or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › advancing in the culinary field....
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

advancing in the culinary field....

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Can anyone tell me from experience what is the best way to move from a cook to a Sous position??
post #2 of 16
Ya know there's no good fast-track foumula, solution or short cut. Like the old saying goes.... Do you know the way to Carnegie Hall? Practice! Practice! Practice!

I really hate to say this but... CIT no insult intended, but unfortunately from your posts, it would be my professional opinion that you have a ways to go.

Think of the goal to being a Sous like a pie cut into a dozen pieces. Each piece of pie represents the kitchen and it's related knowledge and what it means to be not only a Sous but a Successful Sous. You have to take each piece, eat it one bite at a time and allow it to digest before you take another slice. But if you try to eat more than one piece or the whole pie at one time, well... you'll choke on things.

Don't quit trying. Don't give up. Be patient and don't force things. Set some reasonable goals and achieve them one at a time. Realize it's gonna take a couple or more years to work into it and understand two things. First, anything worth doing is worth doing right. The First Time. And second anything worthwhile takes time!

Edit:

Any idiot can sit back and point out the shorcomings and weaknesses of the people that are above them. Yet if you can sit back and find your own shortcomings and weaknesses and turn them around that's the real secret to success. Folks that will exploit a persons weekness and then cost that individual their livelyhood, don't belong wearing the title of a Professional Chef.

Hey last I checked certainly I and most of the rest of us can't "walk on water" so I ain't saying that I'm any better than anyone else out there but there is no one that will try harder to do the right thing.
post #3 of 16
ill be straight to the point as always i got my first sous position at 19yrs old. how did i get it? well wilst in high school i was in a culinary program (i went to a tech high school) so on top of that i worked about 50 hrs a week at a golf club and would often skip academic classes to go to work. once i graduated i went to college and out on internship the sous was a complete idiot. and i say that meaning it. the guy couldnt hold a knife he simply didnt know how cuz he never had to use one. how he got hired in the first place i have no idea(everyone makes mistakes i guess) i was doing his job and thought it would be fun to show him up whenever possible(it wasnt that hard) he was soon fired and i took his title although i was already doing his job the whole time he was their. my point? work hard, take things for what there worth, and if your working with some block head who for some reason is higher in rank than you do your best to get him/her fired and move up the food chain. remember its survival of the talented and organized
Sweet Jesus
Reply
Sweet Jesus
Reply
post #4 of 16
1. Be reliable.
2. Be trustworthy.
3. Represent your chef well.
4. Be the last guy standing when everyone else comes to pieces, quits, gets fired, or otherwise breaks.
5. Do not underestimate the importance of #4.

Being a good, well organized cook helps, but isn't nearly as important as those.
post #5 of 16
#1=work your a** off
#2=be available. No one likes to fill a shift...if you can, kudos
#3=DO IT! whatever the chef says, do it(unless it is beyond common sense). There is a reason it is being asked for. A rare occasion when you shoot firs, ask later.
#4=dedication
#5=it isn't food tv. realize that being "prochef" is anything but glamourous. Do it for the love of gastronomy.
Like all good meals, this too shall pass
Reply
Like all good meals, this too shall pass
Reply
post #6 of 16
I guess the question is, " What KIND of Sous Chef do you want to be? " If you're only after the title, it's like love and war:--anything goes. Like boosehound says, any eejit can be one, you just need a poofy white hat and the title...

If you want to EARN the title, have staff ask you the questions instead of the Chef, then you need to realize and live by two things.

As a Supervisor (Sous) you have to know just as much or more about cooking than the people you supervise, or you can't teach them anything. Like boosehound said, he would show up the eejit Sous when ever he could, earning the Sous no respect. But also if your staff screw up, you have to know that they're screwing up, preferably in time to correct the mistake. This means your cooking knowledge, (the 14 cooking methods), originizational skills, communication skills, how you move about in the kitchen skills, and general attitude have to be on par or higher than your staff. If you don't, you have a mess: a blind leading the blind scenerio.

Cooking and management are skills. They have to be developed, no one's born with them. Developing the skills will take time. The more energy and creativeness you put into learning and using them, the less time it takes. How much time? Now, for instance in Europe a cook's apprenticeship is typically 3 years, his/her first and and probably 2, and 3rd jobs will still be as a cook, so maybe 2 or three years after the apprencticeship.

You can always go the easy route, take a 1 yr or even 3 mth course, and demand a Sous or higher position upon graduating without ever having worked in a professional kitchen beforehand. There are people and gullible employers like that, but no Chef or owner who's serious about his trade will hire anyone like that, and these are the people you want to work for. The people who get the job and postion that way won't learn anything, and are basically an eejit in a poofy white hat, muddying up the reputation of a Sous and Chef title.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #7 of 16
Well said foodpump. But just for grits and shins....

I, (insert your name here)_________________ , a chef, do solemnly swear to uphold those values which rightfully represent the Professional Chef. The mastery of my craft, the pursuit of perfection, a passion for life-long learning, the sharing of my knowledge, respect for my peers and commitment to those I serve, are virtues to which I aspire. I promise to carry myself in all that I say and do as an exemplary role model of those who share my honor to be certified as a Professional Chef.”


If you can remember and practice this at all times your success will be measured in greater terms than just a title or paycheck. You can give any "eejit" a title but any "eejit" can't earn that title.

There are far too many Chefs/aspiring Chefs/Think they are's out there that have forgotten or never knew this!!!!
post #8 of 16
Understand EVERYTHING and well. A good way to become sous chef would be by being an extraordinary round cook :) Think about it--if the sous chef isnt around or the exec for one reason and you need to know something quick who could help you the best? Probably a round cook in most normal cases.
post #9 of 16
Honestly, why are you even cooking? What IS your goal? To be a sous-chef? From many of your other posts, it sounds like you're cooking for the wrong reasons. Job titles, money, will not bring you any happiness. If you're not cooking for the love of the art itself, then you should get out.

Anyhow, what's the best way to move from a cook to a sous position... Know more than everyone else, be a better cook than everyone else, take more responsibility than everyone else, and work harder than everyone else. When you know everything there is to running a kitchen, then you can be a sous-chef. And when you know how to teach people everything you know, then you can be a chef.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

mikeb....

hey mike, so you ask why am I cooking?? Honestly I do have a passion for the beautiful art we call culinary..... I realized that I had a passion for the art because since I was a little kid I was always around the older folks when they were cooking, always asking questions and why they did the things they did, food wise. I'm constantly watching the food programs not only as a form of entertainment and inspiration for my culinary career but to continue to learn from others. As in learn from there mistakes or there right doings. I decided to attend culinary school to turn my passion into my PRIDE and make a decent salary while doing it because I know I can be a bad a** in this field. That is why I'm cooking. When push comes to shove I'm sure many of us in this field are driven by the $$ because in REALITY we need money to survive. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not only in this field for the money.
post #11 of 16
Well, Chefintraining, seems we might have made a bit of progress from a while back when you stated that you would be a Sous, and let the cooks do everything because: "they are a dime a dozen".

However I would seriously prescribe working in a professional kitchen before and even during cooking school. TV might be good for techniques and tips, but does nothing to educate about timing--which is extremely important-, or economy of movement in the kitchen. From your posts I gather you have not done so,(work in a pro kitchen) believe me, it's a real eye opener.

About money...Who makes more money, the guy who cuts diamonds and sets them in 22 ct gold, or the salesman? People who deal with other people make the bucks: Doctors, Lawyers, and especially, sales people. As a Chef with loads of experience under your belt, the BQT/ catering sales director, or the Maitre d' will probably earn just as much, if not more than the Exec Chef. Not saying you'll be penniless and starving as a cook and subsequently Chef, but there'll always be positions that will earn more. Alot of Chefs have gone over to "the dark side", sales reps for large food purveyors, and boast that they earn more than they ever did as a Chef for a 4 or 5 star Hotel.

It's a long and dangerous road to becoming a good Chef, alot don't make it. Just take it one step at at time, and don't rush, or you'll have to go back 4 or 5 steps to go 1 ahead...
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #12 of 16
In my opinion reputation/experience is vital in our industry. You need to associate yourself with the finest reputable establishments. Those establishments that have great reputation either in reviews such as Conde Nast or Travel and Leisure-reputable for their service and quality-5 star eatablishments. Positions mean nothing- I know of Executive Sous Chef's in great establishments being paid more that Executive Chefs of other properties. They know that they can get a position as Executive Chef somewhere else but they choose to be there for a reason.
Another way is to get certified as a CMC. Establishments pay more for CMC's for a fact.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Foodpump, What do you mean a by a professional kitchen because, I do work in food service at the present time as a cook.
post #14 of 16
Well, describe your postion, duties, and the kitchen you work in.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
pantry cook during the week, on the weekends handle an entree for steam table service and a vegetarian plate, eggs to order, and breakfastfor about 80 people
post #16 of 16
Ah... From your posts I thought otherwise. My bad, sorry.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › advancing in the culinary field....