Foodie Friday, and this week it’s about chopping onions. No, it’s not a screed on how cutting up onions relates to being in business without crying although that’s not a bad idea for some Friday down the road. This week, it’s about a legendary chef – Marco Pierre White – and his technique for chopping onions more finely than you’ve ever chopped them before. There are practical reasons for doing so as he explains. The video I’ve embedded demonstrates his technique, but it’s actually something he says in the video that’s our subject today.
First, the chopping lesson:
Did you hear what Chef White had to say as part of his demonstration?
‘Perfection is lots of little things done well.’
He picked that up from Ma Gastronomie by Fernand Point. He is the father of modern French cuisine. It’s a great business reminder too. We talk a lot in this space about many “big” things but the reality is that we can’t ignore the most basic skills if we’re to continue to improve as businesspeople. We might be focused on the big idea, but if our basic writing skills are inferior, the brilliance of our idea won’t be expressed.
Chopping onions is probably the most basic of cooking skills. I’ve seen friends spend a full two minutes chopping an onion when had they learned the proper technique and practiced they would be able to do so in under 30 seconds. It’s a little thing, but improving all of the little things is sometimes the only way to improve the whole. As an aside, it’s a heck of a lot more fun when the tedious things go quickly and efficiently both in the kitchen and in the office.
Striving for continuous improvement is a noble goal. Our focus should be on big steps forward. The way to get our businesses to take those steps just might be through improving all the little things, especially when we’ve done a good job on the big ones already. After all, a team that keeps hitting singles and not making many outs eventually scores a lot of ones, even without any home runs.