Young cook needs advice!
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I got my first cooking job at 15 and fell in love with it. Then hated. Then was confused by it. Then despised it. Then fell in lover with it all over again. I think it all comes from learning more, experiencing much and seeing everything.
All the best to you in your adventure... because it truly is.
Your age will only be a hinderance if you allow it. It is inexperience that becomes the hurrdle to overcome.
I have class in a few minutes so I will sum this up very neatly.
1.) Keep your station clean. Even if you are rushed, take 15 seconds and wipe your entire station down and/or move any trays/pots/pans/utensils you are not using to the dishwawher. It is tempting to ignore the mess and keep working, but you only dig yourself further and further in your clutter until your station becomes unworkable.
2.) Do not panic. I have had to overcome this (and to some extent I still panic), you become frantic and you make careless mistakes. It is very hard to stay calm when servers are yelling at you and the rattling of the ticket printer never ends, just stay focused on the tickets in front of you.
Hope this is a good start, if I Think of more I'll add.
Listen to the advice of those you respect and soak up everything you can, like a sponge. Things will become second nature, given time.
Keep in mind that the Sous and Exec started off as a timid cook at some point in their career. They most likely faced similar challenges, but overcame them with a dedication to their craft. Watch what they do, learn how to move efficiently, not wasting a single movement. Speed will come, it is important to learn manage your actions efficiently and ensure that your plates are consistent. We have a cook where I work that is extremely fast, but his progress is greatly hindered because his dishes are inconsistent.
I started about 2 months ago in a better kitchen than my last and was truly very nervous about starting. I'm working with people older than I am, with much more experience as well, and it scared the bejesus out of me.
The trick is to just learn everything you can and just do your job to the best of your ability. You will find that once you become comfortable with all the dishes and such you will get into a groove and begin pumping out the food quicker than you'd think.
Once again, listen to what the others have said. Keep your head clear and stick with what you can do at the very moment. Getting panicked about tickets piling up is only going to slow you down (to be honest, I still do it occasionally), so keep cool and focus on what you have in front of you at that moment. Put that food out, then move on to the next few tickets.
The main piece of advice I can offer right now is to not be afraid to do a few things: Ask questions (no matter how stupid) and ask for help. I've had plenty of people I've learned from and/or worked with just out and say: "I don't care how good someone is, if they need help... I want them to ask for it. I'd rather shuffle around the line to get them the help they need than watch them go down because they were too proud to ask for help"
p.s. We all have our starting points, feel glad that you got a good early start. I didn't get a start until I was 22. Granted I'm only 23 now, so I'm still working my way up the rings of the proverbial ladder. :p
and yes working through numerous rushes will eventually force yourself to be faster. especially if the chef is standing right beside you watching you. don't be intimidated, just keep working and eventually your nervousness will fade away. remember, if the chef doesnt say anything, you're doing a good job.
one last thing, remember to put everything back where it belongs!! every bottle of dressing you use, put it in the exact same place, as well as salt, pepper, and other garnishes. and keep back up bottles of dressing and prep on line, so you don't have to run off line to get something in the middle of service.
well the thread is 3 years old and the kid is in Vegas. If any town is gonna break the rules, well what happens in Vegas blah blah blah.
also, you sir, are not a professional, so please be careful how and what you post in this section.
as for getting a job? find a country club or little restaurant and schmoose.Even being a weekend dishwasher can lead to learning how to prep, knife skills and recipes under your belt.