Le Bernadin and Great Workplace Practices

I just finished reading Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain. When I started this book, I never figured it would end up getting a mention in my blog, but you never know where stories of great workplaces will come from.

Towards the end of the book is the story of an employee at the celebrated restaurant, Le Bernadin. Le Bernadin is considered one of the top fish restaurants in the country, if not the top. How does a restaurant get to be the best? I believe the story that Bourdain tells about an extraordinary fish cleaner provides some clues:

1) The fish cleaner, Justo, makes a decent salary (unheard of in a restaurant).

2) His work is results-based. He leaves when he is done rather than when is hours are up.

3) The chef at Le Bernadin treats everyone the same (Justo compares this to his last place where they “didn’t even say good morning.”

4) Everyone addresses everyone else, regardless of position, as “chef.” They consider it a sign of respect.

5) They work with a common vision, that each piece of fish represents the chef’s reputation. Quality really is the focus. They are striving for perfection.

Results focus and respect. It is a winning combination wherever you find it.


One Response to “Le Bernadin and Great Workplace Practices”

  1. Amy Carr July 23, 2010 7:56 am

    This echoes what Dan Pink says about what drives motivation — autonomy, mastery, and purpose. What a great real-world example!