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Cultural Identity and Entrepreneur Role of Chefs in Managing a Commercial Restaurant

Info: 16022 words (64 pages) Dissertation
Published: 12th Nov 2021

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Tagged: Cultural StudiesEntrepreneurHospitality

Dissertation Title:

The cultural identity and entrepreneur role of chef’s in managing a commercial restaurant. A comparative study on different hierarchal chefs in India.


The following project is based on the cultural identity and entrepreneur role of chef’s in managing a commercial restaurant. The idea behind this research is to understand the importance and role of different ideologies and concepts of cultural identity and entrepreneurial role of chefs in the hospitality industry with the help of a comparative study on the ideologies and beliefs of different hierarchal chefs in India. The study adopts a qualitative research method by conducting semi-structured interviews on seven participants out of which one will be a pilot interview. The project uses an Ideographic approach to explore and understand the importance of cultural identity and entrepreneurial role of chefs in managing a commercial restaurant in India. In order to gain a rich and in-depth understanding of culture, identity and entrepreneurship the theories will be linked to the ideologies of a chef and will be analyzed using a qualitative methodology.



The hospitality industry is an eccentric industry which falls under the service sector and constitutes of many departments. The food and beverage department is a crucial revenue generating department in the hospitality sector as their selling point is the necessity of a human being which is food. The kitchen department handles the food production operations which is managed by the chef. The chef being an individual who is responsible for the quality of output produced by the kitchen, managing the finances of the kitchen and to help maintain the other chefs work harder and achieve their goals. The importance of this research is to understand the culture of a chef and the kitchen which then can be subjectified to the identity of a chef and the entrepreneurial skills required while managing a commercial kitchen. Factors like occupational stress, commitment and retention will also be analysed to further to deduct the findings. The following research will help deduct the theory behind culture, identity, and entrepreneurship. The research project will use the help of semi structured interviews, conducted with

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this research is to establish the importance of culture, identity and entrepreneurial role of chefs, when it comes to managing a commercial kitchen

  • To help understand the functions of a chef in a commercial kitchen and the historic influences of chefs leading to the present-day scenario of chefs in India
  • Understanding the theory of organisational culture leading to occupational culture which is then linked to the culture of a chef.
  • To identify the theory behind entrepreneurship leading to further deduction of entrepreneurial Identity and entrepreneurial cognition in retrospect to a chef.
  • To evaluate the theory behind social identity and linking it to occupational stress, commitment, and job retention.
  • The theory will be deducted using an explorative method to understand what formulate the culture and identity of a chef.

Proceeding Chapters

The first chapter helps the reader understand briefly on what each chapter will help showcase, supported by primary aims and objectives of this research project.

Following the introduction is the second chapter, the literature review which briefly highlights the hospitality industry and the role of chefs in the hospitality industry. The historical influence of a chef will also be discussed following the present-day role of chefs in Indian. The literature review will also deduct and link the theory behind culture, entrepreneurship and identity in retrospect to a chef. The key issues will also be highlighted in the literature review leading to a documented table of what the interview questions are going to be, the theme behind the question and the reference where it is sourced from.

The third chapter will consist of the theory and explanation on the methodology of the research project. The first section will help understand the theory behind the philosophical consideration taken while choosing the appropriate methodology following a elaboration on the particular theory chosen for the research. The appropriate methods and techniques for this research will then be analysed using a pilot interview to help decode the process of an interview.

The fourth chapter will consist of tables that will analyse each question and the findings from the interview, the table will be followed by a brief on the findings linking it to the literature. The findings will further be analysed using implications which will help draw out the conclusion.

The fifth chapter consist of the references used for the research project in alphabetical order. The sixth chapter helps showcase the appendices which help elaborate more on the literature as well as the transcripts of the interview.


This research project is based on the is to establish the importance of culture, identity and entrepreneurial role of chefs, when it comes to managing a commercial kitchen in India. To help showcase the importance of culture and identity of a chef.



The hospitality industry falls by definition under the service industry. The task of the industry is to create shareholder wealth by servicing and satisfying the guest (Langhorn,2004). The segments that fall under the industry are hotels, restaurants, private clubs, managed food service provider, event planning and travel providers. The services offered are intangible or the perceived quality of the product purchased is impacted by the service method in which it was received (Kernbach and Schutte,2005). (Langhorn,2004, p22) also noted that “in the hospitality sector, the service provider is part of the product itself. For guests to be satisfied, they not only must believe that they have received a valuable service for their dollar, but also feel valued and respected by the workers providing the service”.

Chefs working in the Hospitality Industry

According to (Robinson and Beesley (2010, p24) twenty five percent of the tourism expenditure is attribute to the food and beverage sector within the hospitality industry. (Kivela and Crotts,2006) also state that the emerging body of tourism literature showcases the supremacy of food service to broaden the guests experience whether be it a hotel and resort or restaurants. “Moreover, as a cultural artefact, food is fundamental to destination imaging as well as a maturing niche tourism market in its own right” (Hall and Sharples, 2003).

Based on the above literature it helps decode that the food service operation is a very crucial part of any organisation, for example, restaurants and hotels. The food service operations are not possible without the chefs who are responsible for the outcomes that are achieved in the kitchen. According to (Dornenburg,2003, pp193,194) the chef has many responsibilities in the kitchen from ensuring that the restaurant functions smoothly, to managing and working directly with the culinary staff.

The hierarchy of chefs is also very crucial while operating a food service operation as it helps give a structure to the highly symmetrical functions of the culinary staff. According to (Morgan,2006, pp3) a chef is recognized for his creation of food which helps display the creativity and portrays an expression of art in its own right. An individual who is able to create and guide the creation of cuisine at a high level of proficiency and profitability is known as chef. (Morgan,2006, pp4) quoted that, “The chef holds one of the highest positions of trust in our society. Think of it, Other than those in the medical field, the chef is the only professional whom we allow to prepare substances that we take into our bodies. Not to put too much of a philosophical spin on it, but what the chef creates actually becomes part of us”.

The career of a chef encompasses four factors that are, relevant knowledge which refers not only knowing how to cook but also things like food safety and restaurant procedures. Sound appreciation for the quality of work and what your doing is the second factor, the third factor is organisational skill which display the well-running kitchen and efficiency of the organisation. The fourth is managing stress which is no doubt very high, as there is a high level of stress in a commercial kitchen, adapted from (Mondschein,2009, pp2). The two-critical features that help portray the personality of a chef are, first the gear or outfit of a chef and the second being the hierarchy or brigade system as known in the kitchen.

The brigade system of a kitchen

According to (Morgan, 2006, pp19) the brigade system was developed in the 1800s by the famous French chef Auguste Escoffier who laid the foundation and developed the brigade systems which is still used in commercial kitchens. This reorganization helps enlighten the kitchen which was divided into departments or stations, on the basis of food production adapted from (Gissslen,2011, pp8). The Brigade system is traditional in nature and is almost militaristic organisation of the kitchen referred from (Mondschein, 2009, pp4). (Morgan,2006, pp19) helps define and understand that, “in the culinary industry, the word chef does not mean cook. In French, chef means “chief” or “boss.” The title chef is used for those kitchen positions that carry some management or training responsibility and require a certain degree of skill and experience. A worker with no supervisory responsibilities is called a cook”. Figure 2.1 helps understand the managerial job titles in the brigade system and figure 2.2 helps illustrates the station chefs in the brigade system.

Executive Chef The manager in food establishment who handles, planning, costing, purchasing and scheduling.
Chef de cuisine or Chef Oversees food production for an entire establishment, who answers to the executive chef.
Sous chef Supervises kitchen employees and reports to chef de cuisine.
Working chef Chef in a smaller establishment who not only supervises other but has cooking responsibilities as well.

(Table 2.1) Adapted from (Morgan, 2006, pp19)

Sauce chef To prepare sauces, stews, appetizers, and sautéed food.
Fish chef To prepare fish dishes.
Vegetable chef To prepare vegetables, soups, starches, and eggs.
Roast chef To prepare Roasted and braised meats and their gravies.
Grill chef To prepare grilled, broiled and deep-fried dishes.
Pastry chef To prepare breads, pastry, and desserts.
Pantry chef To prepare cold foods, salads, and dressings.
Swing chef To work where ever needed

(Table 2.2) Adapted from (Morgan, 2006, pp20)

History of chefs from Nouvelle cuisine to the 21st century cuisine

According to (Gisslen,2011, pp2) “The value of history is that it helps us understand the present and the future. In food service, knowledge of our professional heritage helps us see why we do things as we do, how our cooking techniques have been developed and refined, and how we can continue to develop and innovate in the years ahead”. The work done by chefs hundreds of years ago, still has its importance in the modern-day era of cooking as its their result of work done which reflects on the present-day food production sector. (Gisslen,2011, pp2) also says that cooking is as much science as its art and that cooking rules are not based on arbitrary but rather based on understanding of how different food reacts when heated in various ways and when combined in various proportion.

Innovation, experimentation, and challenging old ideas can still be done, by taking advantage of the work collected before. The history of modern cookery begins in France in time of the French revolution which began in1789, before which the chefs were only employed in the houses of the French nobility. During the end of the revolution and monarchy the chefs were suddenly out of jobs and some started opening restaurants around Paris. The government also abolished the guild and allowed restaurants and Inns to serve dinner reflecting the talent and creativity of their very own chefs rather relying on caters to provide food, referred from (Gisslen,2011, pp2) and (Gillespie,1994, pp20).

The other factor that help change the organisation of the kitchen was the stove, this gave cooks to change the heat and make it more controllable. This factor also led to dividing the kitchen into three departments which were the meat chef who worked with the rotisserie, the pastry chef who worker with the oven and the chef de cuisine who worked with the stove and reported to the head of the kitchen referred from (Gisslen,2011, pp2) and (Gillespie,1994, pp20). The three chefs that left their mark on the food production department of restaurants and hotels, who also changed the perception of people about chefs and displayed everlasting techniques and skills and started the ear of nouvelle cuisine were Marie-Antoine Carême, Georges-Auguste Escoffier and Fernand Point.

According to (Gisslen,2011, pp3) and (Morgan,2006, pp9) The world of cooking changed completely in the 1700s, this was the first time a difference between home cooking and professional cooking was laid down. Marie-Antoine Carême (1784-1833) dedicated all of his career to refining and organising culinary skills and techniques, his books also contained the first systematic account of cooking principles as well as recipes and menu engineering. He laid the foundation to modern cooking from the medieval period in which he invented dishes using, two principles which were lightness and simplicity. He introduced techniques of enhancing flavours and highlighting the dish using presentation as well as organising culinary techniques. He was known as the first celebrity chef.

Derived from (Gisslen,2011, pp3) it was Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935) legacy cannot be forgotten as he helped break down the old tradition of cooking and made changes in cooking sauce and make them more light on the palate which gave rise to the new cuisine known as nouvelle. Escoffier helped laying down the brigade system which is practiced till this date in commercial restaurants, refer to figure 2.1 and 2.2. Escoffier also made simplifications of classical cuisine and menu. He made the kitchen less confusing and gave order to the structure of the system. The third crucial chef whose part help lead into modern cuisine or now known as nouvelle cuisine was Fernand Point (1897-1955) he is regarded as the father of contemporary gastrosophy now known as gastronomy. He helped break down the professional secrecy amongst chefs and viewing such behaviour as generating sterility. Figure 2.3 displays the hysterographically route of descent from leaders from the French revolution to the beginning of the nouvelle cuisine adapted from (Gillsepie,1994, pp20)

(Figure 2.3) Adapted from (Gillsepie,1994, pp20).

Famous Indian chefs culture and philosophy on food

According to (Gill,2012, pp37) Indian cuisine helps reflect the rich five-hundred-year-old history of intermingling of various communities and cultures which led to the diverse regional cuisine and its flavours. India has been invaded by the Mughals, British and Portuguese which further led to the variety of Indian cooking as well as techniques. This has fusion of cuisine and cultures has led to what Indian cuisine is today. According to (Aahar,2017, pp1) The Indian food industry is currently valued at 39.71 billion dollars, and is said to increase by the year 2018. Indian food has also migrated over the years and spread Indian culinary traditions around the world referred from (Gill,2012, pp37).

Chef Hemant Oberoi – He is the cooperate chef of the Taj hotel group and Grand master chef at Varq restaurant Delhi. He is the chef who introduced various niche cuisines to the Indian palate adapted from (Lewis,2011, pp95). According to (Bawa,2014 pp72, 74, 76) Oberoi believes that the perfect example of fine dining in an Indian restaurant should have an International appeal to it. He also says that it’s important for Indian chefs to know the basics of Indian cooking first and then experiment with different ingredients to create innovative dishes. He believes that the best cooking style is to have patience to treat food ingredients with the same generosity as you treat the guest in the hotel. He also believes that the culinary tourism of India is going through a huge expansion in terms of, people having disposable income and that Indians are exploring new countries and cuisines which widen their horizon.

Chef Manish Mahrotra – He is the executive chef of the Indian accent restaurant Delhi, he believes that the last few years of the Indian food industry has seen extensive use of international ingredients and gourmet standards which has led to the usage of new produce and create new dishes. Mahrotra believes that the Indian food industry is changing an adapting new standers of restaurant service, enhancing the ambience to create and experience and produce superlative service to create something different. He strongly argues that the traditional Indian cookery cannot be changed but has to be used as a benchmark to change the perception of people around the world, that Indian food is not only chicken tikka and naan bread but a whole array of dishes. Adapted from (Bawa,2014 pp73, 75, 77)

Chef Atul Kochhar –  The first Indian chef of his generation to be awarded a Michelin star for his restaurant Tamarind in Mayfair, London. He achieved his second Michelin star for his restaurant Benares in Berkeley square London. Born in Indian, chef Kochhar believes in elevating and refining Indian food by recreating a fine dining experience without losing out on the essential character of Indian food adapted from (Obesession,2017, pp1). According to the (Telegraph,2017) his food is sensational and have raved about quality of ingredients and also have gone ahead by naming him “the spice artist”.

Chef Vikas Khanna – He is an award-winning Michelin starred Indian chef and restaurateur and celebrity television chef. Khannas recipes showcase the versatility and simplicity of Indian cuisine and also help portray the importance of ingredients according to the season. His mantra of “flavour first” helps him elevate even the most humble ingredients. His cooking also reflects on his memories that have influenced him, he believes in vibrant flavours of the food. Adapted from (Khanna, 2013, pp1).


There are many definitions of the concept called entrepreneurship, according to (Okpara,2000) entrepreneurship is the willingness and ability of an individual to enterprise successfully based on the identifiable opportunities. According to (Nwachukwu,1990) entrepreneurship is a process of seeing and evaluating business opportunities, gathering the necessary resources to take advantage of them and initiate appropriate action to ensure success.  After analysing the definitions, it helps summarise that entrepreneurship is a function which involves the exploitation of opportunities which exist with the market.

Entrepreneurial Identification

According to (Markowska, Hathrel, Brundin and Roan,2015, pp216) “Individuals experience the world through emotional and cognitive processes and they make sense of their experiences by constructing self-stories of who they are, how they feel, and how they act”. This paper argues that development of an entrepreneurial identity depends on a positive attitude or perception of an entrepreneurship as well as positive feelings about being and entrepreneur and that emotions play a central role in entrepreneurial process and performance. The paper also regards “that despite the growing recognition within the entrepreneurship field of the centrality of emotions in entrepreneurialism, little attention has been given to the potential function of emotion in the development of an entrepreneurial identity or in the enactment of entrepreneurial role”.

Entrepreneurial Identity

(Ashforth and Sluss,2008, pp807) argues that “identity (what something is) and identification (the extent to which one includes that identity as a partial definition of self) inform how individuals think, feel, and act”. According to (Markowska, Hathrel, Brundin and Roan,2015, pp218) entrepreneurial identity is a growing platform of research, which is commonly used to refer to the construction of identity of an individual being an entrepreneur within an existing established social condition. Much of the research done on identity tends to focus on an individual’s identity as well as it gives importance to the goals an individual wants to achieve. Whereas the entrepreneurial identity tends to focus on the self-achieved desired outcomes such as gaining access to resources the desire to complete as well as financially achieve their goals. According to (Down,2006, pp456) entrepreneurial identity is a role of an identity created by individual in the process of evaluating the organisation. According to (Markowska, Hathrel, Brundin and Roan,2015, pp218) an entrepreneur is perceived as encompassing a specific role in the organisation. Entrepreneurial identity helps give light on constructive factors such as attaining specific goals, achieving financial support and the create a high positive self-esteem, which leads to understand that the entrepreneurial identity helps construct an individual in a desirable way.

Entrepreneurial cognition

 According to (Tipu and Arain,2010, pp535) “Entrepreneurship researchers are becoming increasingly interested in psychological aspects in order to fully understand entrepreneurial behaviour”. They also said that thinking should be considered as a critical component while speak about entrepreneurial behaviour. (Stone and Brush, 1996) speak about how an entrepreneur operates in an uncertain environment and makes decisions within the limited or insufficient information. (Mitchell,2002, pp378) defined entrepreneurial cognition as “the knowledge structures that people use to make assessments, judgments, or decisions involving opportunity evaluation, venture creation, and growth.”

Entrepreneurship role of a Chef

According to (Hemmington,2008, pp34), customers do not dine at a restaurant to buy the service delivery, but instead buy the memories and service experience that is provided by the staff. Such an experience needs to be created by the vision and philosophy of the chef-owner, who is also the entrepreneur, hence the reputation and consequential criticism also needs to be tolerated by the entrepreneur adapted from (Dornenburg and page, 2003, pp193).  As mentioned by (Balazs, 2002, pp250) an entrepreneur has strong leadership skills and a clear vision. These are crucial qualities that a chef must also possess to ensure the success of his venture. Chefs need to be inspirational towards their peers and staff and set an example for the quality of work required, as it is the entrepreneur who sets the corporate culture of the environment. (Balazs, 2002, pp250) has stated that a chef is not only a cook, but his job profile demands him to be a businessman as well. Collecting capital and budgeting of the produce is one such factor that defines a chef’s entrepreneurial role. As the founder of the restaurant, he must also be in charge of recruiting and training the labour and managing the salaries of the workforce. As mentioned earlier by (Tipu and Arain,2010, pp535) the individual cognitive identity of a chef is what sets his business apart from others and is the method for success. The thinking capacity and behaviour that an entrepreneur possesses is similar to that of a chef’s as they are made to make critical decisions in uncertain environments for their business. This common identity, of a chef and entrepreneur, helps them achieve their goal of attaining profits through a systematic method, created by them in their organization. (Markowska, Hathrel, Brundin and Roan,2015, pp216).

Occupational culture

Theory of Occupational culture

According to (Cameron, Gore, Desombre and Riley, 1999, p226) the definition of culture can be described as “The shared philosophies, ideologies, values, assumption, beliefs, expectations, attitudes and norms that knit a community together is called culture”. (Ogbanna,1996, p93) describes occupational culture as “the interweaving o to f the individual into a community and the collective programme of the mind that distinguishes members of known group from another”.

This definition can be put into the hospitality context by saying “the interweaving of the chef into a organisation and the collective programme of the mind that distinguish a chef of a known company from another. According to (Meek,1988, p453) the concept of culture can be broken down into six generic components, organisational culture, corporate culture, occupational culture, industry culture, national culture and consumer culture. (Ogbonna and Harris,2002, pp 35 to 36) help break down the complexity of culture in two systems which are synchronic and diachronic, the paper refers to synchronic being the organisational culture that is linked to the current business performance and the present functions and behaviour of the organization.

Diachronic on the other hand emphasises on the historic domain or the previous cultures of the organization comparing it from the past to the present changes (Byrne, 1992). The cultural concept of ‘is’ and ‘has’ also portrays an important phenomenon in the organization. (Smircich, 1983, 339 to 358) describes this phenomenon as something an organization is based on (is) and something an organization consists of (has), which is manageable). According to (Bryne, 1992) culture plays a very important role in an organisation in the way of “the corporate landscape is shifting fast: competition becoming increasingly global, technology, developing quickly and the workforce changing profoundly”.

According to (Schein,1983, p14) in order to adapt and integrate, externally and internally, organisational culture has created a basic pattern for groups to invent, develop and discover as a coping mechanism. Adapted from (Cameron,1999, p230) culture is formed by individualistic thinking that may or may not be shared by everyone in an organisation. Sub groups in the organisation for example chefs, raise potential for conflict when they form their own sub-cultures

Organisational culture of Chefs

According to (Cameron, Desombre, Gore and Riley, 1999, p228) cooperation is an essential element required in the kitchen as teamwork is required to achieve the common goal. This initiated the brigade system that gave a set of jobs to be done to different people, without diminishing their wholesome value to the organization.  (Cameron, Gore, Desombre and Riley, 1999, p228) also describes that the structural factors of occupation culture consist of skill perfection, nature of the work, labour segmentation, relative status and social isolation. (Fine, 2008, p154) argues that through occupational rhetoric culture, chefs describe themselves as either quasi-artists or quasi-professionals, in other words also known as manual worker or business persons.

This brings a sense of personal identity to any worker without ignoring the status and contribution to the organisation adapted from (Cameron, Desombre, Gore and Riley, 1999, p228). In the case of chefs, such types of differentials encourage sub-cultures to develop due to boundaries caused by statuses. Such an occupational culture is known as a large labour market as a set of skills required to be a cook is not unique and losses its power to confine and restrict workers referred from (Cameron, Desombre, Gore and Riley, 1999, p228). According to (Smircich, 1983, 339 to 358) “culture is something an organisation is not just something that it just has”.

Likewise, in a kitchen, the chef has to function within the culture boundary and formative norms set by the organisation. During times of recession, de-skilling is a phenomenon that takes place in the way of demotivating and lowering the value of a cook. A chef begins to produce a lower quality output as his value has then decreased adapted from (Lewin, 1951, p71). According to (Riley,1981) and (Chivers,1973) explain that if such change is not adapted well by the chefs, then their mental transaction decreases if they are not re-skilled or motivated by the organisation. Hence, (Davis,1992) explains that cultural adaptation is a challenge for any organisation and needs to be maintained through occupational management at every level of sub groups

Occupational Stress in the profession of a chef

According to (Smith and Carroll, 2006, p32) occupational stress in the field of hospitality is based on the appraisal of an individual and on the coping and manging strategies one can draw from. The chefs in the hospitality industry are affected the most by occupational stress compared to the other groups, as the profession of a chef consists long working hours and often working overtime. (Smith and Carroll,2006, p33) also highlight dissatisfaction with the salary and behaviour by supervisors lead to important factors towards stress followed closely by the working hours and pressure. (Gibbons and Gibbons, 2007, p33) highlight factors like physical violence and psychological abuse being part of the kitchen.

The two factors leading to stress in the kitchen can be divided into two reasons the first being, physical which consist of crowded environment, noisy atmosphere and the high amount of heat. The second being phycological which consist of military like hierarchy of authority, which in place portrays the notion of a head chef whose behaviours to enhance performance of subordinates can be aggressive as it helps motivate them. (Maslach, 1993, p. 76) defines some phenomena called burnout which he explains as “a psychological syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced personal achievement that can occur among individuals who work with other people”. The effects of a burnout show on a chef when he is indulging in alcohol, high amount of caffeine and drugs.

Commitment and retention of chefs

According to (Becker, 1960 ,p32) the term commitment helps describe and analyse both an individual and organisational commitment. The term commitment can also be used as descriptive concept to mark out forms of actions which help describe a characteristic of an individual or a group. According to (Mowday, Steers and Porter, 1979, p 225), behavioural commitment is when an employee acts or performs in a way that shows his attachment towards the organization, for example, if absenteeism is looked down upon in the kitchen, then the worker with high commitment would abstain from it as a behavioural move. Attitudinal commitment is similar as it is explained as when the norms and ethical values of the worker are aligned with the organization. According to (Cameron, 2001, p2) chefs fall under the intra-organisational group which has its very own environment in which there are limits as to how much change on which only management can impose. (Mowday, Steers and Porter, 1979, p 225) the concept of commitment extends to stability as, chefs need to feel as sense of security in their workplace in order to work in the right frame of mind. Stability is also one such factor that influences the level of job satisfaction that is incremental, as it is never constant. If a chef is satisfied with his job he would work with a positive attitude and would be committed to the culture of the organisation.

Social Identity

Social Identity theory

The status of chefs has risen and public interest in food (eating, cooking, etc.) has grown (Fine, 2009; Johnston & Baumann, 2010). Additionally, employment in personal and domestic services has expanded, and top earners within an increasingly unequal economy are fuelling a demand for luxury services like in the hospitality industry. Research on the culinary profession has illustrated the historical roots and contemporary manifestations of culture, behaviour, and class inequalities in food work (Bartholomew & Garey, 1996).  The work-identity relationship is a fundamental part of an individual’s self-image as argued by (Saunders,1981) the question “who am I?” is most frequently understood in terms of occupational roles and the working environment, identity theory (e.g., Burke 1980, Turner 1978) and social identity theory (e.g., Hogg and Abrams 1988; Tajfel andTurner et al. 1987) are two perspectives on the social basis of the self-concept and on the nature of normative behaviour.

These two perspectives have many similarities. Both address the social nature of self as constituted by society. Both regard the self as differentiated into multiple identities that reside in circumscribed practices (e.g., norms, roles. Identity theory (Burke,1980) explains social behaviour in terms of the reciprocal relations between self and society. According to social identity theory, a person’s self-esteem and self-worth is largely based upon status/respect judgments. (Tyler,1999) suggests that people become committed to their organization in large degree because the organization bolsters their self-image. He believed that judgments concerning one’s status in social groups are strongly related to measures of self-esteem associated with the social self.

Chef’s identity

A focus on the job of chef is instructive in this respect because of what (Fine,1996) refers to as the ambiguous nature of cooking, ambiguous in terms of the status and meaning of the job within society. Cooking as a job can mean different things and its status varies according to the type of cooking involved, for example school meals or restaurant cuisine. Even the job title is a symbolically charged nomenclature; chef denotes a higher status than cook for instance. Whereas between chefs “cook” is not a derogatory term but rather one of praise, a compliment.

The social standing of chefs has risen significantly since the days of Orwell and particularly since the emergence of nouvelle cuisine and the democratization of gastronomy (Ladenis, 1997, p193). The image of the chef has shifted from that of “a simple, humble person, someone with little ambition, a plodding, shuffling body who did the dirty work”, to that of an artist or star performing for an audience (Ladenis, 1997, p. 194).

Consequently, despite their recently elevated position (Fine, 2009), chefs experience status insecurities and “have to constantly engage in boundary work to address who exactly is a chef and whose cooking should be valued” (Harris & Giuffre, 2015,). In fact, the rise of visibility, prestige, and culinary school enrollment may have heightened tensions around the question of who can call oneself a chef (Harris & Giuffre, 2015; Rousseau, 2012; Ruhlman, 2006; Webley, 2011). Hierarchies of gender, race, and class shape these boundaries. Starting in the 18th and 19th centuries, male chefs (many of whom worked in royal or aristocratic households) sought to professionalize by distinguishing their work from feminine, domestic, and amateur cooking. Women were even excluded from early guilds and cooking schools (Cooper, 1998; Parkhurst Ferguson, 2004; Trubek, 2000). Domestic workers’ cooking, though sometimes celebrated, has never been classified as fine dining, and status evaluations within the profession are largely based on qualities typically associated with men and masculinity (Parkhurst Ferguson, 2004; Ridgeway, 2011; Sharpless, 2010).

Artistry, conceptualized by some as the ability to create without regard to external pressures (Abbott, 1981; Bourdieu, 1993) or the freedom to break from tradition (Harris & Giuffre, 2015), is a core source of status. Technical proficiency, physical and emotional toughness, and leadership are also criteria central to determining whose cooking should be valued (Fine, 1996; Harris & Giuffre, 2015; Lane, 2010; Leschziner, 2015). These divisions and hierarchies have had a lasting impact on the culinary profession.

For one, a chef, or literally “chief,” is most commonly defined with reference to his/her roles in a “professional” (i.e., restaurant) kitchen managing the kitchen and its staff and controlling its creative production (Fine, 1996; Harris & Giuffre, 2015). This environment resembles a highly organized, rigidly hierarchical, tightly knit community where individuals are expected to learn and abide by the rules and behavioural norms of the group (Wood, 1997).

Key Issues

In today’s time, a chef’s job is not only to cook food, but also to possess knowledge about food safety, managerial procedures, accounting, and budgeting (Mondschein,2009, p2). Over the years, the hierarchy of the kitchen has evolved into the brigade’s system which has cleared distinctions for duty and responsibilities assigned to each chef (Mondschein,2009, p3). Careme and Escoffier laid the foundation and set a legacy that has been imbibed by chefs today and their practices are still followed in kitchens (Gisslen,2011, p3). (Gill,2012, p37) has mentioned the magnitude and impact that the rich Indian culinary history has on the world. Four Indian chefs that have made a mark in the global culinary industry have been highlighted to understand the importance and evolution of the philosophy of Indian cuisine referred from (lewis,2011, p95)

Entrepreneurial identification is attribute that distinguishes the ethos and cognitive process of a chef adapted from (Markowska, Hathrel, Brundin and Roan, 2015, p216). A chef possesses similar qualities to an entrepreneur as they both require the personality of a visionary and leader (Balazs,2002, p250). The cognitive capacity and behaviour towards making uncertain decisions in regards to financing and training of the workforce, is the factor that leads to success Markowska, Hathrel, Brundin and Roan, 2015, p216). According to (Hemmington, 2008, p34), It is the service experience created by the entrepreneur or chef-owner that is bought by the customer.

The complexity of culture can be broken down and understood from the perspective of a chef considering the external and internal factors that play a role in altering his performance according (Meek,1998, p453). According to (Ogbonna and Harris, 2002, p35 to 36) synchronic and diachronic cultures can be related to the past and present cultural systems of chefs and the evolution, changes and challenges faced by this occupation can be studied. As mention by (Fine,2008, p154), chefs can either be known quasi-artist or quasi-professionals according to the occupational rhetoric culture. (Riley,1981) explains the concept of de-skilling of chefs and the importance of adapting to change.

According to (Maslach,1993, p76) an emotional exhaustion and de-personalisation as psychological factor is termed as burn out. This is one of the biggest factors that leads to the formation` of stress if copping an adapting strategy are not mentioned by chefs adapted form (Gibbons and Gibbons, 2007, p33). In the field hospitality, chefs face stress in the form of overtime shifts and long hours in the heat adapted from (Smith and Carroll, 2006, p33). Positive forms of actions that describe and characteristic of an individual can be explained through the term commitment (Becker,1969, p32). Attitudinal and behavioural commitment is explained by (Cameron,2001, p2) as the oneness of values, beliefs and goals shared by the individual and the organisation.

Interview Questions

Qualitative question Literature referred from  Theme Reference


Q 1

According to you what is the position of a chef in today’s Indian society?

Probe – can you please elaborate a little more

Promt – how important is the role of a chef in Indian society today

(Morgan,2006, pp4) quoted that, “The chef holds one of the highest positions of trust in our society. Think of it, Other than those in the medical field, the chef is the only professional whom we allow to prepare substances that we take into our bodies. Not to put too much of a philosophical spin on it, but what the chef creates actually becomes part of us” Philosophy of a indian chef



Helps understand the identity of a chef in India

(Morgan,2006, pp4)
As a chef, do you identify yourself as an artist or businessman?


Probe –  can you give reasons

Promt- according to you, in a professional sense do you see creation of cooking as an art or business

(Balazs, 2002, pp250) has stated that a chef is not only a cook, but his job profile demands him to be a businessman as well. Collecting capital and budgeting of the produce is one such factor that defines a chef’s entrepreneurial role.



(Fine, 2008, p154) argues that through occupational rhetoric culture, chefs describe themselves as either quasi-artists or quasi-professionals, in other words also known as manual worker or business persons.




Occupational culture

(Balazs, 2002, pp250)



(Fine, 2008, p154)

What factors motivate and demotivate you in a commercial kitchen? During times of recession, de-skilling is a phenomenon that takes place in the way of demotivating and lowering the value of a cook. A chef begins to produce a lower quality output as his value has then decreased adapted from (Lewin, 1951, p71). According to (Riley,1981) and (Chivers,1973) explain that if such change is not adapted well by the chefs, then their mental transaction decreases if they are not re-skilled or motivated by the organisation. Occupational culture (Lewin, 1951, p71)


(Riley,1981) (Chivers,1973)

According to you what physical and psychological factors play a role leading to stress in a commercial kitchen


Promt – what physical and emotional factors induce stress in your professions.

 (Gibbons and Gibbons, 2007, p33) highlight factors like physical violence and psychological abuse being part of the kitchen. Occupational stress (Gibbons and Gibbons, 2007, p33)
What do you think is the link between job security and quality output for a chef?


Promt – do you think that your performance is reflected by the job security provided.

(Mowday, Steers and Porter, 1979, p 225) the concept of commitment extends to stability as, chefs need to feel as sense of security in their workplace in order to work in the right frame of mind. Stability is also one such factor that influences the level of job satisfaction that is incremental, as it is never constant. Occupational commitment (Mowday, Steers and Porter, 1979, p 225)
Do you feel that racial and status hierarchies form boundaries for chefs working in a commercial kitchen?


Promt- do you feel these factors can create differences amongst chefs in a commercial kitchen

Consequently, despite their recently elevated position (Fine, 2009), chefs experience status insecurities and “have to constantly engage in boundary work to address who exactly is a chef and whose cooking should be valued” (Harris & Giuffre, 2015,). Identity theory (Fine,2009)



(Harris & Giuffre, 2015,)


The chapter above help elaborate on the theory behind culture, identity and entrepreneurship with linking the each respectfully to a chef. The historic influence and the modern-day chefs in India are also highlighted with appropriate examples. The key issues are drawn out to help the reader understand the issues discussed in each section. The question going to be asked in the interview are sourced from the above literature and the theme is highlighted. The following chapter will help the reader understand on what and why the particular methodology is chosen to get optimum results in this research.



This Chapter aims to give a clear understanding of research philosophy, approaches and methods, followed by a discussion on methodological appropriateness and the methods and techniques intent to achieve the research aims and objectives.

Philosophical Considerations

According to (Saunders2007, pp.101) “research philosophy invariably relates to the nature of knowledge as well as the development of knowledge”. Therefore, the researcher wants to explore and appreciate the measures to improve the customer service employing the social-constructionism approach. Johnson and Clark (2006) state “business and management researchers need to be aware of the philosophical commitments made”, the choices made are not only important with regards to research strategy but also how the research topic is understood (Saunders et al, 2012. p.128). The ‘research onion’ illustrates possible research pathways which can be used to structurally format the methodological research process.  Saunders et al. (2007 p. 610) stated that the, “Research strategy is general plan of how the researcher will go about answering the research question. It will contain clear objectives, specify the sources from which you intend to collect data and consider the constraints you will inevitably have”.

(Saunders et al, 2012. p.128) Research onion diagram

Positivism vs. Interpretivism

As a philosophy, positivism adheres to the view that only “factual” knowledge gained through observation (the senses), including measurement, is trustworthy. In positivism studies the role of the researcher is limited to data collection and interpretation through objective approach and the research findings are usually observable and quantifiable. Positivism depends on quantifiable observations that lead themselves to statistical analysis. It has been noted that “as a philosophy, positivism is in accordance with the empiricist view that knowledge stems from human experience. It has an atomistic, ontological view of the world as comprising discrete, observable elements and events that interact in an observable, determined and regular manner” (Brotherton, 2008.).

Interpretivism, also known as interpretivist involves researchers to interpret elements of the study, thus interpretivism integrates human interest into a study.(Saunders et al, 2012). Accordingly, “interpretive researchers assume that access to reality (given or socially constructed) is only through social constructions such as language, consciousness, shared meanings, and instruments”. Development of interpretivist philosophy is based on the critique of positivism in social sciences. Interpretivism is “associated with the philosophical position of idealism, and is used to group together diverse approaches, including social constructivism, phenomenology and hermeneutics; approaches that reject the objectivist view that meaning resides within the world independently of consciousness” (Brotherton, 2008). It argues that the positivist approach “may not be accurate in terms of adequately explaining real-world phenomena” therefore, this approach actively pursues getting to the core of the research question (Brotherton, 2008. pp.36-37).

Deductive vs. Inductive Research

There are mainly two kinds of research approaches deductive and inductive. Understanding to these approaches is essential to increase the efficiency of the research study. Both the approaches are completely different from each other. Deductive research approach is associated with the positivism paradigm, whereas inductive research approach is associated with interpretivism.

Deductive research approach allows the research to establish a hypothesis by using theory. Variety of data and information is collected by the researcher to confirm or reject the hypothesis to resolve issue (Gill and Johnson 2010. On the other hand, inductive approach is totally reverse form deductive approach. The deductive research approach is based on the general idea to reach at the specific situation and it is linked with the positivism paradigm, whereas, inductive approach works over a specific idea to generalize the situation as per the research topic, which is linked with the interpretivism paradigm (Crowther and Lancaster 2009). Saunders et al (2007) has asserted that by using both approaches it is very easy to estimate a logical and correct result but it is necessary for the research to combined correct piece of these approaches.

Inductive approach is highly associated with the interpretivism philosophy. Inductive approach allows the researcher to provide subjective reasoning with the help of various real life examples (Ridenour, Benz and Newman 2008). Deductive approach is linked with the positivism philosophy, which include hypothesis to prove assumptions. In this kind of approach it is necessary for the researcher to be general, but this research issue is specific and related to the development of human resources in the organization (Ritchie and Lewis 2003). Inductive research is a flexible approach because there is no requirement of pre-determined theory to collect data and information. The researcher uses observe data and facts to reach at tentative hypothesis and define a theory as per the research problem. This helps the research to give inductive arguments (Mertens 2008).

Quantitative vs. Qualitative data

Quantitative and qualitative research programs claim different philosophical perspectives, and correspondingly, work with different underlying assumptions. Quantitative research identifies with positivism, which, presented by (Gall, Borg, 1996), is the belief “ that physical and social reality is independent of those who observe it” . Quantitative researchers are concerned with an objective reality that is “out there to be discovered” (Krathwohl, 1998) and the researcher is independent of that which is being researched (Creswell, 1994).

Accordingly, in qualitative research, the researcher identifies with post positivism which offers “that social reality is constructed and it is constructed differently by different individuals” (Gall, et al., 1996, p.19).  They would assume that social reality is constructed by the participants in it and that social reality is continuously constructed in local situations (Gall, Gall & Borg, 1999). Qualitative researchers are concerned with how individuals perceive their world (Krathwohl, 1998) and these researchers interact with that which is being researched (Creswell, 1994).

Qualitative research is referred to as interpretive research by Erickson (1986) and he suggests that the term “qualitative” essentially carries the distinction of being non-quantitative. Denzin and Lincoln (1994) seem to agree as they explain that qualitative research can be viewed as a set of interpretive practices where no single practice has privilege over any other.  They claim that qualitative research includes constructivism, cultural studies, feminism, Marxism, and ethnic studies.

Quantitative data includes measurable data usually displayed numerically (Walliman, 2014. p.139). Mathematical procedures analyse the data collected, ranging from simple statistics such as counts or percentages to more complex statistical analysis (Walliman, 2014. p.139).  According to (Cohen ,1980), quantitative research is defined as social research that employs empirical methods and empirical statements. Moreover, Creswell (1994) has given a very concise definition of quantitative research as a type of research that is `explaining phenomena by collecting numerical data that are analysed using mathematically based methods (in particular statistics).’

Interview Method

In-depth interviews can be defined as a qualitative research technique which involves “conducting intensive individual interviews with a small number of respondents to explore their perspectives on a particular idea, program or situation” (Boyce and Neale, 2006, p.3). Interviews are particularly useful for getting the story behind a participant’s experiences. The interviewer can pursue in-depth information around the topic. Interviews may be useful as follow-up to certain respondents to questionnaires., to further investigate their responses McNamara,1999).  Advantages of interviews include possibilities of collecting detailed information about research questions.  Moreover, in interviews, researcher has direct control over the flow of primary data collection process and have a chance to clarify certain issues during the process is in need arises.  Disadvantages of interviews include longer time requirements compared to some of primary data collection methods and difficulties associated with arranging an appropriate time with perspective sample group members to conduct interviews. (Connaway and Powell, 2010)

Secondary and Primary Data

Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eye witness accounts, results of an experiment, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, and art objects. In the natural and social sciences, the results of an experiment or study are typically found in scholarly articles or papers delivered at conferences, so those articles and papers that present the original results are considered primary sources.A secondary source is something written about a primary source. Secondary sources include comments on, interpretations of, or discussions about the original material. You can think of secondary sources as second-hand information. If I tell you something, I am the primary source. If you tell someone else what I told you, you are the secondard source. Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that evaluate or criticize someone else’s original research.

Reliability and validity

Reliability is a concern every time a single observer is the source of data, because we have no certain guard against the impact of that observer’s subjectivity” (Babbie, 2010, p.158). According to Wilson (2010) reliability issues are most of the time closely associated with subjectivity and once a researcher adopts a subjective approach towards the study, then the level of reliability of the work is going to be compromised.

Validity of research can be explained as an extent at which requirements of scientific research method have been followed during the process of generating research findings. Oliver (2010) considers validity to be a compulsory requirement for all types of studies. There are different forms of research validity and main ones are specified by Cohen et al (2007) as content validity, criterion-related validity, construct validity, internal validity, external validity, concurrent validity and face validity.

Methodological appropriateness

Qualitative research allows investigators to develop a deeper understanding of a topic that can be obtained through quantitative research alone. Qualitative research uses methodologies such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, and direct observation so researchers can investigate the candidates. And their attitudes, preferences and beliefs. Qualitative research methods provide an opportunity for a systematic, in-depth evaluation of a question that may not be easily answered through quantitative methods. Furthermore, these methods can add to quantitative results through explanations and clarifications with the target population. (Silverman, 2011). Qualitative research provides valuable data for use in the design of a product—including data about user needs, behaviour patterns, and use cases. While quantitative research requires the standardization of data collection to allow statistical comparison, qualitative research requires flexibility, allowing you to respond to user data as it emerges during a session. Thus, qualitative research usually takes the form of either some form of naturalistic observation such as ethnography or structured interviews. In this case, a researcher must observe and document behaviours, opinions, patterns, needs, points, and other types of information. (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (p163, 2012) Hence, the qualitative method is ideal for this particular project, as the interview conducted would be helpful to gain information regarding the occupational culture and identity of chefs, from a chef’s point of view. (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (p163, 2012)

The interview method has many benefits as it is cost efficient and collects primary information directly from the interviewee. The interviewer also has complete control whilst choosing his suitable candidates for the interview in order to make it more authentic and relevant. This makes the answers highly reliable and dependable. In this particular interview, a set of six questions relating to identity and occupational culture of chefs would be asked in order to gain perspective on the role that the external and internal environment and culture has on shaping the identity of a chef. The answers would be recorded and studied in detail. A personal interview results in a broader and deeper insight into the minds of the participants, achieving a lot more data to analyse and interpret. The participants that will be interviewed would all be experienced and professional chefs and their answers would be of great value as they could give first hand insight and information regarding this topic. The interview method provides a comfortable situation as it is one on one and direct. The use of ‘prompts’ and ‘probes’ will be sparingly used to extract the appropriate answers required. The reliability and validity of this interview would be high and extremely dependable as the participants interviwed would be professional chefs and the questions are adapted from the literature review above which is further based and cited from published articles and books.

Methods and Techniques

The purpose of this project is to assess the ‘cultural identity and entrepreneur role of chefs in managing a commercial restaurant’. As the research is not quantitative in nature, there is no hypotheses to be proven, leaving room to opt for an explorative research method where the data collected is analysed and interpreted by the researcher to arrive upon a conclusion that is not predetermined. Hence, the interview method is best suited for this project and five chefs would be interviewed through the course of six direct questions over a telephone conversation, to gather information in depth about the role that culture plays in the life of a chef. This process of interpreting data is known as the inductive approach. The study is neither cross-sectional and nor is it longitudinal in nature and the data collection method would be qualitative as it is the primary data collection method. The questions will be based on the literature provided and hence will be reliable. Prompts and probes are techniques used by the interviewer to extract more valuable and appropriate information from the participant by hinting at when to emphasis and elaborate more in the answer or to explain the question briefly if unclear. This shall only be used if necessary and in a limited manner as it may interfere with the reliability and validity.


The above chapter help the reader understand the theory behind the particular methodology chosen and highlights the key methods and techniques going to use for the interview. The methodological appropriateness also allows the reader to understand on what areas and what the interview theme will be based on. The following chapter helps the showcase the data analysis, implications and the conclusion which will be drawn out from the interview



This chapter helps understand and reveal the data found through the semi-structured interviews completed with chefs from India (see appendix 6.1.2 for the transcription of the interview). The results from each question will be presented in a series of tables which help display the participant number as the interviews are based on anonymity, the key quotations from the transcriptions and the line number where the quotations are based. There will be a small paragraph below each table to help illustrate the key issues and points made in relation to the literature review and this will be later discussed and analysed further in (section 4.3) which is Implications. Section 4.4 will help conclude the entire research which will be based on the literature as well as the data analysed.

Data Findings

The semi-structured interviews have been transferred from audio recordings to transcripts which help allow the researcher to identify the key issues and the consistencies in the research and the inconsistencies in literature. For the study, there were six interviews conducted and there were six questions asked. The paragraph below each table will help link the key issues.

4.1. Question 1: According to you what is the position of a chef in today’s Indian society?

Participant                                                  Quotations Line Number
1 “because of the entire explosion of the food scene in the entire world because of many reality TV shows, like the concept of being a chef as a profession has really taken over so now a lot more people are actively pursuing it and yeah so its defiantly picking up, innovation has developed bringing new ideas, concepts” 6






2 “chef in today’s Indian society is he is responsible for the business also and at the same time he is responsible for the kitchen area also(.) So he needs to make sure that whatever is going on with the customer and for his business growth also, and goes as per the whatever the guest requires, the guest requirements need to be fulfilled” 84






3 “people are more like appreciating the work that art of the chefs around India and because of the TV shows and travel and everything its getting, people are getting aware about it”


“chefs who have studied abroad they are getting in new products inside in India”

“They talk to the chef and increase their own knowledge, they see how the thing are done that’s how the chefs help the people and that’s basically how the role is”










4 “In the Indian society people still confuse the chef and cook so the job is still looked down upon and it only seems only fit for belonging to the lower strata of the society which is not very true, so I think people in the Indian society need to open their minds as to the job and give it more respect” 203






5 “today’s society in India chefs are still at the bottom of the food chain and are pretty much looked down upon”


“so people are influenced by what they see on television and since shows like master chef began that was the first step into making like celebrity chefs into stars and all that and now that there are restaurants named and known by their chefs instead of food in their names”








6 “becoming a chef is now respected because of the change that has happened in the past 17 years, the chef has started coming out and talking to customers and chefs have started loitering, voicing their opinions and acutely being able to do what they want to do, and chefs are being able to create their own menus and open their own restaurants” 309






Table 4.1 findings of question one

Question 1 in table (4.1) aims to understand the status, position, role and importance of chefs in India today. The connections made between the answers of participants 1,3 and 5 define the importance of television and how that influences the position of chef in the Indian society. Participant 4 and 5 argue about the image of chef being labelled as a cook in the Indian society whereas participant 6,3 and 2 helps decode the new involvement of chefs when it comes to guests. Participant 1 also focuses on innovation and bringing in new ideas and concepts to the industry by chefs which is supported by participant 3,5 and 6.

4.2. Question 2: As a chef, do you identify yourself as an artist or businessman?

Participant                                 Quotations Line Number
1 “I would like to say a little bit of both because like being a chef obviously has to be economically viable, first you have to be able to run profits to you know be a chef, but being a chef is also an expression of your individual creativity of your artistry” 14





2 “I identify myself as an artist and a businessman both, because the way I can give the dish to a customer and the way I can deal with him through the business, of how to make business and analyse service and area also” 94




3 “I would say for me personally I believe I am more of an artist than a business man because I’m more passionate about cooking”


“I would rather think about art than money”





4 “while my skills demonstrate the artistry, I think how I make decisions in my kitchen, run my kitchen and how my labor work is a team, demonstrates the businessman and how I evaluate my food cost and profit” 211




5 “I would think both because you have to be artist to do well in the kitchen because if you are not artistic enough then your food will be terrible and if you are not a businessman or businesswoman you won’t be able to handle the heat of the kitchen and the logistics that come with it” 260





6 “so for me personally you have to understand food to become a chef and an artist is someone who is going to be creative with that, only once you understand that a chef can be an artist or business man” 330




Table 4.2. findings of question two

Question 2 in table 4.2. helps understand whether the participants identify themselves as an artist of businessman. The connection between all the participant except participant 3 is that all of them identify themselves as a mixture of both an artist and businessman whereas participant 3 emphasises on art of cooking rather than finances.

4.3. Question 3: What factors motivate and demotivate you in a commercial kitchen?

Participant                                          Quotations Line Number
1 “passing on experience down the food chain is always a rewarding experience so when people learn from you and appreciate your work so that’s definitely a rewarding experience”


“as a chef in a restaurant food always has to be on point so yeah in that sense I guess that can be frustrating sometimes where you have to keep on repeating orders”

24                    25                        26


29                               30                                 31

2 “the motivation is when the entire kitchen works as a team and something great comes out”


“demotivating is when if we didn’t fulfil the requirement of the customer”

101                             102


104                             105

3 “the drive of cooking and like to do something creative and new every day, that’s the drive and motivation part”


“people working there who are not very educated and are doing the job for the heck of it”

164               165



4   “I feel the sense of responsibility would be the biggest motivating factor in a commercial kitchen for me and demotivating factor would be me being a woman in the industry(.) I feel the entire male domination and gender bias plays as a demotivation” 215             216                           217                      218
5 “motivation obviously comes from uhhh, if you are being recognised and if your food is appreciated and if you do grow higher in hierarchy”


“lady chefs are looked down upon and we are compared to the men and we have been told that we can’t do enough so that can be a demotivating factor”

267                       268


269                              270                               271

6 “someone coming to up to you and complimenting you or you know a person who eats your food and who has one bite of your food and tells their friends that this is the best food that I have eaten in a long time or this is extremely soul satisfying”


“especially in India, for a lot of chefs it could be the pay which could be demotivating because you feel that you put in so much of hard work, put in long hours but you are not paid well”

“budget constraints you don’t get man power so I think that is something that demotivates you”

“interference from the entrepreneur or the owner which could demotivate you”

“The awards that you get and the appreciation you get, the fame that comes with it so I think all that motivates you”

341             342             343


347                 348                           349

353                   354

356             357

359                 360

Table 4.3. findings of question three

Question 3 in table 4.3 discusses the factors that motivate or demotivate a chef in a commercial kitchen. A sense of appreciation and the process of teamwork are the highlighted motivational factors amongst most of the participants. According to Participant 5, recognition from peers and customers is highly encouraging as this is an interactive field of work with direct responses and feedback from guests. Participants 5 and 6 believe that there is a strong sense of male dominance in professional kitchens which can be demotivating and pressurising for female chefs. Participant 6 argues that budget constraints and interferences in business from owners is a demotivational factor.

4.4. Question 4:  According to you what physical and psychological factors play a role leading to stress in a commercial kitchen?

Participant                                                             Quotations Line number
1 “the physical stress is very high because your always on your feet the entire day, you’re working, cooking slicing and pealing so there is a huge physical element involved in cooking so because of that obviously, a physical stress will be there and psychologically you know even when as a chef like the food has to be perfect always you do not get a second chance for the customer, like you do not get a chance to make a second impression with the customer” 34                35                              36                            37                      38                        39
2 “that if you are physically fit then you can do so many things at a time, and you can relax at the same time also”


“Emotional I don’t think is too much, working together with the colleagues in the involvement like this, so I think that physical thing is required the most”

108                      109


111       112

3 “the kitchen that I work in its pretty neat and clean, pretty spacious, pretty aeriated and there is nice circulation of air going around, uhhh because being in India it’s really hot and if the kitchen is not ventilated properly, clean or neat it would put on more stress and the kitchen tempers rise with the heat, as a chef that’s what I have experienced so if it’s not clean, neat and not ventilated the equipment’s are not right” 172         173                  174                175             176                         177
4 “physical factors would definitely be more focused on how a kitchen is, what is the layout of the kitchen and I think psychological factor would be how communication, it’s very important to have communication in the kitchen” 221                   222                   223
5 “Physically factors are obviously the long hours because its unpredictable in the kitchen and psychological again can be like if someone demotivates you by telling you that you aren’t good enough in the kitchen” 274               275



6 “physically, long hours, it’s very labour intensive work, which is also enjoyable because it always keeps you on your feet”


“so physically I think it’s really labour intensive, its hot”

“emotional factors would be negative criticism from the co-worker and complaints in food from the guest, also support from the staff is a very crucial factor that can make or break you in a commercial kitchen as lack of teamwork can lead to stress”

366            367



372            373                374                 375

Table 4.4. findings of question four

Question 4 in table 4.2.4 discusses the implications of stress for a chef working in a commercial kitchen that are attributed from physical or psychological factors. Participants 5 and 6 have similar views suggesting that the heat of the kitchen and working long hours contribute to physical stress. Participants 1 and 6 explain the emotional factors as to dealing with negative criticism and being under pressure to always produce food of the highest quality and standard for the guests.

4.5. Questions 5: What do you think is the link between job security and quality output for a chef?

Participant                                                              Quotations Line Number
1 “I think that they both are inter-related like cause if you are putting out good quality food, you are consistently putting out your great quality food”


“So, I think job satisfaction is pretty much guaranteed, you are doing well in the kitchen its self”

“for some people, they don’t let how the business is running let them affect their creativity in the kitchen some people just let it be and continue doing what they are doing, they don’t worry about what people think so I guess that job security is not a big concern for them”

50                         51



64                             65                         66               67

2 “So, it is very important that there is job security, yes if you have the job security then the quality of whatever you are giving comes out in a much better way(.) So if the person is satisfy with the job offer and the position whatever he is given” 118                    119           120          121
3 “For me like honestly I have not worked in a other job, I have worked in my own kitchen all the time, I have never felt that to be honest”


“then yes I believe that if your job is secured then the quality of the job you do, the output of the work is much better(.) If you are happy where you work then obviously the quality of your work is going to improve”

181               182


185                       186                     187

4 “I think job security would lead to either ways so, one way it could go towards to is it could lead to higher levels of productivity and job security also does provides incentives for promotions also it could go to the other way as to job security could make the chef a little more complacent and lazy” 229                    230                     231                      232
5 “it’s pretty general, because if you have job security then your quality of your work will be good but can also look at it as a way of having a something to lean on and that might make a chef lazy” 279                      280                       281
6 “I think job security is not relevant in any field that you look at, as there is nothing known as job security, it’s all about if you are confident about what you are doing  in the position you might be, especially as a chef if you have got your skills then your job will be secure enough and if you low on skills or if you have only limited skills it could be a positive support” 378                     379                   380                      381                        382

(Table 4.5. findings of question five)

Question 5 in table 4.5 emphasises on the relation between performance and job security. Participants 1, 2 and 3 have similar thoughts as they feel that that having job security gives a chef mental satisfaction and boosts them to work hard in the kitchen without having any additional fears. Participants 4, 5 and 6 argue that this concept of job satisfaction could be taken in another way as it may make the chefs lazy and irresponsible as they have a sense of false achievements through job satisfaction and may feel that they do not need to prove themselves further.

4.6. Question 6: Do you feel that racial and status hierarchies form boundaries for chefs working in a commercial kitchen?

Participant                                       Quotations Line number
1 “that the concept or stigma used to be there but not anymore because like there are people from varied, like everyone from north India to south India, east India everyone is taking part in the culinary explosion”


“I don’t think racial profiling matters much anymore, it might have been about 20 years back but you know when you look at Shetty’s or Rajasthani cooks or you know like in that situation, but I don’t think that plays a huge factor anymore”

73                   74                75


77                    78                   79         80

2 “If we are working in team then whatever the hierarchy’s or whatever culture is there, their nationality or so, I don’t think it makes much difference as whatever the job is telling you to do you do it that way as a team and the other thing is that in your personal way maybe but, not in a team” 133              134             135                     136
3 “Yeah about sex as in gender, men and women, then there is always an issue like, that’s what I have heard from my friends who are female chefs and male chefs who are working in different kitchens, I have never experienced it in my own kitchen but yeah because the ratio of men to women is 20:1 or 30:1 so yeah it matters a lot to the girls and if they are at a higher position in the hierarchy then the male chefs don’t like it” 192                 193                 194               195                     196                       197
4 “in context to India what happens is that we have gotten use to such that there is always a supervisor on our head so without that supervisor we don’t really work so there is no sense of, people don’t feel very important and responsible for themselves whereas a commercial kitchen should have amongst the staff at least to have a thinking which is very important for them to be on the job otherwise the job will not get done”


“there is so much diversity because in terms of cast and also people in India and in generally are very emotional so I think those are the biggest barriers and also a big big gender bias that takes place”

235                      236                        237                     238                     239



243               243                  245

5 “yes, there is definitely status and racial hierarchies because again it’s a food chain and you have to climb up it”


“they form boundaries because of gender and the diversity of culture in the kitchen and it gets difficult for every individual to adjust and meet everyone’s expectations”



286                       287

6 “I’m talking about personal experience, so in my kitchen or the kitchens that I have worked in, I have never seen any racial discrimination, but I have seen discrimination based on gender which I have personally faced myself”


“so, in the food and beverage industry especially the kitchen we pick up people from all strata’s, we pick up people from the lowest levels and the upper most levels”

“so as an industry its extremely fair and brings people from all races and all the casts together because, I think that food unites them, that’s what I think”

395       396                      397


402                           403

407                      408        409

Table 4.6. findings of question six

Question 6 in table 4.6. discusses the relevance of status and racial hierarchies as a form of boundaries in a commercial kitchen. Participants 1 and 2 strongly believe that this trend no longer takes place in Indian kitchens today as they feel that the kitchen is all about teamwork and every chef is treated equally. Participants 3, 4, 5 and 6 have opposing views. They feel from personal experience, that either a supervisor is always in charge of a chef and they have different hierarchal positions, or women feel that gender discrimination plays a big role. They feel that men do not treat the women chefs equally while distributing work in the commercial kitchen. 


The research project helps showcase the role of a chef in the kitchen relating to the hospitality industry while refereeing to the historic influence behind the profession of a chef, leading to the discussion on the present day famous chefs working in India. The research of this project helps analyse the importance of culture, entrepreneurship and identity relating to the role of a chef in a commercial kitchen. The theory behind occupational culture and organisational culture is highlighted to help understand the culture of chef working in a commercial kitchen.

Entrepreneurship of a chef is understood by deducting the theory behind entrepreneurial identity, entrepreneurial identification, and entrepreneurial cognition in retrospect to a chef. Issues like occupational stress, commitment and retention will also help decode the culture of a chefs and how these issues influence them. The theory behind the social identity will also help showcase on how and what a chef is. All the theory is discussed in the literature review after which the theory will be linked to the interview. The process behind the interviews conducted in this research are highlighted in the methodology.

The research contains six interviews, each of the interviewee being a chef in India. The semi-structured interviews will host of six explanatory questions which are based on the literature review. The usage of probes and prompts was kept to a minimum to ensure and enhance maximum reliability and validity. There were certain limitations while hosting these interviews such as language barriers and clarity of telephonic conversation. All the interviewees spoke English, but few of them faced issues regarding the clarity of the telephonic conversation. To ensure all the all the findings are accurate, each interview was recorded individually

The first question displayed in table 4.1, helps depict each participant’s key quotations when asked about the position of a chef in today’s Indian society. According to (Morgan,2006, pp4) “The chef holds one of the highest positions of trust in our society. Think of it, Other than those in the medical field, the chef is the only professional whom we allow to prepare substances that we take into our bodies. Not to put too much of a philosophical spin on it, but what the chef creates actually becomes part of us”. Regarding the answers given by each interviewee strongly emphasizes on the what has influenced the image of a chef in Indian and how it has been changed from the past. Every participant emphasizes on television playing a crucial role while enhancing the identity of a chef in Indian. According to (Lewis,2011) and (Bawa,2014) in section 2.1.3 of the literature review the famous chefs of Indian also mention a changing perception of the people of India on the chefs and culinary industry. This is also spoke briefly by participant one, three and six.

According to Balazs (2002, p250) a chef is not only a cook, but his job profile demands him to be a businessman as well. Collecting capital and budgeting of the produce is one such factor that defines a chef’s entrepreneurial role. This leads to table 4.2 which tries to showcase and elaborate on how each participant see themselves as an artist or businessman. Participants one, two, four and five display themselves as mixture between an artist and a businessman whereas participant three sees himself as an artist and not as a businessman this leads to, Fine (2008, p154) in which he argues that through occupational rhetoric culture, chefs describe themselves as either quasi-artists or quasi-professionals, in other words also known as manual worker or business persons. Participant three can be analysed as a quasi-artist whereas the others as a mixture between quasi-professionals and quasi-artist. The idea behind this theory was to establish the ground each participant see themselves as.

During times of recession, de-skilling is a phenomenon that takes place in the way of demotivating and lowering the value of a cook. A chef begins to produce a lower quality output as his value has then decreased adapted from (Lewin, 1951, p71). This helps display raise the issue of demotivation which is highlighted in table 4.3 which helps the participant elaborate of factors that lead to their demotivation in a commercial kitchen. According to (Riley,1981) and (Chivers,1973) explain that if such change is not adapted well by the chefs, then their mental transaction decreases if they are not re-skilled or motivated by the organization. The participants also highlight factors that lead to motivation in the kitchen. Each participant gave their own view on what according to them are factors that lead to motivation and demotivation. Factors like teamwork are highlighted in motivation amongst most of the participants. Participants 5 and 6 believe that there is a strong sense of male dominance in professional kitchens which can be demotivating and pressurizing for female chefs. According to participant three the drive of cooking is highlighted as motivation which helps elaborate more on question two of table 4.2.

Gibbons and Gibbons (2007, p33) highlight factors like physical violence and psychological abuse being part of the kitchen. This is highlighted in table 4.4 which allows the interviewee to speak about physical and psychological issues faced in a commercial kitchen with lead to occupational stress. Each participant helps imply factors such as heat of the kitchen leading to stress and also highlighting the long working hours of the kitchen in retrospect to the physical stress participants one and six highlight the demotivating factors which enhance psychological and emotional stress in a commercial kitchen such as negative criticism and the pressure of producing quality output.

Table 4.5 helps showcase link between job security and quality output for a chef which is also highlight in the literature sourced by Mowday, Steers and Porter (1979, p 225) in which the concept of commitment extends to stability as, chefs need to feel a sense of security in their workplace in order to work in the right frame of mind. Stability is also one such factor that influences the level of job satisfaction that is incremental, as it is never constant. Participant one, two and three speak about how job security helps enhance the moral of a chef and helps enhance his creative side which also helps avoid additional fear whereas participant four, five and six argue about how job satisfaction can lead to a chef being lazy and underperform in a commercial kitchen.

Consequently, despite their recently elevated position (Fine, 2009), chefs experience status insecurities and “have to constantly engage in boundary work to address who exactly is a chef and whose cooking should be valued” (Harris & Giuffre, 2015,). This helps lead to the final question 6 in table 4.6 which relates to occupational identity which is implied in ways of racial and status hierarchies that form boundaries for chefs that work in a commercial kitchen. The arguments between all the participants is highly diverse in nature as participant one and two suggest that this trend of differentiation no longer exists in India whereas participant 3, 4, 5 and 6 have opposing views. They feel from personal experience, that either a supervisor is always in charge of a chef and they have different hierarchal positions, or women feel that gender discrimination plays a big role. They feel that men do not treat the women chefs equally while distributing work in the commercial kitchen.

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Hospitality refers to the hosting and entertainment of guests or visitors. The Hospitality sector includes businesses such as hotels, B&Bs;, restaurants, cafes, bars, and other businesses relating to travel, tourism, and entertainment.

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