I recently got slammed by a rush and I understand that 1 week of experiences obviously isn't enough for me to handle it alone but I want to think of a strategy to make up for my lack of experience. I work nights responsible for my own station where I do pans/woks/appetizers which I mostly do pasta ,curry,stir fry and panfry fish, and stuff in a deepfryer ( hotwings, yam fries). I got a total of 8 burners going (5 off) and a pot of boiling pot with 4 baskets for pasta and 2 deepfryers ( total of 4 baskets)It's hard to juggle both the deep fryer and pans at the same time and even harder to plate everything at the same time.I know this is a pretty vague description so I'm not asking you to design one for me but I just want some advice. What kind of strategies do you often see people do? Get most of the plating before they start cooking? when leaving the pan to do something else take it off to turn it low? try focus on the first 5 orders and start the other 5 later? I want to sacrifice as little time as possible(without burning!) but that right now is not possible with my skills , so I want to atleast work in an organized fashion.
Handling a rush
my experience is pretty limited i`v been doing a la carte lunches for about 6 months and about 2 months of dinner experience for dinner i`v been doing whats called "the middle" where i`m the guy that handles all the sides i saute spinach do all the fried items and help the sous w his pick ups... on nights where we`re slow (60-80 reservations) i`ll work the saute side on my own while the sous watches and makes suggestions which is a great way to learn i think. the best advice i can give you is to get everything started, theres nothing worse then getting an order fire and not being prepared. we do a hoisin salmon w low mein noodles and veg, as soon as an order for that comes in i`d start the salmon, saute it till it has a nice crust but still raw on the inside and let it cool room temp so it stops cooking drop the veg to steam al dente and then leave it ready in a saute pan waiting to finish w sauce while this is cooking i`d grab my plate and garnish have it on my board seperate and waiting for the order fire. once the order fire comes in all thats left to do is finish the dish, in the back of your head try to keep an all day count on your par cooked items. i find that this works pretty well for me this is the way my sous showed me, if anyone has any suggetions or criticisims they`re always welcome. hope this helps!
p.s. dont forget to work ticket by ticket, if you`re almost done w one ticket and two more come in finish up the first one quickly and then start the next two at once. i think the expediter would appreciate the first table asap before the next two tables early. if that makes sense.
sounds like you already have some great ideas for improving your skills....every kitchen and station is different, so first teach yourself to adjust to the situation. you cook on a line so the pressure is on to keep up with the other stations. maybe asking the other cooks for advice on how they had worked your area would be some help and show them that you want to learn and not hold them back. settle on a system that works..don't waste any time or moves....improve your speed....have a "low heat'' area to hold-up foods waiting for rest of the order to finish use every second that you don't have a pan,spoon, or fry basket in your hand to do all that non-cooking stuff like plating...garnishes..restocking anything getting low...and don't forget to breathe. best of luck
My one suggestion would be keep your station clean, clean, clean! A dirty station always made me feel overwhelmed. Then repetition. Find the method that works best for you, while attaining the desired results of course, and do it the same way every time. You will get faster. It just takes time.