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Quick Question to you chefs

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
If someone were to come into your restaurant looking to gain experience before deciding on attending cooking school...what would you look for? What would your expectations be of that person? Or would you even consider him/her at all?
post #2 of 11
What I would (and have) looked for were:
  1. Drive - does this person have the desire to be there?
  2. Personality - will this person work well with us?
  3. Ability to Hang - will this person still be with us Friday night at 7:30pm when the rail is white with tickets?
Once there:
  1. Mise en place - self explanatory.
  2. Cleanliness.
  3. Timeliness.
  4. Are they still smiling at the end of the shift.
There's a thousand indicators, but the first is the biggest. Did they show up on time for the initial interview? Did they seem excited about the venture? I don't mind training people. Sure, sometimes the rush hours are the hardest time to actually train, especially if your line is short already, but you'll see who knows what and who knows enough to get OUT of the way when required.

So, would I consider him/her? Heck yes!

Ciao,
Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
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Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
Reply
post #3 of 11
The above, all of it, with one addition, the one I find most important:

Attitude
...."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 #4 of 11
I have taken on some Pre-Students before, and I think the 2 main things are attitude and are they willing to be there. They need to be able to put forth effort. Obviously if they have no experience you are not going to thrown them on the line on a Friday or Satuday night... It takes time... What I do most of the time is I start them with a little prep so I can judge their speed and their knife skills... then after a while maybe train them a little on a monday or tuesday night... You need to take it step by step.
post #5 of 11
...and to all the above, do they ask questions, rather than telling the chef how they do things...
cj
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cj
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post #6 of 11
Hey! You must be getting the same ones I've been getting....
...."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 11
I've gotten a lot of these types, some high school kids considering culinary school over college, some career-changing adults. they offer to work for free in exchange for a taste of the real thing.

Like everyone I agree with all of the above, but my goal when they arrive in my kitchen is to scare them out of it. I throw'em right in the middle of the weed patch and see if they can cut their way out. Roughly 50% can hack it.

I tell all of them: Believing you can cook in a restaurant because you "love to cook at home" is the same as trying to run the Indy 500 because you have a driver's license.
Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
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Peace,
kmf



Visit Edible Iowa River Valley"In the long view, no nation is healthier that its children, or more prosperous than its farmers." -President Harry Truman, at the signing of the School Lunch Act, 1946
Join Slow Food HereJoin Gather.com here
Reply
post #8 of 11
I agree with that. One of the leading causes of a closed restaurant is someone who thinks they can cook and it'd be 'fun.' The primary cause is undercapitalization.

However, I digress. Tossing those folks in the weeds? I doubt much I would have stayed with you and it sure isn't my first trip to the circus.

Ciao,
Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
Reply
Order In/Food Out ~ It's NOT magic.
- * - * - * - * -
"It's not getting any smarter out there. You have to come to terms with stupidity, and make it work for you." Frank Zappa
Reply
post #9 of 11
I have had the pleasure and disgust of working with some "green" kids in my day. The one thing I try to let them know right off the bat is there will be no weekends off. If they don't like that idea now, then chances are they won't like it down the strech. Also, common sense comes greatly into play in the business. Book smarts only get you so far. Let them know you anticipate they will make mistakes, but they need to learn from them. If i have to continually repeat myself then it's gonna be over RFQL. It is also important they pay close attention and try to apply themselves. I personally did not attend a culinary school and without self-application, I don't think i would have made it half as far as i have. Then there are the hazing tricks you can play on them. It happened to me, so it's gonna happen to them. If they run away crying, well then it was a good experience for them. Find another career. If they take it like a man and laugh with you, maybe you've got a potentially great chef in your kitchen. BTW, i have got some great hazing stories to share with all of you sometime as i know many of you do too!:crazy:

Peace,

Chef Mike

"if you're gonna make an omelet, you're gonna have to crack a few eggs"
post #10 of 11
Anyone willing to "...make their bones...". This is not a romantic profession despite all the crap you may see on certain food shows. Traits like humility, willingness to learn, promptness, and cleanliness will get you in my door for a mere trial run. I have a 17 year old apprentice right now that I have been struggling with because he thinks this is all a big circus. I promised him six months unless I just couldn't stand him anymore. He's going on vacation with his family in August and I think that when he leaves I will tell him to finish high school and when he has more time to learn to come back and see me. That's the end of hiring such green cooks for me! 'Wana go to school? The first few kitchens you are employed in will be the best schools you go to. Do that first, and then consider formal culinary training to acheive your certifications. Godspeed!

-Jolly
post #11 of 11

greyeaglem

I agree with everything said so far, espeially Chef Mike. I too tell them that when everyone else is out having fun, that's when they have to be working. It's the nature of the beast and if you don't like it, find another field. The main thing I look for is someone with a passion for food and a willingness to learn. Sometimes they do think they already know more than I do. That's not to say I have n't learned things from these people, but I like it better when they keep quiet and listen in the beginning. What has always drawn and held me in this profession is the fact that no matter how much you think you know, you can never know it all, and you may think you're best at something, but someone else out there will do it better. Nice to see everyone's responses.
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