hi i am a young journeyman cook and have busted my ass in the kitchen to prove good work ethic and reliability . i have been working in kitchens since i was 14 and am now 23 . i have been working at the same restaurant (a brasserie) for a little over 3 years now (the restaurants fairly young 4 years now) and have moved from line cook to soux chef and now for almost the past year have been holding the executive chef position . Even though i have that given title i know im just a journeyman cook who fell into this by working very hard and needing the money to take care of my family.the job is ok i love having the creative freedom but the owner really doesnt know a thing about restaurants and really gets in the way making it hard to run a good kitchen .he doesnt really believe in putting back into the restaurant to make it grow . anyway i find myself in a difficult decision when of recently i was asked by the origanal chef that i started under at this place to come work for him at the restaurant he owns and works at now . he said he will compesate my pay but he owns a very comfort food mom and pop breakfast and lunch place . i really dont care about titles but i love cooking and creating the classic french foods and the self created specials and things in my kitchen but i am not shure if the way the owner runs things is going to help me succed in making myself a better chef/cook and if they are going to buckle down and be serious about the new fall menue i have been working on and preparing which is composed of alot of very traditional classic brasserie dishes . and help me succeed in building this into a very well known establishment . my former chef has a very great knowledge of food cooking and running a succesful restaurant and canshow me how to fully run and manage a place and possibly set me up for a better chance in the future but i would have to cook the mom and pop stuff for a while till he opens some more projects in the future and moves me to a location doing a more upscale style which i prefer or should i stick it out as the executive at the place now and hope for the best.to happen with the bad owner and all. the money would be the same but am so confused on what will really help me in the future for my career . is it better to hold the title for a while and the creative flexability and experience seeing as i dont have a cullinry degree just good references from past chefs i have worked for or is it wiser to go with the downgrade food style and position to learn how to operate a whole buisness and possible set myself up for running my own kitchen / restuarant some day . all the help and advice is appreciated .
Advice from the more experienced really need help with this
Here's the easy answer....
Are you learning still in your current position at the top? If not, then it's time to move on. Until you feel like you can call yourself a master chef, then it's all about learning... and if the money is the same and you can learn more administrative tasks with easier food, I would say that would make it easier for you to learn that stuff so when you do move into a challenging menu with the admin. stuff as well you will be able to excel at both. good luck!
At your current age (same as me) i really believe that the knowledge you can potentially gain from your mentor is more important then having creative control over a stagnant job. Be adventurous and develop yourself!
Don't put yourself down for not having a culinary degree. To me i see them the same way i see any college degree. They can provide additional opportunities and an easier foot in the door, but after you gain experience they become much less important. 9 Years working experience in the industry has more weight then a degree.
You're young enough that you'll have plenty of opportunities to make a name for yourself. I admire your enthusiasm--and honestly, many things both horrible and amazing can come from a kitchen managed by a chef of your age and experience--but it's possible that your old boss can give you much more guidance and focus. That, in the long run, could benefit you more.
Despite the title, you know quite well you haven't been given your very own kitchen to run. Eventually, you'll get pretty bored with scope and range of cooking you're allowed to do in your current restaurant, especially if the useless boss doesn't go through with your fall menu. Just like you'll get bored, eventually, with the cooking you're allowed to do in your old chef's Ma & Pa. In my personal experience, which is extensive (though just my own), I've always found I learn much more about cooking from the people I work with, than the menus I cook day after day (after day... after day...). And so, what attracts me to a job is much less the menu itself, but how much I can learn from the people around me. If your ultimate goal is to own your own restaurant, where you can cook anything you want under the sun, you might consider how important that is to you as well.
Edited by CookinMT - 8/11/10 at 7:50pm