assume that if one doesn’t hold belief A, then one must hold belief B; or if option A is false, then option B must be true. What about all the options from C to Z (and beyond)?

You need to be open to complexity and ambiguity. Critical Thinking is your ability to run a situation through your mind with many scenarios, see the consequences and how this decision links to other decisions, and your ability to ascertain the soundness of the decision. This will move you from acceptance of personal responsibility, to intellectual discipline, and towards high quality thinking.

Who will succeed?

Whenever you witness high performance of individuals in your professional or personal life, they are most certainly Critical Thinkers. They are able to challenge the status quo and see potential beyond what others previously saw and accepted.

“We know so much that isn’t so!”


Critical thinking separates followers (caught up in emotions) from leaders (thinking calmly through challenges to assess the best possible option). If you want to become a true Executive chef and leader, start to think critically by removing yourself from emotions that are typically based on your past.

Remember: The past only equals the future if you focus too much on it. If you are doing just that, accept it, let go and move on!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson


Considering that everything starts with a thought, indicates the importance of critical thinking. You need clarity and focus for excellent and forward-thinking decision-making. Here a few questions that will help you to exactly do that during decision-making time:

  • What is the purpose of this?
  • What problem will this solve or what will be the benefit?
  • Has this been done before? If so, what were the results?
  • What are the consequences of doing this? (Consider people, business, relationships, finance etc.)
  • What are the possibilities that this will give me/us?
  • What resources (skills, knowledge, systems, finances etc.) do I/we have in place to make this possible?
  • Is this decision moving me/us away or towards my/our true values and vision?

These few questions alone will provide you with an array of viewpoints, increase your awareness of the appropriateness of an idea, and help you to make great decisions.


If we practise and teach critical thinking, we empower individuals and invest in our collective future.

Give somebody food and they’ll eat that day. – Teach them how to grow food and they’ll never go hungry.


If we only examine the decision, we are focusing only on the situation. If we examine the process of decision-making, we can learn about the pattern of thinking. This is much more valuable, and moves us from living in the moment to planning for our long-term success. In other words, if we purely focus on our current situation and problem, we cannot add any value to our long-term achievements.

I trust this blog gave you valuable insight into critical thinking, and how the great decision makers of our time think. You can be the next one!


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

If you would like to get more information on this topic and how you can improve your thinking and the critical thinking within your brigade, 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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