Managing Anger in the Kitchen - Page 2
So the new guy goes out with our crew to set up, I've got a big function that night, and another bbq the following day, so I stay behind. About an hour before the event starts I get a call from my partner:
"Hurry down here and bring the cheap BBQ from home with you, NOW!"
Get down there with a "Canadian Tire special" Bbq, with a heavy heart. New guy is standing in front of my bbq with a pile of little brass springs and valves at his feet, I glare at him, he mutters:
"Sorry man, I've worked all kinds of Bbq's, used all kinds of stoves, all around the world, but I can't figure out this one out."
The bbq has 5 knobs, each one controlling a burner, and like most bbq's you have top push the knob in, then turn. The new guy had forced EACH burner knob until it broke. If he ever got that thing lit, he'd have blown it up.
My face was the colour of a rotten strawberry, but I didn't yell at him, I leaned closer to him, taking enjoyment at watching him flinch away. I said,
"The knobs are push and turn, like every other bbq I've seen. Now, you break one, I can understand, sh** happens, and you can get by with four burners, easy. Two knobs broken, well maybe you're a slow learner or in a panic, but you can still get by with three burners. Now knobs four and five. I don't know. I guess I'll never know until you trip and fall, split your head wide open and I can finally see what's in there. But I'd like your suggetions on what to do for tomorow's bbq party".
I managed to get the thing fixed befoe the next day, cost me over $200 to get all 5 valves replaced and soap tested. I photocopied the invoice, stapled his paycheque to it, and put a sticky note on it, saying: "Do what you think is right" . Never heard from him again. But a knee kick to the family jewels would have given me more pleasure than the sticky note.....
Now, for a couple of Tiger Beers I could tell you the time the bqt waitress ran off with our catering van for a couple of hours. Since it was the end of the month, I guessed--correctly--that she took it to finish moving into her new Apt. The kicker was, she wanted to be paid overtime for her "excursion". Then, for a case of TsingTao, I could tell you about the time an Event planner....
Oh god yes. When I'm running the line and the waitstaff do the whole "When the cat is away the mice will play" bullshit is by far the angriest I've ever been in twenty years in kitchens. I've had servers carrying on a personal conversation IN FRONT OF MY LINE with their food up. I call their food for pickup once, twice, three times. Then I have to literally yell at them (in an open kitchen) to get their damn food; and they glower at me for interrupting their conversation. We've been juggling FOH managers for almost a year now and it's gotten worse and worse keeping the servers in line as we go from one ineffectual candidate with a BS resume to another. At this point I'd be thrilled if I could convince the owners to let me fire half their FOH staff and hire randoms off the street. It would be an upgrade.
I have manic depression, and along with that comes some pretty severe anger issues. I was court ordered to take anger management in highschool after I hit a teacher. When I found cooking, I found a solace. As a line cook, I was so good, I could come to work stoned, and still manage to prep, cook, and plate beautiful upscale dishes for 60-100 a night, with one other cook. What really gets me angry in a kitchen now is when someone is blatantly disrespectful to the process. I've had cooks tell me that they don't care, and I'm like, 'then why are you even here?' You HAVE to care to succeed in a cooking profession. So when I see someone who just doesn't give a shit, it angers me because I've worked so hard to achieve a name that people are happy to eat under. Don't make me look bad just because you're in the wrong profession.
P.S. I WILL fire for this. You can teach anyone to cook, but only if they want to learn.
My neuroticism gets the best of me in the kitchen. I tend to explode when one of my staff members puts me in a unnecessary situation. When I have to repeat myself multiple times so a cook understands what to do, but still does it wrong. When a foh staff rushes my team, or when they go straight and ask them to cook something without asking me. The moment when my view of perfection or slight perfection gets broken and it shatters my balance to try to fix it back. To try and get that composure back drives me into an angry rampage and sadly no one is safe from my cold and bitter responses. Its something i'm working on.
really gotta check that timestamp. 10 year old thread, but a very good read.