I have been in the food industry for 27 yrs, I have worked in everything from fast food, 4 star, and family owned restaurants/bars. I have waited tables, bar backed, bounced, worked on every station in the kitchen including expediting. I started as a dishwasher/bus boy at age 19 in a Greek family restaurant/bar and worked for them for 4 years. It took me a yr and ½ to become a cook. Since then I have managed 4 kitchens and worked under 3 chefs. I am currently working at a retirement home. If you love a fast pace job with a lot of stress and can’t see yourself sitting at a computer all day, love food, team work,(if you have a good working team), and long hrs, than this is a job for you. I no longer look at it as a job but a career.
Now or the complaints.
#1 Pay sucks. I make just enough to get by and I don’t own a car or cell phone to make payments on. I live alone and have no children to take care of. I have maxed out at $10 an hour and this is what I was making 15 yrs ago.
#2 The industry has been flooded with low wage none English speaking people that take away the possibility to get a raise, (in America). I actually worked at a BW3’s that the head cook told me.” You work here now, you need to learn Spanish.” I told him that he lives here and he needed to learn English. I lasted 8 months.
#3 I’m going catch heck for this but when I started cooking, the kitchen was all men. Since the incorporation of women I have seen the stress of what has to be said around fellow co-workers and have lost a head chef due to rumors of relations between he and a cook. This was not true. I have also come to see that = pay does not = work. Most from what I have seen is the male does all the heavy lifting, (garbage, fryer oil, stock), and the female does not. I know this is not everywhere but I have seen a lot of it.
#4 Most places are under staffed and work with a skeleton crew. Time requested for being off work are hard to come by.
Welcome to ChefTalk.
It would seem that your 27 years were filled with lots of experiences, which unfortunately left you with some pretty bad scars.
Many of you complaint points seem based on a circumstances with regard to locations, as not all places are flooded with immigrants.
As for the women thing....again it looks as though you had some experiences that were, not always the norm.
A lot of what you point out is true but again, it has a lot to do with the quality of professionalism in the kitchen.
Even in retirement home cooking you still have to deal with people.
Is there an answer?