Summer 2018 @ Invictus Kitchen - Data Models, Experimentation, and Exploration

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We have a new, improved set up for the Summer Cycle in our Invictus Kitchen. Here’s some of the main elevations you’ll be seeing in the coming 8 weeks:

  • Both sessions have been combined to create one, larger team of approximately 10 bakers on any given Saturday;
  • New teams will consistently pair instructors and bakers from week-to-week – these pairings are to propel skill development, but also facilitate social interaction and the all-important teamwork that is imperative in our kitchen;
  • New, improved and synthesized data metrics will continue to systematically track skill acquisition, yet elevate the breadth and deepen the detail of the data where we need it most; and
  • New layout of our physical workstations and use of the full Invictus Kitchen to maximize team efficiency and efficacy.

These improvements will elevate the kitchen to a whole other level! We have been thoroughly impressed with how well our bakers are doing and how quickly they are learning. It is an exciting prospect to think of how the new elements will propel things even further. As always, we welcome all of our Invictus Family (aka. You, the parents) into the kitchen to check out the new set-up and give us any thoughts, tips or feedback you might have. 

I thought a quick snapshot of what we’ve doing behind the scenes and how we have developed new specific goals for "Student X" would be helpful as we move forward into the new cycle. In true Invictus spirit we are ever-increasing the challenges on our bakers and building their skills towards real-world jobs. Over the past months we have been impressed with their progress in the kitchen thus far and working hard on answering the all-important question:

“What’s next?”

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To hone in on the answer, our instructors pow-wowed and brainstormed. We did a ton of research, and picked the brains of savvy and successful culinary professionals. We asked them a myriad of questions to illuminate what they look for and expect to see in their best team members and employees. From this wealth of knowledge from the mouths of industry experts, we built a profile of the ideal baker/culinary employee and here’s what is exceedingly important: 

  • Teamwork – Functioning positively, effectively and efficiently in a team is paramount;
  • Multi-Tasking – working on multiple objectives in the kitchen at any one time is key to being able to accomplish everything needing to be done on any given day;
  • Accuracy – the quality of the work (and the work-product) is one of the most important indicators for success;
  • Reliability and Dependability – unlike in the office-based workplace, in the culinary world there is no “we’ll get it done tomorrow”, there is only TODAY. Whatever orders are placed need to be filled quickly no matter what, so if one baker does not show up for their shift, the whole team pays the price;
  • Problem-Solving & Good Judgement - Being able to recognize if and when a problem arises, and the ability to think through how to solve it is key. A good baker should fundamentally know the purpose behind the methods and how to adapt those methods when changes need to be made;
  • Communication – Verbal communication is not a necessity. There are many ways to communicate so that a baker can advocate for help when needed (i.e. physical communication or use of technology); and
  • Respect of the work environment – Cleanliness and organization are vital: clean up after each task and replace all equipment in its designated spot.

As you read those important profile components, it is reassuring to know we’ve been working diligently towards all of them. For the coming Cycle, I want to outline 3 main goals for Student X that will enable success in the culinary world:

Student X's Goals:

  1. Accuracy in measuring – introduction and mastery of using a digital weight scale;
  2. Working effectively and positively with teammate(s) and main instructor towards a common goal – Student X has been working incredibly well in his solo workflow, now we will fold in more team components throughout the process to build on his team skills; and
  3. Pacing and Consistency in work product – Student X is mastering the process nicely, but still requires instructor support to keep his pace and thus his product output consistent and improving over time. We will target his independence in navigating through each step in a more timely manner while enabling him to keep his high-quality work product. 

Alison Berkley - Invictus Co-Founder