or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Cooks who refuse to learn new stations
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Cooks who refuse to learn new stations

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm hoping I got the right prefix with this one but it's something that is really bothering me.

We have three cooks on one station, the lunch and it is by far the slowest on the line and the cooks on there simply refuse to learn the rest of the line. It's incredibly frustrating from my standpoint as I know all of the stations on the line and I just don't get how someone could not want to learn more about their job.

What makes me laugh is they are the first ones to complain when a seemingly easy order for them comes in and the board caller will go ask them to go back to their station to make the order. Their response is... can't someone else do it?.. yet when they get an order for say bacon and eggs over easy.. they run to one of us to do it.

Yes learning new stations is is challenging and yes you are going to eff things up but that's the way it goes and it's all about learning. I have been on egg station for the most part since we opened and I still eff up eggs.. yolks break, shells get in them and I can't get them out so I have to junk them.. crap happens and you just deal with it and well.. good thing the customers don't memorize the menu because I know I have left out or added things in omelettes too back when I was learning. So it happens and food is forgiving. A crappy omelette flip can usually be saved and if it's an open faced one, cheese is our hero because it will cover the glaring mistakes that can happen on a crappy flip.

These three just don't see it that way. Today the KM and I were run off of our feet while the lunch cook stood and watched. And I mean WATCHED. She even had her hand on one hip and was leaning on the low boy with the other. The KM had to ask her to help me with plating as my grill was full and I was doing the meat and potatoes for my plates... so she wanders down (after being asked 2x) and asks me what I need so I told her for garnishes and I said... once the garnish is done let me know and I will tell you the meats I need along with potatoes... well she garnished, left the plates on my board and high tailed it into the walkin... I think to avoid the challenge (??) of putting meat and potatoes onto the plates.

The KM is aware that something needs to be done about that station and I think it will be a change that will take some time. The old KM didn't consider them part of the line so I think that's how they managed to get away with this for so long. The new KM has a much different view and she does consider them part of the line so like it or lump it they are going to have to pull up their socks and do more.

This has turned into a rant (sorry) apparently I needed to vent.

So after all that .. have you had any experiences with cooks doing just what I described above? And how did you handle it?
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #2 of 23
I've been in a very similar situation. In my kitchen, they would be unemployed.
Bork Bork Bork!
Reply
Bork Bork Bork!
Reply
post #3 of 23
Uhhh... this wouldn't be a Union kitchen, now would it?

How would I handle it? I just slash thier hours untill they ask for more shifts, and then tell them that there are shifts available--but at different stations...
...."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 #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
It has gotten a little better with them in the last couple of weeks. The one person who hardly worked all summer impressed me the other day. Whenever she had downtime she was looking at the recipe book trying to teach herself how to make all of the dishes. I've bever seen the other two do that at all.
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #5 of 23
If I was the Chef I would make them rotate stations everyday. Learn the station because you will be working it every 3 days, or whatever. Depending on how many stations. The Reason why they don't want to learn a new station is because its not their life, its just a job to them................BillyB
post #6 of 23
Your mission, should you choose to remain in my employ, is to learn ???
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Exactly and isn't cooking all about learning and a good cook/chef is also someone who is a lifelong learner I think...
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #8 of 23
That's a great sentiment and all, but then there is reality. There are many cooks out there doing it because it beats working in a factory. Im not saying it is right, nor am I condoning this kind of attitude, but I will tell you, you will meet many of these types of cooks in your life. In many restaurants, they can't get away with it, and gt booted, but in other places, this attitude dominates and I have walked into places where cooks who have been there for 3, 5, 10 years know no other station then their own. When I have walked into those places those type of people don't last, or I don't, if management doesn't back me in my goal to have a completely cross trained staff. The goal is to learn how to motivate cooks that aren't motivated by the love of , the passion for and desire to learn all they can about food. You will run into these types all the time, and before you dismiss them, realize that some of them can be awesome cooks. It just takes finding the motivation to make them perform.
post #9 of 23
My attitude , There are 2 million people in State of Florida, 1 million have already worked here, so I have another million to choose from. BYE BYE

And as far as wanting to learn ''Some people start at the bottom, but like it there''..!!
CHEFED
Reply
CHEFED
Reply
post #10 of 23
Today the KM and I were run off of our feet while the lunch cook stood and watched. And I mean WATCHED. She even had her hand on one hip and was leaning on the low boy with the other


Keyword...."KM".. Its up to the KM to say, Get off your duff and get your Butt over here...Cut and dry..All I would have to do is give that cook one look, they would know. The busy time is what pays employees, the kitchen needs everyones help. I have had dishwashers and front office people spooning up banquits ..........BillyB
post #11 of 23
I t always seems that it's those that are mulish about learning new stations that are the most vocal about not receiving raises and/or promotions.
They think time on the job is merit enough.

They think wrong.
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 #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm going to be in a new section the fruit for two shifts week and I'm looking forward to it. I know the cuts for the bibi cups and I can do some plates as well.. I'm looking forward to learning the section
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #13 of 23
They'd be out of my kitchen too. Plenty of good people out there looking for work. I only have two stations in my tiny kitchen, broiler and fryer. People start on athe fryer and move to the broiler until they learn it. Once they can run the broiler on a busy night, they get a raise. After that they rotate back and forth based on who feels like running which. The broiler is more demanding as that person also runs the board. They switch often enough that no one gets rusty on the broiler end. If they can't do both, I run into problems when someone gets sick or wants time off. Everybody needs to know everything. Opening and closing duties plus both stations.
post #14 of 23
Its a shame that you are having to cope with something the KM should have sorted from the start.

After 3 months working, with me shadowing her, I had to let someone go, as she simply couldn't think outside the box she had made for herself. I could see fear in her face when i asked her to take resposibility for her own station. When she did eventually give it a go, she was constantly asking me to check her work.

When i was in the school meals system, i had 14 women working for me and when i first started there, virtually all of them were out of their depth if asked to work in a different station. Even tho theyd all worked together for years and knew each others responsibilities. Again I would have them shadowed by someone used the station and tho it took a while, eventually they got comfortable there. They hated being moved, but were visibley proud of themselves when theyd acheived new skills.

Some folk simply arnt cut out for resposibility. It really does scare them. It could be laziness on the part of your co-workers.And if so they should be out of there.

BTW. There is one thing guaranteed to grind my gears...one person building up a sweat, while they are being WATCHED by others. KM needs a boot up the a**e
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
Reply
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
Reply
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
The KM we have now is making a consistent effort with them to stop the standing around and she isn't shy to tell them to do something if they're just standing there. The one that I mentioned in my original post is no longer with us and the other two are getting better for sure.
It is hard to learn a new station but it can be done and it can be done well. It's a risk and I think some people don't like taking risks.
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #16 of 23
get rid of them, they only create a cancer in the kitchen, because the other cooks, are pulling their weight and the other cook or cooks aren't . and the other line cooks will start to hate and not even work with the cook because they don't pull their weight.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Well management is aware of the issue and I think they're really aware after yesterday. We had a busy day and it was hectic for me. I am the only one in the kitchen besides the KM who knows all of the stations (save for fruit but after tomorrow I'll know it too) and that really showed yesterday. I told the KS (kitchen supervisor) that we needed to make crepes ahead for paninis and make small crepes for specials so we didn't get weeded when the stuff hit the fan. Did he listen... not at all. Sure I don't have the 20+ years of kitchen experience that he has but I have this behind me.. I WAS the kitchen at my last job and I had to make sure that I had everything on board at all times because it's one thing to get weeded when you have help to get you out of the weeds but when you're the only one.. you want to stay as far away from the weeds as you can and I made sure I did that. We got slammed and he was mr stress.. and for me it was frustrating because he really does not have a working knowlege of all of the stations and I had to tell him how to make alot of the dishes, right down to where the meats go. This is mean but if he had paid attention during his training he'd know as much about the plates as I do. I found when we were training that the seasoned pros really didn't pay much attention and the newbies like me were there like sponges absorbing everything and you know.. there are many ways to fry an egg but when you work at a chain you have to do it their way and not your way.
Sorry this turned into a rant.. anyway like I mentioned management is more aware and they're going to talk to me and the KM tomorrow about some more cross training for everyone.
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #18 of 23
How much is the pay? Id come work for you.

On the real though, I am a overachiever and I do whatever it takes for my job. That being said Im guessing you are the same way. If so, it takes a lot to learn that MOST people are not like you and just keep searching until you find some good people who have good work ethics to join your kitchen. Trying to reason why they don't want to learn more or whatever is a complete waste of time.
post #19 of 23
I just had to say I love that you said they cause a cancer in the kitchen. Its true if you were a cancer I'd cut you right out. Not sure which knife I would use for this operation but Im sure I'd figure it out ;)

Right ON.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
LOL average for the industry I guess! I think you'd have one nasty commute though!

I think we both share the same work ethic. I have always felt that if I am being paid to work then I need to work and not sit around and really.. isn't there always something to do in a kitchen? I had someone tell me once "if you have time to lean you have time to clean" and that's so true.
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #21 of 23
Get some balls and lay down the law; you don't want to work? Fine, FO! A kitchen only runs at it's best when you have a team that works together. My guys know that no one go's home until they are all finished and the kitchen is clean. One or twice you might need to be 'somwhat'confrontational but eventually, if you stick with your plan, people will respect you (they don't have to like you remember) and work your system.

Good Luck,

Pembroke
UNDER PRESSURE AT PEMBROKE
Cooking sous vide at Cambridge's third oldest College
http://thepembrokekitchen.blogspot.com/
Reply
UNDER PRESSURE AT PEMBROKE
Cooking sous vide at Cambridge's third oldest College
http://thepembrokekitchen.blogspot.com/
Reply
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
It's slowly getting better... well not really but I've just resigned myself to the knowledge that not everyone has the same work ethic as I do and I've just got to suck it up and do what has to be done at times. It was frustrating today.. I was on a different station (actually I was bouncing around as we were shorthanded by two) and I had to help the guy on the eggs because he was majorly in the weeds (most of it was his own doing because the orders he had weren't that big of a deal) and OMG some of the stuff he was selling looked like sh*t!!! He was sooo lucky the KM was not on expo or his a** would have been grass for sure! I actually looked at him and said... you can't sell it that side up.. and he started giving me attitude (he is one who does not take input well) and I told him to just flip it onto the plate and sell it that way. Truthfully if it had been me on that station I would have junked it and remade it because in my eyes it really did look like crap. Maybe it was because I spent two weeks under the microscope of the head office trainers on that station that I am so fussy but honestly even when I was at the last place I cooked I only sold plates if I was happy with the way they looked and if I could look at it and say.. yes I would pay money for that. If I couldn't say that then the plate got fixed up or remade if need be.
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
Reply
post #23 of 23
The thing it comes down to is its not their choice. Youre their employeer and you tell them waht to do. I can see not crosstraining people who you think would not do well, but the decision to move people around is your choice, I would get rid of anyone that doesnt do things the way you like
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Cooks who refuse to learn new stations