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Need advise from experienced cooks/chefs

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

First off let me explain that I have never worked in a professional kitchen hot line ie.. flattop, grill and what not about the only thing that I have ever really done was work in a cafe making sandwiches and salads ... so with that being said .... I was offered a part time job last night in a local kind of mom and pop type place making burgers and southern homestyle cooking (to the best of my knowledge they have one cook, one waiter/server that helps to do prep and a part time dishwasher) I didn't get a good count but they have around 12 tables four chairs each. The cook/owner gave me a tour around their small kitchen and prep area (they had an electric 4 burner stove, vulcan flattop w/ 2 burners with oven and a deep fat fryer) 2 small freezers and a refrigerator for storage and a smallish steam table (I think that's what it's called... it's for keeping hot items). From what I gathered the cook has never ran his own kitchen before but has been a cook for 10+ years his wife who serves as a waiter has managed a couple of places before but never her own. During my "tour" I am being shown meat that he has brought in from his supplier (frozen hamburger), claims that he prides himself on making practically everything from scratch and then shows me a bag of pre made pepper gravy and a small bag of steak that is not the freshest looking steak that I have ever seen and claims that he can have me trained well enough to be doing basically all of the cooking within about 2 weeks ... this is with him doing all of the prep work from what he told me which I find doubtful, but the main thing that they do is stuff like burgers, salads and a few sandwiches. From the info that I have given do you guys think that this is a place that would be worth working at 2-4 times per week for about 4-6 hours starting out if for nothing else but to improve my knife skills (accuracy and speed, because I really don't see this place doing much on technique but I could be surprised) and to get some time in working on a flattop and fryer? Also I should add that I am currently between jobs although for now I am doing OK financially but I have ALOT of free time on my hands and looking for something to do, the big thing is this ... I want to get in some experience in a GOOD kitchen where I will learn good habits and techniques, which I like to think that I have fairly good habits in a kitchen already ... well in a home kitchen anyways and when I worked at the cafe that I mentioned before I made it a point to keep good/clean habits ie... workspace. Any and all input is greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 6

I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying this would be a freebie; that is, you'd have no salary?

 

The way you explain this, if its for free, I would pass. If the owner is doing the prep work, how would you achieve your goal of improving knife skills?

 

This is also, if I'm reading you correctly, essentially a short-order cooking environment, but with a very limited menu. I've nothing against short-order---heck, I used to be one. And with a fuller menu it's a great opportunity (nobody understands multi-tasking as much as a short-order cook). But with the limited menu, I think you'll learn everything they have to teach you in less than a month. After that it would be samee-same. And let's face it; there's not much excitment in doing the same burgers and fries day after day.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying this would be a freebie; that is, you'd have no salary?

 

The way you explain this, if its for free, I would pass. If the owner is doing the prep work, how would you achieve your goal of improving knife skills?

 

This is also, if I'm reading you correctly, essentially a short-order cooking environment, but with a very limited menu. I've nothing against short-order---heck, I used to be one. And with a fuller menu it's a great opportunity (nobody understands multi-tasking as much as a short-order cook). But with the limited menu, I think you'll learn everything they have to teach you in less than a month. After that it would be samee-same. And let's face it; there's not much excitment in doing the same burgers and fries day after day.



No I would be getting payed ... not much but I would be getting payed and from the conversation that I had with the cook/owner I think that they would be willing to change the menu somewhat to make it more seasonal ... and I would also be doing prep work as well (from what I understood he was going to be doing most of the prep due to the fact he was afraid I would chop my fingers off) and to be honest this will not be a long term thing due to the fact that I agree with what you said .... there can only be so much a person can learn when flipping burgers, deep frying a few menu items and chopping lettuce for a salad .....plus this isn't exactly the type of food or style of restaurant I want to really spend a lot of time learning in, I want to improve my speed, accuracy and technique and I really don't think he will have a great deal to show me as far as technique is concerned plus I enjoy cooking French and Italian style food more

post #4 of 6

Have you considered staging at a better restaurant? If you're financially able to afford it, that might be a better route.

 

Given the current economy, I'm sure many chef's would love to bring you in on a makee-learnee basis. Just explain, honestly, where your skill level is now, and what you expect to get out of it. Nothing improves knife skills are rapidly as working the prep station. And, who knows, they might like your work ethic and learning abilities so much that they offer you an actual job.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 6

If you are doing it to stop boredom OK. If its to learn anything ???? If its for pocket Money OK  all up to you Don't learn any bad habits.

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 #6 of 6

You will learn something from ever place you work, sometime's it's what not to do and that could be the greatest lesson of all.....................Go Grasshopper, and make us proud............................ChefBillyB

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