We conclude the interview with our chef Rubén Cabrera by delving deeper into the foundations that have shaped his way of working in the culinary world.
What was your formula for earning the respect of those around you inside and outside the kitchen?
Respect is achieved by being a good professional because, no matter how good a person you are, friendly, with a tough character, and in many other ways you can be as a person, if you are not a professional in the kitchen, people won’t respect you because they say, “This guy has no idea.” I believe that the most important thing is to educate yourself and be a leader with knowledge because otherwise, it’s very complicated.
Do you think incentives improve performance? If so, what do you use?
Incentives are always good, and financially, it’s better—it’s what motivates people the most. Also, occasionally, a pat on the back is appreciated; not everything is about money, but I think the balance between the two is the best.
How do you deal with problematic workers? And how do you make them a valuable contribution?
No, we directly remove problematic individuals and look for people who know how to be more. It’s a problem because if you have a problematic personality, it won’t change; it will continue to be problematic. And in the end, our job is not to educate but to train, meaning you remove the problematic person and look for someone who fits the profile you are looking for.
When do you put your team before yourself? In success or failure?
Well, in success, you always put them first because they also like to feel valued. For example, when we received the Sol award, we all appeared in the photo, whereas in failure, only the leader is there. So, it’s like football coaches, when they win, it’s the players, and when they get fired, it’s the coaches. It’s the same here; when there’s a complaint in the restaurant, the team comes out unscathed, but the leader is the one who gets scolded.