An example of leadership in the kitchen that comes to mind was a night I had at Topper's in May. The freezer where we kept our sorbets had decided there was no better time to defrost then in the middle of service. One of our dessert items comes with a side of raspberry milk sorbet, not raspberry milk soup. Improvising, I folded raspberry jam into our still-frozen vanilla ice cream, and the dish was sent out to the guest.
In Topper's, perfection is very important to the chefs, as it is a very prestigious restaurant. Leadership mostly comes through on extremely busy nights. The kitchen ran smoothly, but sometimes the executive chef would have to pull out some serious leadership skills on the wait staff. Tickets were being sent in at the wrong time, dishes were taken before the tables had been cleared of the previous course, and there never seemed to be runners when they were needed. Chef had to take leadership not only of his kitchen, but of the servers so that the restaurant would operate smoothly. He didn't yell, he explained. He made eye contact with each person so that they knew this message was for them to absorb and adhere to. It was a very succesful bout of leadership that resulted in a smoothly run saturday night full of happy guests.