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Working at Family's Restaurant Problems

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hey some of you know me most don't. I work at my uncle's restaurant. He promised me that before I went to CIA that he would teach me to be a chef... I had listened and kinda decided not to for about 2 years until finally moving down to his new restaurant (2nd!) Anywho I was promised drunken praises of "You will run this place in 6 months" and things of that sort. But I have been until yesterday working Pantry/Deserts. Anyway I got 2 days of line (Fry/Minimal Saute) and I stunk it up on the first part but manged to make up for it the next day. Anyway in comes this intern from a pretty bad (in my eyes) culinary school in conn. He sucks so bad and my uncle even said so. But he basically took my line time and flushed it down the crapper and my uncle hired some guy to work nights so i'm kinda feeling decieved.


Not to mention I am earning 11 dollars an hour when I expected 15. Anyway I have a job offer at a local diner I've worked (and EXCELLED) at in my hometown. I would be making 12-13 an hour under the table with as many hours as I want. Meaning I can work 69 hours a week if I wanted too.

Anyway the trouble I'm in is I basically walked out on my uncle with a resignation letter placed on his desk. I feel like a dirtbag for that and he has basically said he would take me back if I wanted. He at least said something to the effect of that to my father. Another reason my uncle and I fell out is he was litterly like Hells Kitchen in teaching me... But only me which got real old quick...

Anyway so I ask what's the better idea? Should I go for the position of basically an upscale dishwasher at an AWESOME restaurant or go for the immediate money (which i need really bad because I have a semester's worth of college loans to pay off and that's not including the other loans i took out when in college (never go to bing ny... there's no restaurants that hire for any kind of money... they all look for dirtbags...

So basically what is all of your opinions?
Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
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Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
Reply
post #2 of 15
Lukeygina,
It sounds like your pretty down on this whole chef thing right now.
It doesn't have to be so bad. I started out washing dishes at 12
and slowly progressed. Find every nice restaurant within an hours
drive and apply for a pantry or pastry assistant position. Mend your
relationship with your uncle and never work with family again. Sounds
tough, but, it takes an extremely stable and open relationship when working
with spouse or family. Not to mention your always so tired of seeing them
at work, that seeing them socially is nowhere near as enjoyable. If you
need to hone your line skills, I suggest getting a part time job cooking
breakfast. As you get older(an assumption of age)you will realize that
most people in the restaurants cannot do high volume breakfast, even
chefs. The fast paced repetitive nature of breakfast will build skill and
confidence on the line. It is only a step away from pm saute or grill.
Keep your chin up. Rome wasn't built in a day. Give yourself a little
credit. Your uncle seems to have a clouded view about being a chef.
You need to be in a kitchen where you can learn. There are places
out there where the chef will ask you to do things and explain why.
Being in the kitchen will never be as romantic as on TV, but, it has always
been the one place I am comfortable. Take it easy and stay between
the ditches. Good luck.

Stephen
post #3 of 15
"Never go to bed with friends and Family"
I'm a glorified babysitter...........Yippeeee!!!!!!!
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I'm a glorified babysitter...........Yippeeee!!!!!!!
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post #4 of 15
Sounds like you don't really know what is involved in becoming a chef.

I worked my first fine dining job when I was 19 (no school education by the way). It was worse than ****'s Kitchen. I worked 70 hours a week (on salary), never got any breaks (10 minutes to eat nothing more), and got cursed at every day. But I stuck with it, worked harder every day than the previous, and it payed off huge in the end.

I learned more in those 3 months of being a commis more than most kids learn in their years of school. Despite being yelled at daily, the rough treatment, I am very glad I went through it. Ever since then everything I've done seems easy, I understand now why cooks are better in France (this chef was a French guy who worked under the old French system).

Also remember, first and foremost, restaurants are around to MAKE MONEY. Not to teach you. You won't make any real money in this industry until you are a well seasoned veteran because restaurants can't afford to be paying apprentices real money. If money is what you're looking for, this is probably the wrong industry for you.
post #5 of 15
Gina, I really think you are in for an eye-opener, staying in this industry. The wages you are making at these 2 places are very much the exception. If you go to CIA, you will come out as a cook, not a chef, and most high end places are not going to be paying you that kind of money. As I stated in my earlier response to one of your questions you are more likely to be paid $7-9 an hour. Sure, there might be a few job offers, as a chef, right out of school. The money may seem good, but you will do yourself a huge disservice, in the long run, accepting on of these positions. I think you really need to re-evaluate what you want. If it is making good money, this business may not be for you. Most of us do this because we love it. We have scraped by, lived with roommates, lived on Ramen noodles while we were "paying our dues".
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 #6 of 15
Lotsa problems there, girl. #1 is you can't become a "chef" overnight, first you gotta become a cook. Say that word out loud, with pride: "I am a cook!"

A cook has to know how to prepare food, that means comprehending and excecuting all 14 methods of cooking. I'll give you the first 4 methods, you go figure out the other 10, o.k.? There's roasting, poaching, (var. 1 with movement, var. 2 without movement) sauteing, braising. Then you gotta know how to use a knife, how to cut carrot sticks that don't look like you split them with an axe. How to move in the kitchen, are you constantly trotting back and forth from the walk-in to the bench or the stove with nothing in your hands? Learn to plan out your movements, just like dancers or team players in sports.

Now why do you think your Uncle hired that newbie? Back-up, that's why. From the first two days he could see that you weren't gonna work out. Any Chef/owner will do that. Hurt feelings? Tough luck, he's got a business to run and customers to please, he can't baby sit or he'll loose money. And $ 11an hour? Might as well give you a Porsche. How much experience do you have? That's what salaries are based on. He's doing you a favour, but what do you do? Yeah, yeah you pull a no-show. Letter on the table. Well, at least it's better than a message on the machine at 3:30 am or a fax or e-mail at 6 am, but still a mean stunt. Good thing he had that newbie to back him up, isn't it?

Am I harsh with you? Yes. Have I called you names, insulted you, abused you, thrown things at you? No. This is the life in the kitchen, and I've just explained the "birds and the bees" to you. Wake up and decide if this is the life for you.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #7 of 15
Well put FoodPump. First sign of a PROFESSIONAL is a proper notice. Gina, you are being paid more than I pay most cooks with lots of experience. Most "Chefs" have put in years behind the stove. I have worked for several French and German chef's and most American cooks have it easy by their standards. Spend 2 weeks in a kitchen working only for staff meal and see if you love it. If the answer is yes then you may make it in this business.
I'm a glorified babysitter...........Yippeeee!!!!!!!
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I'm a glorified babysitter...........Yippeeee!!!!!!!
Reply
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I agree with all of you... I regret what I did but my emotions got the best of me...

Anywho, I love cooking it's by far my passion of life... There's nothing like running the line...


Anyway the problem I have is that my uncle took in this intern who sucked wicked bad and basically "benched" me... That's why I got so upset. I was promised that I would be running the restaurant and I feel I was decieved.

And I actually have quite a bit of experience... I ran an italian restaurant when I was 16 and still going to high school then I went to work at this diner back near my home. I know all about breakfast pushes! They are the hardest thing ever to deal with...
Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
Reply
Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
Reply
post #9 of 15
Wow, it's hard to believe. It's like Springer, you don't get it. Walking out is a pretty final step. Shame on you if you even put him in the position to take you back. The sooner you learn the world doesn't revolve around you the better off you'll be. I have had a few walk outs, but I can tell you, family or not, I have the locksmith posted on the window and that's my first call. Take that diner job until you grow up.
I still think this is a scam. No one can be that self centered. Can they?
Emotions? You don't have enough work or life experience to even have emotions. I'll bet you 10 dollars you have never once thought about the customers while on the line and have no idea how the food gets to the storeroom.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #10 of 15
Lioke I said in my last post, why do you think your Uncle took in the intern? Spend 5 minutes to think, why? Perhaps, just maybe, it had something to do with your performance? Or attitude? Maybe your Unc. being a nice guy and all, put you on the cold side after a few days of watching you on the hot line to "mellow out" a little because you sucked on the hot line? Oops, let me sugar coat that, umm, "you aren't ready for the hot line just yet"... Don't blame your Unc. he needs a cook, and family or not, if you don't work out he'll find someone who does. That's the birds and the bees. Respect it, because it won't change, where ever you go it'll be the same.

Like it or not, the intern you hate has taken over your $11/hr job, and you just gave him the keys when you pulled that no-show. Remember that old Dire straits song that went like: "when you point your finger at me, you got three more fingers pointing at you"... Oh and don't go hating the intern because of th school he went to. That's like hating someone because of their nose. The shape of someone's nose has nothing to do with their intelligence, attitude, character, skill, or ambition.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #11 of 15
lukeygina, I m quite a novice in the food industry but the fact that you are getting paid $11/hr is awesome.
I have similar decent skills (cooking wise) and have a Subway ran successfully under my resume for restaurant mgt. Its hard for me to find even staging gigs for free. I can't afford school at this stage in my career.
And the advice that chefatl, panini, foodpump etc. gave you, the hard-line truth, is the fact of the game. Infact in a world full of sharp edges and 60K bTU burners, its the most painless thing.
I am not one of the first to blame the media, but like Michael Jordan made basketball look easy, Foodnetwork and others have made the world of cooking and restaurant running look like child's play. The art involved behind, the skills involved during are totally out. Even the series with serious undertones 'recipes for success' glorify the success while sugar coating failures (which are many).

May be the field is not for you. Getting benched is really nicer than being thrown out of the kitchen in front of others. Cherish the experience and the paychecks you are getting. If you get a queasy feeling everyday before you go to work, change fields. (I have worked at a Placement office of a small univ.(2500-5000) for about 3 years in IT, picked up a few things about career guidance there...)

Better to pull out now and have more time on your hands to find a career you like. Good Luck.

(edited for clarifications)
post #12 of 15
She's gonna regret leaving when she's picking romaine lettuce and using jarred Caesar dressing for $7 an hour at the local Macaroni Grill.

Sounds like you had an opportunity to learn something and STILL (STILL STILL STILL) get paid a decent wage to do it. Many people have to work for practically NOTHING to get where you are. There are Mexicans and Ecuadorians who would slit your throat for an 11 dollar an hour job.

Stop being an entitled elitist brat, pick up your knife, and get back to work.
post #13 of 15
liv4fud,
You have good insight.
My critique comes from tough luv for I'm old enough to have seen this hundreds of times.
The field is open to anyone with passion because we are not a certified professional industry like others. It's not easy to break into, with an education or not.
But like Michael Jordan, he didn't make his first basketball team, in fact he was not all that good. He practiced his way to his status. Like Tiger Woods, these people have a passion, and the field becomes a part of their life. Success comes when you move from the "live to pratice/work" mode to the "work to live"' mode.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

Reply
post #14 of 15
Amen!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm a glorified babysitter...........Yippeeee!!!!!!!
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I'm a glorified babysitter...........Yippeeee!!!!!!!
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post #15 of 15

$11/Hour??!!

I've been doing this for 23 years and I've made $11/hour for a total of about 100 hours, at various jobs, before I get salaried and drop back to the $8.50/hour range. If you're in this for the money you've got a rude awakening coming up on you like a freight train.
If no one will follow you, you can't be the leader.
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If no one will follow you, you can't be the leader.
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