or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

working faster?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hello! I've recently gotten a job at a high volume restaurant, which is the polar opposite any other cooking job I've had. Things have been going well, but recently my chef has been questioning my speed. Don't get me wrong, the food goes out at a steady pace with minimal to no complaints, but I've noticed that the speed thing may become an issue.

A lot of the issue, in my opinion, comes from my mis. The thing is, every night is different. One night ill have a grill full of pork tenderloin, and the next ill be up to my eyeballs in halibut. Ill set up my line for what I think the night will be like, but end up reaching across the line for everything and wasting steps.

Its frustrating to hear 'faster, james, faster' dozens of times a night, though that was a motivation tool that the previous chef (as well as the current chef) used to keep people on their toes.


Any advice from seasoned vets on expecting the unexpected, and/or being more efficient with movements? I'm enjoying the amount of mental work required and the less control in my chaos, but apparently according to chef, need to work on being 'more efficient with my movements'
post #2 of 14
Faster, faster, is when accidents happen and quality suffers.
Unless you are unrealisticly slow, I'd ask the boss exactly what he means by "faster" in quantifiable terms. Take the time of the order-in off the ticket, and write the time of the order out on your ticket. At the end of the night, you can present evidence of exactly how quickly it takes to get your food to the expediter. Then, you can discuss how much faster he'd like it, and what sacrifices in quality and presentation he's willing to give to increase speed.

Cooking isn't like assembling computers on a manufacturing line. Faster doesn't always make better in a kitchen.

Sounds like you've got an over-bearing boss who just likes to yell. Another person watching too much Hells Kitchen.
post #3 of 14
The only suggestion I could make, is to have everything in your mise that you will need for everything that may come in and just do your best to keep organized and calm even when you are hearing "faster, faster" all night. I agree with Todd, take the time to write down when you finished a ticket and present it to Chef at the end of the night.. then together the two of you can get to the bottom of his issue.
Faster tends to lead to disaster in the kitchen and again I think Todd has it right.. he sounds like he's overbearing and likes to hear himself yell without taking the time to look at what is going on around him.
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 #4 of 14
I would discuss with your Chef what is expected of you.
Does the Chef do the same with others?
Are you as fast as the others?
Yes, too fast is a problem, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you can't pick up the pace and still be safe and ensure quality.
Only you and the Chef know, and actually you don't know much, you're new.
While others have told you that you should be careful not to go too fast (which is a valid comment) I'll tell you that maybe you are too slow.
I find it hard to believe that being new you are as productive today as you will be in 6 months.
Speak with your Chef, they have the answer.
We're all just guessing here.
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 #5 of 14
As others have said it's very hard to comment because every situation is different. When I first started at Disney I was the FNG so I got to expedite. Now bear in mind this was a kitchen that was probably doing around 50K a day. Three printers spitting tickets like they were possessed. I can still get cold sweats thinking about it.
The trick is to make a game out of the challenge in your head. Try to find ways to limit movements. With time you will know what sells and how busy you will be on a Friday Vs a Tuesday.
Talk to your Chef and ask for suggestions on how to make your station more efficient.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
thank you for the incite. i understand that every situation is different, but i've found that asking for advice outside of my restaurant is very key in bettering myself.

i talked to him about what he means by moving quicker, and basically he says i "waste steps" when we start to get slammed. like i said in my first post, though, it's been a challenge to get a good mis set-up because of how different the nights tend to be, and how relatively new to the restaraunt i am.

also, i think i was moved up too fast. within about about a month, i was trained to work all of the the stations on the line (with the exception of the middle), as well as being moved up from pizza, to pantry, to the grill. a lot of that, though, is because our lead night cook (also my roommate and best friend) is the one who got me the job.


cheftodd: i agree that faster to a degree is not so good, and i don't think i'm moving at a snails pace. definitely going to start writing sell times on tickets, and go over them with chef (or atleast our sous chef).

leeniek: keeping my cool even during the busiest of nights isn't an issue. to be honest, i think i'm one of the better guys at not losing it.

justjim: it is very possible that i'm just not cut out for the high volume game. i think it's still a bit early to tell right now, considering i'm only 3 months in. a lot of the guys we have are almost twice my age, and can cook me under the table with their eyes closed. i may not be the weakest link, but definitely not the strongest by any means.

duckfat: limiting movements is what's i'm looking for in terms of improving speed. i've talked to the other night grill guy, as well as my lead, and they've both been more than happy to help me better myself.
post #7 of 14
I hope I didn't give the impression that I thought you weren't cut out for this.

Those guys that can run circles around you have the benefit of longevity.
They might have a similar struggle in a new environment, but right now they can practically do it in their sleep.

I had a cook who became a very good friend.
We worked together in 3 different kitchens over a long period of time.
He was the epitome of economy of motion.
I once had a restaurant manager tell me that he thought this guy was slow.
I had to point out that he always got his food out quickly and with high quality.
He just didn't make an unnecessary move.
If he turned left it was for a reason.
We would bang out hundreds of covers and he would look like Fonzie, :cool:

So listen to your Chef, he's only trying to help you succeed.
If he wasn't he wouldn't be talking to you....well maybe one last time......

Good luck to you.
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 #8 of 14
Copious amounts of mise (with an "e"), always. Impossibly, bounteously, ridiculously, outrageously, huge and not to mention by the "$#*!loads" of mise. Mise organized, and mise everywhere. If you don't have enough spaces in your rack, put a couple of bowls by your board. Disney won't go broke because you diced an extra carrot. I promise.

The biggest trick to being fast on the grill is to do things in groups, and separate the groups by area. In other words, things that go on as a group, turn as a group, and come off as a group. You have to learn to keep the organization by ticket in your head, too; so you can get every cover in a given ticket off at the same time. It takes a little memory, and a little bit of organization -- but it's mostly timing and rhythm.

I gotta tell you, sometimes you go faster by holding off firing in order to preserve the organization on the grill.

The biggest trick to being fast in general is to learn to slow the f@#! down and stay within yourself. The more you hurry, the more you flail about wasting time and motion. If you don't have the time to do it right the first time, when are you going to find the time to do it again?

One of the hardest parts about becoming fast is that you need to think everything out and experiment with a lot of little tweaks to find what works best. But, when it comes to working fast, your brain is not your friend.

The most difficult part of all is learning not to dwell on your mistakes -- not even as a way of overcoming them. You've got to stay out of the past and future, and work entirely in the present. Thinking about anything other than what you're actually doing RIGHT NOW is like allowing a trash-talker to get into your head during a game. Nothing good can come from it. Relax, dammit.

Finally: Check your attitude at the door. The only good attitude is no attitude. Just say, "yes chef," or "yes boss" "yes you $%@ing @#&$er," or whatever passes for positive recognition in your kitchen employment and stay with it.

You'll get faster.

Luck,
BDL
__________________
Ex owner/operator Predominantly French catering; ex cook at a couple of decent joints
post #9 of 14
ask for a till breakdown for the past 4-6 weeks, sometimes you can spot patterns such as more fish on a Friday, more high end steak on Saturday. If you balance the pattern with other factors such as monthly pay days, the weather (can really effect trends), the type of specials you are running (chicken always sells no matter what you do with it, dishes with fennel/pernod might be harder to push etc..) you'll likely get as close as you can. Always bear in mind that if you'd expect to sell 10 portions of XYZ you should prep at least 10% to 20% more than needed to take into account the 'unknown!'
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 #10 of 14
Or just use dungeon dice.
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 #11 of 14
I wouldn't bother writing down times on the tickets. The chef thinks you need to work quicker. Written times aren't going to change his opinion. One person's fast, is another person's slow.

The chef said you waste steps. This is where to improve. Ask him to point out examples and suggestions on how you could do better along those lines. Many times it is difficult for one to recognize where we are wasting steps, whereas another can see it more readily.

Ask co-workers for advice and suggestions. Watch co-workers throughout the night, even though you might only be able to do it in brief glimpses.

Many times my best information, and thusly my answers, come from outside sources, because if I am doing my best, I have already exhausted the information that I possess up to this point.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
post #12 of 14
Unfortunately, when manageing a multi-million pound budget, that's exactly what I can't afford to do. As a manager, and a chef, I use all available tools to manage waste and set production levels.
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 #13 of 14
Oh I concur.
It was tongue in cheek, implying that even when employing all of your ideas, the customers will still walk in and all order, say, fish, even though all of your trends suggest that couldn't happen.
Might as well have rolled dice.
Hope I didn't step on your toes.
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 #14 of 14
And as you correctly say, s*%t still happens! No offence taken, just misread your comment:)
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
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs