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Friendly Advice? :)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Good evening friend!

I just recently found this forum and boy do I ever wish I had come across it years ago! When I was going through culinary school (I attended Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon) this would have been a valuable asset to pick people's brains and gain some insight. I look forward to reading and contributing to this forum!

Let's get down to business on a couple things...

I've been working for this company for going on three years, starting as a line cook, getting promoted to sous chef. After a while I was given the opportunity to become what is essentially chef de cuisine of one of the sister restaurants in a city about 60 miles away. I, thinking with my wallet, jumped at the chance and now I am stuck working roughly 70 hours a week making food that I am less than thrilled with for people that I really don't think appreciate what we offer. The theme of the place is a pacific northwest lodge... Most of the time though our customers utilize us for drink specials and cheap appetizers... When I'm able to sell a dinner feature it's cause for joy and celebration. Needless to say, I'm overworked, underpaid and under appreciated. This has caused me to look for opportunities elsewhere.

Long story short, I am in the running for a sous chef position for the very first restaurant company that I ever worked for (well over a decade ago... I started as a dishwasher and busser my freshmen year in high school.) They are flying me out for an interview. The package they are offering makes my current situation PALE in comparison... Needless to say, I want this job. I have a culinary portfolio that I've been sticking some things I've done throughout the years on. In your experience, is this a good idea? What are some things I should include, look for, and avoid?

Apologies, I didn't mean for this to turn into a bit of a novella!

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Joe \m/
post #2 of 6
Hey Joe, My Son graduated from Western about 10 years ago. He is now a Chef in my company. He is overpaid, underworked and over appreciated. He had a easy in, hes related to the boss. He does a good job makes a good wage, hes able to make and cook his own menus.
Watch out what you wish for, we are all the same in this business, someone waves the CHEF label at us and we run. If you can't be creative and appreciated in this business then its hard to work long hours. You need to walk away everyday with a good feeling in your heart that you love what you do, and do it for people that appreciate what you do. Long hours are a part of this business and it has never been the higest paying occupation. I would say do whats best for your happiness. Right now your getting nothing out of what your doing. Make sure that being a Sous isn't getting you in the same situation your already in. This is a business you need to find happiness, and appreciation or you will spend your life drinking at the corner stool at the bar. The happiness you get in your job filters down into your real life, family and friends. If your not happy, neither are they...................Good luck................Bill
post #3 of 6
Sounds like you have rounded out your tenure at the place that you currently work for. My advice is go where you are happy, and your career will follow. With my advice, there a few caveats:

Your current situation reminds me of a lesson that I learned a long time ago. This is going to sound harsh, and I am not trying to, but here goes: The ego gets left at the door.

The reason that I am gently nudging you here, is I get the feeling that you are making a mistake that I once made. You are forgetting that you are in the service business, and it is the customer that drives the demand, not you. You said:

Right there, it is evident that for your sanity, and well-being in your career that you adjust how you view your clientelle. If they are not going for a dinner special, and they are going for drinks, you are being foolish to not cater to that. Perhaps that is why you feel burned out and unappreciated.

I say this not to be harsh, but to help you for your new position. Go into it with the attitude that you are helping your clientelle have a great experience, and you will be happy to go to work every day, and will succeed above all else.

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

Reply
post #4 of 6
I will warn and remind you that in life if something sounds too good to be true its probably because it is. In the kitchen there is no such thing as a 50 hour work week once you become a salary employee. Being underpaid, over worked and under appreciated, as you put it, is part of the game and a big part of life. Nobody ever really appreciates what you do as much as you would like and nobody ever really gets paid what they think they are worth(that includes me ;)).
Good luck, I hope you get this job. You sound like you really want it...
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #5 of 6
I agree with what everyone else is saying on here. I don't know how old you are, but most young chefs fresh out of culinary school get a HUGE dose of sobering reality once they get thier first job. Yes, we all want to be creative and showcase our culinary talents, but as a sous, you're basically just in charge of line cooks. Which is a fancy way of saying "Babysitter". I completely understand your frustration, but hey! Look at the bright side. If this company is willing to fly you out for an interview, that says something about you and they obviously are interested in you. I mean, what do you have to lose? If they offer you what they promised (and make sure you get it in writing before you accept the job and move), then hey! It sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I say go for it!! Good Luck!! :)
post #6 of 6
I respectfully disagree - I am on a salary and work an average of 40-50 hours per week. I even get time+1/2 after 40 hours. Yes, not typical for a restaurant (I'm in the corporate hospitality sector) but there are many jobs like this out there. I work hard but am appreciated by my managers and get to create amazing food. I haven't worked a weekend for nearly 2 years!:D
Kiwisizzler's blog

Good food is food that tastes of what it is!
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Kiwisizzler's blog

Good food is food that tastes of what it is!
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