By Melanie Dunea
Updated May 23, 2017

In this series, photographer Melanie Dunea of My Last Supper takes a peek into the minds of working chefs and gets them to reveal their most prized possessions.

At Restaurant Marc Forgione, correct energy is crucial. Beyond dedicating a shelf in the restaurant to meaningful items (like a feather on a red string, which he says protects from bad spirits), chef Forgione works hard to make sure his staff understands how the vibe should be. "It's important for everyone who works at your restaurant to drink your Kool-Aid," he says. "You have to make sure that the people who are representing you do so in the way—and with the energy—you want them to." Here, three lessons from Forgione on cultivating good energy in a restaurant.

1. Get staff on the same page. Make sure everybody is working toward the same goal. Hire people who want to make other people happy.

2. Empathize with guests. Remember, you are not just serving food. At the end of the day you are literally hanging out with somebody and touching their lives for a few hours. It’s your opportunity to impart some wisdom, and change somebody’s life just by simply smiling.

3. Treat everyone equally. There is no such thing as a VIP. We cook the same for every person. If we do 150 covers here, that’s 150 New York Times critics that just came in.