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What was your first job like?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
This is my first job in the kitchen and I'm having a bad expirence. They never give me feedback at all. If I do something wrong they don't say nothing about it they just laugh and walk away. They alway talk around me about sending me home but they never say it to me. When there is nothing to do I get yelled at about standing around, so I go ask anyone if they need help and no one needs help. I got to the point where I don't want to be there and calling out. Then I wanted to quit and I still do but my pride won't let me. I feel if I quit then I'm a loser and they won. I don't work because of the money I work because I wanted to feel how would be like to work in the kitchen. Maybe this catering is not the job for me. I'm a full time culinary student. What should I do?
post #2 of 16
I haven't been in one yet, but me and my naivety just would like to offer some supportive words.

be stronger. Let them know you -are- serious and more willing to learn, and do learn from your mistakes. At the very least, you got this forum to learn :D

Your pride tells you not to quit, and it might be the right thing as long as you're willing to stay. No, fighting to stay.

I did heard that people do this kind as some sort of initiation in the workplace, like "see if the new shrimp was able to stay or not." Is it true?
post #3 of 16
To some extent this is normal rookie hazing.

Ditto.

There is always plenty to do. Wipe down your board and clean the rest of your station.

If your station is clean, make mise. Make lots and lots of mise. Work on your knife skills, while you're at it.

If all the prep which can possibly be prepped is prepped, plunge into the plonge and wash something. Wash anything. Wash everything.

If everything in the kitchen (including the floor) is as clean as clean can be, sharpen your knives. If your own knives are already incredibly sharp, sharpen somone else's. Sharpen everyone else's. Clean the stones.

Don't get mad because they're messing with the new guy -- that's what it's like most places, and the same thing most of them went through in order to become (exalted) cooks (earning next to nothing).

Hold on to that thought. Remember that you like to cook and you like to work -- you're just looking for the best way to put those two things together. Stay with it.

Keep your head down, your mouth shut, your board clean, your mise full, and your knives sharp. Don't make suggestions, and don't complain. The only good attitude is no attitude.

BDL
________________-
Ex owner-operator Predmoninantly French catering; ex cook at a couple of decent joints
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http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
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post #4 of 16
Just because someone owns a restaurant or manages a restaurant doesn't mean they know how to manage people.

If you're in the position that they have no respect for your education and skills, I assume you're not at the top of the pay scale. There are plenty of jobs that pay poorly and treat you badly. What type of pride are you keeping that allows people to treat you like that?

I wouldn't waste a minute helping someone else make a profit that treats you like that.

My pride would have me looking for a company that appreciates their staff. It will be a better work environment, and THAT type of restaurant will be in business longer because of their ethics. Where you work now won't last.

Don't forget, you have great value to the restaurant, not just the other way around. They are not doing you a favor by employing you. You are contributing your valuable time and skill to further their business. If they think you're replaceable, then let them replace you. They will have investment of searching, hiring, and training the next person. As an owner, that's a real pain.

I've had a catering company for 8 years. Most of my employees have been with me for 5 or more. I treat them very well, pay them above the average, and I get outstanding results and pride of ownership from them, which furthers my business better than any whipping of the employees would.

"Beatings will continue until morale improves" is the motto of where you work. Say goodbye.
post #5 of 16
My first job was like that and then some, I was burned with sheet pans across the back of my arms on purpose, I was handed hot plates on purpose, I was "accidentally" cut more than once and I was merely a dishwasher/bakers assistant in a VERY busy bagel shop and deli. It did show me that you have to be VERY thick skinned, NOT easily offended and need to have a heart of stone in the kitchen, there's no crying in cooking type attitude. I was only 14 at the time but I learned how not to treat ppl and I got a foot in the door for my year there. Once I was legally old enough to get a job I was gone and never looked back. There are plenty of jobs out there, but you cant feel sorry for yourself and you cant be complacent. Remember that you arent there to hold up the counters or the walls, idle hands are the work of the devil....
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 #6 of 16
Wow! There's some real tough chefs out there. Sorry, but I won't continue this ridiculous myth that working in a kitchen means you can be abused.

Someone cut you on purpose? Are you for real? Then, you stuck it out for a whole year at 14 years old? Wow, that's real commitment. Even at 14, I would have had enough self-respect to walk out.
post #7 of 16
My first job?
Aunt Esther's Kitchen.
Barbecue chicken, beef, pork, ribs.
I was the prep cook, dishwasher, wall scrubber..... you name it.
All of the crappy jobs fell to me.
I was harrassed for my lack of speed, etc., but was never "abused".
What the OP is describing is fairly typical, but not consistent across the board.
If they survive they will command respect.
They could choose to move on, but likely will encounter the same or worse.

I don't know the OP, they may be a heckuva person, but it's also possible that they just aren't meeting minimum expectations yet, which could explain the responses from co-workers.
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 #8 of 16
The head baker would bring me sheet pans and while he was walking behind me he would drag the pans that were fresh out of the oven across the back of my arms and my elbows. He was a crotchety old man who got no greater pleasure than to see me sweat and watch me cringe.

As to the cutting, I would be put on prep duty and would have to dice up all the red onions and the older cooks woud walk behind me and bump my knife hand while I was cutting causing me to get cut or they would put sharp knives in the dish sink and when I would go to grab the plunger or dirty dishes/pots and pans I would get cut. I didnt want to stay but it was a very good friend of my grand fathers who owned the place and he would have been pissed that his grand son couldnt hack it in a deli. I would ride my bike at 5am to get to work on Sat and Sunday mornings and work until 3 in the afternoon.
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
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 #9 of 16
I worked for a chef who was constantly telling a steward not to cut through the hot line, but to walk around the other side as everyone else did.
Patiently explained that there was no equipment on the other side, but the hot line had the ovens, fryers, etc., and also that since no one was supposed to cut through there, the chef was always stopping abruptly because of this unexpected person.
Told him and told him.
Then one time he "accidentally" tapped the stewards neck with a sheet pan of baked potatoes fresh from the oven.
The steward never cut through again.

I don't condone or practice abuse.
But I'll admit I laughed my *** off.
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 #10 of 16
First real job, busser for a local fast-casual chain. Did it for 1 1/2 years, nothing exciting or out of the ordinary if you're familiar with the job. Cleaning everything from the dining room, to bathrooms, to parking lot, to back prep kitchen.

First kitchen job, line cook for TGIF. I was more or less the adopted little brother of the line. That came with alot of teasing/pranks. I learned on day 1 the horrible reality that line cooks are not like Emeril, glowing harmioniously in spotless whites behind a perfectly well-kept kitchen sprinking garnish on every plate to scientific accuracy. After I got over that shock, I was doing fine.
post #11 of 16
A tip from a purely personal point of view. Dont ever ask "What can i do to help" Nothing more irritating if the person you're asking is busy. Rather, ask if you can do a job for them that you can see needs doing.You need to figure it out quickly. As BDL says, There is always something to do. If you cant figure exactly what, go clean something. Always make sure your station is ready. Check it again before service too... You never know!

1st job was working for my dad. Baptism of fire. He had a place called Mac the Knife in Harrogate, Yorkshire. It was pretty much a transport cafe. I was dragged out of school at 14 to be his lackey. I was payed just enough for ciggies(early starter) and bus fares. I had to take a push bike to the cash and carry and bring tins of beans etc back on the handlebars. Within 2 weeks, once he thought i had the hang of it, he left me to it. Ran the place solo for 7 months. Can you imagine the health violations...I DIDNT HAVE A CLUE.

Between that experience and his "scrape the mould off, It's just peniccillin " attitude to catering at home, Its no wonder i grew up wanting to do it right when i had the chance.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #12 of 16
I started in this business in Hawaii. I was the only houle in 100 employees. I couldn't do anything right in anyones eyes. The only reason they hired me was to watch me fall on my Butt. I worked my butt off and learned fast. I was managing the restaurant in 6 months. The people that hated me became friends and we all learned to work together. It was a great learning experience and it made me a better person in the long run.
Work hard and learn everything you can. I have learned something in every job I had in this business. Just remember how your being treated so when you run your own kitchen you will treat everyone with respect. ..........Good luck....Bill
post #13 of 16
Huge Koudos to you ChefBillyB It's great that you came out on top.

>Work hard and learn everything you can. I have learned something in every job I had in this business. Just remember how your being treated so when you run your own kitchen you will treat everyone with respect. ..........Good luck....Bill <

Amen
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #14 of 16
My first job in the industry was at a fine dining restaurant on the water down here in VA. I started out on prep since i had culinary school experience. they kicked my butt, i was humiliated daily, and i was pushed to go faster and faster. For my evaluation for school, my Exec chef and my sous chef took me aside after closing and told me that i had the best attitude a new student/cook they had ever seen because i would be humbled by the remarks, but i would use that to push myself to become better at what i do. And since my passion is in Vegetarian courses, they gave me the choice of which position to move up to (except management lol). I chose to be the Garde Mange, and now they dont want to get rid of me :)


moral is. if you feel offended or depressed of what they are saying or doing, out do them. practice your knife cuts, ALL THE TIME. make your knife become an extension to your arm. think of going to work like going to the gym :) gotta feel the burn in order to get results.
post #15 of 16
My first job changed ALL my plans for my future. My first kitchen job that is.

A friend of mine got me a part time job working in a local family owned and operated bakery when I was sixteen. I thought I'd absolutely hate it but in truth I LOVED IT. Loved it so much that I delayed going to university for two years....in fact probably wouldn't have gone at all if the bakery didn't eventually fall under bad management and close. I worked there for seven years and loved every last minute of it. Sometimes today (over twenty years later) I'll still dream about that job...and I wake up happy as a lark thinking that I'll get to go back to work there again.

I did go to university and get my Bachelor's and later a Master's in Music double majoring in Voice and Piano. And I did work in my field for a little while. In the end the kitchen won out and called me back. I am my happiest in a kitchen. I realized this one day as I sat in my shop peeling apples for apple pies....simple, menial tasks such as that that most people hate make me deliriously happy.

So...to make a long story short...I'm a lifer. The long hours and the low pay don't bother me. Even the burns don't bother me any more. It's all part of doing a job that I truly love. I count it a privilege to have found the work that most fulfills me and to be able to do it every day.
post #16 of 16
First job was a Pizza Hut, they just needed to come in and prep their dough for the next day. (Their dough is pre frozen... all you do is spray it down). Had it down to a science after awhile. It was also my job to portion out the wings they had along with chopping up green peppers.

Turned into one of my more rewarding experiences. By the time I quit I knew the ins and outs of that establishment. Most of the people there were lazy, slackers, and I shined through being a silent force in the place. Some people didn't even know that I was in the back working my butt off making their job easier.
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