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Cooking Joe's Job - Day 1

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone!

As promised I'd at least put one entry here the day after my orientation...Which happened to be today. The supervisor I was supposed to meet did not meet me in the area that they were supposed to, and our exec chef had a day off. So I got a chance to meet some of the senior cooks and shadow them while learning some new things. I have a new goal there now...Station 12 haha.

Station 12 deals with most of the foods that go out onto the buffet, its very fast paced and I really enjoy it! Station 12 reminds me of fast food, and although its only been one day, I'm not sure I see a lot of difference, just much MUCH less grease to deal with. I really got along with the 1st shift people, we talked about me helping them prepare food in the morning and getting more practice on the different stations as opposed to what I did during the 2nd shift...Being a runner. I try to keep in mind that I'm a new hire and I'll probably be placed anywhere they need me, but it seemed like a dead end there on second shift. I never really got a chance to prepare anything working the 2nd shift and that made me a little sad haha.

So I'm in a little dilemma here, 1st shift wants to train me in various stations because they said they need someone willing to work Station 12, but second shift wants me as a runner with promises of working in the kitchen in the future (didnt sound like immediate either according to the senior cook, but then again they're not the Sous or Exec). I did not really get a chance to talk to our Sous Cheft today since she was really busy, most of the day was myself and the senior cook. I explained to the senior cook that I really wanted to get some more preparing experience (Being 22 I feel like I have a lot to catch up to). I dont know maybe I'm a little too eager to get into the kitchen and start learning. Tomorrow the Sous Chef promised to meet with me and give me a proper introduction, today I was just kind of thrown into the fire without much warning but I think I did very well. Suggestions?

Cooking Joe
post #2 of 5

trial by fire

Perhaps what you experienced was exactly what the Sous wanted to see. I have been known to do similar things to new hires. For instance, I just hired a new dishwasher who wanted to be cooking. He has some experience, however I needed a dishwasher and he agreed to do it. Now, as far as I am concerned there is no better way to impress a chef than to agree to slug it out in the dish pit. I can't stand the guys who will not do dishes... like they think they are too good. So, I was suitably impressed. Day one, he has nothing to do for a moment and I tell him to make staff meal. He balked and I gave him a look as if to say, "you want to cook in this kitchen?" and he still said he did not want to make staff meal. I'll tell him to make staff meal again tomorrow, but that was not a good response. Perhaps you have just experienced the same thing.

From what you have written, I would say you passed with flying colors. If the sous does not recognize your willingness to do whatever it takes let me know... I might be looking for a dishwasher. You would be willing to wash dishes, right?
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Cooking Joe's Job - Day 2

Hello again everyone!

Day 2 was much more faced paced than yesterday, and today I did not really mind running food since two other senior cooks were running food as well. Although I still do not like the fact that I'm not learning anything about being on the grill/fryer/salad bar or anything like that which still makes me a bit upset. I am willing to admit that I need more practice running, and until I get really good at it, I wont complain too much about not being in the kitchen.

Today I had the chance to learn how to differentiate all sorts of foods. I ran food for bar 3 this time around. Bar 3 I was told was the busiest, and hardest hit bar with food constantly low. And they were not lying either about Bar 3. I was constantly moving back and forth between the kitchen, shouting out how many plates of a certain food we had left in a sham or "hotbox". Sometimes customers would take entire plates which would be frustrating because food like the steamed clam shells we had for example took a very long time to prepare, and if we didnt have any reserved or I took the last plate than we'd have to wait a while. So being the new guy I was very excited about getting the chance to work at the hardest bar, and I asked several senior cooks about how I did they all said I did really well.

Some things I have to work on are keeping the bar cleaned, which was difficult for me to do, since I didnt have a "system or pattern" for tonight. But I do now! On weekends when we're busy I'll probably take two plates at a time, and store the second one in the hotbox that is near me, that way it'll save my feet from crying and I'll actually get a chance to garnish and clean the bar. I think tomorrow will go much smoother since I know what I"m up against now.

Here is a list of plates from Bar 3 tonight in case you're wondering

Fried Shrimp (easily most popular)
Steamed Clam Shells (second popular)
NY Ribs
Egg Rolls
Sugar Snap Peas
Deviled Crabs
Oysters and mussels
Frog Legs (tied with oysters for third)
Brussels Sprouts
Sweet Carrots

In response to cookingwithfat

I'm pretty willing to do anything, as long as I feel like I'm not being taken advantage of, and that I have a willingness to learn. Tomorrow I'm going to ask one of the senior cooks what I can do at home to help me prepare for life in the kitchen before I get moved there. I've washed a lot of dishes and trays when I used to manage fast food so I'm no stranger to them. I dont wash dishes where I"m am currently but I did some of their duties tonight since they were shorthanded like filling plate stacks and making sure the floor was clean. Thanks for the response though cookingwithfat! Let me know what you think some more I could really use any input positive or negative or heck even neutral haha.

Cooking Joe
post #4 of 5
Oh,how correct you are!
Years ago,a dishwasher called out on New Year's Eve night.I was actually off that night [we would take turns for holidays],but I said I'd do it.
Well,I found out a lot about loyalty that night: New Year's Eve fell on a weekday that year and the rule in the kitchen was if it was a weeknight,the line had to stay and help the dishwasher.
Do you think for one second that ANY of them stayed and helped me after closing? Nope;and I was one of the linecooks and my own guys wouldn't stay and help me...I was there till 2:30am.
People who put their social lives before their responsibilities have always annoyed me.
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Cooking Joe's Job - Day 3


Day 3, was much of the same as yesterday except it went a lot smoother for me since I knew what to expect. I still had Bar 3 which was being constantly hit so I did not really get a lot of down time. Although I had the chance to clean the bar and garnish a lot more than I did yesterday which made me feel really nice.

During our preshift meeting our Sous Chef said that myself and the other new hire did an excellent job yesterday during out first full night (especially it being a Friday) I'm sure that its probably a standard for her to say that, but still it made me feel good about yesterday.

Something strange happened halfway through my shift, I did not have to use towels to grab onto the plates and pans or anything really when I had to pull them out of the oven or steamer. It was pretty exciting to see that my hands could handle the heat a lot better than the first two days!

Towards the end of my shift I was asked if I wanted to stay overtime until 3 am. I declined because I only had one day off this week and I did not want to burn myself at my new job. Maybe I might have missed the opportunity to boost my reputation, but hopefully they've seen that I'm really trying. I swept areas that wasnt mine to sweep just to help, and I got a chance to clean the grill today which was pretty exciting. The grill person whos name I'll just say is Al taught me how to use a grill brick. I also jumped into the kitchen to help out the stewards there since they were shorthanded and I've always wanted to get the chance to see what it was like working in there. We all finished with around 15 minutes to spare.

I still have not had the chance to prepare anything yet but thats okay I had a lot of fun today running and trying to improve myself in that aspect of this job. Like I said in the last post until I become really great at this job than I wont complain too awful much about not being able to really cook anything.

Some things I need to work on are what garnishes go best with what foods we have out there. Everyone has told me so far to just "make it look pretty" but I want to make it look pretty and taste good if possible. The four garnishes we have to work with but diced celery, diced cilantro, diced tomatoes, and sliced lemons. I also I need better nonslip shoes, the shoes that I have are extremely painful on my feet and I cannot move as fast as I'd like to since they hurt so much. Any comments from the journal or suggestions to the things I need to work on?

(Note) If possible could a moderator change the thread title of this thread to read "Cooking Joe's Cook Journal" please? If not I'll just make a new one, no big deal I just thought I'd change it since I'm now on day 3. Hopefully people are reading this!
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