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Walked off the line tonight, need advice

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
First, a little background. I've cooked in a couple very fine dining restaurants with so-to-speak celebrity chefs, and under the incredible chef de cuisines that they have hired. I've learned a lot, and value that knowledge. Recently, I took a job as a Chef Tournant/Lead Cook at a new restaurant in a hotel very close to my home (I used to drive 60-80 miles one way to those aformentioned restaurants). I mainly took it because the pay was better, got benefits, and the drive was incredibly smaller. The only problem is/was, the chef is a hack who murders food, the F&B lives in the hotel and micromanages everything (because he's been in the business 25 years and knows everything right?), the Executive Chef of the hotel doesn't seem to give a f***, and the new sous chef who's actually spent time in some decent places is trying to improve the situation, but keeps running into corporate road blocks. Tonight, the hostesses/manager sat 7 10-tops in a matter of 5 minutes (which happens daily being a hotel and nobody offering reservations as a first choice), and complete madness breaks out. The hack chef de cuisine jumps on the line (in which I'm working saute), starts throwing [Censored] around and causing a scene, the F&B comes back screaming for stuff that isn't fired yet, the Executive Chef is banging out bar food with the grill guy, and the hotel's Executive Sous Chef is doing a terrible job expediting. I'm trying to maintain some orderliness, but being that they're "chefs", they know better what to do. I've hated this place for a while, so I just sit back, help out the grill when I can, and give them what they ask from me. After refiring a table 3 times because the retards kept firing it when it wasn't ready, I run out of a certain item for a dish that sold on that table a total of four times and other tables in between the big tables. I get flack from the Chef de Cuisine, the F&B is asking for a half lamb rack med-well on the fly, and the EC is still doing the bar food. I get fed up, tell them I quit (and that it's the sh***iest f****ng place I've ever worked), and leave. I know that wasn't the right course of action, but I felt cornered coupled with the month and a half or so of bull***t I've seen since I started. Oh, and the one guy I liked, the sous chef, is off today and tomorrow. I have a few questions for you guys:

1. What should my next step be with the place being that I haven't formally resigned?
2. Should I lower my standards of food in order to make more money/benefits?
3. Should I apologize and try to return?
4. Do I tell everything to human resources?
5. Are you hiring?
post #2 of 17
Please take what I have as my own insight and not a lecture. I say that, because the typed word often lacks the nuance of speech.

First off, never, ever burn bridges. I know you know that. I know you have probably already heard that. But, our industry is one, big intertwined network... word gets around. Plus, you never know when you will need somebody to verify employment, etc.

Now...
I think there are many avenues on which you could travel and I am sure other members will have some opinions... here is my 2-cents. You have already quit, in grand style. There probably isn't any going back (or is there?). So, a PROFESSIONALLY written letter thanking (be nice!) your immediate supervisor for the opportunity to work there as well as a gently worded apology.

That is your call. It is all about priorities. If I were 20 years-old again, I would say "Live to cook! Only perfect food!" But, reality is... bills need to be paid, etc. But, again, that is your call. Frustrating... isn't it?!

Apologize... without hesitation! And be sincere. If you aren't now, you will be 10 years down the line. As far as a return... you have probably lost some credibility. But, again, that is an answer that comes from within you.

What is there to tell? Here is how they (probably) will see it... You lost your cool and split. Everything else, especially now, is heresay. Move away from it.

If nothing else, this whole thing is a learning experience. Believe it or not, it will be with you forever, for better or for worse, it is part of you now. How do you feel? Probably pretty crappy, I would guess. Remember that feeling... it is a motivator. Remember one thing: Nobody can take your work ethic from you. It is yours and yours alone, good or bad.

I wish you the best. Please keep us posted.

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

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

My Author Page

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post #3 of 17
Sounds like that night has been building up in your mind for a long time.

As far as formaly resigning. Now I've only been a exec.chef for 17+ years if you said to me this is the sh-tiest fn place I've ever worked and stormed off like a little baby (I know truth hurts). I've walked out to, in the early days.
I would take that as a formal resignation. :lol:

As far as your next step. Find a new job and leave this one off your resume, but never forget this job use as a tool to grow from.
Remember how this job made you feel. Remember how walking out made you feel.

Don't be to hard on yourself, it happens. Learn from it. ;)
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #4 of 17
As the others said. You did that.

Only you can answer that. I've served plenty of crap in my day. But I made the best I could with what I had. I still took pride in my work.

Walk away. Unless they are the desperate type. I've worked plenty of smaller places that would hire people two or three times after stuff like that.

If they have a Human Resources, walk away. They for sure won't take you back. No sense talking to them, they have rules. And walking out during a shift is not one of them.

I wouldn't hire a hot head like you. :lol:

I've been mostly a career line cook. I've been chef a few times and second in command as well. But mainly a line cook. I've worked in hotels, fine dining, and mom and pops, probably close to thirty restaurants and walked many times. Not all jobs are worth it. Many owners are well aware of this. If you're good you can overcome this pretty easy. You're career is not ruined, not everyone gets to see your "permanent record."
post #5 of 17
"You have probably already been terminated for job abandonment"

"Only if you have a family to support....otherwise do exactly what you want"

"A little late to apologize....wild cards in regard to walking out usually don't get asked back"

"No one likes a tattle-tale, its a free country, go get another job"

"Nope....seasons ending where I'm at....have to lay off at least 25% of staff"
post #6 of 17
See the advice given on "the other Chef's site"...

Regards,

Foodpump
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #7 of 17
y did u walk off. i worked in a job for 2 years and the 2ed year sucked crappy pay, crappy hours but it was a job. and i had it untill i was almost done with school and now i have 3 weeks left and i got a job at a fine dinning place. i have never walked on a place. i hated going to work but i know that i wanted a good recommendation

like other people said LEAVE THIS OFF YOUR RESUME not every one needs to know that you walked out on service.

you dont need to go back and quit you already did, when u walked off the line that is a clear way for the chef to know that you quit

just get used to it crappy jobs are part of the life when jobs start getting crappy its time to start looking for a new one not time to walk
post #8 of 17
without reading anyone's reply to this thread:

Huzzah! Gratz. They will be be begging you to come back! lol
Make sure you get more $$$.

Again: all i read was your initial post, so grats on the raise $$$ i think you will get. You chose the right time to walk (imo). I have a method that works for me; and i would have walked at that point.
post #9 of 17
and now that i've read everyone's replies...

I dunno. I may have not worked in as many kitchens as everyone else here, and i'm definately not as experienced in the hiring/firing aspect in a high end kitchen,

but i have worked in situations such as yours:

the head chef is pissed because he doesn't want the responsibility, but the executive chef is some dumb kid from **** who can't translate a recipe, (but but but... he has a degree from CIA!!!???), and the food and beverage guy is just some tool who landed the job by accident, and the hotel manager hates you for some unknown reason (you messed up some order like, 2 months ago on your first day)...

in THAT situation i would just buck up and take the shots that were directed at me (which i did).

but it sounds like you are past that. Sounds like you could do better. I don't think you are a 'hot-head'. If you were a 'hot-head' you wouldn't be asking if this was ok, you would just be flipping people off left and right.

There are lashes and cracks of the whip that a cook is expected to take in the course of his/her profession, but one has to put a border up and decide exactly how much "$h1*" you are willing to put up with.

I've put up with a grunt-load of HATE! Vehement denunciations, belittling, disparage, et cetera. We all have, in every profession. But there comes a line. And sometimes (i think) it's okay to ditch out on a sinking ship.

bah, i'm talking too much...

you make your decision. don't worry, i got your back. :)
post #10 of 17
i cook, I am not a chef, just a home cook, but I would like to offer a different perspective. I think most people work or have worked some pretty crappy stressful jobs in their lives, including me. My most stressful job was working for American Airlines after 9/11. It was horrific. I am not sure I would still be there because of the stress, but they closed the center, so they made that decision for me. My husband is a Navy vet who was hurt in the Navy and lives with an incredible amount of pain every minute of his life. They are unable to fix him, so he will live this way the rest of his life. I painfully watch him suffer everyday, and I have learned from his experience life is way toooooo short to be unhappy and stressed. It might be a long road to find your happiness, but you should always strive for it. I am not sure if it was the right thing to do walking off, but I praise you for not taking the crap anymore. Please try to find a happy place to work and live for that matter. You really only live once!!! Just my two cents...I hope this helps. Mpeirson
post #11 of 17
Well you really have 2 options..should you stay or should you go. Chances are if things are as poorly managed as you say..they are probably desparete to a degree and probably will take you back..but at what costs?..you'll humiliate yourself to go back there and you'll have to kiss butt for longer than you've already worked there to make things right. And if you hate this place so much I don't think you feel like putting in any extra or doing any butt kissing. Although not every place I've worked has been a food place and particulary the ones i've walked away from and burned bridges..this is still relevant and easy advice..
just don't put them down on your resume'
simple as that...you have this luxury especially because you haven't worked there very long as it is...you can do that or you can go back with your tail between your legs..(and they may not give the job back to you)...and beg for forgiveness and need to stay there for another year or so to def. clear their minds of the memory of you leaving and saying you quit (so they don't still give you a good reference)..
do you need this job?
So you may take a pay cut..it's not worth sacrificing your happiness just for an extra 2 or 3 bucks an hour. ..
ultimately whatever decision you make, it's up to you...me..i'm used to the others i work with being that disorganized..and incompetent..so i'd stay..and make things right and be there for at least another year...but don't think it's the end of the world if you just look for another job and pretend that old one didn't even exist.
post #12 of 17
Been young once and thought I had it all figured out. Even worked for some Chefs that were so called "inferior". While I was better ability wise, I was pretentious about it just the same. There are a lot of hacks in every business. And with the new popularity of Food Network there seems to be a lot of people that are all of a sudden great chefs.

There is no perfect situation but there are good fits. As you know by now that restaurants have a very special kind of social organization. We work during peak social times for others, often under stressful conditions and after hours we often play together just as hard as we work. With that basic understanding of the social makeup of the restaurant staff one must seek out others that you work well with.

It is unfortunate that you ended up on this staff as they sound rather disorganized and without strong leadership. But by walking out on your shift, you have made yourself look like the bad guy and most likely the easy target of excuse for a night gone bad.

Apologize in person, say sorry things didnt work out, and get it behind you. Then look for a place that fosters personality that you admire and carries a similar philosophy on food. You need to work with people that are on the same level of professionalism as you. Dont think for one second that you alone are going to make the difference. It takes everyone's personality and skillset to make a great restaurant. No chef becomes great without an even greater staff.
post #13 of 17
I agree with matteo.....sometimes it is hard to read when it is time to give up on the people we work with and move on, especially if we have not been in the job very long. I tried to hold on a few months too long at my last gig and it was a mistake, I left at 16 months and should have gone at 12. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your replies everyone. In hindsight, I am glad I'm not working there anymore, regardless of how I did it or how many bills I have. It just sucks that a place with such great potential can be hindered by a hack chef and/or Executive team. It kind of burned me on the industry for a while, so I think I might look for something else right now, but I'm still going to keep my foot in. I did learn a few valuable lessons about myself and corporate structure, which I think may have happened for a reason. Anyway, thanks again guys.
post #15 of 17
Just a suggestion:

Go to your local store 24, all the way back, right hand side, top shelf, get a can of man, just kiddn (sort of )

Don't let that job discourage you from being a chef. Dust yourself off, kid. Just remember life is a game. Once you realize there is no winning, you can enjoy it. What I mean by there is no winning is, Once you think you have won, the game will be over.. Keep playing, enjoy it, its just a game.
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #16 of 17
I would not sweat it too much. Shake it off, take a deep breath, kick back with a good stiff drink :beer: Get some sleep & use your contacts to see who is hiring. You're gonna be fine. This business has high turnover anyway :smoking:
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.
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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.
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post #17 of 17
I have never worked with a chef that walked out. I have seen line cooks do it, myself included. But that is the difference. A chef endures and gets through it no matter how crazy it might seem. All nights come to an end eventually. If you're gonna quit do it the right way, give two weeks and move on.
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