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Tough Decision

Poll Results: What offer is more appealing and sensible to you?

Poll expired: Mar 3, 2005  
  • 25% (1)
    Saucier at upscale hotel, paid hourly
  • 0% (0)
    Chef de Partie at another upscale hotel, paid hourly
  • 75% (3)
    Sous Chef at yet another upscale hotel, salaried
4 Total Votes  
post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm currently a Saucier at a very hig end hotel. I have my benefits and veacation time already established. They have allowed me to tailor my work schedule around my school schedule. Here's the problem.

I have a job offer of Chef de Partie elsewhere where the shift I'd work would still work around my schedule for school. It gets better/worse (depending on how you look at it).

I have yet another job offer as a Sous Chef at yet another property working the same shift.

I won't finish school until May 2006 (if that helps). My advisor at school believes I should stay put. My instructors at school say take the Chef de Partie job. No one but myself says take the Sous Chef job.

My long-term goal is becoming F&B Director. I know I have to work up to that.

Other than a "temp job" a while ago, this is my first Sous Chef job offer. That alone tempts me to accept it.

The chef offering me the Chef de Partie job says I can be a Room Chef within two years if I work closely with him. He goes on to say that I can be an Assistant Chef (Sous Chef) in no time at all even before that.

My current job sees me as a glorified cook, no more. I don't even have opportunity for advancement.
But what keeps me here you ask? Two things:
One, my benefits and vacation are established. I know exactly where I stand here.
Two, an impending corporate merger will be the death knell for the negative pressure and biased opinions that plague this company now. That "could" open up the possibility of advancement. The takeover company is VERY KEEN on educated staff members.

My question is this: Where do I go? I have no kids but am married. My spouse says I should make the decision as there seems to be no real downside wherever I end up. I have until the end of this month to make a decision, too.

Any suggestions?
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
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Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #2 of 8
Watch the movie "Notebook" with James Garner.

Then make your decision.

I'm actually being serious here.

doc
post #3 of 8
pay rate? will the chef de partie match your current bennies and as a good faith gesture match your current vacation time? doesn't hurt to ask for these things.
kat
post #4 of 8
I think you need a change. :bounce: You cannot count on anything from the new owners. Sorry if that sounds cynical, but I believe it's true. Loyalty and good work are not always recognized when there is a change of regime.

My understanding of "chef de partie" is that it's the head of a station; so which station would it be? Is it one that would give you broad experience and exposure? And do you feel comfortable enough with that chef to believe him about the possibility of moving up rapidly? And what is a Room Chef, anyway? :o Since it's hourly, what about overtime and bennies? Would you be working enough hours to qualify? Look at the whole pay package. (But you already knew to do that. :p )

The drawback of the sous job is that no matter how many hours you work, you get the same pay; since our tendency is to work longer than expected, this could bring down your effective pay rate. But the bennies are probably fixed at a reasonable rate. Also on the plus side, it is great experience, because you'll have exposure to all the stations, probably deal with inventory and ordering, training, etc. etc. And you are NOT the only one who thinks you could do it: after all, the chef offered it! :chef: (The folks at school probably think they have your best interest at heart, but they do sound awfully conservative to me, too.)

Have you trailed in each kitchen yet? How comfortable did you feel with each setup and the "community"? Which do you think offers you the best opportunities to learn and grow -- which will help you get closer to your goal?

I trust you to do the analysis and make a good decision.

Love, Mom ;)
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Here is a description of my job duties as Chef de Partie:

The Chef de Partie is responsible for supervising and working on all stations within the kitchen, preparing and plating all hot and cold food, and training new and existing employees. You must be able to read and follow recipes, communicate in English, and complete basic mathematical calculations. Requirements a minimum of four years food preparation experience, preferably in a high volume, luxury hotel/restaurant and accurate knife skills.

A "Room Chef" is the chef in charge of an individual restaurant or kitchen within a hotel. A Chef de Cuisine if you will. As a Chef de Partie, I'll be making a whopping 20 cents per hour more than I do now. :eek: I can't trail in ANY kitchen there. The hotel is under construction.

Talk about a ground floor opportunity.

My vacation time will be matched, yes.

You see. My decision between my current position (Saucier) and the Chef de Partie is the hardest. I've spoken with an F&B Director today. He had nothing favorable about being employed at the Sous Chef hotel. The main reason I'm getting a look there is that the hotel that offered me the position of Chef de Partie is drawing people from their staff. Honestly I was only considering it because of the "prestige" of the hotel's name and the title of my position.

I wasn't thinking.

As a sous chef I will be working far beyond the 40 hours I do know. As I go get the movie Notebook, please respond. I really need some help. My job has put me in a wierd comfort zone. There is always a degree of uncertainty when moving forward. I've made the mistake of leaving a job prematurely before. But this has shaped me into the culinarian (no pun intended) that I am today.

It really boils down to Saucier or Chef de Partie. I feel as though they are very similar. One big difference: responsibility. AS Chef de Partie I would have the additional task of ordering and staff scheduling. This is what the "new chef" told me. He said it wasn't in my job description but I shouldn't be suprised if I become Assistant Chef soon.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #6 of 8
I'm not sure what you want me to respond? Watch the movie closely, follow the story, garner (no pun intended) the insight. It, IMHO, it reflects yours and my dilemma, and almost everybody's at one time or another.

On Feb. 17, after 5 1/2 years of totally dedicated service to my employer, and after the last 3 months, during which a "re-organization" has been in the works, in which I was given great feedback and pretty much assured of my being a part of the "new organization", I was dismissed, along with my entire department.

So, I stayed with the company (and my career) all these years, whilst I pondered giving up a lucrative, well-paying job, with duties that made me the focal point of almost everything going on in this medical device company, versus pursueing a dream and love of cooking.

My decision was made for me. I wasted the last 5 1/2 years not pursueing a dream that I've had for 45 years. All in the interest of $$$$$, prestige, and a feeling of stress beyond imagination, a workload of incredible proportion, huge responsibility to help everybody despite not being my job title, and not really loving much about it at all. I stuck with what I've known for my whole career, and now I am an old bull let out to pasture.

Now: WATCH the movie and learn!

doc
post #7 of 8
In our industry jobs come and go every day. But sometimes you need to be aggressive to get where you want to in life. If you want to be an F & B person, I recommend taking the job you are most qualified for at this time as well as the one that will challenge you the most. As I stated jobs in our industry come and go everyday - If you change and feel it is not for you, chalk it up as experience, another position or opportunity may be just around the corner.

I changed jobs a lot when I was young until I found my calling and fit and now own my own company and work hand in hand with Chefs across the country. I am in kitchen all day long, yet I do not work in them. I have great pride in what I do and hope you can find that as well - As Delta doc put it - it is not always how much you make or the title - it is wether you enjoy the job.
http://www.venisonamerica.com

"I have never met an animal that I did not think looked tasty"
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http://www.venisonamerica.com

"I have never met an animal that I did not think looked tasty"
Reply
post #8 of 8
It sounds like you have the enviable position of having the chance to chose between 3 really good options. Those kind of chances don't come very often. Though I can't really can't give you any suggestions I can offer a few other things to think about. A salaried position does have its ups and downs. First of all the hours will be greater, and though they say they will work around your school schedule things will happen (cooks quit or don't show, or pop up parties) that will require you to work times when you are suppose to be off. And when push comes to shove your chef will expect you to put work first. One of the up sides is that you have a set salary. If things slow down hourly employees can get their hours cut, but salaried people always come home with the same paycheck.
The other thing to consider is are you truly ready for a more supervisory position. Are your skills good enough? Do you know all aspects of a kitchen, from sauce work to garde manger to all the hot stations? Can you step into any one of those positions and be able to out perform the cooks there? If not, you may want to wait awhile before taking such a role. Spend the time to really develop all your cooking skills. If you do have plenty of experience and you feel all your skills are solid, then I say go for it. Take the next step to advance your career. But if not, then give it some time. I have known too many young cooks who took a Sous Chef job well before they were ready, and most of them have regretted it. Just my 2 cents.
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.
Reply
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