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I'm a prep wanting to move up to the line......

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm a prep cook wanting to move up to the line.... I've been working in the industry for about 6 months now and my current employer doesn't seem to want to put me permanently on the line. Other employers that I have been interviewing with also are very hesitant to throw someone on the line without any line experience. Any advice on how I can get cooking on that line??? Basically my thing is I understand you wouldn't want to throw someone on the line wothout any experience...but how can you get that experience without getting that chance....Prep is tedious, monotonous and getting kind of boring. I know I have more talent to contribute in the kitchen other than prep work.
post #2 of 16
If you want to move on, you will need to gain experience. When I was a "youngster" starting out and gaining experience, I used to stay back and work/train in different sections in my own time, have you volunteered your free time to get more experience??
As as a chef said to me many years ago "I don't promote people based on the the fact they may be able to move up to do the job, I expect they are already doing the job now, before I promote them - this is how I am sure they can handle the position!!!
You may not agree with working in your own time to further your skills, but if you don't take a positive approach then your employers have no reason to assume you have more talent to contribute to the kitchen or to take a risk with you.

Good luck!
Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
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Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
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post #3 of 16
Felix.....I happen to agree with you!

30 years ago I went the same route. Worked well for me and most of the people I worked around. Only today I'm sure most employers would be hesitant since this violates almost every aspect of labor or insurance laws.

Talk to the powers that be. There's obviously two reasons that they are hesitant at your current job. Either you haven't learned every aspect of your current job and need more time or your so valuable in prep that they don't wish to make a change. Be advised the line and prep are two different worlds entirely! The things that make you success in one are not all the same as the other.

This is where you will need to use objective reasoning and no I don't mean the disagreeing definition of objective. If it's the prior find out what you need to do differently or better to know the position like the back of your hand.

If the latter is the case then work out a deal with them to let you train on a station a couple days a week during your prep shift. You can't let this interfere with any current duties, job competancy or performance. This way you can explain the benefits of keep ing and moving you throughout the kitchen. Any good boss will see the benefits of this.

If they have good solid reasons for not moving you like performance or attitude set the goals with them to work on them. After all it's the perception of the bosses that will determine where you go from here. You may feel like you have "mastered" a task or function but the reality is that your view is personal and the bosses are supposed to be professional.

BTW Judging by your attitude in the KM/Chef post it also might be that they perceive the lack of respect you have for them and are refusing to move you because of this????? You can't call them an incompetent idiot and then expect them to promote you!
Good luck!
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

well......

Thank you both for the advice. Old school maybe your right. Maybe I do need to show the authoritives a bit more respect. Honestly I feel that I just view KM's and other authoritives in the kitchen like that because they have no formal culinary training except for experience. Thanks for the advice it really made me take a look at myself and how I should show a lil more respect. But who am I to hate on them for....... My chef instructor told me that the 10- 15 years it takes some of these Kitchen managers to become kitchen managers It's going to take me 4 years to get where there at with my education and experience. But see the main reason I want to be promoted is because I need that line experience, I will go nowhere in this business if I just keep "peeling potatoes" not literally but you know what I mean (prep). I viewed in the other forum that you said maybe I might want to think about changing careers, No I'm sure this is what I want to do, I just know that I have more to offer. Felixe on my free time you think I should stay back and train???? You know they say if you won't do the job for free you shouldn't do it at all...... But i spend five days a week, 6 hours a day working in a kitchen for free...... I'm a culinary student, and I'm sure that you know culinary school isn't where you just go in and open a book and discuss things. At school we actually "feed the beast" If you know what I mean. But hey I'm still hanging in there.
post #5 of 16
Sounds like you're catchin' on... ;)
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
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I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
post #6 of 16
Chef in training, culinary school ( or apprenticeships) are merely the tip of the iceberg, while I am sure you are able to learn a lot at culinary school, becoming qualified does not make you a profesional in your career, only years of discipline and learning.
Yes I do suggest you work in your own time, but not doing the same tasks you do now, you should be seen as positive and pro-active by volunteering yourself to your manager - tell him/her of your ambitions and that you want to move on and up and are willing to spend some of your time getting "to know the ropes". Show some initiative, commitment and passion to beyond the average and your manager will notice you.
BTW 6hrs x 5days is no time at all, this means you have at least another 20 hours to spare before you can say you have been working.

Good luck
Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
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Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
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post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

thanks

BTW that's 6hrs.X5 days not including the 30-35 hrs. a week I put it at work. I just thought I'd like to add that
post #8 of 16

all in good time and a poke of fun

So Chefintraining....A 70 hr work week ay? Wait'll you not on vacation any more and start those 80-100+ hour weeks.:D :roll: :smiles: :crazy: :bounce: :beer:

BTW one last thing. Becareful. It sounds to me that at such a early point in your career your developing an attitude and what could be considered the Culinay equivalent to a snob. Just because you have a couple years of school under your belt doesn't give you the right or ability to look down your nose at someone because..."Honestly I feel that I just view KM's and other authoritives in the kitchen like that because they have no formal culinary training except for experience. who has an education" IMHPO Experience will go a long way.

Trust me these folks can teach you a helluva lot more than what you give them credit for. Rather you should be like a sponge with "Eyes wide open and attitude parked at the door". This should be your motto (or one of them) for at least the next 3-5 yrs. It will always be the person above you that determines how fast or slow you will and need to advance up the ladder. Impatience with them or in yourself will only serve to lessen or prohibit you from reaching your full potential.
post #9 of 16
I'm confused...are you working for free in a kitchen for experience while going to school full time?

I agree with the advice others have voiced on the board. Go in early, stay late, go in on days off.

If you work for a chain my advice is to move on to another job at another kitchen...especially if you are working for free. Most high-end places will accept stages and trails. So your days off don't even have to be spent at the place you work. Make a list of restaurants in you area you think you might like to work and call the chef (off hours of course) and ask if you can stage or trail. Talk to your chef instructors--they often know people in the industry who may need people. Give them resumes, even if they don't have a position at the moment, something may open up soon and you could be on the short list.

Be willing to be a prep cook. You can learn a ton, see a lot more, and move up quickly if you do a good job. Remember that everyone in the kitchen has something to teach you--head chefs, prep cooks, line cooks, even dishwashers.

Good luck.
post #10 of 16
I have to admit that during my career I have had to take a couple "port in the storm" jobs due to relocating or other. At one I was offered the prep position and took me all of a milisecond to take it. Believe me when I say that if you do stick with things there will be some days when you long for the prep line again. :bounce: :D
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
No I am not working for free and going to school full time......I am working at a chain and going to school full time. I feel as if i'm working for free at school because we're actually doing production for customers at school. i.e. breakfast as short order cooks and put out soups from scratch vegetable dishes, and starch dishes for a hot line for lunch.....thanks all for the advice. gotta go to sleep now. Gotta be up in 5 hours for school.
post #12 of 16
hmmm, you gotta change that attitude.
Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
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Leading the global ban on cup and spoon measurements in recipes!
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post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
ayyo i just got some good news today.....I'm going to start training on the line next week. The salad station. They get pretty busy, cause you know out here in Los Angeles alot of people are so health conscious and sill on he low carb craze......Thanks for all your advice....I'll let you know how that goes
post #14 of 16
Don't think that doing things like dishwashing and being a "short order cook" can't teach you anything. Cleanliness, timing, responsibility, keeping an even head during stressfull times, etc, are all things that can be learned.

I go to some greasy spoons and am positive that I've seen some 50 year old, tank top wearing, cigarette smoking fat guy who could cook me under the table any day of the week with a wicked hangover and a hand tied behind his back, while holding a conversation with every customer on the stools.

(that may be a slight exageration but you get the idea).

Can't wait to hear how you like the "glamour" of the line.

Again, salad is a good place to start. Getting your meez straight, staying clean, working fast and keeping up will all be put to the test. Make sure to maximize the opportunity and use it as a spring board for higher goals.

Good luck.

Also, I still reccomend doing some trails at nicer restaurants in your area. It will give you a peek into the lives outside of the chains, and maybe help you decide if you want that sort of path or one more like the one you are on.

Don't think I'm putting down where you work, there are a lot of benefits to working for chains, namely money, hours, and benefits.

The bad sides are lack of creativity, lack of training and development, and being a number.

Seriously, good luck. I bet if feels good to move up the laddera bit, eh?
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

ohhh boy

that line is no joke.....it's very hard work but I get satisfaction in a job well done. Not only do I do salads but I must also do hot apetizers. It's difficult because the hot appetizers are all fried foods, i.e. chix wings, potato skins, chix strips, spring rolls etc...... and the deep fryer is like 10 feet behind me so you can imagine all the time lost in going back to the ffryer to drop my food, and coming back to like 6-8 other tickets. The fry guy doesn't help me one bit, sometimes I just want to stick a hot plat straight out of the salamander on his face!!! I'm sorry I just need to vent. However I know I can master that station, it will just take time.
post #16 of 16
That is exactly how I started out. Working in a chain restaurant, on the fry/salad/oven station. It got rediculous, we'd do 3000 dollars worth of food in an hour (small line, cheap menu, that's alot of food). One key is to hold bills until you have a stack (don't need to wait long), then just drop however much you need all day into the fryers. You can't cook individual portions otherwise you run out of room very quickly. When in doubt, drop more food. Chances are you'll need it anyway. Move fast, but stay organised. Absolutely any break you get in-between bills, use it to clean and re-organise.
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