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Really young Sous Looking for advise

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello all...Just been promoted to Sous Chef at a fairly large Country Club. I am only 24yr old..just to clear up how old I am. I have worked here for almost a year before the promotion and have gained respect from all co-workers...line cooks to upper management. But since the promotion I have lost the repect from all and have not changed my ways. i am always working hard and trying not to piss all of the other cooks off. The cooks range from 29 to 46yrs of age. It does seem alot to do with age.... What my question to who ever reads this is this" How do i get back on track with the others and get back what I once had. Thank you if you do respond.

Some lucky Kid :o
post #2 of 6
You say you haven't changed your behaviour. That may be, but something has changed. It's up to you to figure out what has. Complacency setting in is inevitable, but if there's an outright loss of respect, that means you allowed something to slide. It has nothing to do with your age. My last souschef was 21. We had the utmost respect for him, and only teased him about the small/silly stuff. He was good and took pride in his work, like you I'm sure.

You say you try not to piss anyone off. That could be the problem; I once had a sous who had that problem (different guy). When he had to be a manager, he was always figuratively absent. No one respected him. Respect is gained with how you handle difficult situations.

Keep us posted. All the best to you.
post #3 of 6
Unfortunately, you have a couple of things working against you, but the good news is, these issues are not unsurmountable. I do believe that age is an issue. It is hard to earn the respect of those older then you. Some of these guys might have been cooking while you were still peeing your pants, but with hard work, and the proper management style they will come around, but it might just take them a little while. The other big issue is your promotion. You don't know how many times I have heard, from various chefs, that the hardest thing they ever did was be promoted from cook to Sous, in the same kitchen. You have suddenly gone from being co-worker to boss, and some people resent that, and others feel they don't owe you any more respect than when you were their "buddy". Unfortunately, the best way to solve this problem is to be a hard-a**. I am not saying become a tyrant, but you really need to enforce the standards that you and chef have set. The way to earn their respect is to show them that you take your position seriously. They will push and try to get away with things just because they want to test your limits. Don't allow them to, don't let them ease up on the standards just because you are in charge, and not the chef. One of the biggest mistakes I see new sous chefs make is taking on too many tasks. It's the "I can't make them do that" or the "I can do it better myself anyway" syndrome. Work your cooks as hard as your chef does, hold them to the same standards, and don't let them pawn off their work on you. Realize that the raport you once had with your "line buddies" has changed. Yes you can still be great friends and co-workers, but now you must also be their boss, and that will change the dynamics. You will have to "ruffle a few feathers", and yes, you will p*** people off. But in the long run you will earn their respect.
post #4 of 6
Age probably plays into a small part but I imagine in general that the co-workers attitudes and reactions are the normal reaction that happens when a crew is presented with a new superior. You would probably get the same reaction if you walked into the job new.
"How do i get back on track with the others and get back what I once had" You can't. That scenerio is gone for ever. Life moves forward not backwards. What you can do is forge a new relationship based on past foundation. Just remember that in order to be an effective supervisor you can't worry about "trying not to piss all of the other cooks off". You are managing people not a popularity contest. Whether people like you or not is insignificant. You were put into the position to achieve results. I am not saying you need to be a jerk to achieve results, just that you can't let people's reactions affect your preformance. Stay true to yourself and you will do fine. If other people change their behavior towards you, that is on them and beyond your control.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #5 of 6
Listen my friend-
First of all you are not really young. Ultimatley age in this profession is measured in years of experience and furthermore what kind of experience. The dynamics of a kitchen (at least one fairly reputable) are very competitive. What you are experiencing is very normal and like the other poster noted, be a hard knock. Even if they don't respect you, they must respect your title or they can be mopped out the back door. I can completely realate having walked into a kitchen at 21 and taking it completely over. I must tell you that my biggest pain was with the waitstaff- most middle aged men. But all in all, just lead by example. Just some thoughts from a fellow soldier.
post #6 of 6
as the others have said....... it is VERY hard to move up in the same kitchen you worked in.

Remember a few things that will help you along the way:

1. Treat your staff in the same way you expect to be treated.
2. You may have earned the job of Sous, but you have to earn the repect of your bosses, and your crew
3. Your crew makes it possible for you to do your job well, make them feel like the best crew in the world.
4. Make sure that you define your relationship with your staff...meaning "there is a difference between being friends, and being friendly"

Good luck. :cool:
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