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My first time on the line...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
As part of my school's program, my class is to run the public restaurant for 7 weeks (3 lunches, 3 dinners, 1 orientation). I'm on dinners for the next 3 weeks every Monday nights and today was my first.

I learned that this isn't for me.

In my baking class, culinary lab, and kitchen banquet, I've always done well and finish on time, sometimes early. I've never done anything to order in my life so I guess its because I don't have the rythem for the quick pace kitchen of a fine dining enviornment. I'm more large scale slow cooking/baking, plating 500 similar dishes for a banquet reception or 30 loaves of french sticks for sunrise.

I was on the desserts line, carmelizing and plating vanilla bean creme brulee. My first 3 burnt in the broiler (take into consideration that I've normally done it with a kitchen torch) and I burnt 2 more a little later. I kept getting pickups with no orders which turned out that some of the waiters who where handling a number of tables had put all the brulees into 1 large order (ie 9 orders but pickup 1-2-2-4). It didn't help that some of the other stations got behind so I jumped in to help catch up.

All in all, an eye opening experiance. Either I'm not ready for this or its not for me. But either way, I wasn't aiming to be a cook or a chef, I am more of a baker anyways.
post #2 of 12
I've been working on lines for 20 years or so and still occasionally torch something. My boss, who's been at it longer and is Albert Roux trained, is even worse. I wouldn't expect to come out of the gates kicking a** and taking names. Give it some time. Read Bourdain's account in "Kitchen Confidential" of his skills when he first started as a line cook.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've read his book and found it informative but nothing speaks better then actual experiance. I am going to give it time as I do think I just need to get the rythem of the fast pace restaurant world.
post #4 of 12
it takes some time to "get it"-after that its all ballet. I'd rather be on the line than in the office any day ;).

There is nothing like the thrill of going into a saturday night, hundred or 2 on the books, kicking a** and takin names. Best high i've ever had. Of course my back and knees are thanking me now....

hth, danny
post #5 of 12
Sooner or later your develop tricks, mental cues, or whatever. Don't give up on it. I manage to burn stuff all the time at home. Lately it was eggs, before that it was onions.

A good way to get comfortable on the line is to set it up the way you would like it set up and not how someone tells you to set it up. Do it backwards from the menu instead of blindly following a sheet.
post #6 of 12
When I first started as a line cook, I was pretty slow and would sometimes burn stuff... You just gotta keep at it, get more comfortable.

Then again, it might not be for you... If some people had realized this earlier it would have saved me alot of time and stress...
post #7 of 12


So..first time on the line at GBC's Siegrfrieds. Just remember, that you are in school, and mistakes will happen. Don't worry, just move on, and call those mistakes a learning experience. Remember too, that those serving the food are also students , and like you, they may be new to the "service" world. By the way, which chef is in the kitchen with you?
and just remember.....no matter where you go...there you are!!
and just remember.....no matter where you go...there you are!!
post #8 of 12
Jaques Pepin's memoirs have it all beat. I guess he was still an apprentice when he went behind the line and saw a soup that needed stirring. He whisked and whisked until it finally came together. Turns out it was consomme. Oops.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Chef Chin for dinner
Chef Challet for lunches

I finally got a feel for it all. Though I'm sure the numbers sound small for everyone else here but my class of just less then 10 handle around 20 people for lunches and 2x in dinners. We had 80 covers this monday for Valentines day for lunch and still with only us 10 students. Guess it was because that day was my first time on the line, I wasn't use to it.
post #10 of 12
good for you-it gets addicting. Have fun and get hooked ;)
post #11 of 12
I've been at this for 12 years, I consider myself a great line cook. even the best have bad days. you may like the slow paced world of banquet or baking. But give it a chance, as others have said it is addicting, and a major high when your on.
post #12 of 12
I've been interning at Chez Henri in Cambridge, MA, working the garde manager station for two nights a week for the past month or so to figure out if I REALLY want to go into the culinary arts. I have to say, my first few nights, I felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, forgetting garnishes here, what sauces go where... But, after my third shift, I was flying and was getting a high off of the rushes. I can totally see how some people find cooking the line addictive.
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