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First time fry cook

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I got hired as fry cook at the Bone Fish Grill. It is my first cook job and I start orientation on Sat. I've only been in two culinary classes at my community college and have no other experience other than being a waiter. He knows I don't have much experience. He initially wanted me to be a sautee cook, but I declined and stuck with fry cook. What can I expect, any tips?
post #2 of 14
Depending on the volume that this establishment, fry can be either easy or really challenging. At TGIF, I hold it 2nd in difficulty right next to grill.

It is great that you are taking an interest in the industry, I hope you really enjoy it, though I havent much fond memories when I was standing behind the fryer, it really can be enjoyable if it isn't too crazy.

Cleaning the fryers is theworst part of the job in my opinion.
post #3 of 14
Congrats man, welcome to the jungle...;)

Well, there is lots of advice. A lot depends on who you are and where you want to go.

Make sure you have good shoes.

Be early every day. Keep your knives sharp. Be clean, organized. Be positive and willing to work hard and often.

Ask a lot of questions. Make the chefs and the cooks tell you WHY. When you are not busy, help out other stations. Watch, learn.

Fry is pretty much a no brainer station. Not saying it isn't hard, or busy, because it will be. More than likely, in a chain-seafood restaurant, you will do a crap load of fried fish, calamari, apps, etc. You WILL be busy. The no brainer part means that it's pretty easy to tell when things are done and ready, presentations are usually a snap and you will do most things a la minute. I'm confident you will get the hang of it in a week or less. You'll probably have no choice.

I don't know what else to tell you man. Don't listen to the haters--there will be jaded, jerk off cooks, (maybe there will be), don't let them bring you down. If you see laziness, dangerous/innapropriate behavior, harassment, etc, don't be a part of it. Don't play into it. Be above it, be professional, and you will be fine.

And clean. A lot.

Good luck, let us know how it goes.
post #4 of 14
One rule in the kitchen that people forget...(no matter the station)


As for fry station and being new to it all, don't worry man, it's all about a routine. I started my first kitchen job at TGIF on fry station 3 weeks ago and it's easy to pick up.

When you go to orientation, be sure to ask for a recipe book if they haven't given you one already, go home, study it until you have to work, then just be sure to ask questions, pay attention, etc... and you'll have it down in no time.

My biggest problem getting everything down at the job was just getting all the routines down for closing shifts (what to pre-close, etc...)

Not to mention trying to remember what "extras" go with certain dishes (aka: parm potatoes, frizzled onions, or fried jalapenos...I STILL ask questions on those 3).

The best piece of advice I can give you buddy:

Don't start freaking out just because your station is filling up with tickets, just take a deep breath, stay calm, and continue working at that steady (but urgent) pace, keeping everything going out as it's coming in.

You'll do fine dude.
post #5 of 14
This is from a long time fry-guy; Don't try to overfill your baskets in order to catch up or get ahead. All you'll do is succeed in making a greasy mess of about 20% of whatever you're trying to cook. Your basket should never be more than 2/3 to 3/4 full; half is even better. It allows the best circulation.

The shoes comment is a good one; remember grease is slippery. Some folks I knew used to break down cardboard boxes and lay them down in front of the fryer. While it's good in theory and will catch a lot of spillage, all it really does is provide an entire platform which has the potential to slide out from under you.

Remember: You are part of a team. That meal isn't compete until 100% of it is plated.

Welcome aboard,
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
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
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips everyone.

Well I've been working a few days and I'm too slow :lol: My problem is that I get tunnel vision a lot probably due to trying to block out the stress, which I shouldn't be doing...

Someone went awol in food prep and never came back so now they want me to do fry and prep on different days. The owner told me that he wants me well-rounded for pursuing my culinary career. I really want to get this right, but I'm also afraid I'll slow my team down when I get back on the line.
post #7 of 14
Stress is an inherent part of this business. You'll have to get used to it. Trust me on this, if you're dragging the line down, you'll hear about it soon enough. If you feel that you're doing so, have a talk to your boss or supervisor and see what steps can be taken to help alleviate the problem.

Remember each day you go to work as a newbie, you're beating the odds. Many times young, inexperienced folks get tossed on the line during a rush. As a moment cools, they say, "I'm going for a smoke," never to return again. Beat those odds and prove to yourself you have it in you.


PS By virtue of you even discussing this, you're taking the first step to fixing the problem. I commend you!
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
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
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the positive words Steve.

I was doing food prep this week. They want me to fill in for fry when needed, but frankly fry wasn't a good place for me to start. Food prep is also very challenging for me. I'm still trying to get used to the stress. I am being trained to eventually work alone and hold my own. There are so many tasks on top of bringing back up items for the line as well as cook the side dishes as they're called for on the speaker.

I think my problem is that I over think and second guess everything and think about what can go wrong. There has to be a way to get this to work for me. Oh I also chopped a fingertip and got some burns on my hands. I learned that my hands aren't used to heat yet. Sometimes I can't hold something that's hot to me and not everyone else:lol:

Hopefully I'll get confident from the repetition and hanging in there. I have a vision of the positive things I can get out of this. I need this more than anything even though I think about leaving all the time! :crazy:
post #9 of 14
Always carry a few dishtowels/rags with you. As much fun as it is to get acclimatized to hot surfaces, at certain temperatures flesh has this tendency to burn, no matter how little of it you feel. i've found that this is even more relevant while in front of a hot stovetop.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
post #10 of 14
Heh, I learned that very quickly when I was in school. Sidetowels are your friend.

As for being burnt, I've **** near become immune to random grease burns, **** even random NORMAL burns (depending on severity). It seems everytime I get in the shower I find a new blister/pockmark/dark spot from a new burn, just now actually I noticed a small elongated blister on my forearm that I have NO clue where it came from.

p.s. Fryer fat has a very high tendency to splash toward/into very unexpected places. If it weren't for my glasses I would've taken a small squirt in the eye the other day. *kisses glasses* I love these things. :D
post #11 of 14
Basically fryer guyers like i call them are like in the worse position, specially if your in a joint that has like a gazillion fry appetizers in the menu.

just take like 20 tablets of codeine(or smoke crack), before you go into work and the scolding oil wont hurt a bit.

the possitive of it, is that... *thinking*..

sorry can't think of anything else, just got of a fry-shift and this codeine has me stupid. :smiles:
Pain is weakness leaving the body.
Pain is weakness leaving the body.
post #12 of 14
I remember burning all the bacon the first time I was in a frying station. That is one of those things to remember forever. I don't have so much to add that the ones that have been said here. Your enthusiasm has to be ON. Ask many questions, remember now is the time for it. All the best in your new job!
post #13 of 14
Some tips not mentioned:

-If you're doing something you can ease in such as chicken strips or something, always put the bottom in first and let the rest fall away from you. This will decrease the chance of grease spraying onto you.

-Drop in onion rings one at a time.

-Salt immediately after you remove from the fryer, as you want the food to absorb the salt, not for the salt to sit on top fo the food.

-Always, ALWAYS make sure your frying fat is clean. dirty fat=gross food.

-Make sure fryer is set between 350-375 for cooking, 300-325 for blanching.


Hope that helps.
post #14 of 14
Okay guys, this is my first post, but I am pretty sure I have some pointers that will help. I work at a busy restaurant in downtown Portland OR. Our kichen is extremely fry heavy, which could be said about most, if not all restaurants. Here are some things that I do to help myself when getting slammed on a Saturday night, and sorry for the long post in advance.

1) Get your mise on!
Mise en place is extremely important, and can smooth out moments, so you aren't running across the kitchen for items, let alone, when, the #%$@ hits the fan. On a slow night, right down everything that you had to grab for your station, speaking of which, keep a notebook on you at all times. Anyways, write down alli the six pans, whisks, tongs and maybe even ingredients. Write it all down, and amounts too. Double and triple check the list, hell add to it if you forget. If you write it, then go "shopping" as I call it(gather all utensils and ingredients at one time), your start up time will be significantly reduced. Quicker start up equals more prep time.

2) Fold some towels
At the restaurant I work at, we have bags and bags filled with towels for various uses. I grab a bag and start folding when it's slow and inbetween tickets. I then stash them all on top of my rail, ready to yank down if I need something quick. Fryers are messy, better be safe than sorry. On top of that, I keep a towel, folded length wise into fourths on my shoulder. Albeit typical chef towel location, it serves well. It's close and it's right there ready to use.

3) Read the reservation list.
Of course this only works if you have one, but where I work, the list is kept on several computers in a app called open tables. Its pretty neat. I can see how many people at what time and any special things about the party. This allows me to see a ballpark estimate of how many pieces of bread I have to fire off at 6:30 when the fecal matter has hit the oscillator.

4) Clean as you go
This was pounded into my head during culinary school, but it's title is as simple as it sounds. Clean as you work. If you don't, you will have mountains of work by the time you are finished. If you are getting slammed, and I mean 14 tickets on the rail and servers yelling through the pass busy, take a second, do a quick clean of your station. Wipe crumbs off the counter, clean the baskets, etc. Nothing is worse than being slammed AND having such a dirty station that it is impossible to work at.

5) Mental mise en place
This takes practice, but I know how long it takes every single item that comes from my station, to the second. How long to prep, how long to cook, even how long it will take to run to the walk in , grab stuff and run back. Why? Because it makes everything that much easier. Onion rings at my station take 3 1/2 mins , and 3 mins on brand spankin new oil. (Yes the oils age determines how fast it cooks, how much it colors and even how much it hurts when you drench your arm in it)Depending on who blanched my fries, Casper the ghost white =1min, and half way cooked through = 30 seconds. If you want to truley understand a station, time how long it takes to do something. Guessing oh five mins will be okay or whatever it is, and it turns out it's done at four? Guess what? You just burned whatever it was. Okay, rings have one more min left in the oil, I have time to grab more prawns from the walk in, and some more gloves. That is why it's important. Also, give people times. How long till this? If you know it's going to be 39 seconds and 4 nanoseconds, tell them. They might figure out that they have enough time to go drop drinks st the table.

6) Open your ears
This is where time is your friend. Our kitchen is loud. It is next to impossible to hear when the grill cook calls for fries. Do you know what's worse than burning something? Them running down to your station and going "Where are my prawns I fired?" You didn't fire them because you didn't hear them. So listen. Listen to every word anyone calls. If the grill cook calls to the saute that ticket 57 is up in 3 mins, and you have fries on that ticket, put fries in the basket, and get ready to drop around the two min mark. Also, if you see them eyeballing you, becsuse those fries are taking to long, tell them how much more time you need. This is all about communication. You tell them, they tell the server and the server could do something in the meantime.

6.5) Echoing callouts
This ties into the last topic. If someone calls fries, yell back "firing one fry for ______" or something similar. You calling back is the echo. It's you saying that you understood the material they just gave you. In the kitchen I'm in, if there isn't an echo to a call, they didn't hear you. In a kitchen communication is vital, but if someone doesn't hear or understand you, because you weren't loud enough of whatever, it is your fault. Too many tines has a grill cook yelled, "Where are my rings?!?" When I heard nothing. Well, it's because they forgot to call it, and they are trying to blame me for it. If I don't scream back what you just told me, I didn't hear it. If the grill guy looks over and says, "oh @% I need some mushrooms!" In response, grab the container they are asking you to fill, and say mushrooms out loud so they can hear you understood. Communication works wonders people, trust me.

7)Pre closing and prep for the next day
When the night winds down, shut down and get rid of everything you probably won't need. No one, and I mean no one orders rings at 11:30pm at my restaurant. So I remove my batter and my floured rings. I would rather put them away, and have to Sprint to go grab them, than be 2 hours past closing and I'm still scrubbing my station. That sucks @$$. As cor prepping for your next shift, grab something's that you will need tomorrow, and place them in your station. This Will put them in reach and make things go a lot smoother.

8)Stay hydrated
(Dont worry, last one) Where I work is the hottest station in the building. Three Fryers, two 500°f ovens and two huge heat lamps. I grab my huge one gallon 7/11 drink carrier, fill it wihmth ice and water, and I'll be Damned if I dont down the entire thing by the end of the night. Hot stations and busy nights means you are going to be sweating, and you need to replace that water, or else you will just feel tired and groggy all the time.

That's pretty much it folks. Those are some pretty life saving tips in my book, and I'm sure it will help people get the hang of the station. And as for grammar and my engrish,forgive me, for I am writing this all on my phone. Anyways, Have fun fryin'

Eric Calkins
Ringside Steakhouse
Portland OR
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