The Cleaning Duck
Friday, 5PM has finally hit, and it’s time to celebrate what you’ve been waiting for these past five, long, tiresome days. You might bounce ideas back-and-forth with your friends on how you’ll spend the next 48 hours, but more often than not, the perfect weekend is going to involve getting some food and drinks at some point or another.
On the flip side, for those working in the restaurant industry, Friday is when the work week begins and it’s time to rock n’ roll. A successful kitchen needs to be in tip top shape and prepared to serve hundreds, even thousands of guests on any given day. That means spotless glassware, plates, silverware, wiped down table, and restrooms to use–all things that help create that enjoyable dining experience. But have you ever stopped to think about what all goes into this?
On Mondays at Wyndridge Farm, the restaurant is closed to the public, which means it’s time for a team of at least 10 employees, including the Executive Chef, Matthew Siegmund, to spend anywhere from six to eight hours cleaning and sanitizing the entire kitchen. There are more than three dozen deep-cleaning tasks to be tackled before the end of each Monday, including cleaning walk-ins, freezers, ceilings, heat lamps, fryers, vents, drains, scrubbing oven hoods…you get the idea. After a crazy weekend in the kitchen and restaurant floor, these Monday cleaning sessions don’t sound like the most glamorous time; however, Chef Siegmund’s team never skips out.
Once Chef attended a trade show where he came across a little yellow rubber ducky, wearing a white chef’s tote and jacket, with a whisk and coffee mug. His immediate thought, “That’s cute”. Chef knew he could use this rubber duck in one way or another. It wasn’t before long that this cute little ducky became known as “The Cleaning Duck”.
Every Monday before the crew arrives, Chef finds the perfect hiding place for his little friend. His rule is that cleaning doesn’t end until the The Cleaning Duck’s been found. This creates a fun motive for the team, encouraging them to work together and find the duck. Ryan Brown, the Chef De Partie, uses the duck to follow Chef’s example.
“As a manager, the duck teaches me to think like Chef and what he is looking for, without him having to deal with the demand of training me daily. It shows me where to look for certain things, and how to guide my employees when he is not here.” Said Brown. ” It seems ridiculous and simple, but it works.”
Chef Siegmund takes pride in his kitchen. His goal is to give each customer the best experience possible. He makes sure his team is aware of the importance of sanitation and cleanliness, and that it’s the first key in running a successful restaurant. He is very proud of the family it has help build. The duck helps motivate their spirits when it comes to tedious chores, and brings the whole kitchen together.
To finish off the day, all employees will gather around the bar together for lunch and enjoy The Price is Right, Family Feud or Jeopardy.
The Cleaning Duck simply makes it fun.