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what's the big deal with HOTELS

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
im hoping that someone can give me a little insight on the hotel biz. iv'e been on the restaurant side of the fence for 20+ years with a good running track record. had a hard time getting hired on at a hotel (chef said most hotels dont like rest. peeps because of the attitude and the bad temper)
well dudes and chickas, im here to tell you - after 6 months at the hotel im at, its all BOGUS.. the ex sous chefs screams all the time, the banquet team is lacking organization, and the ex. chef (to me) seems to be a lame duck. i thought these places were supposed to run alot better and have a better outlook. i left a bad job and took a huge pay cut to get into something thats worse.
can amyone shed a little lite and help me find a better attitude so i can get up in the morning with a smile on my face, with out kicking myself in the *** first.. tanx alot trav
post #2 of 28
Just about any cooking job sucks. I've worked over 15 kitchens, only 2 were producing quality food. A few were good to work at but the food sucked. Seems most people who stay in the kitchen are morons (except those who are also owners).... ****, the chef(s) I'm working with are morons, I'm wondering why on earth I even accepted the job (oh yeah, I get choice hours and good pay for not much work).

The best places to work are almost always small kitchens where people care about their product. Of course it's incredibly hard to find a job in a place like that, because if it's that good they'll already have a full staff.

For a hotel, the best employee is someone who is mindless, doesn't really know what they're doing but can follow someone's instructions, and will work any hours without complaining.... Knowing how to cook is optional/not required.
post #3 of 28
Ahh, hotels......They are, how do you say, institutions? Last Hotel I worked for (13 yrs ago...) was such an institution. 500+ rooms, 6 F & B outlets and a Union. Yep, shop steward had his own personal john cubicle in the men's locker room, had in-house rig up a lock for it too. Although he (shop steward) was offically Chef-Garde-manger, he spent alot of his time trying to convince the Chef that a f/t d/washer who, after 20 odd years in Canada still figured English (or French for that matter) wasn't worth learning, and took alot of "unscheduled days off" but wanted to earn more money and hence was pushing the Union to push the Chef for a line-cook job.

Really pittied the Chef, labour costs were his nightmare, guy couldn't focus on food when the Union was demanding $28/ hr for a decent cook and the F& B was selling prime rib wedding packages for $18 a head. Room service was in their own little world, morning shift had been there for something like 10 years and refused to prep for evening shift, just a mess.
...."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 28

Ahem...yeah...well...

I'm in the process of steeling myself to decline a position at a local hotel/casino.

(see my thread about nerve wracking job interviews)

The Sous chef is very enthusiastic about my resume. The EC is, shall we be polite, lacking in any kind of communication skills. He said salads, I made salads. Granted it wasn't my personal best, but when you're pretty much told to make something with no instructions about what the application is or that you could have used anything in the kitchen after the fact...yeah, it was special. I mean, who tells you to make something up and then criticize you for not making something else? I made a fruit platter with banana and plums and apples and pears...NOPE...sorry, shouldn't have used any kind of garnish and NO banana or plums or ...and should have used more melon and ...you get the idea...Also expecting an industrial buffet application when he said make a salad?

So, while 'he' wasn't impressed ("not up to his standards") they were going to "give me a chance" at $7 per hour! Uh...excuse me?

Prep and ASSISTANT baker. Um....no...not really...no. I was THE baker in Mammoth and I was THE baker at Chico's. I couldn't buy a cup of coffee with my pay after taxes.

So, yeah...I'm pretty insulted at this point. Burger King is paying 12 BUCKS an hour just to flip 'em. Not that I'd want to but I'd get almost 2x just delivering pizza?

The reasoning? It's a rural area (even though it is a bedroom community of Las Vegas and has grown to over 30k in population in only 15 years).

The EC also 'ran' the buffet at a world class casino in LV a few years back. (I'm thinking: Then why is he here?)

Ok ok...I'm pretty pissed off and agree with the whole Hotel thing.

<pssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss....> (That's my steam relief valve venting) :lol:

April
post #5 of 28
I know I don't know you and don't take this offensivly but I would agree that you totally blew that interview. If he didn't give you any direct instruction on what you couldn't use shouldn't you be trying to impress and shoot for the stars? Holding back and putting out a restrained product that doesn't reflect your skills is not going to impress anyone, including yourself from what you wrote.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

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Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

www.azurerestaurant.ca
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post #6 of 28

Yeah, I agree about the "blowing" part but...

Wowing the sox off of someone also depends on the venue. This is not a 5 star restaurant. I did good for what I knew of the place, not where he was heading with it.

The miscommunication as I see it is I was never given a clear indication as to where the EC was going with this particular effort. Tell me what you want and I can do it. Give me some parameters or let me know I can take over the kitchen.

I was also not given tacit free rein of the kitchen and I don't know about you, but unless it's understood that I can forage at will, the kitchen is still not 'my own' and I will not interfere with the workings of it until I'm comfortable that I've been allowed to.

I wouldn't make the same thing for a buffet line as I would for a Morton's Steakhouse, or Babbo or...I'm sure you wouldn't either. That's where the problem lies. This is an upgrading Hotel/Casino that typically has good coffee shop/steakhouse fare and daily buffets. <we're not even touching the liability aspect of this scenario>

I still maintain that it was his responsibility to communicate what kind of result he wanted. I repeat that I am not clairvoyant.

Heck, even Iron Chefs have a secret ingredient. :chef:


April
post #7 of 28
It's all about the Exec, man. Start talking to people (cooks) in the area and find out what places are good to work for and which execs know their ****. If you talk around, there are probably a few people who can tell you about almost every place in the area from experience because they've been working in the area that long.
post #8 of 28
Wow you guys are scaring me. I accepted a position a few weeks ago as an extern at a Ritz-Carlton. I've always heard great things from people in the industry about the Ritz.
post #9 of 28
Have fun as an extern. No I really mean it, it should be a blast. Once you become a f/t employee, then things change.

Hotels are just super-charged versions of restaurants, but the politics and unions are what really separte Hotels from restaurants. For every vacancy in the kitchen, someone is either promoted from within or someone is brought in "from the outside". But either way it's never right becasue X or Y or even W thinks s/ he should have been picked for the job, and this usually amounts to about 80% of the belly-aching and griping in the locker rooms. Unions can muddy waters by insisting that X be given the post even if X isn't right for the job, but he has the seniority. X will become a poor manager and affect all those around him, and in his efforts to keep his new job (and new pay) will look to the union for more support, but won't think to improve his skill or people skills. How many times have I heard "Union won't pay for (this or that) course...
In many hotels a Chef can be promoted to F & B, then to Resident Mngr, and even G. M. if s/he has the right connections, I can name you about 4 such people in S'pore who have gone this route. It's the politics that are really harsh and with all this promotion and movement going on, alot of toes get stepped on. Focus on being a good cook and try to stay away from the politics.
...."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 #10 of 28
Well I'll be working at a Ritz in Florida. Florida really doesn't have any unions, so I won't really have to worry about that.

I decided to go for a hotel for my extern mainly because I've never worked in one before and I wanted to get that experience under my belt. The Ritz I'll be working at is also less than 5 years old, so that's pretty exciting.
post #11 of 28
If it's the Ritz Carlton like the one I've eaten at in Atlanta, then I think that you'll be working for a very high class employer.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
well thanx guys&gals -
after a little over a week of reading the replies, and watching intently @ work, i have decided to just go back to the industry i started in, (single owned establishments). I sat the ex. sous down and told him i was not learning anything from this place, though i would still give him 150% while working here, its still boring me. He gave me the advice that there was still 25% of the hotel biz that i did'nt know, and that he would help me thru this portion. but this particular protion is political mumbo-jumbo.

so I ask you - should i stick around till after the first of the year with this.
or should i start looking for something else????
post #13 of 28
"Smooth seas never made a skillful sailor"

Sticking it out sometimes challenges you in ways you never thought possible. If you're willing to give it the full 125% for the duration then you may be pleasantly surprised. But you'll not know unless you give it a shot.

If you are truly in a deadend position the holidays will show you for sure. Plus a year looks better on a Resume than 6 months.
post #14 of 28
I'm a hotel and club chef, or rather, was before this kid rearing gig. I can't stand restaurants because of the monotony.

When I first started in hotels, I made a beeline for one of the sous chefs who worked in the restaurant and learned garde manger from him. Every Saturday night I would stay late and either do the pates and terrines, the dead dough sculpture, or the ice carving. Sunday morning I would come in early and finish the chaud-froid. Chef loved it and let me have the 3 extra hours a week to do that.

Anyway I don't want to talk about myself, but I took these skills and passed these on to people who showed interest. Maybe someone will pass some on to you if you show interest also. Ask, show the guy some pics of stuff you wanna do. You never know what lies underneath those whites.
post #15 of 28
I worked for Ritz-Carlton for 16 years. Its a great company...believe me. Which property are you at now? I know all the Executive Chefs...almost all.
post #16 of 28
Which Ritz in Florida...?hmmmm less that 5 years....is it Orlando?
post #17 of 28
Sarasota. I'll be starting sometime in November.
post #18 of 28
Frederick Morineau is the Chef. I know him. I have cooked there before, 2 times during their wine festival.
post #19 of 28
i feel slightly out of the loop. i work at a hotel and i don't find it all that terrible an experience. the banquet side of things sometimes grates on me (what, you want 250 mignardise?) but all in all it's not so bad.
post #20 of 28
Can you tell me anything about him? I've never met him in person, I've only talked to him a few times on the phone. I met their Exec Sous Chef when he came to our Career fair.
post #21 of 28
He is a 'down to earth person'. Have not so called 'worked' with him but he attended our Winter Wine Festival a couple times and I attended the ones he organized at Sarasota. I assume you are from the CIA.
post #22 of 28
Yes I am. I had the opportunity to do my externship at either the Ritz in Naples or Sarasota, but I just liked the vibe that I got from the people at Sarasota more.
post #23 of 28
I figured I'd bring this thread back instead of making a new one.

I'm going to be starting in the Garde Manger kitchen on Friday at the Ritz. My chef told me to make sure I study. What do you guys suggest I refresh myself on?
post #24 of 28
Salad dressing. :D Seriously.
post #25 of 28
One thing I love about hotels is that because they are huge money-generating establishments, we have great benefits, pay, raises, human resource, free/discounted rooms, etc.

Another thing I like is job security. I know the Marriott I work at is never going to close unless it starts on fire and burns to the ground.

It is nice to know the basics of executing banquets for large parties.
post #26 of 28
Whoa, they were wanting to give you a chance at $7? I get paid 8.50 and that was me "getting a chance", and all I do is work Fry side at TGIF. If I was going to be "given a chance" at a hotel, I want a MINIMUM of $9/hr, and let's not get into the opportunity for advancement, pay raise after my "chance" was confirmed and over with....

If you ask me, you should tell them to go take a flying leap off the top of their hotel.... but that's just me.
post #27 of 28
Mmm, 9$ an hour being a "drop chef" (the guy who drops stuff in the fryer), or the guy/gal who opens up bags of tomato sauce, splashes it in a cold pan, and heats up cold pre-blanched pasta in it, maybe making Ceasar with pre-bagged greens and commercial dressing; OR an opportunity working under a real Chef, in a real kitchen, with real cooks, and real food. Nobody says you've signed a life-long contract to work for $7 an hour, and nobody says you can't take that work experience with you when you go to bigger and better places and use it as a bargaining chip.

Meh, who am I to say? It's your life, your opportunities, your future. But I do want to say this: When I see people throwing a cold chix breast in a cold pan, THEN turning on the heat, and then drizzling over some oil as an afterthought, or dumping cold pasta in cold sauce and then turning on the heat, or invent a "new way" of sauting in the deep fryer, they won't be working the hot side in my kitchen for a while, or even at all.
...."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 #28 of 28
My friend owns a mini hotel. He has about 15 employees total, and he says that if you hire anyone who is actually "smart," you will lose a bunch of clients. It seems from what he says that the people who will usually succeed in the hotel business as employees are those who don't think too much and simply follow instructions.

I personally met some smart people at different hotels and...who knows, maybe he just needs to own a bigger and classier hotel so that smart people will want to work for him :lol:
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