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For the "Chefs" out there

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
This is a question for all the "chefs" out there. Oftentimes I wish I could go back to being a "line dog". When all the administrative tasks start to pile up and the pressures and responsibilities of being a chef are starting to weigh heavily, I sometimes long for those "carefree" days of being an hourly employee. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great things about being in charge, but sometimes don't you just long for the simplier life? So what position would you go back to? I would love to become a Saucier again. Spend my days churning out perfect stocks, sauces, and soups. I would also love to get back to being a grill cook, especially if I could do it in a place with a wood burning grill. There is something that I love about cooking over live fire. So what would you do if you gave up all the responsibilities of chefdom?
post #2 of 25
I have never been an executive chef but I was a restaurant manager. So given that I had some of the administrative issues you speak of, I hope you'll let me offer my answer.

For me it's a no brainer.

I'd go back to being the bartender.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #3 of 25
Back in the pastry kitchen I would go. Breads, rolls, petit fours, cakes, plated desserts, maybe even a few cookies :)
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #4 of 25
Definately baking/pastry. All those wonderfull scents, and getting there before anyone else ... very peacefull.
post #5 of 25
What gives Pete, dreading having to do inventory first thing in the morning on New Year's day after midnight breakfast buffet? :D
post #6 of 25
I'd like to be a student again, and this time, take it more seriously!
post #7 of 25
I'd go back to working the grill.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #8 of 25
Even though I've co-owned this biz ww/ my wife for almost 9 years, I don't consider myself a "Chef".

Here's what I did today:
Boned, brined, and smoked 2 dzn dbl breasts
Sent out 6 parties, including one cocktail party
Finished off three heads of puff I started yesterday
Gave my poultry supplier he** and sent back a $1000 order because the invoice was $.50 per lb more than what I had been quoted on
Showed the new d/w how to chop onions
Baked off cheesecakes for Thurs's party
Wheedled two Halibut carcasses along with my salmon order from my fish supplier for vin blanc for Thurs's party
Finally mucked out the walk-in with the d/w. The aftermath from last week's
roast beef and cocktail party (guaranteed for 800, maybe 500 showed up, can I e-mail anyone some med-well top rounds?)
Baked off florentine squares and brownies for the reg. sandwich parties
Baked off tomorrow's sandwich pullman loaves (Proof and bake frzn dough only, my mixer is just a 30 qt...)

It's the annual Christmas marathon. It always starts off on the last week of Nov with the same client's cocktail/brkfst party, delivered by 6:30 am. Will I make it? Do I have the stamina, the mise-en place, the right employees, the freezer space, the right suppliers to make it?

Find out Jan 2. I won't know myself until then...
...."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 #9 of 25
I was a short-order cook in a chain/family-style joint. There was nothing like working the Friday & Saturday overnight shifts. We would get hit about 1am and crank until 4. We would literally do hundreds and hundred of covers. But, man was it fun! No paperwork. No worrying about 'no-calls/no-shows.' Punch in. Work. Punch out. Ahhhh.... the golden years. :cry:

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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post #10 of 25
I would never go back to anything on the hot side, but would not hesitate to go back to my bread apprenticeship with a 70 yr. old Master Baker from France.Phillipe. Hated this guy, kept me on the dry balancel for a year.Mixing for a year. and proof/finish/bake for just a few months always insinuating that I did not deserve to live with the finished product.
He would lunch in his car and drink a half a gallon of wine,baguette, return in his sandels and proceed to fondle his doughs and talk/whisper passionately to his rising Brioche. I just never got it then. Hated him for making me use a thermometer when he would just pass his hands over the dough like he was in touch with the breads aura. What a jerk I was.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #11 of 25
I would like to do the garde manger for a cruise ship style brunch. Pates and terrines, bone the birds for galantines, make some canapes, set up the displays, carve the ice.
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
Kuan said


I hadn't even thought of that!! Sure won't miss the resort that night!!! No, just nostalgic for the old, carefree days of working hard, playing hard and not worrying about anything other than how I set myself for the next day.
post #13 of 25
Panini -- you need to write a book.

I pulled out even before I would consider myself a "real cook." But I tell you what, managing 6 acres, planting, plus household management and finances, animals... husband going back out to sea... keeping the home fires burning is a hard thing. I have said this before and I'll say it again, I miss waking up at 5am and getting to the kitchen for prep. I loved it -- I didn't have to think, just "do," and be in the environment I loved. The chef told me what to chop, yell at, stack.... Ahhhhh.....
:rolleyes:

BUT -- I wouldn't trade THIS, where I am now, what I have, for anything. I wished for this as a child, and I have been blessed with the opportunities to make it happen. The grind may be a pain in the backside sometimes, but it is all worth the sunsets.... I'll send you all some wine and olive oil in 5 years!

And Pete, you need to get yourself on the grill ;) Life is too short not to make the time to jump back in line, if only for a little while.... :)
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #14 of 25
Le Chambord, November, 1982...........

The night of bouillabasse. And a pretty big mess.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #15 of 25
mmmmmm

Bouillabaisse is actually one of my favorite dishes! Tell us about the night!!! Fish everywhere?
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #16 of 25
Etienne from Marseilles taught me how to make his amazing bouillabaisse. I was two years out of culinary school and through doing a stage found myself being hired to work sauté at Chambord which was at the time the pinnacle of French restaurants in my state. I was cutting my teeth at chambord, and looked up to Etienne because he took me under his wing.Etienne was also a hot blooded Mediterranean chef that was proud and confident.When I started to work at Chambord Etienne spent hours with me teaching me the fine art of fish butchery, fish fumet and finally making bouillabaisse in the real fashion of Marseilles.So one November evening in 1982 a guest sent back the bouillabaisse, saying it was not the real deal.The restaurant was full, the line was cranking, Robert "row.ber" the chef owner was in my face.I thought Etienne was going to go straight out to the dining room and dismember this person. Instead he threw 2 + gallons of glacage up and down the line, taught me how to swear in French and preceded to bang out another 3 dozen orders of bouillabaisse a la minute.I want to go back to those days.Perfectly in-perfect
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #17 of 25

Missing the Passion?

I love the idea of this post...

Build systems...

Do I have a Sous or a Chef de Cuisine that lacks in the areas of paperwork, labor control, P&L, food cost percentages.....hmmmm....you type...I'll cook...ask me questions later...

Sometimes I find myself getting in the grunge and saying flooot the paperworkd and my job (outside of ordering of course) and deal with who I am and what I really do...I am a cook...and who I am and what I do evolves around an 80 gallon steam kettle filled with my new Miso-Chipotle Demi, or the marination on my filets, or a picture that I drew that I imagined this plate up of 1000 to look like....

I hate the office....I hate going home with a clean chef coat....I hate thinking that any of my cooks/chefs can cook better than me (even though there are a few that I could not hold a candle to...)

This is who we are and this is what we do....

We are not necessrily culinary machines anymore, we are management, observers, teachers, mentors, enemies and (in my world) the best of friends...

Pawn off the number crunching to someone that needs to learn and let me tell you about this wild and crazy idea I have in my head for this plate up on Sunday....

Cheffy Babbles Once Again....
Trying to make a difference one palate at a time...

Want some more Cheffy Babbles????????
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Trying to make a difference one palate at a time...

Want some more Cheffy Babbles????????
Cheffy's Blog
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post #18 of 25
Wow a thread after my own heart....I think its the holidays that has inspired all the nostalgic thinking about I wish I could cook more and such, and leave the paperwork behind....with holiday banquets and such I actually need to be cooking, seems like the only time of the year. I have had the luxury of having a dedicated sous for nearly 6 years now, he started as my dishwasher and worked his way up, then I put him through school, he is my mini me....yes, he does complete me....but with him around, the need for me to cook becomes less and less. I gotta say that I really miss it....I try to make it so that atleast one day a week I short schedule just so that I "have to" cook, like its a burdon, I look forward to that day all week long.

I would say If I were to go back I would want to be a Sous again, still on the line cooking with the team, but still in charge....fortunately when I was a sous, I always had very easy going chefs that just let me run the show, we would sit down at the beginning of the week and go over the week, if I needed to know anything it would come up then, and after that I had the kitchen for the week and the chef had the office. But I must say I find the office quite boring, dont know how they did it.
post #19 of 25
wow, see im a young cook and student and have worked for some hard asses and just got a new job twice as intense and hard, and all i can think about is putting my time in trenches and becoming a chef, any thoughts?
post #20 of 25

Not so much cooking!

Hey maybe we could trade place:)

I am more ready to stop cooking and do more management. I really like the coaching, and training of new cooks, especially to help them become better supervisors and managers.
Crazy stuff:eek:
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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post #21 of 25
I would have to say back to Sauté in restaurant boot camp. Come in an hour and half early to work off the clock, come up with three specials and scramble to get set to get my butt handed to me. Just clean up and go home no ordering, no paperwork, Nada. Ahhh the good old days.

Strange that this comes up at the time when I secured all the financing to open my own place. Seems the good old days will never be more than a memory.
Be careful to call it art, what is art today is in the toilet tomorrow.
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Be careful to call it art, what is art today is in the toilet tomorrow.
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post #22 of 25
Sorry guys but i like the hot side... i like cooking for 300 people in 2 hours... its really fullfilling... Althought these days, half the day, i find myself behind a desk instead of the kitchen, i still like getting my hands dirty and sweat.

does anyone know where i can find information on FOOD APPRECIATION or FOOD CRITIQUING? I have to give a seminar on this topic for "non-chefs" this friday, and i've been seaching high and low and there does not seem to be any guidelines for this topic... please help.
post #23 of 25
thats the way to do it... the only way, for me... we all have to pay our dues... and you'll get better everyday... the next thing you know, you'll be the hard *** dishing it out... : )
post #24 of 25
I don't know if I am in the right forum, as I have never participated in this before.I thought I would give it a go anyway.I have just had a break from the kitchen for 3 years, and have decided to venture back in.I will be in charge of a theatre style kitchen (I am an Aussie in the United Kingdom by the way).The business comprises a cafe, deli, and bar.We will be working from a blackboard menu, changing it daily to try and encourage innovation and keep our clients interested.I am really wanting to bounce some ideas off someone who can give me some feedback (apart from my boss who is not from a catering background).Am feeling a bit jaded at the moment.The cafe is still being built, and I am working from home(big trap), creating menu ideas and trying to remain up to date with food trends and what is happening in the now,as well as trying to put my own individual slant on it.If anybody has any ideas how I might be able to go about it another way,I would be open to suggestions.
post #25 of 25

Don't give up yet

i am going thru the same right now myself i am an executive chef with a limited staff so my life well their is no life but work being a chef as its reward dont give up yet possibly train some our your kitchen staff to lighten up your work load there are great cooks and sous chefs out there starving to give their all. good luck
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