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first sous chef job

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

hi i haven't been on here for a long time, but here is a little about me i have been in the kitchen for almost 10 years and i was lucky to cook in Napa valley for 2 of them, now i fallowed my wife to a small remote town in the middle of nowhere that has a few places to work but not a lot. well i checked all the adds for work and found out that a local casino was going to open a brewery so i figured i try for it the chef seems to like me i told him i was going for a sous chef or lead line. i have never been in management before but i have worked in places that work and i know what it takes and i have worked in placed that don't work i see what they are lacking. i have a 2nd interview for this position on Tuesday and then ill know for sure. im kinda nervous, i would love to help run a kitchen, and if i could get some of my ideas on the menu that would great also. i know that i have a good chance of getting this the chef told me no one with my experience as walked though his door.



if u have any suggestions for a 1st time sous


its a 350 head brewery 

post #2 of 6

Um...know your stuff, know how to deal with people & care about your clientele.


That's pretty much it.

post #3 of 6

First thing is to be more concerned with maintaining the chef's vision on the menu and not worry so much about getting your influence. The role of sous is to carry out the chef's tasks. Remember that and you'll get your influence in when it comes time. Other things, try to know what you have allllllll the time. If the chef asks how many oranges are left, you should do your best to know. If you have alot of product, try to get your chef de parties to know so you can ask them right away and have an answer. I found that the last chef I worked for would do his orders just by asking me how much of things we had left. The things you use alot you will naturally know, but we didnt have all that much. Another important thing is to know your staff inside and out. Know where joe and jim hang out after work, where they live, their history... it will make you a better sous because you will be able to predict your employees actions better, they will respect you more, and god forbid, if something happens you will have a good idea where to look for them. These things are really common in a job description. The chef will tell you what you MUST do, but going out of your way will make you a great sous both to the chef and to your employees. Good Luck!

post #4 of 6

Insist on perfection as the money is in the gambling . The whole idea is Value and Quality to the customer. Good Portions.Quick service so they can get back to gambling. Management wants to KEEP THEM IN the building and to gamble more. You want them to eat in the building not go elsewhere. The longer they are in the more they gamble.  GOOD LUCK

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...


Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

post #5 of 6

I had some trouble with a couple things making the transition you are making; the switch between running your section/ expo/ whatever to being accountable for the entire back of house (because that's what it boils down to: you're there to make sure everything is running smoothly and make Chef look good - do that and you look good too). Keep in mind I was promoted, which can colour the staff opinion quite a bit; your millage at a new job may vary.


I think one of the major ones at first is being too gung ho. Don't go trying to shake things up right from the start. Kitchens have a system to them, and unless the business is hemorrhaging money and sinking like the Titanic that system is working. Maybe not optimally, maybe not to your liking; however, it's working and the existing staff are familiar with it. After you get your feet you can talk with Chef about changing things up if you feel the need, but no one is going to fault you for sticking to the game plan at the start (unless, of course, you were hired to fix the gameplan).


Likewise, don't be Superman. I'm an A-Type personality and suffer greatly from the need to impress. It annoys the Hell out of people, but especially those who don't know me very well. As the New Guy, even Sous Newguy, work to the pace of the kitchen for a bit. It helps you to get an idea of the general skill levels of the staff, the pace they're used to, how much is too much, et al. Faster, stronger, better only works when the staff is willing to go that extra mile for you. Generally, that isn't right away. Keep up your personal standards though, and people will follow (or give up and leave, which is just fine by me).


You're already used to staff asking for advice, or direction, or an explanation of policy as an experienced member of your old kitchen. Great. Now get ready for a mess of "but he said...", verbatim quoting, being taken out of context, good old fashion damage control. You are now the face of your company. This is the mindkiller; the One Ring, and the single worst thing to not realize until it's too late. No matter how laid back or friendly, newguy-esque or complete hardass: when someone asks a question, you need to give the official answer. Failing to do this will come back to get you. If you don't know the answer, be upfront about it and get back to them. Do the legwork, get the info, and disseminate to the staffers in question. It's always better to know your stuff though: brush up on the finer points, both on a technical and cooking theory level, and a policy/ management level. Being the guy people go to with questions, knowing they'll get a reliable and straightforward answer, is a good thing. The guy who always mutters "don't know" or is misleading and thinks he knows more than he does? Yeah, don't be him.

Edited by onepoundofflour - 9/11/10 at 8:38pm
post #6 of 6

My advice to you is you are the only person who knows if you are really ready. Sous chef is really no big deal; some places the sous chef is an actual chef but most places the sous is really just a glorified cook that is the first to get yelled at. I have held a few sous chef jobs in my carrer and have found that it’s a lot more work for a few more dollars. By the sound of it you are in the middle of nowhere and the other cooks in the kitchen probley cant cook very well so there is your advantage. I would say you have nothing to worry about. Your biggest task will be dealing with the other cooks. If you are a young guy like me but with tons of experience you might have problems just because of your age. But if you are older then you should have no problem.(cooks don’t like to listen to someone who is younger) Also being a chef in the kitchen isnt for everyone I have worked with pleanty of people who are old enough to be my dad; want to move up but never do because they don’t posses the skills needed to be a chef. The skills are as followed. If you have the confidence and the skills you are on your way but if you don’t then you will be taking orders from someone else fairly quickly.

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