New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Head Chef by default

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Recently the kitchen I'm in canned the #1 and #2 is relocating very soon. That is going to make me #1 by default. The kitchen manager confronted me. Offered my an opportunity, so naturally took the proverbial "bull by the horns" and agreed to assume responsibility in the kitchen. Does anyone have some advice for me?
post #2 of 9
The KM must think you are up to the job otherwise there would be an advert out there looking for a head chef.  Talk to the KM and ask him/her what they would like to see for the kitchen and how you can work together to make it happen.  Look at your staff objectively and look at their strengths as well as their "needs" and try and work with them on their weaker areas.  Have you any experience with ordering and food costing?  When I moved up that was the area I needed the most help with and I needed experience calling board. I was already the strongest cook in the kitchen and the KM and owners let me know that, but to take my work ethic and translate it to board calling and the fact that other cooks worked differently than I do took some getting used to.   My KM and I share board calling on the weekends.. one day he does it and I do it the other day and I feel much more confident running the kitchen now that I have that experience.  I've also learned that some cooks will get their stuff done and to the window in good time and others need to be prodded along so now I know who to prod and who to just ask "table (whatever) is it done?" if I can't see the stuff in the window. 

Also with staff.. it may take some time for you to have credibility with them and I learned that from experience.  Attitudes and egos can really get in the way of running the kitchen and no doubt there is somebody on the line who in their mind thinks they should have been given the job over you.  I had that experience with our former KS and well.. there is a reason he is our "former" KS! 

Be patient.. staff will have questions, and even if you are having the worst day ever, try not to snap at them when they come to you for advice.  I have a cook who drives me batty with questions but I'm glad they ask than assume they know what they're doing and eff something up.  I would rather spend three or four seconds answering their question than the dollars involved in a wasted plate. 

In the heat of it and you're knee deep in the weeds, try and remember your manners, especially if you're in an open kitchen.  I am in an open kitchen and I know customers can her me as they wait to be seated so I always say "thank you" or "thanks so and so" if a cook is talking directly to me.  I've never been a fan of tirades and for me anyway the energy I'd put into pitching a tirade could be better spent in getting the kitchen out of the weeds and back on track.  Yes I get peed off and that is going to happen but for the most part as long as I feel organized I feel like we can handle anything.. and alongside the KM I have been to the jungle and back and survived to tell the tale. 

Organization.. you of all people need to be organized and know what is going on everywhere.  It takes time to be able to organize a kitchen but you can do it.. and if you haven't got it together those who are looking to you for direction won't be able to either and the kitchen will go under. 

I hope this has been of some help and I'm sure there are people with more experience than me on here who can give you more advice.

By the way.. .Congratulations, Chef!  As it was said to me about six months ago.. someone needs to update their experience line!  
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 #3 of 9
They canned the Chef, the Sous is leaving, what the heck is a Kitchen manager doing in a kitchen that already has Chefs and Sous,,,,,,,,,,,,,,ChefBill
post #4 of 9
Maybe they are there to oversee everything?
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 9
There is a KM and Chef, Sous Chef.  Tell us more about the kitchen, the menu, how many covers, what city, labor cost, food costs, revenue.
post #6 of 9
Looks like there are to many, know- it-alls, and not enough, do-it-alls.........KM wouldn't last long in my kitchen.................Chef Bill
Edited by ChefBillyB - 4/8/10 at 9:31am
post #7 of 9
Bill, I wish we lived closer together as I would love to have you in as an observer in my kitchen just to put some light on some issues that I see. I have read your posts on here and learned alot from them.  From what I see you run a tight ship in the kitchen and that is what I try to do as well.
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 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeniek View Post

Bill, I wish we lived closer together as I would love to have you in as an observer in my kitchen just to put some light on some issues that I see. I have read your posts on here and learned alot from them.  From what I see you run a tight ship in the kitchen and that is what I try to do as well.

Lee, you have a lot of heart and soul, and well do well in this business. I read your posts, and know you always don't like the hard ass approach I talk about. Its the only way I know, I worked under people that you either got better, or you were gone. I have worked hard to form my own ideas, and perception on how I'm going to run my business. I will never let the employees run my restaurant/Foodservice, but, a good Chef keeps the door open to suggestions, and also makes sure everyone knows, and follows his vision. I tell my employees to come up with ideas, cost them out, and cook them for the crew for evaluation. If we all decide this will work, then its a go. I don't have many who show very much ambition in this area, but the carrot is always out there.
   Its important for a Chef to be a leader in his kitchen, it is a lot easier to follow your vision when you are at the front of the line, and not have to many KM's running around with their thumbs up their Butts.
...................Chef Bill
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefBillyB View Post




Lee, you have a lot of heart and soul, and well do well in this business. I read your posts, and know you always don't like the hard ass approach I talk about. Its the only way I know, I worked under people that you either got better, or you were gone. I have worked hard to form my own ideas, and perception on how I'm going to run my business. I will never let the employees run my restaurant/Foodservice, but, a good Chef keeps the door open to suggestions, and also makes sure everyone knows, and follows his vision. I tell my employees to come up with ideas, cost them out, and cook them for the crew for evaluation. If we all decide this will work, then its a go. I don't have many who show very much ambition in this area, but the carrot is always out there.
   Its important for a Chef to be a leader in his kitchen, it is a lot easier to follow your vision when you are at the front of the line, and not have to many KM's running around with their thumbs up their Butts.
...................Chef Bill

Thanks, Bill.   I'm learning that sometimes the hard ass approach is the only way to go with some people.  I do try and be fair and give people the benefit of the doubt, but that only goes so far I'm afraid and even I have my limits.  It does take alot to piss me off but when I get to that point,  anyone who is wise might just not want to be in my way because I spit nails! 

I'm surprised that you don't have alot of staff coming up with new ideas... maybe they aren't comfortable?  I remember feeling like that when I had my first kitchen job, but I did get over it.   I felt uncomfortable because here I was this FNG and it was just me and the Chef in the kitchen, so I felt like I had alot to live up to when it came to him.  I learned alot from him and had my babysitter not gotten a real job and I had to be a stay home mom for a bit, I would likely still be there today.  That just said... losing the sitter gave me the chance to cook at the cafe and well it's lead me to where I am today.  

I think too many KM's or KS's is just a recipe for disaster in the kitchen.  Too many chiefs and not enough braves and that is just wrong.  I have to remember the thumb up their bum comment... that is 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
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs