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Worst things about being a Chef - Page 3

post #61 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeniek View Post

I hate corporate head office types.


Boy I used to work for this one family owned company who owned several hotels.  They were very Italian.  The family used to visit the hotels and rub shoulders with the staff.  Everyone loved them.  But when stuff needed to get done they sent their corporate "guy" down.  He was scary.

post #62 of 505

LOL. This is kinda goofy, but I hate having to explain what I like to eat. After shift at the bar I cook in I like to have a cold frosty malted beverage, then go next door to grab a burrito. People give me all kinds of strange looks both coming and going. They can't understand when I tell them that I don't want to eat what I cook. I've been cooking the same dishes for 6 hours, it's the same every night. There is not a gosh-golly thing wrong whatsoever with what I make. I just don't want to eat it. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #63 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post
...I've been cooking the same dishes for 6 hours, it's the same every night. There is not a gosh-golly thing wrong whatsoever with what I make. I just don't want to eat it. 

Doesn't sound goofy to melaser.gif you just choose variety.
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #64 of 505

For me, though I like being "in charge", sometimes, albeit not frequently, it would be nice to have the luxury of just "following orders" wink.gif

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #65 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

LOL. This is kinda goofy, but I hate having to explain what I like to eat. After shift at the bar I cook in I like to have a cold frosty malted beverage, then go next door to grab a burrito. People give me all kinds of strange looks both coming and going. They can't understand when I tell them that I don't want to eat what I cook. I've been cooking the same dishes for 6 hours, it's the same every night. There is not a gosh-golly thing wrong whatsoever with what I make. I just don't want to eat it. 


I'm the same way.  I'll either bring my own food or go get something. 

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #66 of 505

when you forget something in the oven ! hahahaha

post #67 of 505

I just had this happen to me, and this may not apply to most, but my friends always have home shows like Tupperware, Mary Kay, etc. I hate these parties anyway, but where I live Pampered Chef and Tastefully Simple are very popular. I get invited to them a lot, and my friends always tell the rep. that I am a chef so she will try to use me in her sales pitch, "Oh and you being a chef, you love these knives!" (of course they are overpriced P.O.S) or "This recipe is so good, you'll want to put it on your menu!" Yeah, I don't serve crescent rolls in my restaurant thank you very much. lol.gif

post #68 of 505

Damn. It's definitely sabbatical time, friend. Take a week off and just breathe. Get out of the kitchen for a little while. By day 5 you're going to miss it...but you need those 5 days. 

post #69 of 505

I would have to say that I hate missing the family events. I hate that culinary schools are robbing young ones blind, and embittering formerly passionate young chefs underneath massive student loans.... and then failing to teach them well. I hate that our profession isn't seen as one, oftentimes. I hate that the public knows so little about our art and profession.

 

I hate the elitism. We all have limitations to work under--I can't afford to use organic beef and free-range chicken in my tiny restaurant. That you do doesn't make you a better Chef than I.

 

Unless, of course, I'm a lazy bastard who's cutting corners (...mashed potatoes in a bag...ugh). In that case, I deserve to be shamed. =)

 

 

 

post #70 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momandchef View Post

I just had this happen to me, and this may not apply to most, but my friends always have home shows like Tupperware, Mary Kay, etc. I hate these parties anyway, but where I live Pampered Chef and Tastefully Simple are very popular. I get invited to them a lot, and my friends always tell the rep. that I am a chef so she will try to use me in her sales pitch, "Oh and you being a chef, you love these knives!" (of course they are overpriced P.O.S) or "This recipe is so good, you'll want to put it on your menu!" Yeah, I don't serve crescent rolls in my restaurant thank you very much. lol.gif


LOL LOL LOL x 10 !!!
 

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #71 of 505

I have come to expect most of what you chefs have posted here.

 

My two.

 

Getting up at 2:30 am to shovel out the drive to make it to work by 5am, 15 inches of snow dug out and halfway there the boss calls and says we're closed, I forgot to call you... LOL

 

My biggest dislike is working at a place for 10 years and having a new chef come in who fancys himself a pastry chef, so long job. Just happened to me.

 

I miss the days when people were valued and work places were really like family, nowadays money is above all. Show one weakness and you are gone. Saw a cook who was sick one time get fired because he did not call out 24 hours notice. I do not think the most succesfull chef is the one who puts his or her job above all else. The successfull chef is the one who trys to bring people up on the way to the top, not the one who steps on everyone.

Fluctuat nec mergitur
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Fluctuat nec mergitur
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post #72 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakster10 View Post

when you forget something in the oven ! hahahaha


That happened to me the other day.  I put some tomatoes into the oven to roast, looked at the time and thought "ok.. at 10am check the tomatoes" .. I even said to the cook whose station is near the oven.. "if I forget can you check the tomatoes for me at 10?"  She said fine, then we both got busy and it was nearly noon before we checked on the tomatoes.  OOPS! 

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #73 of 505

Quote:

Originally Posted by rat View Post

My biggest dislike is working at a place for 10 years and having a new chef come in who fancys himself a pastry chef, so long job. Just happened to me.

 

I miss the days when people were valued and work places were really like family, nowadays money is above all. Show one weakness and you are gone. Saw a cook who was sick one time get fired because he did not call out 24 hours notice. I do not think the most succesfull chef is the one who puts his or her job above all else. The successfull chef is the one who trys to bring people up on the way to the top, not the one who steps on everyone.


 

My apologies for the bump at work - that sucks. I agree with most everything in your statement. The reality speaks for it self. The same type of crap happens outside the kitchen - in all professions. I have been bumped for no good reason because of nepotisim; I have been pulled into organizations because someone pulled me in; I have pulled others in with me as well.

 

One thing I am proud of is this: No matter how ruthless the environment, I have never burned anyone who was a team player. To me, a team player is one who manages to stay focused on the organizational mission, and not the agenda of their peers. I will also say that I have broken-up little clicks and closed circles of employees who were not focused on the organization's objectives.

 

I hope you find a place where your leadership sees the value in dedicated employees. That will never happen in a corporate kitchen any longer than the tenure of your immediate chain of command. Find an owner-operator/chef-owner or small partnership. You get more control, higher value and more loyalty in both directions, and at a peer level.

 

I replied to your comment because I am worried you may go into that next job as a "broken" employee. That is one who played by the rules and put in their time - then was rewarded with a Sh*t sandwich. When they come to their next post, they still have a bad taste in their mouth.

 

Make sure you get that bad taste out of your moth before you meet your next boss - and let the past remain there. Don't let mean people live inside your head unless their paying rent.
 

Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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Do or Do not - There is no Try. - Yoda
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post #74 of 505

We had this issue at one point, tiny kitchen and totally different menus. We changed to a "limited" menu from 5:30 - 6:00 it was basically an app only menu which had some of the same components as on the dinner menu. Worked like a charm. We were outta there at 5:30 and the dinner guys would fill the orders still coming in. While I do feel your pain, sometime you just wan to GTFO of there at the second of closing time. My barber always used to tell me, "you sat on your *** ALLLLLL day but decide you want a haircut 5 min before we close."  

post #75 of 505

not let your line guys clean up till the last customer leaves?.....thats cruel and retarded...if its slow you can bet ima start cleaning up an hour before closing time..not only do you reduce overtime but after long 12hr day all we wanna do is go home and relax so we can start fresh the next day.

post #76 of 505

When I read a ticket that says:

 

"-a, -b, -c, -d..... -x."

 

me: 

 

"Hey S*&# head! why dont you save us BOTH a lot of time and say 'ONLY Z!"

 

I never minded last minute orders. I even quite enjoy cooking for the floor staff. But my managers and corporate jerks want me done cleaning the ENTIRE restaurant 1 hour after close, MAXIMUM!  And to pretty high standards. So i AM going to start cleaning as early as 1:30 hours before close, and I want to know EXACTLY how many orders I can anticipate so I can go "I'm too busy to try and clean this right now, but not too busy to do this," and if I get that order at 2 minutes before close, and the server hasn't even given me any hint that she still has customers, I will lose my cool.

 

On a similar note. We serve biscuits at our restaurant. When most of the kitchen staff has left for the day and a server goes "How long, or why aren't there any biscuits ready?... "My grill is at the exact opposite side as where you keep those biscuits! I'm not psychic, so if you give me neither a count of your customers or a hint that you ran out or were low on the things, I'm not going to bake more! But I believe you're far more intelligent than you're proving right now, so go ahead and grab a tray of them from the walk-in, put them in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes! You CAN handle that, right?!"


Edited by pcieluck - 5/4/11 at 2:00am
post #77 of 505

Of all the jobs I've had, I think baking has been my least favorite. Something about it just isn't for me.  Getting there, for starters at 4 am. Doing nothing but mixing the exact same dough recipe several times each morning (maybe not all bakeries are like that but...). Cutting and weighing portions is a mindless task.  Rolling those cuts into tight balls or roles... Making sure you do all of these things at the exact same times each day so they fit with the proofing schedule. It's so repetitive it put my mind in bad places. I'd done it for a while, and still had the owner telling me every day that my dough was too hard or too soft, therefor had too much or too little flour, even though I followed his exact recipe by weight every time down to the tenth of an ounce. Ultimately the only job i've ever resigned from for no other reason than the fact I didn't want to do it anymore.

post #78 of 505

Working Holidays when everyone else off and enjoying family time. My holidays were always day after or  before. Never knowing what time you would finish up (covering for no shows etc.) Mentality of some owners and managers re. their employees.

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...

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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...

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post #79 of 505

The fact that you're spending your evenings, holidays, and pretty much all of the prime times that others spend with their friends or having a social life. Those other cooks and floor staff are quickly becoming your only friends and your new family, and they usually suck and are not people you'd want to spend all of your time with.

post #80 of 505

WOW. I really wish that I could argue with what you just said, but I can't. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #81 of 505

Humor me, or are you agreeing?

post #82 of 505

Lets see...

 

So many things to agree on after reading the last 3 pages. Things that hit close to home though...

 

Owners - Yeah...got it. Your name is on the deed and licensing. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not come back and start treating my crew as though THEY are incompetent because you saw someone at this one place or on TV get the same exact results, by preparing something in a different manner. Just because my crew prepares something a different way does not mean that they are doing it wrong. It means they are doing it how I told them to do it, or how they have always done it. It also means that they are doing it in a way that people like.

 

If you ever looked at the sales audit and trending at the end of the month instead of your bank account, perhaps you may learn a few things about how YOUR restaurant truly works.

 

Also, when I tell you 3 weeks before the seasonal menu changes, dont come to me and chew my ass because you lack the mental strength to understand: "Huh...food cost seemed high last month..ohh...thats right, we went live on the spring menu last week...". Not my problem that you have more money than brains and its not my problem that you have the memory and attention span of a housecat.

 

Fishing in the company pond - What you do on your own time is fine with me. I am in no place to judge. You wanna be a junkie, sweet, go be a junkie. Dont come to work strung out or sick. You wanna cross dress and strut your stuff on the runway at some club in the district, awesome. You go girl/guy/er..., just dont come to work and promote your off work activities to other employees and patrons. Last but not least, if you think Mary the server, or Mark the pantry guy is a hottie and you wanna rail him/her, go for it. The minute things go south for you, leave it at the time clock, however, if it works out for you two, all the best. The minute you clock in though, you are on not only my time, but the time of the people we serve. Keep your head in the game. Dont play kissy face in between turns and stay professional.

 

Applicants -

 

Me: "So, tell me about your time spent working at Restaurant Y."

Applicant: "Yeah, I was the Sous there for about 2 years..and left because of a better job elsewhere."

Me: "Sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders, we will give you a call within the week."

 

So you call restaurant Y and you ask to talk to the Exe. Chef and as it turns out, the applicant was not only NOT the sous, rather the breakfast prep cook, but was also let go due to "Too many personality conflicts".

 

Do people seriously not think that we do not check references??

 

Or:

 

Me: "Your resume looks great, and your references check out, you wanna come in next week and do a working interview so I can get a warm and fuzzy of how you operate in this type of kitchen?"

 

Applicant: "Working interview?"

 

Me: "Yea, you basically come in for one night and float from station to station so I can see where you would best fit in."

 

Applicant: "Yea...umm...I will see what I can do. So wait...you want me to come in and work for a night...we haven't discussed a wage yet"

 

Me: "Well yeah...thats because that is not the type of establishment we are. I pay you based on what I think you can bring to the team...not what your resume says. If you fit the shoe that I need filled, we will discuss a salary after service."

 

Applicant: "I dont think thats fair at all."

 

At that point, the whole conversation sort of crashes and burns.

 

Applicants who you hire because the DO fit the mold and are able to BS their way through the interview process who wind up floundering a week in..

 

New cook: "Hey Chef...you asked me to make some "kennels" with the "herb chefv" mix...what are "kennels" and what is "herb chefv"?

 

Me: "No...I asked you to make some QUENELLES with the herb CHEVRE mix.."

 

New cooks that are only concerned with the sexy aspects of what the culinary world and glamorize the BS that is involved with clawing your way to the top instead of seeking out knowledge and cultivating the passion that is required to buffer your true self from the poisonous aspects of the culture.

 

 

New cooks that CONSTANTLY talk like they are a contestant on "Hells Kitchen" or some other reality tv cooking show.

 

Cooks that are afraid to ask questions. Believe me...I would rather explain something to you then have it be jacked up because you were too afraid to ask.

 

Cooks that talk themselves up or make themselves out to be something they are not, when talking amongst friends.

 

Cooks that dont set their stations or make a list the night before.

 

86ing things without giving a count prior to 86ing the item.

 

Servers that cant keep track of tickets and fire their tables out of order.

 

Servers that complain about there not being any amuse left, but then get offended after you catch them snacking on it in the server station and then call them out on it.

 

The term "On the fly". GOD ...I REALLY....REALLY hate that one.

 

Open Food tickets...and then the server not coming back to fully explain the Open Food or sending a runner back to try and explain it.

 

Dishwashers who complain about washing dishes.

 

Runners/Bussers who complain about running/bussing.

 

People who have no IDEA what its like to work in a professional kitchen, but think because they watch Food Network 24/7, or because they are a collector of cookbooks, or that are "Great home cooks", that this career would be good for them. They expect the world on their first day, and have an attitude when you ask them to chop potatoes and then correct them on their knife technique..."Shake hands with the knife.." or get the ass when you ask them to help the dishwasher out because he is in the weeds. They have no concept of a team effort. They think they are owed the same consideration as someone who has paid their dues..either by climbing the ladder from the very bottom as a busser, or dishwasher and landing an apprenticeship somewhere, or forking out the money to go to culinary school.

 

Honestly...bitching by people who are being PAID to work. You dont like where you are in the foodchain...then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Dont just sit there and bitch. Be proactive. Nobody controls your path in life but you.

 

Be thankful that you have a job, and be thankful that you have a job where you do.

 

 


Edited by ResQDoc - 5/10/11 at 11:30pm
post #83 of 505

A lot of those hit home with me ResQDoc.  I'll agree with the drugs, but coming in sick?  I've never worked in any place in this industry where finding someone to cover you because you're sick is easy. When I'm sick I HAVE to come in because nobody will cover me.

 

Open tickets in particular.  The second I see such a ticket I'll shout out that that table number to see me immediately, and not a floor manager, runner, or anybody is bothered to find out for me.  After a few minutes of waiting and more tickets coming in, I drop it thinking "well if they haven't talked to me yet, it must be a small unimportant detail."  6-10 minutes later when the food is done or almost done "oh...they wanted no seasoning..." or "they wanted beef instead of chicken..."  Really?! 

 

Servers who say "I dont get paid enough to do that..." or in other words "I don't get paid like a cook, on an hourly salary" when a lot of those girls make more money in tips in4 or  5 short hours than I do in a full-time shift.

 

This past weekend is the busiest one of the year where I cook, and my only help was a trainee, who managed to BS his way to start at a higher salary than I make.  Not only that, now that I have him trained they're giving him a few of my shifts and I will be expediting a few nights a week in place, a job that pays less money.  Seems like they want me to quit.

 

 

post #84 of 505

Resqdoc,

 

A lot of that seems all too familiar, 'cept for the cross dressing runway models...

 

But how on earth did you manage to get a reference out of an employer?  99% of the time all I get is name, rank, and serial #, or "X" worked here as --- from --- to ---- at --- per hr, or --- per mth. and other than that they won't say anything else for fear of the boogey-man.

 

One of my favorite chefs had a sign over his desk that was a quote from Escoffier.  Can't remember exactly how it translates, but it's something like:
"The owner who tells the Chef what to order, loses his right to complain about the quality of the food"

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #85 of 505


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcieluck View Post

  I'll agree with the drugs, but coming in sick? 

 

 


Sick...as in junk sick. DT's. Whatever you want to call it. People who abuse certain drugs will often gain a physical dependency on them. When they are not able to get said drugs, their bodies and minds will revolt.


Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

Resqdoc,

 

A lot of that seems all too familiar, 'cept for the cross dressing runway models...

 

But how on earth did you manage to get a reference out of an employer?  99% of the time all I get is name, rank, and serial #, or "X" worked here as --- from --- to ---- at --- per hr, or --- per mth. and other than that they won't say anything else for fear of the boogey-man.

 

One of my favorite chefs had a sign over his desk that was a quote from Escoffier.  Can't remember exactly how it translates, but it's something like:
"The owner who tells the Chef what to order, loses his right to complain about the quality of the food"



I tell the former employer what position I am thinking about putting the person in, and ask them about the truthfulness of the Job Description that the applicant listed on his/her resume. I also ask him if the employee was eligible for rehire. If not, there is usually an "off the record" story that goes along with it and usually starts off with something like "So lemme tell you about this motherfu**** and the sh** they tried to pull"

post #86 of 505

That would be YES, I agree. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcieluck View Post

Humor me, or are you agreeing?



 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #87 of 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by ResQDoc View Post

Me: "Your resume looks great, and your references check out, you wanna come in next week and do a working interview so I can get a warm and fuzzy of how you operate in this type of kitchen?"

 

Applicant: "Working interview?"

 

Me: "Yea, you basically come in for one night and float from station to station so I can see where you would best fit in."

 

Applicant: "Yea...umm...I will see what I can do. So wait...you want me to come in and work for a night...we haven't discussed a wage yet"

 

Me: "Well yeah...thats because that is not the type of establishment we are. I pay you based on what I think you can bring to the team...not what your resume says. If you fit the shoe that I need filled, we will discuss a salary after service."

 

Applicant: "I dont think thats fair at all."

 

At that point, the whole conversation sort of crashes and burns.


Not sure about your local law, but here in Minnesota if someone is working, they must be paid at least minimum wage. Even if they agree to not be paid for a working interview, that still doesn't release the employers obligation and you could be sued. There might be a less-than-minimum training wage work-around where you're at , but here we can only do that with people under age 20. The best solution is to cover yourself and pay minimum.

 

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #88 of 505

As a continuation of what Greg just said, I've never been in a kitchen where anyone did a "working interview" and didn't get paid at the end, if only in cash in hand. It was always followed with, "Thanks for working, we'll review things and get back to you.", or "You start (put in day).". I've never seen anyone work and go home empty handed, even if they sucked. Now for me on the other hand, I've never had to do any working interviews. I've always just been hired. I just tell them to let me watch how they all work and I'll decide if I wanna stick around. I don't like getting stuck in crummy kitchens. I've got standards. 


Edited by IceMan - 5/11/11 at 6:02pm

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #89 of 505

Working interviews or "staging" are quite common here, but the understanding is that you just stand around with your thumb up your bum, watch, ask questions and all that, and only for a 3 or 4 hr shifts. 

 

Me, I always paid.  If they sucked royally, I paid cash, if they were "keepers" I told them the time would be put onto their work schedule and would show up on thier pay check.  $30-odd bucks is pretty cheap insurance when hiring potentials, especially if they ask stoopid questions like" How many do you have to work before you can take a break?"...... 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #90 of 505

Perhaps I was a bit fuzzy on what I meant.

 

No, they do get paid, and yes, it is typically a half shift at minimum wage.

 

L&I would have a field day if something were to come up and the stodge wound up cutting his arm off or something to that effect.

 

Its never a "Hey, come in and work free for a night." but rather "Hey, come in and work basically for basically nothing for a night."

 

Sorry I wasnt clear on that.

 

What I was pointing out was my frustration with people who think that they should be automatically hired paid 13 bucks an hour based off of what their resume states, People who think they are worth more than they really are. Every kitchen is different, and the skills that will carry you to the top in...lets say... a steak house may not get you too far in a place where you are doing a 12 course tasting menu plus a full ala carte menu, and vice versa.

 

It also gives me a good sense of how willing and how much desire they have to be a part of THIS team.

 

Ideally, you hire people based off of their desire to learn and create, their ability to be a team player, and their own practical knowledge and skill set...not because you need someone to fill a slot. You want someone that wants to work for YOU...not someone that just "needs a job".

 

Sadly though...very rarely do we hire people that fit the ideal.

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