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New kitchen has over weight cook

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have taken on a new position and they have an over weight cook that I
didn't know about when they hired me.(over 300lbs.)
She is about the size as the one that just started on TV with the pink chef's coat.
When she is behind the line nobody can pass without bumping into her.
I am told she's the reason they can't keep anyone on either side of the line.
I'm not sure how to tell the owner that is where his problem is.
post #2 of 21
Odd that you should bring this up, as I have been thinking a lot lately about this same problem. I'm no skinny-minnie and probably take up more space than I think I do. However, I was taught early on to keep to the right when walking in a kitchen (same as road traffic), keep my carcass close to the counter (don't stand in the middle) keep my feet under me, and be aware of who's around you and where they are (so you don't back into them). This seems to be a lost thing training wise, but extremely important for keeping things running smooth. If you don't keep to the right, you will do the "dance" where no one knows which side the other one is taking. My big deal now is people standing with their hands on their hips. I had a manager who, when I was 16 at my first job, physically grabbed my arms firmly and put them down by my sides. I had a surprised/shocked look on my face and he said "This is a small kitchen. Putting your arms like that makes you three times bigger than you are. I have to walk three times as far to get around you." I never forgot it. When I try to break newbies of that habit, I always tell them that story. I worked with a 70+ year old lady at a recent job that probably weighed 90 lbs. She would stand with her hands on her hips, and also had an uncanny way of knowing where I was going and getting in front of me right before I got there. At the end of a shift my knees would ache from stopping short and turning to avoid her. My problem now is my line cooks are taller than me, and it seems like their elbows are always trying to poke my eyes out. I sympathiize with your problem. I have worked with people bigger than the one you are talking about with no problems, and I've been around skinny people who take up the whole kitchen. Tripped on people's feet who were leaning against a counter who didn't have sense to move until I tripped on them 3 times and started giving them dirty looks (duh, put your feet under you). Size in a kitchen, especially a small one can be a big deal, but I think it's more of a question of being aware and alert to what's going on around you. The person should be alert and move in anticipation of where you are going, but again, no one thinks about that any more.
post #3 of 21
I can understand your concern, the concern of moving hot food in an already limited area, plus trying to avoid her is definitely a safety issue. I would check with OSHA rules if there are any on it, with regards to mobility behind the line. Otherwise could she be moved to another part of the line where people don't have to pass around her? Her culinary skills don't seem to be the problem just her size and that is a safety issue for everyone, including her.

Maybe a healthy employee meal promoting good food would be something to think about. Especially now with the flu season we are getting now. Goodness knows we can cook healthy for everyone else, but we don't always eat that way ourselves.
Robin
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Robin
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post #4 of 21
The males in my family (three sons, father, ex-husband) all stand in the kitchen in such a way that blocks everything....gotta be taught, I sure didn't teach any of them to monopolize the friggin' room.:laser:
sorry, it's been a sore point for years.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 21
I agree with Shroomgirl, I am 6'5" and weigh 285, I'n not exactly a small person yet I probably take up less room than most. When I apprenticed ages ago I did so in a kitchen that was tiny, I learned the hard way that a small footprint keeps you from getting burned, cut, run over and generally disliked. If you teach her how to take up less space as mentioned before her size may be less of an issue.
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.
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post #6 of 21
A well thought out line will eliminate the need for people to dance around each other.
You do what's on your side, I do what's on mine.
Be very tactful in how you approach this issue.
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 #7 of 21
Are you sure this is a work issue and not a FAT issue? If so, do what others have mentioned- teach her how to take up less space and rework the line. That's probably the answer that will keep the business out of court for discrimination. If she's a good worker, then how can one possibly think of getting rid of her? It I were her, I would most certainly be thinking of filing a claim if she gets let go.
post #8 of 21
Calling out 'behind you with a knive/hot pan' tends to eliminate the problem quick enough! Remember, never trust a skinny chef! LOL:)
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 #9 of 21
I was 6'2" and 305 when I first set foot in a professional kitchen. I seemed to take up less space that another young man there who has literally half my size. It's all about keeping your feet under your shoulders and being aware of what is going on around you.
Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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Dammi un coltello affilato e vi mostrerò l'arte più belle del mondo.
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post #10 of 21
thats funny......LOL and seems to be true for the most part
post #11 of 21
Some one drop Paul Prudhomme and the great clogged one a memo so they know they can't succeed if they are obese.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #12 of 21
I see no evidence of that.

Again if the line is thought out there should be minimal reason for dancing.
Only the unorganized feel the need to jump around people.
Size is irrelevent.
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 21
couldnt have said it any better Jim, at 6'5 and 285 I dont take offense to anything in the thread and I am both big and tall.
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.
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post #14 of 21
No need to make this a personal issue.
You are the one who keeps referring to people "having a problem with bigger people" or "big and tall people being defensive".
I've not made either statement, or anything close to it, and I don't see where others have.
It looks like you have an obvious agenda, so I'll back out and go with my original statement: Be very tactful in how you approach this issue.
While others may have difficulties with tact, hopefully the OP does not.
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 #15 of 21
So very, very true. I fear they'll never make it to the big time. Not only that, it impaired their technique. Neither could cook as well as a slim "chef" like Giada DiLaurentis.

BDL
post #16 of 21
As a "well rounded" person, I am always painfully sometimes aware of my size and try to make a smaller footprint on the line. BUT......when space is an issue and you can't get around someone because they are too large to be stepped around, then you have a problem. You may just have to ask the over weight cook, if she has a solution to the problem. She probably knows already that there is one, if no one wants to work with her. It is time to be upfront and deal with the issue, maybe she will have a solution, or at least some input. Don't threaten her, but make her aware that others have a problem and document the conversation with her. I would also have a witness, so that later it can't be a "he said, she said" problem if she makes an issue out of it. If it isn't the quality of her work, but her ability to do it effectively, make that clear.
Robin
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Robin
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post #17 of 21
What I find interesting is this statement from the OP;

"I am told she's the reason they can't keep anyone on either side of the line".

Maybe I"m reading too much into that but if I have a "problem" with some one on my line I sure don't need to be told about it. If the OP doesn't have enough experience with a new crew to know where the real problem lies I think it's intersting that the azzumption (pun intended) was instantly made that this is the problem. What I would want know is why are the other cooks running up and down the line enough for this to be an issue. I'm no fan of that new show the OP is referring to but that's because of the mouth on that chick not her weight. IMO she is not that big and she obviously has a good job and a TV show.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #18 of 21
when I was younger I worked with a sous who was about 5' 11'' 175lb; he was smaller than me but when walking through the kitchen he would'nt dance. Basically he walked through people; very arrogant and expected 'others' to get out of his way! So regardless of size some people will always get in your way:)
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 #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
:look:Although Paul Prudhomme was born only one day before I was, he has enjoyed a lot more food than I have. Out of respect for Paul I did not want to compare him to this cook but, their size would be comparable. I would not want to work the line with either one of them. The line here is very narrow and no one can pass by when she is on the line.They have to go around or wait until she moves. I just don't see any easy solution. I am not saying her weight is all her fault, but it's not the fault of this club either. It's my responsibity to make this club more productive. I am 265lbs myself but it's not all in one spot. Two people my size could pass on the line with no problem.
I told the owner I would look for her another position in a kitchen where her size would not be such a problem. As I don't want any problems with the labor board.:mad:
post #20 of 21
If she is a good worker, as you first stated, then yes, you should do this.
You should do this because it's good for her, for your company, and your guests.
Your motivation shouldn't be just trying to avoid a labor issue.
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 #21 of 21

i dunno

dudes its a tricky situation tyo be in im not a small guy but like others have said ya gotta tuck it in and dont be blocking the pass its not an ideal idea but maybe change her section tell her u can utilise her better in another section tell her ure depending on her and ya need her to assume the responsibility that way it makes her feel good and confident and appreciated yet at the same time you clear up space otherwise i would consider sending her for a medical with a company doctor to determine what action can be taken i would also consult the companys legal advisors just to cover yourself.
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