Information Cook to Information Chef, Part 1

Hello! I am Steph, host of this channel, and I’m an Information Chef. I have been working in the analytics, business intelligence, data warehousing, and data science space for quite a while, and I’ve worked with a wide variety of informatics teams in many different organization types, from big banks & insurance companies, to social media & games and virtual worlds, and lots of open datasets and APIs and lately nonprofit data. For a while I product managed many key products of a multi-billion$ BI stack and co-authored a few relevant patents. I also got the chance to work in several excellent professional food kitchens in restaurants, and I believe there are some important lessons from top kitchens that we should apply to our field of business.

What is an Information Chef?

Information (food), made from data (produce), is what we consume through the internet on our mobile devices, computers, and increasingly more devices at home and out in the world. Information is how we feed our brains, so I believe we should make smart healthy choices about the information we consume, and if you are a cook (data analyst) you should provide healthy, fresh dishes that you understand- i.e. reports/visualizations, and if you are managing a system and a team to deliver information to customers including the public, then you are a Chef and you have a deeper set of responsibilities.

I do hope you will forgive the liberties I will take with this Information Chef analogy, I intend to twist and torture it beyond our suspension of disbelief. It’ll be fun along the way, I promise.

I intend to talk about the key components of a healthy, productive, and energetic information kitchen, including your dry store and walkin (single source of truth), your key analytics tools (knife, spoon, stove & oven, and then more exotic tools like fryer, salamander, slow BBQ, sous vide, and fermentation), your prep system (ETL), how to maintain a good mise en place, and who are the key team members you’re working with and how to help them thrive. We’re going to talk a lot about how to keep communication & spirits high, and how to manage your “All Together” to make your customer experience optimal. We will discuss keeping your ingredients well-labeled and your walkin organized, and why that’s important, understanding your sources and your ingredients deeply, tasting your dishes frequently, and critical steps of ensuring you always have a clean, healthy fresh kitchen.

I’m going to interview other Information Chefs that I know in organizations that are doing wonderful things with data, and we’ll talk about what is working *great* for them and where do they see more challenges.

Everyone I know in this field is hungry to learn more, and to expand their skills and knowledge, so I hope this will be a useful resource for you & that you will share it with your friends and colleages.

I’m open to conversation with fellow Information Cooks and Information Chefs, you can find me on Twitter @informationchef.

Cheers!

-Steph