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Should I apply?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
So the head chef at my restaurant just announced her resignation. She's leaving in a month. I've worked my way up from being a culinary student doing work experience to chef de partie in 2 years, through hard work. There is no sous-chef.

The other cooks at work are pressuring me to take the chef job. The extra money is tempting, but I don't feel I am ready yet. I feel that I should at least work in more places before considering applying for a head chef position. I don't want to jeopardize my career, taking this job without the experience and confidence. Did any of you face a similar situation? Any advice would be deeply appreciated.
post #2 of 22
I guess there's a big difference between being shoe-horned into a job you don't feel ready for, and thoughtfully, methodicaly applying for a job.
When I was in the shoe-horned position, I didn't question myself if I was ready or not, I just did the best I could. With hindsight though, if I had more self confidence I probably could have really shined instead of doing a mediocre job.

If you don't think you're ready, then don't apply, But don't hang around too long or the Mngmt will either fob the job off on you, or expect you to lead the the kitchen while they find a replacement--which is the same as fobbing the job off on you, just a shorter period of time.

Hmm Chef leaving now in hay-making season? Too much stress?
...."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 #3 of 22
I would say no, you don't pursue the job.
You question whether you're ready, so you're probably not.
Also, it seems as if money plays a deciding factor, but you don't sound like you absolutely need the extra money.
I wouldn't chase the money at this point in your career if you don't have to.
You are wise to think that pursuing more experience now is the right path.
It's nice that the crew sounds like they would be behind you, but I wouldn't let that tip the scales.
Foodpump is right about the owners fobbing the job off on you, and understandably so.
They are going to need someone to step up until they find a replacement, and you don't know if they will look to do it quickly, or look at it as an opportunity to save wages and drag their feet.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #4 of 22
im allways going to think im not good enough for a job, that i can always get better... if you take the job you have a few things to look at... if you do good, not only will you be happier with yourself but you will also have it on your resume. sounds like you have a crew that will be behind you if you take it which is a big plus... its much harder trying to get the respect from your underlings if you just go into a chef position somewhere you never worked. and ****, if you dont do good you can say you tried and if worse comes to worse you get demoted, i doubt they would fire you if u didnt do what they expected seeing you have already been working for their company. go for it.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments. The Chef is leaving because she feels she needs a social life (she does about 60-70 hrs pw), and her next job is to manage a small cafe (office hours!!).

I am confident in managing the kitchen, but it's the lack of food knowledge which worries me more. How can I become head chef of a kitchen, and only know what I learned (or self-taught) from that one restaurant? What happens when I go for another Chef position, and the crew over there is more knowledgeable than I am? So yeah, I'm just gonna stay put and see what happens :).
post #6 of 22
How? Well that's what books and forums like this are for....

Think it over, if you're confident then go for it. But, if you want to stick around to see what will happen, let me fill you in on secret....

End of January typically is very slow, Feb. is a nail-biter, killing month. Cut, cut, cut, and thankgod the Chef left when she did so I don't have a monthly salary check to sign... So most Owners will just let the postion of Chef slide until spring omes around. The work of a Chef has to be done, and it will get done, just no recognition or salary increase. I could be wrong, and you'll just have to wait until a week before the old Chef leaves to see what happens.
...."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 22
the culinary field is like the universe... always expanding, constantly new food pairings are tried and new ideas are made... you can never know everything there is to know about cooking, it really then comes down to self motivation and confidence if you want to take the job... it is winter and the slow season so its gonna be a much easier transition for you than if you took the job in spring or summer... youd most likely be boned with having everything going on full swing..

good luck on your decision and just keep your eyes open and your taste buds ready...
post #8 of 22
i say go for it. if you keep waiting for the right moment it may pass you by.
post #9 of 22
Thomas Keller took up a similar position while he was in Florida and that situation ended up not working out and he went to work for someone else in town... an angry French chef who threw a knife at Keller for not knowing how to truss a chicken after being a "head chef" at another restaurant.

So if you think about it, the worst thing that can happen is that you fail and are in the the same company as the man who runs two of the very best kitchens in the world.
post #10 of 22
Go for it! You have an opportunity that might not come around again. This is something you have worked hard for, seize the opportunity. If it doesn't work out at least you can say that you tried. Don't let this turn out into a 'what if I had taken the job?' I say it's better to regret something you did, than to regret something you didn't do.

Talk it over with management and tell them your concerns. Pick at the chef's brain and ask her for advice. She might be interested in preparing you for what lays ahead.
"To be a good chef all you got to do is lots of little things well" -Marco Pierre

"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
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"To be a good chef all you got to do is lots of little things well" -Marco Pierre

"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
Reply
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice, I'll apply for the job, and see how it goes. Thanks again, will post updates.
post #12 of 22
Good luck.
I'm sure you will do well.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #13 of 22
i was in a similar situation, i took the job without thinking, then was a scared kid for the first couple of months. then i realized that people were looking to me for leadership and knowledge, and i stepped up my game. the leadership came, as did the confidence, i dont mind not knowing everything, i dont mind asking for advice from people who might know more about something than me, if challenged i always fall back on the old saying, a cook that thinks he knows everything and cant learn anything more, is either stupid or a bad cook. i say go for it and have fun
post #14 of 22
this is a huge point to make, regardless what your environment or industry youre in... if youre in a leadership role, ppl will look to you to lead. (obviously.) so if you do not have confidence in yourself or your decisions, your team will not respect you or follow.
post #15 of 22
Good for you eloki!

Here are some thoughts from one that has gone down that path.

You are the Chef.

Remain humble enough to accept input, but you still make the decision.

Don't be afraid to hire on others that may SEEM to have more experience, you are still the Chef; they will have their own work to do.

Have a meeting to let your former co-workers know that you will still be friends up to the point of getting the job done, but you are now the chef and this is a business.

Your greatest asset is your staff. With their support, all things are possible, without it, you're sunk...

Good luck is a byproduct of hard work!
Have fun!
SGMChef

Don't take my word for it! I wouldn't trust me either!
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Have fun!
SGMChef

Don't take my word for it! I wouldn't trust me either!
Reply
post #16 of 22
An excellent point, which many in supervisory positions don't seem to understand.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
So, I'm now the sous-chef. =).

The new chef is italian (from Sicily), and has loads of experience. He will be changing the menu from being Mediterranean to simply italian food (smaller menu too). Very simple and looks really good, I am welcoming the changes, because making simple good food is "hard" for many chefs imho.
post #18 of 22
The fact that management hired a chef so fast, tells me that they were not considering you. You are better off, now you can learn from this chef also. Let him work the 60 70 hours a week. Its ok to work these hours if you are being compansated for them. Never work to cheap or let them take advantage of you.
Congrats on the Sous appointment.:bounce:
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #19 of 22
congratulations on the sous-chef position.
post #20 of 22
Congrats on the position and keep working hard...you will be the head chef before you know it!
Looking for Valentine chocolate recipes.
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Looking for Valentine chocolate recipes.
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post #21 of 22
Congrats Eloki.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
post #22 of 22
Congrats!

And with the new chef / menu, you will have more food styles and techniques to add to your repertoire.
"To be a good chef all you got to do is lots of little things well" -Marco Pierre

"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
Reply
"To be a good chef all you got to do is lots of little things well" -Marco Pierre

"As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit." -Fernand Point
Reply
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