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First Fine Dining Job

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I just got my first job as a Cook 2 (i don't really know numbers) at a Fine dining restaurant for a hotel. I've been working in a casual establishment for the past year, which has not really taught me anything but speed. I was wondering if anyone has any tips for starting out? I'll be working the morning shift because I plan on staying at my other job at night. The executive chef seemed to be a real bad a$s and very strict, which makes me even more scared :eek:. But anyways, any tips would be much appreciated.
post #2 of 7
remeber its always yes chef. if room service is off the same line be prepared for anything. hotels are different that that private places, theres alot more rules and such, just work hard and youll be ok.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have no problem answering to higher authorities in the kitchen..but even after the interview I felt his mean aura on my drive home -.-
post #4 of 7
i had more or less the same problem, and now i am teaching to new guys who just started in this kitchen, i always tell them

open your ears at all time, listen to everything is going on, plus be quick and efficient
try to improve all the time, if u peel a carrot, next one should be quicker and so on,always tray harder
ask everything you are not sure how to do it,listen to the answer, if u ask the same question twice, u ll be in trouble
remember everything u r told, use a notepad if needed
try and keep one step ahead at all times


thats all i can think now, good luck
Shiny, Shiny... GO HOME!!!
(C. E. Oddie)
Shiny, Shiny... GO HOME!!!
(C. E. Oddie)
post #5 of 7
Tips for speed:

Need for speed? 1st Rule: DON"T HURRY. Work at a comfortable pace. It will increase with practice. Rushing makes you slow and dangerous.

Attack the first job with gusto. Nothing gets you through the day like a fast internal rhythm. Nothing sets the rhythm like the first job.

You can't handle more hot pans than you've got hands and eyes. In my case that's two. If you can handle three, that's because you have more hands and eyes.

Invest in some jicama and practice your knife skills at home. Bad knife work costs time and is dangerous. Cut fingers cost time, too. "

If you're using an 8" or 210 mm chef's knife and you're board is big enough for a 10", switch to a 10" or 240mm. You'll be surprised at the difference in volume/min. Keep your knife sharp. Get in the habit of frequent steeling at work. In a busy kitchen, most chef knives will need "touch-up" stoning every two or three days. If you've got some super hard Cowry or Aogami steel (don't worry, you don't) you might get four. You can't work fast with a dull knife, you'll spend too much time checking your work to see if it's fine enough, re-cutting vegetables that are still hanging together, etc. Don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talkin' 'bout. Don't put off sharpening. (You could do worse than investing one day's pay in a good chef's knife, which at your level of employment is probably a MAC -- the edge of which will last at least a day longer than your old Forschner's).

Invest in an 8" and 10" slope side fry pans and practice toss turning at home. Or get to work early so you can practice with theirs. Big time saver. Better quality output. Rice is good for practicing.

Keep your station clean and organized. Never do nothing. When in doubt, wipe down.

More mis than you think you'll need. The worst time to go back to square 1, is in the middle of the busy period. If you've got extra, pass it on to the next station or the next shift. It will be appreciated. Also, it won't go unnoticed that you're helping others.

Get ready to plate before you're ready to plate.

For any pressure job: Don't dwell on past mistakes. Whatever just happened -- and no matter how hard you got reamed for it -- let it go. If you're thinking about what happened, you're not thinking about what's happening. And if you're not thinking about what's happening, you'll mess up. You'll not only know it, it will be called to your attention (I guarantee). You'll obsess. And so on.

Get it?

Got it.


Good luck,
post #6 of 7

It only gets easier!

I have worked in some of the toughest kitchens around, Manhattan top five, France etc. Just keep this in mind! It only gets easier! The first few months of top fine dining cooking are heeellll! however, after three months you will find your feet, so just get past that milestone! Then between three months and a year you will learn/survive! after you a year, you are now officially inducted by fire. From then on, you will no longer be the new guy/gal. The chef will most likely start to give you responsibility. Dont give up, it just gets easier.
post #7 of 7
First fine dining gig...ya stressful. I would echo all advice already given. I personally think note taking is huge. I the chef wants minced garlic, shallot, onion, button mushroom sweated down in butter before you braise cabbage it better all be in there! In addition, as you accumulate notes you will likely see patterns in how the chef does things. This will help you anticipate and understand how to do new things when they are thrust at you.

If you haven't already, type a comprehensive list of all mise en place for your station and at the END of your shift circle items that you will need to prep the next shift. This helps ensure you will not overlook anything.

Then prioritize that list. You don't want to be starting to cook off risotto near the beginning of service, but chopping that parsley or the little bit of fried garnish can wait to the end.

Look at your list for repeat ingredients. For example, if you need diced mirepoix for several different preparations do it all at once. This will help you be effecient.

Never go to or return from the cooler empty handed. Use your prep list, go to the cooler, get all the product you need to keep you busy for an hour or two, go back to your station, and work quietly and efficiently. If you are seen walking back and forth to the cooler frequently it is a tell tale sign to the chef of a disorganized cook.

Don't be afraid to ask for help if you absolutely need it. Chances are as a new guy, when they are not ripping on you FNG, they will probably be willing to help you with SMALL prep tasks if they sense you are working hard. Plus, the minor crap you may take for needing a little help is noth
ing compared to the holy **** you will get if you run out of prep in the middle of service. Just a few thoughts. Good luck it only gets easier. We've all gone through it.
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