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should i look elsewhere or deal?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I recently got a job as a cook in a newly opened restaurant. Prior to this, i'd been a dishwasher and had done some prep but had never worked on a line before. When it's busy and I'm working with other line cooks i love it, but when the head chef helps man the line it's miserable. The problem is he is the messiest person i've ever worked for in my life. When he's on the line i spend as much time trying to find equipment/ ingredients he's moved some where strange as i do actually cooking and when i can't find something immediately he's screaming at me to hurry up and it's majorly stressful. after a rush with him back there the entire line is completely trashed and i end up spending the time i should be using to do prep cleaning up after him, and then of course he's screaming at me b/c prep isn't getting done fast enough. is this normal or should i look for a job working with someone who works differently (cleaner)? i appreciate any feedback. thanx
post #2 of 13
Is cleaning up the line your job and if so, are you the only other line cook? Generally in most kitchens you are responsible for your own area and everyone shares clean up in common use areas (prep tables, etc.) If it's not your specific job to clean up after him, then don't. If he's a head chef, he should know enough to clean up his own mess. That's the first thing you learn whether you go to culinary school or learn from experience on the job. Same thing with tools. They go in a certain place, and anyone who uses them returns them to that same place for the reason you stated- it saves time when you're busy. In a well run kitchen, you should be able to walk in with your eyes closed and grab anything you need. Sounds like your chef has a lot to learn.
post #3 of 13
well, how long have you had the job? I would be hesitant to leave, till at least 6 months. You just moved up from prep/dish, I suggest working on your line skills while you can. Not saying you can't look for work elsewhere, just saying i wouldn't leave this job first.

Also, while it might feel like slitting your own throat, you may want to tell your Chef to keep his hands off your tools and prep. I have never had a chef complain about me having my stuff "just so". The easiest way is to constantly ask for whatever tool they just set someplace wrong, and put it away properly. Same deal with food, if the prep is getting moved around, point blank ask if "this spot" is THE spot to always find the shrimp, or garlic. I have just explained to my chef's that I don't care where it goes, just so long as its in the same place every time.

I have only worked in one place where people would grab my knife, move it across the kitchen and leave it dirty where they last used it. Thank god I had another job and was trying the place out for extra money. I handled working there 4 days. Couldn't get a straight answer about a schedule, recipes or who was supposed to be where in the kitchen. when i flat told people to not touch my knife cause they left it dirty, they just waited till my back was turned. lack of mutual respect can ruin any work environment. best of luck
"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. "
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"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. "
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post #4 of 13
A true diplomat can tell you to go to **** in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.....

Your station, your equipment, your responsiblity. You gotta tell the Chef in such a way to leave your stuff alone and clean up his hurricane.

Odds are 50/50 that if you can acomplish this, he'll look at you with a little more respect.
...."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 #5 of 13
LOL.

I once had a demi-sous put a sign on a cutting board that was dirty, saying it was mine. I remember looking at it, after working 14 hard hours, thinking, "How do I not kill this guy."

I waited for the cook, and he went off on me. I mean, went off on me. I listened, and found out his frustration with how the line was being left. Then I explained a few things to him:

I was currently working about 80 hours a week, where he was only making 40.
I was also dealing with ordering, scheduling, hiring, following up on missing event orders, missing product, maintenance issues, safety issues, customer quality checks, disgruntled dishwashers, sales people with questions, a broken computer, and a food and beverage manager that loved throwing things in there, "just because."

I promised I would try and make the area cleaner when I worked, but asked the guy if he could be a help to me if I forget it, and to remember that there is always a bigger picture out there.

So, it comes to respect both ways. You need to get your feelings across in a diplomatic way to the guy, and hope the situation changes. Remember that there is always 2 sides to the story.

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

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Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

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post #6 of 13
If it were me, I'd most likely find a new place to work. If my chef now did that I would say something, but I've also been with him for a while and we have the working relationship where I can. There is nothing worse than a messy and disorganized line. It is not normal for an experienced chef to work like that.

Oh, and Gunnar, if anyone used my knives without permission, and then had the balls to move them across the kitchen and leave them dirty I would have packed up my bag and left too. It's great to have a respectful kitchen with fellow cooks asking to use ones personal equipment.
post #7 of 13
There is a guy just like him in every kitchen you work in. At this point in your career you are working for him. Later on you will have people like that working for you.

Don't run. Learn to deal with him.
Michael
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Michael
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post #8 of 13
I agree with you on some points, disagree on others. Knives and personal equipment ~ that's given that you should have respect for other's tools. I used to keep mine in an insert lined with a towel. People think twice before they grab them. If someone took it, then I would be on it like a hawk.

OTOH, what is the working conditions there? I worked at one place that supplied knives, but I brought my own. Wasn't long before someone came and took them.

As for just leaving... Well, that is an option sure. Remember though, the mark of maturity in a kitchen, or a chef, is the ability to deal and change situations. Imagine if a chef fired everyone who dared leave the line messy. Do you think he would have a good reputaion? Same goes for a line cook. To the OP: if you want to go somewhere in your career, figure out how to make this situation work for you. Then the Chef will have respect for you. Change the situation, don't just complain or walk out. You will thank me later on in your career.

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

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Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

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post #9 of 13
I also can see both points and have done both in various kitchens, i wouldnt leave unless you had somewhere else to go but on the other hand you shouldnt have to put up with that crap either. like it was said earlier your chef needs to learn alot quickly , it may just have to be you who teaches him.
post #10 of 13
OP: Suck it up until you find something better. Even bad experiences are valuable, and you're in the wrong business if you expect to constantly surrounded with decent, respectful folks. There's no harm in keeping your eyes open for something better, but the economy sucks and working with a slob isn't worth quitting as soon as you've worked your way up.
post #11 of 13
\


Ditto on what xjmrufinix said.... your day will come grass hopper " he who waits wins"
post #12 of 13
I think in any business you are not always goingto be working with decent respectful people. I worked in the social service sector before I had my own kids and I have to say some of the worst people I have ever met have been very well educated social workers!!

Most people in the kitchen know I am very clean, and when they are on my station they do try and keep it tidy. I'm not shy to say to someone.. please wipe the station down before you leave it... because if I don't tell them I know the mess will just grow and then when I go back to clean it the job will be lots bigger than it needs to be.

I have always had to do my own cleanup so I think that's why I'm so fussy with cleaning as you go.

Last Thursday I was working a different station and I went on my break. One of the people who normally works that station was in on a prep shift and the KM had her cover me while I breaked. It was the first day in a while that I had taken a full break and when I got back to the line I regretted it. After being gone for half an hour I came back to find that the grill was disgusting, (I scrape it after each use) bread and english muffins were everywhere (I kept them in the bin under the prep area.. easy enough to reach under grab what was needed and keep tidy), the station hadn't been wiped in the entire time I was gone and... she walked away from it like it was just fine! It took me almost an hour to get things back to a level that I was comfortable with after that. That person is leaving at the end of this week and I know the new KM is going to make some changes to that station. I didn't even have to say a word to the KM about it.. she knew by the look on my face that I was not impressed.
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #13 of 13
That reminds me of a situation I was in not too long ago...

Corporate brings in a "star chef" from around the area to our hotel to help oversee our new menu tasting we were carrying out for the RVP, GM, VP of F&B, etc important people.

This "Star Chef" was simply the messiest chef I've ever seen. I hold alot of respect for his knowledge and quality of food he can produce, but not for his cleanliness. He dirtied one prep area, abandoning all the utensils and ingredients he is now done with in favor of a new clean prep area with clean utensils that again he dirtied up horribly.

By the time we were finished, he rapidly wipes down the last area he was working on with a dry cloth, getting the big chunks of food off the table, but leaving all the sauce, etc on it sitll before walking out.
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