or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › It this a normal occurrence? * long *
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

It this a normal occurrence? * long *

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
You that have been in the “real” kitchen longer that I have, it this normal?

New dishwasher was a bit thuggish. Don’t make no never-mind as we say in the South. Most kitchen folks in this city are a tad shady, off-kilter or both. We talked to him like he was part of the team, which he was. Smile, slap him on the back, complement him. Feed him shrimp hot off the grill, piece of steak now & then.

4th night he’s there he comes in with an attitude. I pretend not to notice when he smarts off a time or 2. I keep treating him the same. Then he takes the bus tub & flips it into the dishwasher prep-cleaning sink. CRASH :eek: :mad: You could tell there was breakage. Chef was in the dining room so it fell to me to check things out. I tried the concerned & encouraging coworker approach. “Say buddy, a plate got busted, looks like a ramekin too. Let’s toss these before chef sees them. Please be more careful.” He says nothing.

He did it again. I call out “Hey buddy, stop tossing the stuff out like you are unloading a bucket of bolts. You’re breakin’ things.” He spoke not a word.

He does it a 3rd time. This time Chef is on the line. “Hey! yells the exec. Stop breaking %&^$” He does it again. Chef starts around the corner. I grab him by the shoulder. “Let me.” I say. He nods in such a way I know I have only 1 shot at this.” I go to the dishwasher & say, “Hey pal, you’re breaking stuff. It’s costing us, and you’re torqueing Chef off. Please be gentler removing the dishes from the tub. If you’re upset we can talk when the night is over.” He says not a word. Doesn’t even look at me. I go back to the line.

Keep in mind; Chef is about 6’1” 230 of toned mussel. I am 5’5” 160. Dishwasher is about 6’2” & I outweigh him by about 20 lb.

He does it again. Chef’s right there at him so fast I don’t even remember him moving. The girls (prep cook & waitress) simply disappear. “Get out!” Chef orders. “You can’t tell me what to do.” Says the dishwasher. Chef says, “You don’t work here, out!” The dishwasher then goes into a diatribe of all the bad & evil things that the chef’s mom is about and how the chef himself is no more that a product of sub-human breading. By this time I am standing to the side but between them. My intention is not to stop the Chef from doing anything, but to watch the knife that the dishwasher has by his left hand that the chef cannot see. I pull the 2 ¼” paring knife I keep on my belt and hold it down, ready.

The guy leaves. I breathe a sigh of relief. Sheath my knife & get back on the line. The only other significant words were “Let’s finish these last tables. Then you get on dish.” I tossed on a mahi then a steak & say “Aye, chef.” Rest of the night was normal.

I asked him later “Is this normal kitchen happenings?” He said, “Only if you keep working with me.” I gave him a look that said “Crap!” he laughed.
Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
Reply
Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
Reply
post #2 of 17
Is it normal? I guess. Is it routine? Not really.

I once read... the restaurant is a brilliant stage on which just about anybody can stand.

So, there are many, many characters out there... many of which land, for one reason or another, in our industry. Easy work. Not always tons of skill needed. Take it for what its worth. Now you'll have a stroy to tell.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

Reply

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

Reply
post #3 of 17
if a staff member is threatening with a weapon the best course of action is to call the police, asking them to wait outside the back. then tell the person they have a visitor out back when they get there. even the best job is not worth taking a knife for.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hindsight is 20-20, but I do like your advice. Hopefully I'll never have to take it ;)
Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
Reply
Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
Reply
post #5 of 17
sorry Dirk, but you will see this sort of thing again. Dishwashers come in two sorts, old guys who just do it cause they feel best in a kitchen and want the "easy" work, and scumbags. guess you had a scumbag, don't fret they are usually pretty easy to spot, so future avoidance should be easy.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
Reply
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
Reply
post #6 of 17
This might be a bit revealing.

I've seen a lot of wild kitchens, but no one ever pulled a knife in earnest after smashing up a bunch of dishes.

Chef might be trying to tell you something.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #7 of 17

Ouch!

Ouch, be careful!
post #8 of 17
realllyyyy lol only two kinds of dishwashers hmm what about the ones trying to get there foot in the door to work there way up in a place. Easy work i do not know about that depends what place you are washing everyones pots and pans and all there ****. The place i work at i am the last one to leave and be done wile everyone is having drinks and i am washing and cleaning everything in the place. Only time i get to cook or do anything with food is before service with the prep.
post #9 of 17
yeah yeah, I am talking about the lifers, there are always the ones going through the job heading to someplace else. Also the easy was in quotes meaning compared to some jobs dishwashing is pretty dam easy, not that washing crud off plates, pots and pans while being soaked to the bone is pleasant. But hey, it's not crab fishing by a long shot.:p
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
Reply
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
Reply
post #10 of 17
i get ya lol
post #11 of 17
To the original question, no it's not normal, but it happens. I once witnessed a d/w strangling the Chef because he wouldn't give him (d/w) his requested day off...

The ultimate person in charge of staffing in the kitchen is the Chef. This is not only an astute observation, but a fact.
Now, I'm not a HR expert, nor am I politically correct, but I tend to base my hiring practises on what I see. And I've paid the price too, gotten bitten in the butt by new hires who turned out to be druggies/stoners, outright nut-bars, or just lazy pieces of excrement. Human beans are the most trickiest things to work with, or count on, (like showing up, or doing what they're instructed to do...) but usually most seasoned managers tend to judge a book by it's cover.

And then there's this thing called "warm body syndrome" where a manager is so desperate to fill a position they hire any warm body they can find. It's a nasty cycle, as "warm bodies" usually never work out and end up costing more in lost wages, overtime, especially staff stress, and reputation. Once you get in this situation it is very hard to get out of it.

Hope I'm not talking in riddles, but really, the world would be a better place without people in it...
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #12 of 17
I am with chefstat call the police. No sense in getting a law suit.
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #13 of 17
And then there are some folks who get a job in the dish pit for reasons only known to their probation officer and the manager...

Now, as an aside to the preceding, I spent some time in soap city.

It was a "diner" (part of a local chain - think Denny's or Hobo Joe's or Helsing's sort of coffee shop almost restaurant) where they had a counter and booths.

I was real new to the food service scene, and arrived at work in my black dress pants and white shirt, ready to be a productive member of society.

Was directed to the dishwashing area, and told to start in on the pots and pans stacked about the area.

Okay, no problem. I've been doing that stuff for quite a while at home (mom or sister would cook, and I got to clean...)

While this was 40 years ago, I still remember my shock at how these "cooks" managed to so thoroughly bake in the residue of what ever they were cooking. It was like they had emptied the pan, and tossed it back on the fire to see if they could reduce the remaining food matter to ash.

Didn't ever seem to work. Just made a crusty mess that was reluctant to come out without a considerable soaking... No time for that.

My next almost favorite people were whoever bussed tables.

Particularly on the "All Ewe Can Eat" spaghetti nights...

Bastids would stack plates flat in the bus trays, one on top of the other. Not up on edge where there was a slim chance that the third helping of gelatinous goo might slither down to the bottome edge of the plate, reducing the need to chisel the debris away after it had set up for over an hour in the tray...

Which leads to the next point.

This place was top heavy in FOH help, as it was never more than 30% full, yet the FOH folks would stand around and leave the bus trays out front until they were brimming full before bringing them back to the dish pit. Some of which had almost enough time to grow cultures of whatever would grow in there...

In retrospect, I should have been hunting these trays down, and carting them back myself, but I wasn't astute enough at the time to understand that I was able to leave my post and help out front. Especially after being told by the manager that I should remain behind the swinging doors... (15 back then was an early age to question authority)

Anyway, I had enough of the 2nd class citizen treatment, and left their employ.

Short story is, the folks in the dark recesses of a steaming dish pit are humans too, and could use a bit of consideration. They are not "invisible". When they feel threatened, or treated unfairly, they are liable to react.

Just a little comment from someone who has worked on the lower tier...
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
post #14 of 17
Comment duly noted. Mind you, most of us have started off as d/w's and prep monsters. Most of us strive to treat everyone on the team fairly, and we all know the consequences of firing a d/w on the spot....

Dirk's description of: "making him feel like he was one of the team", and "feeding him shrimp and pieces of steak" are fairly typical of most kitchens as well. A good d/w is a bonus, to be treasured and used, but above all, to be treated fairly. 'Cause if you don't, the guy leaves and either you don't have a d/w or you have someone who isn't good or doesn't like the job.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #15 of 17
DMP and foodpump make great points. We've all (at least, I hope we all have) been dishwashers at one point in time and with the right support some of them can be great cooks and chefs (I've certainly worked with a few of them). It's always telling about the character of a person by observing how one treats those on the bottom of the totem pole.

Of course, I've also known a lot of whacked out dishwashers and then you're in pretty much for a nightmare.
"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
Reply
"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
Reply
post #16 of 17
Just a little background on the dramatic story Dave tells....

The guy broke dishes by dumping bus tub after bus tub into the dish area. We warned him nicely to no avail. He acted like he couldn't hear us. After three times I brought the hammer down Ramsay style. He wouldn't leave, spouting out the pro-forma 'you ain't my boss'. We went round and round until the owner came back into the kitchen after hearing the ruckus and told the ****er to leave. He didn't have a knife nor was he scanning the room for one. He was just another Memphis hump who wanted to pull the race card when confronted with discipline by a white manager. This, unfortunately, happens all too often in this city. I've had knives pull on me (twice), brass knuckles (once) and been involved in more bs EEOC suits than I can remember. I've cooked in other cities but nothing compares to Memphis. Yes Dave, my friend, this kinda stuff happens from time to time if you stick around long enough. And, in fact, this was really a non-event comparatively.
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'll stick with you :)
Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
Reply
Preparing a fine meal with quality ingredients is the most practical way we show our love. How we plate shows the depth of our caring.
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › It this a normal occurrence? * long *