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The nightmare shift.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So here is the deal, me and my friend both just got hired at this restaurant. I have about a years worth of experience line cooking, (very green onviously), all of which was in a place where we would get slammed all day and had a 10 page menu. The new place we are working is a hotel restaurant and we are lucky to do 25 tickets on a weekday and it's only a 3 page menu. My buddy has about 2 months of line cooking experience. (Even greener) Tonight was my first night leading the line, it all went well for me but my friend, lets call him "Sean" was having a really hard time, at one point Sean had to remake a simple appetizer 3 times until I stepped in and did it for him. So pretty much the whole night I was tearing him a new one for everything from not reading tickets well enough and messing up an order, having to walk him through everything he did, leaving messes, putting plates with puddles of oil under the food in the window etc. If it were a busy night I would understand but we only had 20 tables in 8 hours. Long story short I was definately very mean tonight. I know when I first started cooking when I got yelled at for something I NEVER did it the wrong way again. So what do you guys think, be gentle or a bit mean?
post #2 of 12
This is tough for you!

Your friend has yet to learn enough attention to detail. Unfortunately, criticizing him will only put his pride on the defense, and this could very well do opposite of what you want. Don't be mean!

You need to first and foremost, find a skill that he does well. Something, anything, and genuinely compliment him on that skill. I cannot stress enough that you must be sincere!

Next, offer constructive criticism on how to improve in one area. It is best to lead the conversation in such a way that inspires Sean to come up with the answer himself. This can be difficult (if you find a woman that does this for you, marry her ASAP!:))

Step three, repeat steps one and two.

Good luck!

I highly recommend a public library stop, pick up the book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. Read and apply this book, and you will Dominate these kinds of situations in the kitchen.
post #3 of 12
What I do in that kind of situation is..Encouragement has always been the best tool with dealing with people...I would first tell him to stop and breath, let him know that he can do it, then I would TEACH him the way I have found it easier for me...

As a Executive Chef it is my job to teach all staff the proper way of doing things, not that everything I do is the right way. I make mistakes to.....I find yelling only makes a team member more flusted and is not good for that peson.....

You will earn more respect if you are the one who has helped him in a compasionate way.....And by practicing encouragement it will only make you a better Chef to work for in the future......

Practice dealing with people, you will find it to be a great asset to yourself....It will provide you with a sense of honor....Be the example of a profesional...

I can understand your frustration, first time leading the team there's a lot of presure and you should feel proud that you were asked to do it, how you handled your friend was a natural reaction to the stress you were feeling...

Practice cooking makes you a better cook, as practice encouraging people will make you a better leader......Just something to think about..
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
post #4 of 12
I've got to go with Chef on this.

My experience as a worker in performance/pressure situations is that dwelling on mistakes is the largest obstacle to performance.

My experience as a leader in performance/pressure situations is that putting more pressure on almost everyone new to the situation does more harm than good. Most people want to do a good job for their own reasons. You won't motivate them by yelling at them. Instead, you force them to focus on what they did rather than what they're doing.

The only times you need to come down hard is when a team member is slacking off or overtly insubordinate. In the first instance, you should be a boot in the bum, in the second the hammer of God. But neither is the case now.

There are a few people who can be effective leaders while running their shops as a hazing process. Not many. I know if I worked for someone like the character Gordon Ramsay portrays himself to be on H*ll's Kitchen, it (a) wouldn't be for long, and (b) would end him suing me for assault and a set of dentures. You don't want to be that way with anyone, and especially not with your friend. So don't.

It also sounds like you're feeling the pressure of being a leader. Be patient with both of you. It will come.

Don't scream. Don't shame. Don't be "supportive" with a male friend/coworker. Most of us find it frightening. It's too much like putting your arms around me to show me how to swing a golf club. Not in this lifetime, dude. Don't have a "good attitude" or a bad attitude or any attitude at all. The only truly good attitude is no attitude.

Just keep showing him what he needs to know without showing him up. And just get it done.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
I kind of feel like an a** now that I think about it. The one reason that really sparked me to yell is the fact that he straight up told me he doesn't care about being a good cook. I take my job VERY seriously and this just struck a nerve with me.

Another thing that really gets me going is when a whole order is up and then I see a basket of fries still hanging above the fryer frozen (happened several times) and when I find him just standing there when I have no plate set ups (2nd cooks job).

I don't really MEAN to show him up but when he messed up that dish 3 times he asked me to do it for him as the ticket time was approaching 20 minutes due to the screw ups while my alfredo and pepper cream sauce chicken was dying under the heat lamps. I then explained that he wouldnt have anybody to do it for him on a busy night and still insisted I do it. So I showed him how to do it step by step for about the 6th time in two weeks and he still messed it up again, so you see why I get angry and end up doing his job for him. Dont get me wrong, he's one of my best friends and I feel baddly after yelling. The only reason im hard on him is that I want him to be awesome at cooking.

I guess what it really comes down to is the fact that we are both 18, and automatically the waitstaff and chef attach a stigma to young cooks and think, "Oh these guys are young they are gonna screw up", and when a dumb mistake is made like totally forgetting to make a dish on the ticket it makes us BOTH look bad and I have a serious problem with that. I've worked hard to get good at cooking and it kills me to hear the expediter say "ummm, I still need that appetizer, barbeque sauce on this, and this can NOT go out looking like this."

I wish I could use the excuse of being under pressure for the way I acted but I can't, there was absolutely no stress that night on my side except worrying I left something on at the end of the night.

I will take your guy's advice though as you are all much more experienced than me and I have much respect for anybody that can out cook me. I will be more patient and calm then I'll let you all know how it worked in comparison to my yelling. Thank you all for your input, I really appreciate it.
post #6 of 12
I don't think you were being mean..I think your passionate about your career!! And people learn how to do things correctly by telling them once maybe twice or helling into there brains. I learned the hard way somethings by getting yelled at and kicked out of the kitchen. But, after getting my *** handed to me..I never forgot.. Know, as a Sous Chef I really afford to worry if I hurt someone feeling...Because, the food orders need to be cook..
post #7 of 12
Clint, where was the Chef or some other supervisor while they saw it fit to let you deal with this guy? I know one thing, and that is if I were managing there I'd be ripping the people in charge for allowing for slow sloppy food to come out of that kitchen. You are there to do the work, but ultimately the people in charge are responsible for what goes on there. Sorry they allowed that incident to happen.

Good luck.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
post #8 of 12
I worked 27 years in a different field (fixing electronics) I had bosses of both varieties. The ones that yelled had extremely high employee turnover, the ones that explained and encouraged had loyal employees who would go above and beyond their jobs. But at some point you have to get it into an employees head that if he isn't going to be serious about the job he should maybe consider a career change in the very near future.
post #9 of 12
WOW you guys have a heck of a challenge, both of you. You having to be the lead, and your friend who is very new. In my opinion, you are both really put on the spot. You both need to stay even-tempered as much as possible and just know that this is pretty heavy responsibility that has been put on both of you, not because of your age but rather what is being asked of you.

For what it's worth, I started a new career at 43 and not as confident as I could be so far at 45.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Craig.723: Exactly! The food is what's MOST important in a kitchen.

Peachcreek: Chef had off, supervisor was tending bar, we were all alone so basically I was the boss.

MaryB: hmm..Maybe he just doesnt have the passion for being a cook.

OregonYeti: Im so used to the pressure it doesnt even cross my mind, I feel worse for my friend when he has to work with the other lead cook, (awesome cook, very talented but hates screw ups) I dont wanna be anywhere NEAR that kitchen when those 2 get paired up. I just know that I cant keep covering for my friend, sooner or later the S***s gonna hit the fan in a big way, like total line meltdown.
post #11 of 12
Have you explained to your friend why you are being tough on him? For his own survival it seems . . . Once you explain that, let him sail his own ship as he chooses.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yeah I apoligized at the end of the night and said the only reason im being mean is because I want him to do well. To my surprise he understood.
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