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Working when ill???? Oh man

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I had a small virus this weekend as I was catering a weekend 3 hours outside of St. Louis. I made broiche raisin rolls and had to be up at 4 am for the dough to rise for a 7:30 start. The crew went into the woods with a bag lunch but by dinner at 5:30 I was horizontal. I got through dinner and actually felt ok at 4 o this am as I was making pecan caramel rolls (Who was so stupid to do raised rolls for a mushroom group that leaves early?) I could not taste anything for flavor my guts were in knots.
My sous had to do all the salt and flavor alterations...thank goodness he's great.
I made potato black trumpet parmesan onions thick cream filling for puff turnovers and actually winged this and got raves.( Pretty good for flavor memories.....they do come through!!! Trying others cooking only helps improve mine)
****So the question is what stories do you have of working impaired. I'll write about the time I had a 3rd degree burn and cooked with frozen peas rubberbanded to my hand. You all must have amazing stories...Share Please.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #2 of 27
Boy, you like the nitty gritty! One night, I burned my right hand really bad with goose fat. It was New Year's Eve, and I was on the grill. I had a container of ice water in my station I kept dipping my hand into. But everytime I had to put my hand by some kind of hot element, which was all night, it felt as if my hand was being burned all over again!
One night I had the *Hershey squirts* (if you get my drift) really bad. I had to keep running to the bathroom, during service, every 20 minutes. Not enjoyable.
I've only called in sick once in the 7 years I worked on the line. We had an unwritten rule at one of the restaurants I worked at--you don't call in sick unless you're throwing up.
A lot of the cooks I know, women and men, are some of the toughest folks I know.
post #3 of 27
it probably sound quite gross, but i worked with a chef once who looked a little drawn.

Several weeks later i found out that she had a miscarriage on the job and waited until the end of shift before getting checked out.

Needless to say i was most saddened to hear about it.
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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post #4 of 27
Took a pretty nasty cut once right before dinner rush on a Friday(the cut started at the middle of the inside of my wrist and ended at the middle of the back of my hand, getting gradually deeper along the way). The ER was busy, so it took about 3 hours before I could get sewn back together. I missed the slam, got back around 10pm, sstill had to close my station, then went out drinking with the chef. As far as being sick, sometimes even throwing up or running a 104 fever isn't a good enough reason to leave. I worked with a guy who would occasionally get an upset stomache while working. If he had to throw up, he'd go to the nearest pig bucket, then back to cooking. I think this ability to work when sick comes with practiced ease from working with hangovers! Seriously, though, there does seem to be this "**** the torpedoes, full steam ahead" attitude prevelant amongst many cooks. Nothing, not even our own well-being, is more important than being there for the rest of the crew and maintaining the smooth operation of the kitchen.

[This message has been edited by Greg (edited September 17, 2000).]
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #5 of 27
the show must go on!


Came back from my honeymoon sooooo sick for about a month. went to work the first few days but couldn't take it... such a wimp!
did work an entire summer with a spaz in the back.
what we do for lunch!
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #6 of 27
Having worked for a big hotel where there is payed sick leave was nice, but you didn't leave your commrads hangin'. Recently I came to work sick cause the great cook who would cover me had worked about 2 weeks straight between 2 jobs and hadn't had any time off. As soon as I got to work though I told the Exec that I was working sick and to find somebody for the next day. I know it's wimpy compared to the rest but the point I'm trying to make is that you don't let your team down. What really angers me though is when you have sick time, you call in, and then people give you a bad time when you come back. Hey sick is sick, if I'm not running the whole operation the last thing I need is for somebody to make me feel like a heel because I'm sick. I guess I'm just getting to old to do the 'kill myself for the operation' thing.
post #7 of 27
my major concern is that someone with communicatible disease will spread something through out the kitchen. Also someone coughing all over the food.

On the other hand, when my old employer decide to move premises and i had to assist moving the equipment, i popped my back moving a chargrill down the road and then went on to do a 79 hour week unable to straighten up.

Heheh, how do you draw the line?
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Yep~ Typhod Mary~ At first I thought it was just nerves from the Farmer's market opening this next weekend and 6 farmers sending back contracts, but then the low grade fever kicked in.... You are right! If I could have found a replacement 3 hours away and in the woods I would have (this is something they booked me for last year!).

I had forgotten having stitches between my thumb and pointer...boy that one was difficult to manvuer with, bandaged stiff and wearing a stupid glove....how can it be sanitary when your hand drips sweat?

My brother is a chiropractor with 3 massueses(sp?) on call....so my back is maintained and my muscles are unknoted regularly. (I don't know how I could do it without him and his sister rate plan)

You gotta wonder how quality of product is affected by illness.....my timing was sh*t this weekend. Thank goodness for great crews! That can stop you when your giving too many directives at one time and say OK your running in circles chef, two things at a time please.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
HEY ~ Did you guys know that crazy glue was originally developed as a way to seal cuts without stitching...wooow the answer to ER waits. Now to find someone to close your wound as you apply crazy glue...and hope for no gangreen....I actually signed up for MINI MEDICAL SCHOOL (8 weeks 1x weekly 3 hours) starts next week....we'll see if they've (DRS) come up with better coping skills than saying show up at the ER.....can't wait.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #10 of 27
I can't count the number of times I have had a garbage can right beside me so I wouldn't have to leave the line to puke. The was also the time when the sous chef and I were very sick and we had three banquets that night. We would lay down underneath the tables between each course to get out strength back up. The worse though, was the day I poured boiling water down my leg. My whole right leg and foot were blistered up so instead of going to the hospital or home I filled a bucket with ice water and worked my station with my leg in the bucket and used that as a pivot point between the front line and the stove.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have NO patience for people that are hung-over, drugged out, total morons etc.....Work is a priority for me and quality product is why I'm paid the amount I make.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #12 of 27
I can't count how many times I have worked so hung-over I could barely see (in my younger days, could never survive it now), but I always held up my end of the station. It was a pride thing. Would never let my buddies know that I couldn't "handle it". Best thing for a hang-over was cooking rissoto over the flat-top. Twenty minutes standing over that thing, stirring the rissoto and I had sweated most of the alcohol out of my body. LOL
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #13 of 27
****!! You guys are tough!! I also think it is not good to come to work with a communicable disease. I don't appreciate getting sick off of someone that just wouldn't stay home. That's when I give someone a hard time. This reminds of a time when my chef and I were working one busy Saturday night. The grill guy kept leaving his station. At first, I thought he was listening to a football game or something, but then it turned out to be he was hungover. I had to watch as he repeatedly kept throwing up into the dishwasher's sink. He finally went home. My chef and I kept running in circles, literally, doing each station. As we ran to each station, we kept yelling to each other, "I should be making $20 an hour for this!!!!", then, "I should be making $30 an hour for this!!" The $ amounts kept getting higher as the night wore on. Needless to say, that cook got *fired*. He had put us through many other tribulations to keep him on.
post #14 of 27
"When work becomes an obsessive compulsive disorder", on the next Maurie Povich.......
post #15 of 27
you must admit, the worst thing to cope with has to be a industrial accident.

Some things that dont really rock are:

Knifey's (3 or more stitches)
Chemical Burns - grill cleaners or any other
alkaline cleaners
Work related dermatitis - never fun
Burns - especially caramel/sugar burns or
microwave steam burns
Seafood spike infections - hard to shake

and this is just on the job stuff.
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Nick.shu I can always count on you to come up with graphically descriptive responses!
amazing! Whether it's kitchen boo-boos or
gross foods you can make me wince.
And I'm glad I've only experienced 4 out of 6 on your list.

[This message has been edited by shroomgirl (edited September 19, 2000).]
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #17 of 27
I think we could all probably write a novel on this topic. I to was a die hard, and there is just something about the business that calls you to an unspoken loyalty to your chef and the kitchen. In all honesty I think I have only called in sick once in all my years in the kitchen (over 12 years). Even when I was in culinary school I got a perfect attendance award for never missing a day of class in two years. In those 12+ years I have:
  • burned my face with hot grease.
  • had hot boiling oil spill on to my wrist from a roasting pan. Nasty burn, the paremedics had to come for that one. Still finished out the night.
  • had hundreds and hundreds of cuts all of which were simply bandaged and I kept working.
  • had many 16 hour work days with only 5 hours sleep.

Boy the lists can go on and on can't they? It doesn't suprise me though, dedication is key in the business and you can spot a cook who doesn't have it a mile away.

------------------
Thanks,

Nicko
nicko@cheftalk.com
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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post #18 of 27
i once worked for a chef who went on sick leave for about 8-9 weeks and ran his business for him as well as going to school.

Heh, he told me he wasnt feeling well and i said "if you go over during service, i'll push you under the stove and check on you later!".

One thing that has occured to me, does anyone get those little oil spit burns on their eyes, they seem to get me quite often.

Very irritating and makes me wonder if it causes any permanent damage.
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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post #19 of 27
One time I had a 15 year old girl come to work for me in the kitchen. She had been a busser in the FOH and said she was interested in learning cooking. She worked for me for about 4 months. I had her in the pantry one night and walked in and she was sitting on a pickle bucket in the corner. I told her to get back to work, get the place cleaned up so we could all go home.

The next day I found out she had a baby that night. She was sitting down on the bucket because she was having labor pains! Imagine how I felt recalling how I told her to get back to work.

No one knew she was pregnant. She was trying to hide it from her parents. The reason she wanted to come into the kitchen was so that she could wear a baggy jacket and cover her stomach. She thought she was just going to go to the hospital, have the baby, and leave it up for adoption whithout anyone knowing.

Happy ending- she kept the baby, kept the boyfriend, and her parents didn't disown her.

-Mike
Michael
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Michael
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post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
woooooo ignorance is bliss I guess, I cannot even concieve (excuse the pun) of laboring in a restaurant kitchen....I can't believe there were not horrific screams coming from the walkin. I guess at 15 you would rather hide than face the wrath.
Some of my farmers have horrific stories too, but that is another sight.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #21 of 27
While my injuries have been very few in this, the early part of my culinary career, I do have a good story I heard from my CUL 101 teacher...

She was teaching us about the importance of using the proper equipment and she told us a story of when she was working on the line at the Ritz Carlton.

A cook next to her was making a demi glace in a roasting pan. Well, the cook was lifting the roasting pan out of the oven and it became uneven and yes, the demi escaped...onto my teachers pants.

Obviously, the pants started clinging to her skin and the burning started to happen...My teacher started running through the kitchen screaming and tearing her pants off. She added here that she was 20 years younger and 20 pounds lighter so she was "a babe" running half naked through the kitchen.

A very smart cook in the salad station saw what was happening and quick got some ice and put it on her skin. His quick thinking probably prevented some serious 2nd or 3rd degree burns. She said that she sat in the bathroom and thought about the 300 covers for the evening and the fact that they were 1/2 hour away from service and she told someone that she didn't think she could make it for the evening.

The chef, her mentor, sent a double shot of cognac back to her and said 'drink this and get back to work.'

She did, and she said the cognac was great.

I hope I never top that story.

Paul
post #22 of 27
In my opinion, if someone comes to work with a "self-induced illness" (hangover), they are at least showing accountability for their own mistake, not making the rest of the crew work harder by calling in sick. If it's a regular occurance, different story. We do not and cannot dismiss someone for being sick as a result of something they did on their own time anymore than if they had merely caught a cold from somebody. To do that would surely invite a lawsuit.Here's two more words: lighten up
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #23 of 27
We had a guy working for our group who we all knew partied all the time. On the occasions he showed up well, he could do really good work, but showing up on time was the rare exception. He would call in sick the same day every week for a while, show up hungover and steal aspirin from my locker. He had no idea he was taking lots more time off than anyone else, either. The boss, who is nonconfrontational, put up with it far too long, hoping that with a little guidance he would straighten out. I'm sure if he were reading this he would not recognize himself.
If you have an employee like this, the first time you warn them you need to have handy a chart showing them how many days they've been taking off or coming in late, what is going to be expected of them, and the consequences if they don't shape up. Then, don't give them a chance to backslide, stick to your guns. Letting them get away with this stuff isn't doing them any favors, and it's demoralizing for the rest of the staff, too.
post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quality of work is important to me....self-induced impairment is very different than accidental. If you can work with your hangover and do quality/quantity of work I have no qualms....lighten up Greg...this is my business and livelihood for my children, if I have poor product I have no business.
So tell my creditors and clients lighten up.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #25 of 27
If by "dismissed", you mean sent home for the day, then I agree with you; I think all of us have an idea of the environment we like to work in. Of course, this differs from chef to chef.
To clarify another point, I don't think of anybody as a hero for coming in hungover; my point was that they are at least being responsible enough to not make others pay for their mistake. I would also prefer that they would comprehend the after effects before the fact If they're still drunk, productive or not, they go home.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #26 of 27
Sorry, I'd never send someone home for the day if they were hung over. First of all, if they can still produce, when hungover, and produce well, then fine. If they can't, then I will find them some "special jobs". To send someone home because they are hungover is unfair to the rest of the cooks and sets a dangerous precedent.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #27 of 27
Very true!
"Every kiss is a blessing"! Or is it "Every blessing is a kiss"
Does anyone know what time it is.
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"Every kiss is a blessing"! Or is it "Every blessing is a kiss"
Does anyone know what time it is.
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