Crédit Photo : Max Delsid

Reverse Mentoring to pass on plant-based gastronomy

The profession of a Chef is a profession of companionship. Beyond the practical training that a Chef can learn at school, it is above all his personal background and encounters that will make him a true professional. With a profession that is always changing, a Chef should be trained throughout his career to adapt and adjust to the changes that our society offers. Mentoring and Reverse Mentoring are part of these modern techniques that allow the transmission of knowledge and skills.

Mentoring is the process of bringing together two people of different generations for counselling and learning. In general, this is an experienced person (the senior) who offers his knowledge and expertise to a person wishing to develop his skills (the junior).

Reverse Mentoring is the opposite approach, based on the idea that a younger generation can bring knowledge and skills to an older generation.

Mainly used in the business world, the approach can be applied to many fields of activity.

An exchange of knowledge

In the world of gastronomy, young people mainly learn their skills from the elderly. From their professional training to their first experiences, it is the Top Chefs who accompany them towards their new profession. Some young people even take their first steps with Michelin-starred Chefs, thus giving them a nice line on the CV.

But today, with the emergence of new cuisines, many young Chefs are building their own career paths. If some went to the required hotel schools, they quickly branched out into new horizons by learning on their own. And these autodidacts have a lot to teach us.

Because, in fact, it is no longer so much a question of passing on ancestral know-how but of questioning the ways of doing things. And who better than daring young Chefs to dare to practice the profession differently and pass on new knowledge?

In plant-based gastronomy, the idea is to do things differently: to stop relying on what we are familiar with and to put aside what has been passed down from generation to generation to invent a new way of cooking. Without denying our origins and traditions, it is above all about writing a new story from an (almost) blank page.

Another way of thinking and working

This is how I see Reverse Mentoring as a great opportunity for Top Chefs to acquire new knowledge. Beyond learning new techniques, it is above all a question for them of apprehending a new way of thinking about things. An in-depth change that naturally accompanies the evolution of our society and a daring change since it is a question of breaking the codes and reviewing the basics.

I see in the Reverse Mentoring between a young Vegan Chef and a starred Chef, an obvious interest for both parties:

  • For the Top Chef, it is an opportunity to observe the way in which the young generation works, the ideas and culinary innovations they offers and to rely on their strength and audacity to go outside the box.
  • For a young Vegan Chef, working with a Top Chef remains a unique and rewarding experience that helps them acquire the basics, refine their technical skills and focus their energy.

A human experience

Regardless of the type of Mentoring, we always learn from each other and the one who transmits receives a lot in return as well. More than technical training, Mentoring is a human experience based on exchange, intuition and feelings. So the right combination of people is needed for a Mentoring to work properly.

In the constantly changing world of gastronomy, Mentoring is a tremendous lever to accompany the culinary transformation that we can already observe.

Moreover, whatever work you do, getting information, training and staying alert is essential. This is what leads to one’s own progress and that of one’s profession. 

Translated by Malvika Kathpal

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