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Trying to become line cook

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hello all I'm new to these forums and I just wanted to ask the professionals some questions. I'm trying to get my first job as a line cook and I was just wondering what to expect from the job.
post #2 of 25
you can expect to start from the bottom, do a great deal of grunt work, put in extremely long hours, and say good-bye to your social life...
post #3 of 25
Have you started with prep/salad yet? Also expect cuts and burnt flesh.
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post #4 of 25
I know some here won't like this response but, DON'T DO IT.........and i say this because unless you have some REAL passion or are EXTREAMLY hard working it just does'nt pay off in the long run......if you want to buy a house, raise a family, pay your bills, have a couple of cars send a kid to school this is the wrong profession....take a good look at your goals......if you just want a job and work well then maybe???
post #5 of 25

help me please

okat heard the thing im a young commis chef, and my head chef is a lazy (well i cant say that word hear) and all she does all day is sit on her computer in the office looking at facebook, wtf.
okay as a head chef you can understand that some time at a computer is needed, but not everyday all day...
best off all is that she always gets like 3 days off per week, never does anything other than get in the way, and make a mess.
seriously tho what can i do hear, how can i put my foot down to her??? thats what i want to know.
obviously there are more than a few of you hear on this site that are head chefs or have been in this situation.. so i ask you what did/do you do, to help with this other than the obvious :beer:.
i work hard and yeah i play hard but working where i am at the moment i never seem to have any energy, or enthusiasum, to actualy do anything!!! and personally i put it all down to the "monky see monky doo" statistic rule. because well if you see some one getting away with not working when they should be, then you become jellous, and eventually try to do the same and then before you know it yorur just as bad as the first person you saw do it. and thats not what i want to do.
in actual fact i want to one day hopefully own my own place and be sucessfull but working hear i dont ever see that happening,
PS does anyone have any good pasta tips???
post #6 of 25
Hm, perhaps I've "missed something" but I am not familiar with "commis chef", I've always though a "commis" was an apprentice?

And I am familiaar with "head cook" but I've never heard of a "head chef", Chef yes, Sous Chef yes, Chef de Partie yes, but not "head chef".

I guess I'd better go to school and learn the correct terms... ;)
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #7 of 25
I feel your pain! I was in the same sitch a few years ago and I basically said eff it and I quit. I was working in a workplace cafeteria and while the chef was nice enough he and the FOH staff were pretty close and I got the crap all the time. He was on my ***** about us being behind and that puts him behind when the FOH person was the one I was helping as I had all of MY stuff done... I thought we were a team and we should help each other. He didn't take into account when he wrote me up that I got my salads and prep done and then I went to the stations in the building to clear dishes and clean them.. another task that was for the FOH but I was bored so I did it! At all of the jobs I have had I have never ever ever been written up and I work my ***** off. I really think that my work habits made his ( always on the puter and taking personal calls) look bad and best was when he said I was always taking time for my kids! I was late ONCE because my daughter dropped ner violin and was afraid to tell the teacher so I went with her and we explained things to the teacher and then I went to work right after that! UGH!!!
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 #8 of 25
Why would you like to be a line cook? What drives you to want to be a line cook?
Their is something truely special about food service. Something that makes all the bad stuff totally worth it! Good luck
tyler
post #9 of 25
well my friend, you can start as a line cook but I would aspire to be something more, a chef, chef de cuisine like yours truely :chef:, sous chef, or something along those lines, schooling is good but not needed. expect long hours, pain, and pressure.. but feeling very rewarded at the end of the night. the food service family and I know I, have a passion for it all...the feeling of doing awesome in the middle of a saturday night rush, full rail and tickets still flowing out of the printer is the best thing ever... I live for it.. you know how people listen to babbling brooks and the sounds of the rainforest to go to sleep? I want to record a saturday night on the line and fall asleep to that everynight. I absolutely LOVE this lifestyle.

I agree with some things that fryguy said, as far as being a line cook, you cant support yourself the whole life, but if you climb the ranks you can. Basically it is totally different than any other job out there, and if you dont like it...there's the door. go get yourself a 9-5. If you do like it, aspire to be better, there is so much to learn, it is never ending..

Good luck to whatever you choose..and let us know how it goes.
post #10 of 25

galley kitchens

whats the deal with conventional kitchens? what cant every kitchen in the world be like the ones you see on tv, i want to work in a gayyl kitchen!!!!!!!!!!
im serious that would be my dream, and though i am only a commis chef, ( who is already by the costomers reply, better than the head chef) i want more and i want it now, i know i am better than this so why wont employers allow me to show them what i can do for them,,,,,,,,,,
post #11 of 25
Commis chef. You just gotta love that.

BDL
_________________________

Ex-caterer (owner/operator Predominantly French), ex-cook at a couple of decent joints
post #12 of 25
Maybe thats the guy that oversees the potato peeling?
post #13 of 25
yeah maybe my job isnt the greatest, basicaly im at the bottom of the reanks, But, my job is more than just potato peeling lol.
and working where i am now, i basically do everything from prep (on all areas) to running the service. (with compliments)
im basically the second chef of this kitchen, i even get more respect from my employers, than the head chef. witch may i just mention is awsom :bounce:.
post #14 of 25
This is how my situation is, I'm 19 I have been in the industry for 4 years now and I have been working at this place for 7 months. I come in at noon everyday, finish all the prep by 4 with one assistant(homemade everything..wontons, pasta, breads etc..) The restaurant opens for service at 4 and the fun begins..The chef bartends 3 times a week so those 3 days are the days that I can show everyone what I'm about.

To get on topic, if you really want to make it into the industry you need to be prepared to take alot of criticism on your work and also you need to be organized!! That's one thing i always stress, making prep lists, checking inventory and just make sure everything is SET. Thats the worst thing that can happen, if you get a ticket and you have to scramble for everything. You need to have passion for cooking, if you don't, kick rocks. If you have passion, set some goals, improve on certain things and keep building your repertoire.
post #15 of 25
Hey lil chef. Perhaps you should learn a little patience. Kitchens on television are just that, entertainment. They are not the norm in the real world. If you want to learn and progress than you need to find a good place with a good chef and start walking the walk and not talking the talk. When you get to the point where you have been there and done that then the student becomes the teacher.
Work ethic goes a long way in this biz so dont go shooting people down cause you feel abused, maybe your chef paid her dues??????
Oh and what is a commis chef????????????????????????
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #16 of 25
Invest in integrity.
Your Chef is your Chef, support them instead of trying to tear them down.
This will pay off for you far greater than undermining your Chef will.
The most common thing I see is people new to the profession thinking they can do the Chef's job. They may be decent cooks but they don't know where to begin in running a kitchen.
If you feel that they aren't doing their job, and you use that as justification for not doing yours, then you need to re-evaluate your integrity, work ethic, etc.
Never let another person determine how you will act.
If you feel things are run so poorly then you should look elsewhere.
The owners must be happy with the Chef, and the Chef was smart enough to hire you, gods gift to all things culinary.

As far as pasta tips: Don't cook it so damned much.
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 #17 of 25
idk what the ranking are in america (i assume you are american)
but in australia it goes (starting from lowest)

cook - no qualifications
apprentice - you do a 4 year apprenticeship with 2.5 years of college 1 day a week
once you are qualified it goes:
commis chef
demi chef
chef de party
sous chef
head chef
executive chef (usually more of an office chef in big hotels with 15+ staff)

pastry chef would probably fit in around the chef departy level
also you can have a chef de cuisine which is probably in between chef departy an d sous chef but it is a bit of a joke title for people doing a sous chef job on less money

e.g i work in a hotel which has roomservice, a function center and a fine dining restaurant.
the restaurant has a head chef, a commis chef and an apprentice
the roomservice outlet has a sous chef and an apprentice
the functions center has a sous chef a commis chef and an apprentice
we also have an executive chef who does all the office work, rosters, organising all the functions and stocktake etc.
post #18 of 25
I agree!! And when you are on the line in whatever capacity YOU and only YOU are responsible for having your station prepped and ready to go and a strong work ethic will go a long way towards making that happen.
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post #19 of 25
I don't think we're answering Ukm's question. Ukm, you don't say what, if any experience you have. If you have none, apply for dishwasher or prep cook. That's who I promote, the ones who show interest, go beyond what they're asked to do and show a desire to learn. Or, you can maybe get a job at a chain. No insult intended here, but they're not always very picky about who they hire. It's alwayse a learning experience and will allow you to move on to something better. You have to start somewhere. Someone questioned earlier why you would want to be a line cook rather than a chef or some other higher position. No one walks into a kitchen as a chef, schooling or not. They all start on the line. No one (at least no one successful) walks into a kitchen as the boss until they've earned their chops on the line. I wish I had a dollar for every culinary school grad that couldn't hold their own on the line in a burger joint. I'd never have to work again. As for the highest paid positions in this racket, that would be saucier or pastry chef. If you are going into this business as a career and are looking for the money, that's where it is. Be really good in either of those positions and you will always be in demand. Wish I'd known that years ago.
post #20 of 25
You definitely learn alot on the line for sure. I'm a line cook and this is my first job as one and well I seem to be doing ok because they have kept me past my three month probation and cross trained me on all of the stations so now I can do pretty much everything in the kitchen. My last cooking job (I don't count the hospital coffee shop as cooking) I was the only person in the kitchen and it was all on me and i loved that.
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post #21 of 25
Enny, what you describe is a mixture of modern terms and classical french organisation

Brigade de cuisine
Brigade de cuisine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Commis, is basically a junior chef, no formal training needed
post #22 of 25
What has us old timer's laughing is the juxtaposition of the words commis and chef. "Commis chef" is a non-sequitur. You can be a commis, or you can be a chef. You can't be both -- at least not at the same time.

Of course the word "chef" has changed to mean any sort of cook as opposed to a kitchen or even station boss; and in Oz all things are possible -- especially with language.

Maybe I'm just old,
BDL
post #23 of 25
I started as a dishwasher working in a hot, humid kitchen in Portland Oregon until 1am every morning. The job sucked but I stuck at it, did my best and finally the chef recognised that I might be of more value elsewhere in the kitchen. Next came prep, cutting hundreds of tortilla chips, frying them and taco salad baskets for hours on end. Eventually I moved onto the job of lunch buffet chef, Monday thru Friday, no nights, nice double breasted chef jacket, excellent! Next I moved to a fish restaurant as a line cook; mainly fryers to begin. I worked hard and the chef let me run the wheel, great fun. Eventually I became sous and then head chef by 21! Now aged 43 I have worked in the US, Spain, France, Cyprus, London and now I'm Executive Chef and Catering Manager for Pembroke College, Cambridge, England. I cook for royalty, heads of state, many, many VIP's; our food is very 'French Laundry' and I'm earning $90k+ a year. Remember, I started washing dishes in a Mexican dive for $3.35 an hour! If you want to succeed and have enough desire you will; bite your tongue, do the ****** jobs, work the hours and don't lose sight of your goal.

Best of luck,

Pembroke
UNDER PRESSURE AT PEMBROKE
Cooking sous vide at Cambridge's third oldest College
http://thepembrokekitchen.blogspot.com/
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UNDER PRESSURE AT PEMBROKE
Cooking sous vide at Cambridge's third oldest College
http://thepembrokekitchen.blogspot.com/
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post #24 of 25
I started as a dishwasher working in a hot, humid kitchen in Portland Oregon until 1am every morning. The job sucked but I stuck at it, did my best and finally the chef recognised that I might be of more value elsewhere in the kitchen. Next came prep, cutting hundreds of tortilla chips, frying them and taco salad baskets for hours on end. Eventually I moved onto the job of lunch buffet chef, Monday thru Friday, no nights, nice double breasted chef jacket, excellent! Next I moved to a fish restaurant as a line cook; mainly fryers to begin. I worked hard and the chef let me run the wheel, great fun. Eventually I became sous and then head chef by 21! Now aged 43 I have worked in the US, Spain, France, Cyprus, London and now I'm Executive Chef and Catering Manager for Pembroke College, Cambridge, England. I. Remember, I started washing dishes in a Mexican dive for $3.35 an hour! If you want to succeed and have enough desire you will; bite your tongue, do the ****** jobs, work the hours and don't lose sight of your goal.

Best of luck,

Pembroke
UNDER PRESSURE AT PEMBROKE
Cooking sous vide at Cambridge's third oldest College
http://thepembrokekitchen.blogspot.com/
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UNDER PRESSURE AT PEMBROKE
Cooking sous vide at Cambridge's third oldest College
http://thepembrokekitchen.blogspot.com/
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post #25 of 25
[ If you want to succeed and have enough desire you will; bite your tongue, do the ****** jobs, work the hours and don't lose sight of your goal.


And this is a simple rule that never fails. ;)
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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