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is it just me

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
i need to hear from other chefs out there. i have over 60 christmas parties this year and i am working 15 hour days 6 and sometimes 7 days a week, the only way i celebrate the holiday is at work, anyone else out there doing this? the gm wont stay out of the kitchen and is driving me nuts with his bs. it all comes with the job, but, it sure makes it hard on a person to like his job. just gotta make it through december. keep smilin and keep cookin.:crazy:
"what doesn't destroy me, makes me stronger"
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"what doesn't destroy me, makes me stronger"
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post #2 of 29
I'm doing it right now.
I have 1200lb of beef prepped, and 2400 pieces of chicken stuffed and seared in the walk-in. It will all be gone by sunday night. 34 functions this weekend alone. We have so much food in house, we can't move. Today, a 50' refrigerated tractor trailer arrives just so we can store prepped food.

I get by on coffee, Advil, and barely contained rage.
post #3 of 29
My parties are not that large but the best way I have fount to get by is the occasional "bump" from the owner. Keeps you wanting to impress. Coffee and Demerol. 2 in the morning and 2 gallons of coffee makes for a good night sleep.
"Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a dam*. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demiglace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living."
- Anthony Bourdain
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"Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a dam*. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demiglace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living."
- Anthony Bourdain
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post #4 of 29
REDBULL!!!!! and of course nicotine when you find the time....
" Never fry bacon naked!"

-Powers
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" Never fry bacon naked!"

-Powers
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post #5 of 29
And people wonder why alcohol and drug abuse are so prevalent among kitchen crews.
And i don't smoke, but most of everyone on crews wherever I have been have been smokers.

Caffeine? Forgedabouditt. Kitchen crews are of the scale, and I am particularly one to over-indulge. And everyone has the advil, motrin, tylenol bottle in their knife roll (except the very youthful).

I just got home.
My first post in this thread was with my morning cup, 1 hr 15 minutes before showtime.

Kind of a short day for the season, but my friend, hot coffee, saw me through again, and a nice homebrew taking the edge off at the moment. Tomorrow and saturday are the killers.

We have so much prep in house, the walk-in's and reach-in's are all full. We brought in a leased 35' refrigerated tractor trailer to put it all in today.

And today was birthday 47 for me.
The Mrs made me a pan of lasagna. Yum.
At this very moment, life is ok.
post #6 of 29
Once again I pledge this year to make nobody in the restaurant industry work for my pleasure on Christmas and Thanksgiving. These are national holidays and nobody should work.

Hang in there folks.
post #7 of 29
Good morning Kuan,
To some degree I would agree with you, however, we do some very serious sales on Christmas eve and Christmas day and at the end of the day we are all working to make a living.
"Laissez Le Bon Temps Roule"
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"Laissez Le Bon Temps Roule"
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post #8 of 29
It's only necessary because wages and benefits in this industry in the USA are have been totally out of synch and rigidly stagnant compared with the rest of the economy for the last twenty years.

Total covers fri and saturday: 4650.

One function tonight for 250, then is starts all over tomorrow.
Next weeks contracts show about 5500 covers so far. Who knows what the office will drop on us out of the blue.

We now have other caterers calling our GM begging for us to bail them out of contracts they have but cannot fufill.

12 days to go and myself and the crew are already beat up and tired.
The boss took one for the day after christmas and is booking new years eve as heavy as possible.

But the bad one is a breakfast or 300 next saturday. That means that day will be a minimum 20 hours on my feet, on three or four hours sleep due to functions on friday.

For 19k a year? NEVER AGAIN.
I'll work the drive thru at burger king first.
post #9 of 29
19K/year? Rivit, please tell me that's a typo. Or at least after taxes. I'd be looking for around double that before taxes plus benefits.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #10 of 29
I will tell you, It IS a typo.
I was half asleep this morning and the actual number is 25k BEFORE taxes.
And some uncompensated mileage.
So I suppose the erronius 19k figure is close to your actual thinking than I intended.
My only bennie is a marginal medical plan, and a week paid time every year.
My cooks get zip. No medical, no sick time, no vacation.
I have no idea how I screwed it up except that I'm tired as heck, and my head is swimming in numbers from figuring out portions and ordering groceries.
the 2 key is close to the 1 key, but the five and nine are pretty far apart.

Sorry to all that I mislead.

But even at 25K. Never again.

Let my crew knock out the functions today, I spent my time organizing the dish crew to clean up what was left of yesterday's onslought, plus mucking out the walk-ins, and pulling the frozen for tuesday.

I am just trying to stay cool and not get psyched out. So I really appreciate those in this forum allowing me to come here and vent.

This week is going to be one of those that takes on a life of it's own.
You know that feeling.

BTW, that breakfast on saturday is one of those revenue neutral charity events I spoke of in another thread. That on eats me to the bone. It will take a 12 hour day and make an 18 hour day out of it. We go off premise on friday and may not be back before midnight.
Breakfast is at 7am saturday for 300.
This is why any pleadings of poverty by the owners will fall on deaf ears when I make my salary play in january.
post #11 of 29
I've put myself through the low-pay, high expectation wringer before myself, so I know what you're talking about. Feel free to rant away.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #12 of 29
I got your low pay. As an apprentice, no pay no bennifits, lived with my chef, had to cook for him at night, the money I did get was from the owners. That went into cigs, alcohol, and the occasional drug. In debt for 2 years and looked like I was homeless. GOD I LOVE THIS BUSINESS1
"Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a dam*. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demiglace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living."
- Anthony Bourdain
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"Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans, are a persistent irritant to any chef worth a dam*. To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demiglace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living."
- Anthony Bourdain
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post #13 of 29
I hear you my friend, 60+ parties in December and booked solid reservations in the restaurant through January 11... Ive been pushing 100+ plus hours since the week before thanksgiving and the GM only will come into the kitchen when he wants to eat... which seems to come at the worst possible time every single day. He likes to bug us through emails because he is too spineless and aloof to be a real GM....(maybe thats what a real GM does) Like you said my friend, just gotta keep cooking and make it through december.... Im a sous for an interim exec so big changes are a coming after then no matter what.... not to mention my best friend, and garde manger is going to Europe, my girlfriend is going to Nevada for 5 months and my head dishwasher is about to die from cancer and we(my exec and I) are the only people he has. Like you said it all is part of the job and Im only 25 and in the relative beginning of my career. The cooking and the quality of my product is what keeps me going. Have some "stages" lined up for spring too, that helps.... keep smiling my friend, at least its never boring.
post #14 of 29
I started sending out resume's yesterday.
I told them it was ok to call the business to verify my employment.

Let the chips fall where they may.
post #15 of 29
Rivitman, you're only earning $25k USD per year to be the head chef of a busy kitchen?!?!!? I find that very hard to believe...I did not realize that the salaries in the states are so out of whack with the rest of the world. Chefs in Canada, that run reputable, busy kitchens have been known to earn upwards of $50000 per year, plus bonuses, perks and benefits! Pack your bags! :crazy: Running a restaurant in a metropolitan setting can net you $100K plus.
____________________________________

"...I don't want to be old, and feel alone...
...an empty house...is not a home..."
-Keane____________________________________
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____________________________________

"...I don't want to be old, and feel alone...
...an empty house...is not a home..."
-Keane____________________________________
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post #16 of 29
No, I'm the sous.

I support my Chef.
Chef's wife is terminally ill and he is away a lot.
Even so, when he is present, he is very effective.
I have to be every bit as effective in his absense.

While overall responibility is his, the performance of the kitchen day to day is mine.

He pulls in around 85k, and IMO he is underpaid.
But he's tough, Ask the three sous's before me that couldn't cope, or the 14 cooks.
He tries to help me.
Last year he put me in for promotion. I did the job but the GM arbitrarily sat on my increase for 2 months costing me over 2k in salary and benefits.

Even chef has told me I'm worth 10k more than I am making now. And that's from a CIA trained exec and former owner with 35 years in the business.

I know what to do, Iv'e been an exec before.
I'm setting my anger aside right now.
I told chef to expect some calls, and he said "no problem, you have been more than loyal". Word will get out that I am looking. Either I can leverage that or not. Don't really care.
post #17 of 29

Print this off and give it to your Gm

On Running a Restaurant (Gordon Ramsey)

My answer to anyone remotely interested in how we run restaurants is that any new restaurant concept must alwayse start with the chef. Not with the location, not with the restaurant designer and not with the smooth talking front-of-house manager. The passion, the focus and drive of the chef is what will make the restaurant work. Ultimatley, we believe it will be his menu that people come to taste.

This presents two problems.

The first is that we need to surround our chosen chef with a solar system of staff that lends support and whose players have an insatiable need to be part of a successful team. The second is to bring our chef into the real world and not allow him to isolate himself within the kitchen. The world is bigger than that and his remit must include financial percentages, brigade control and the ability to converse and intrigued guests.
At Gordon Ramsey Holdings it was long understood that if we were going to operate a number of establishments, each with its own individuality, then they should have all operational activities centralized. In doing this the front-of-house in each restaurant is able to do one thing that matters and that is to look after the guest. Hiring and firing, maintainace, menu printing, account reconciliation, cleaning, rotas, reservations and re-silvering, are all taken away to central control where everything can be done clinically and professionally throughout the day. This has bought the end to situations where such tasks are slotted in with staff desperately trying to set the stage for evening service when the reservation computer has gone down, the carpet has absorbed a glass of the reddest burgundy and the menus are falling apart.

Our restaurants have become a three ring circus with the kitchen, a dining room and a central control. The trick is to educate everyone to concentrate on their own skills and seek support for anything else. Mutual respect for all colleagues is the cement that makes this work. The plate is carried from the kitchen to the table by a hundred unseen hands and the wine is poured with the bending of a troop of elbows invisible to any guest.

The modern kitchen has advanced in many ways. The introduction of a Chef's Table has bought immaculate working practices, clinical working surfaces and vibrant working chefs. No longer is the kitchen beyond the diners reach; it is there on display. Temperature control and air extraction makes life in the ships bowls bearable and lighting has lost the yellow glow from the grease filtered bulbs. Chefs and their brigade have become today's theatre and in many cases are taking to the actors stage like seasoned professionals. Nowadays, chefs and their brigade must understand evertything about their kitchen and not just the contents of the cooking pot. How to choose and install a new stove, the effective positioning of work lights, of the types of non-slip floor surfaces available and an awareness of price changes between new and old lamb are all required knowledge for the modern chef.
'Expand your horizons and join the team' is the call, and those that listen and learn eillbecome tomorrow's Chefs de Cuisine.

The dining room staff are the front line. There are a hundred housekeeping rules to consider including the basic disciplines of hair, nails, shoes, whitness of anything white, personal hygiene and above all the importance of a smiling face. For an understanding of what it is like to be a guest, we invite staff to their own restaurant so that they can sit through dinner and see first hand what it is that their guests are expecting. It is an exercise guarenteed to open their eyes and at the same time they can taste the chefs offerings, which previously they have only served. It is explained as a credo that when Mr. and Mrs. average guest enter the restaurant they want to be reassured and welcomed. It is not a place to display arrogance or attitude, to look puzzled or appear distracted. The guest before you is the sole reason for you being there and your perpose is to make that person conent. Diners because they are known and looked after by the restaurant manager, their very best friend who is alwayse pleased to see them, to share a gentle joke or offer a tour through the kitchen. It is the art of makong people feel special. As with everything to do with running a restaurant, the science stems from common sense and observation, understanding and reaction. There is nothing overly complicated.
Central control is the orchestral conductor where all the skills neede to make the restaurant successful are brought together to make the right sound. At our restaurants, requests for table bookings come via a seamless rerouting of the telephone line to one of twenty-five reservationists armed with a screen that tells all. There is a record of the callers previous restaurant experience including the dinner held a year ago gor granny's 80th, the present availability of covers and, in the vent of a full house, alternative restaurants within the group. Why lose a guest who requests a table in a fully booked restaurant when a simple cross-sale keeps everyone happy?

In head office there is a weekly operations meeting for each restaurant where the sins of the previous wek are revisited. It is here that all is laid bare as part of the constant striving to get it right with the kitchen and dining room alike. If disappearing napkins is the issue of the day an audit trail wil consider the possiblity of theft, negligence, bad practice or lost paperwork until the real reason is identified and the problem is rectified. Correct HR procedures and training are, without doubt, the cornerstone of the business. Selection of staff and the shaping of their inherent abilities ensure a continuation of accomplished talent that is the life blood of sustained standards and growth. Ignore this area at your peril. Likewise, be slow to generate the monthly figures and you risk losing your most valuable indicators. Figures need to be available to your staff within two weeks of month-end and the staff, in turn, need to know how to read them. Go back to the price of lamb and we know at once if the chef has forgotten that when availability is weak, prices soar.

Our way of doing things is not necessarily the golden route to success but it covers all the bases and ignores very few. And one day we shall get it right.


END



The basic lesson here is look after your chef because they can make or break a business.


chefsworld.net
post #18 of 29
Chef and I have had some ups and downs.
But inspite of it all, myself and my crew for the most part remain steadfastly loyal. As mercurial and unfathomable as he is at times.

If he left, the ownership would likly find the kitchen depopulated down to the last dishwasher within a week or two.

Not unlike when G.R. left Aubergine to open Royal Hospital Road.:beer:
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the replys, some good reading here, depressing time of year for me, merry christmas to all:chef:
"what doesn't destroy me, makes me stronger"
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"what doesn't destroy me, makes me stronger"
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post #20 of 29
It's funny, that's just about how I would describe my chef.
"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
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"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
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post #21 of 29
Executive/Managing/Cuisine Chefs (or whatever the head banana calls himself) are often the strangest, mercurial (good word by the way), capricious, precocious, creative, astute, focused, driven and generally odd people in the world. I have found time and time again that the person in charge of the whole kitchen half the time is only an OK cook but an outstanding chef. Meaning they surround themselves with people who are great cooks to do the cooking while they run the show, write the menu, hire and fire, order from purveyors etc.

It takes a special breed of preternaturally gifted person to put in the kind of hours, heat, sleeplessness, thanklessness, exhaustion, brain fart and general malaise that being the head chef entails. It's definitely a "No cry-babies!" kind of job. I salute all you chefs out there for your hard work and dedication.
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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post #22 of 29
"I salute all you chefs out there for your hard work and dedication."

Thanks! At least someone appreciates. :smiles:
____________________________________

"...I don't want to be old, and feel alone...
...an empty house...is not a home..."
-Keane____________________________________
Reply
____________________________________

"...I don't want to be old, and feel alone...
...an empty house...is not a home..."
-Keane____________________________________
Reply
post #23 of 29
Hey I, for one, really appreciate it! :)
post #24 of 29
The worst of the holidays is now over for me. It tapers off now.
I actually have today off. Amazing.

We have served some 12,000 covers since the day after thanksgiving.
On the first weekend alone, we did 100k worth of business.

We have had zero food complaints.
Not one. I find that extraoridinary given our logistics.
No serious injuries, and only one cook out sick for a couple of days.

I'm looking forward to 2007. It has to be better.:rolleyes:
post #25 of 29
That is awesome! That is a pant load of covers to have had no complaints. Nicely done.

So no one even cut the tip of their pinky? It isn't any fun in the kitchen till someone is bleeding. LOL
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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post #26 of 29
Some burns and cuts, nothing serious.
And some service issues for the front of the house, but the kitchen came through with 100% performance.:D
post #27 of 29
Very cool. So minor scrapes, burns and abrasions but no one died or got hospitalized? LOL

I must be lucky because when I started using my 9" knife instead of my 8" knife I have several times caught my finger nail or just touched my skin with the knife and not cut myself. I have had some real close ones but barely ever cut myself. Burns on the other hand...
Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Mike

“If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” -- Zaphod Beeblebrox
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post #28 of 29
Our workplace isn't so safe.
We are plauged by stairs, slick floors, tons of groceries and produce on one end, and trash on the other.

Torn muscles, bad bruises and back injuries are not uncommon. Only one broken leg this year.
Myself, two ankle sprains and a torn quadrecep muscle.
Lots of falls this year as always, but no serious injuries.
post #29 of 29

is it just me

Rivitman I will not do that work for less then $60,000. I do have over 40 years in the business
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