Norcott points out that the process of refining dishes means that many of them differ substantially from the original ideas that inspired them. Norcott says, “Over time we develop them, try them out and if something doesn’t work we go back to the drawing board and see what might work better.”
Having a give-and-take relationship with suppliers is important to Norcott. He wants to be able to have open lines of communication, so if something isn’t right, they’ll accept that it needs to be sent back. He realizes that there are factors beyond his supplier’s control, but Norcott expects that they’ll find him good substitutions for missing products if necessary.
Patience is the first trait that Norcott hopes to have as a chef. Managing people is one of the most challenging parts of being a chef for Norcott. He explains, “Everybody’s got different ideas and everyone can have problems. You need to manage these things and sometimes that takes a lot of patience and listening.”
Being reasonable is another important trait that Norcott hopes to exhibit as a chef. He doesn’t subscribe to the my way or the highway philosophy because there are so many ways to do things as a chef. Being able to “step back and swallow your pride” is important for Norcott. He adds that he needs to be able to explain his reasoning when he asks a cook to do something. Conversely he’s willing to listen when one of the cooks has a suggestion that they’ve reasoned through.
Good communication is also a trait that Norcott cultivates. He wants to be a hands-on chef. He explains, “I need to be out there on the line and in the prep halls. I need to check on my team to make sure they’re o.k. It's a demanding lifestyle and sometimes cooks don't get compensated for it. It’s important for me to engage with them and create a sense that if they need something, they can come and talk to me about it.”