So about a year and half ago I posted here looking for advice as my chef was starting to get older and slip a bit mentally, forgetting names of basic sauces and overcooking food. I was covering for him but concerned about where that would go long term and the advice I got was to confront the situation directly and speak to him, which I did, but unfortunately he wasn't willing to hear it and our relationship has seriously degraded.
Over the course of the year he has slowly eased into an arrangement where he only works nights if absolutely necessary and I cover most dinners by myself. He orders haphazardly without keeping any kind of inventory or even having an organized process for ordering from week to week, and takes it for granted that I will double check everything and correct his mistakes. He doesn't seem able to develop menus or cost out special requests, and the banquet manager just goes to straight to me for those things now, but it's kind of alarming since 1) He's supposed to be the executive chef and 2) he's been doing this for a really long time and I know that at some point he was totally capable of doing it himself. One of the most critical problems is that he can't remember his meat temperatures and has given up on meat thermometers, insisting that he can eyeball when a standing rib roast is done. Of course, he can't, so I am chasing behind him with a thermometer all day and arguing with him about the meat needing to go back in or come out constantly.
All of this is compounded by the fact the owner/GM is unwilling to really act on any of these problems. He's aware of the problems, and actually came to me about them before I came to him, but his plan is to just leave things how they are and have me run the kitchen from behind the chef's back. We basically walk around pretending that he's in charge and then all of his decisions are run by me once he goes home. I am totally uncomfortable with this, and since the chef doesn't realize what's happening, he's constantly overriding decisions I've made and nobody is on the same page.
Clearly, I need to move on. I know that much. But I could really use advice on:
1) How to stick it out without ruining a reference that accounts for the past five years of my work experience. I'm really trying to keep my cool but the stress of having to do the executive chef job without having the power (or the pay for that matter) is wearing my nerves mighty thin. I'm really angry with both my chef and the GM for putting this on me and it's hard not to let it show.
2) How to make the transition from banquets to a restaurant. I've been at a club for five years now, concentrated heavily in banquets, and so I'm getting offers from hotels and catering, but unfortunately in my area that usually means lower quality food. I think this is a good opportunity for me to get more rounded out by working in a different setting and working under chefs who are doing more modern, seasonal stuff, but I don't know how to sell myself for work which honestly is a little out of my comfort zone. (I have spent some time in a la carte kitchens and I'm pretty strong on my fundamentals). I've also gotten my ServSafe and started going to culinary school early mornings, figuring both of those would help.
I really appreciate any advice you guys can give.