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Is this normal?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Head chef arrives to work at 12 noon walks in the kitchen and leaves to run errands until 3pm. Never helps prep anything. Has a nasty temper to the point servers are afraid to ask any kind of questions. Doesn't do much of anything at all during dinner service and leaves an hour early never helping clean every night. Then claims to work 15-16 hour days and schedules people in the kitchen he knows will do the dirty work so he never has to do much of anything. While all at the same time showing complete favoritism toward a certain employee and letting that employee do pretty much whatever they wish. Did I mention his best friend is the sous chef and a family member of his owns the restaurant itself. Zero accountability and no authority figure whatsoever to keep them in line.

 

Has anyone ever experienced working in an environment similiar to this? Is this normal in the restaurant business?

 

I recently quit my job because I just could not take it anymore. It was making me sick and driving me insane. I felt taken advantage of and used. I loved working there and most of the people I worked with but the managment drove me insane. Has anyone else been in this type of situation?

post #2 of 25

only typical for a place trying to go out of business.

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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #3 of 25

Who orders the food, keeps labor in check, does the scheduling, creates the menus? If the answer to these questions is this guy they call the Chef, then he could be working 15-16 hour days. It's what you don't see that answers your questions.

Are you only seeing one side of the equation?  We only know what you've told us.

post #4 of 25

Is he doing alot of behind the scenes stuff like ordering, purchasing supplies locally,inventory, payroll, accounting, etc etc etc... if so then yes his days might just be that long. 

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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #5 of 25

Suck it up, you are a line cook. You get paid to cook, not monitor what management does.

 If you worked for me and questioned my every move, you would be gone in a heart beat. You only see what you see.

And as far as cleaning up at the end of the night, I gave that up a long time ago, I would help out a couple of times a week, but don't count on it.

post #6 of 25

Attitude/leaving for 3 hours...No it is not normal for someone who cares about what they do.  Do not listen to these retards who try and defend this kind of behavior, they probably have the same qualities.  Go work in the finest place within driving distance to you and you will not find this kind of behavior from the Chef, guaranteed. 

 

As far as the prep and cleaning goes...that's what you all get paid for, don't expect the chef to get down and dirty cleaning with you.

post #7 of 25

Way to go chefdrew, your second post here and were retards for giving an opinion?

The op quits his job because he does not like the chef's schedule?  It's not up to him to have an opinion on how the kitchen is run. He is a line cook.

Clock in, cook, clean up, go home. No worries. Hope he finds another job where he's ok with managements schedule.

post #8 of 25

Sorry chefbuba, worked for a few chefs of the same qualities throughout my career...I don't respect them and in most cases they have just lost the drive to be good at what they do.  Not only that, they let the entire restaurant staff & guest down with that kind of behavior.  I would have to check myself if I thought about sticking up for someone with that kind of behavior...

 

 

 

 


Edited by chefdrew1978 - 4/18/11 at 6:32pm
post #9 of 25

 

ChefDrew,

 

Are you entirely sure you know exactly what the Chef in question was doing during the 12 noon to 3 pm time frame?

 

I only KNOW what the OP said in his/her posting.

 

IMHO, the Chef has the responsibility to see to it that what needs to be done, gets done, there is nothing that says that the Chef must do anything but manage! S/he is the MANAGER!

 

If a MANAGER becomes involved in doing something other than managing, they are NOT doing their job. If their attention is focused on a specific task, whether it be prep, cooking, cleaning, ordering, shopping, etc., while other activities are going on without someone managing those other operations, they are failing to fulfill their responsibilities!

 

When everything is moving smoothly and everyone is doing precisely what the Chef decides needs to be done, then some Chefs MAY enjoy the luxury of prepping/cooking/whatever, AS LONG AS S/HE HAS EYES AND EARS ON EVERYONE AND EVERY TASK UNDER WAY AND SCHEDULED!

 

Yes, there ARE ROAD (Retired On Active Duty) Chefs, we hope few and far between. Their actions, or in-actions, will NOT be corrected by those they manage, only by those that manage the Chef, and that definitely does not include any of the BOH staff, regardless of education, experience, age, good looks, or attitude!

 

Don't like it? You always have the option to leave!

 

 

 

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 #10 of 25

Did I defend what the op alleges the chef does?  No. I simply stated that it is not up to him to monitor everything that goes on in the chef's daily schedule.

The place might Not be doing well because of the chef's actions, that's not up to a line cook to be deciding or discussing. He moved on because he didn't like the conditiond in the kitchen, hope he finds a better job.

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 

I moved on because i did not feel comfortable around the type of environment i was working in on a daily basis. I left not because I questioned my authority's but because I have enough experience and common sense to know that this type of behavior will only hurt me and eventually close the place of business. I am not a lazy person. I was raised by parents who both worked two jobs to raise me and my sister. I know what hard work is and I actually enjoy it quite much. I'm young but I'm not stupid. I know when someone is lazy and when someone is busy. Cleaning, not a big deal. Scheduling, the size of the kitchen and the amount of workers it had, should only take around 30 minutes tops to create one time a week. I appreciate the feedback on the situation but I feel I should have never asked the question or posted at all. I apologize. But as for prep, it was a concern for me. It upset me to know that because my chef wasn't there the morning prep crew grew lazier and lazier. To the point where I (night crew) had to start coming in earlier and earlier everyday to prep myself because they didn't have to do anything as the result of lack of supervision. In return, getting chewed out because I was working on prep while during service, yet I had no choice.

 

I want to work for a chef that is present enough for me to answer questions. Not one that jumps at the opportunity to run to the store everyday to only disappear for 3 hours in a town of 80,000. Not one that gets 3 days off a week and leaves early every night,,,not to go home but to sit at the bar.

post #12 of 25

Michael,

 

If you want to stay in this business you need to do the best that you can, working for/with people that have the same/better work ethic and motivations.  Never stop losing sight of that or else you may become the same burnt out person that you are speaking of. 

 

You do have to know your place in a kitchen, I have known too many "hot shots" that really were not, and ended up getting themselves in trouble for acting out of place..  If you know deep down that you are a valuable asset to the kitchen, and you are, then the chef should respect your input.  You just have to know when it is time to move on or time to say "Hey Chef, you got a second"? 

 

Do not listen to these people who think you should speak when spoken to, keep your head down because you’re "just a line cook".  You are in charge of your own future and you are depending on the leadership of those you are working for to help bring you up the right way.  If the person that you are working for is in the later part of their career and they are not close to where you want to be later in yours, maybe it's time to move on.  It does not matter where you are working, there is always something to be learned, good or bad, so never stop paying attention to everything.  I depend on my staff to participate in being the eyes and ears and I need their feed back on everything that has to do with making this environment an enjoyable/successful one. 

 

I manage currently manage 2 operations and help out in both.  I do 2 evaluations a year and I ask my employees to evaluate me as their supervisor.  I value them as employees and I expect them to hold me accountable to make sure that none of us fall short of what the expectations should be. 

 

 

 

If what you say is true about the chef...

1) Arrives to work at 12 noon walks in the kitchen and leaves to run errands until 3pm  (is he going to Whole Foods)  

Unless he is going to the Whole Foods Market to buy ingredients for the specials, I would say BS...

2) Has a nasty temper to the point servers are afraid to ask any kind of questions 

Possible chemical imbalance or insecure about themselves as a person or chef.

3) Then claims to work 15-16 hour days  (This would mean he is working until 3am)

 

 

If this is all true then I would not leave myself in the position to be given the advice of...

1) Suck it up, you are a line cook 

2) You get paid to cook, not monitor what management does 

3) If you worked for me and questioned my every move, you would be gone in a heart beat 

4) It's not up to him to have an opinion on how the kitchen is run. He is a line cook. 

5) Clock in, cook, clean up, go home 

 

I would consider myself part of a team that prides myself on making the team better and more successful.  If you truly believe that about yourself and you actions speak it as well, then I would not listen to 1 - 5 listed above.  Successful people will surround themselves with successful people who are interested in chasing the overall vision of the business. 

 

Keep your head up and do not settle for 1 - 5, brother... 

post #13 of 25

This is exactly why when my cooks come in at 4:30 AM, I have orange juice, fresh coffee, ask them what they expect of me today and make sure they are alright and in agreement with my schedule. They then walk over the rainbow to the front line and have a wonderful day..................ChefBillyB .............Head Chef in the Land of Oz............

post #14 of 25
well said sir. I wonder if they respect you the same way you respect them...I hope so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefBillyB View Post

This is exactly why when my cooks come in at 4:30 AM, I have orange juice, fresh coffee, ask them what they expect of me today and make sure they are alright and in agreement with my schedule. They then walk over the rainbow to the front line and have a wonderful day..................ChefBillyB .............Head Chef in the Land of Oz............


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post #15 of 25

I get paid for 50 hours a week.

Anything above and beyond that is "lieu time".

Some weeks I put in 80 hours.

Some weeks I take back my lieu time.

Some days I run to the Italian Market during work.

Some days I meet with my reps to discuss business.

Some days I go home early because I have 60 hours lieu time in the bank.

Some days I... wait for it... schedule people to work because I have time coming to me, and it's their job to do the so-called "dirty work" (here's a clue.. it's all f**king dirty work).

Some days I walk into my kitchen, check everything out, check business levels, see that everything is ok... and take my time back

I answer to my boss.

I pay my staff to work. period.

My boss pays me to ensure that business runs well.

I do not give my employees a detailed schedule of where I spend my time, how much work I do on my own time, where I go when I leave the kitchen, or what I am doing when I am out of their sight. They do not answer the phone at 4:30 AM when the AM cook is sick, they do not leave their own Birthday party to rush to work when it's slammed, they do not spend time at home poring over invoices and menus and standards. They do not sit in meetings going over budgets and contracts.

 

bottom line? Do your damn job and stop worrying about what anyone else around you does. Funny thing about kitchens... ask each person how good a worker they are... see what the answer is. Then ask them how good their co-workers are... see what the answer is. EVERYONE in this business figures they do an awesome job and EVERYONE in this business figures everyone they work with is a slacker.

 

If your job is to be a line cook, then do your job they way you've been told to do it. Period. It's what you're paid for. Or leave. The end. Why b**** about it?

 

Why? Because most of the egotistical know-it-alls in this business figure they're God's gift to whomever they work for. They figure that they know all the answers... that they're so much better than where they work, that they can do it all so much better than the guy who does it now. That the place will fall apart if they leave. Guess what? It never does. It all keeps rolling on... and the ones who wonk the loudest? Yeah, they go off to another place... and oddly enough... they discover the same issues there...and the next place, and the next place, and the next place.

 

The only person your chef answers to is his boss. If his boss says "I'll pay you for 100 hours, but you only have to be here for 30... what do you care? If someone offered the same job to you... you'd take it. And you wouldn't take any crap about it from the people that work for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #16 of 25

(for some reason, I can't edit my post, so I am adding this...)

 

As for the temper? Yeah, that is a problem. The kitchen is not a playground for the socially inept. It is unacceptable, in my opinion, for chefs to act like tyrants and a-holes. I am not entitled to be a prick as some sort of perk to my job... my staff are people, they have lives and emotions and feelings... and making work an emotionally unstable place for them to be is simply unfair.

post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 

I just wanted some advice. Those of you who seem to think it is your place to comment and be an a*****e can keep your opinions to yourselves. You don't know me as a person. You don't know me as cook. I explained the situation in my former workplace. I appreciate the great advice chefbillyb and chefdrew, thank you. As for the others that think I should just keep my mouth shut and do my job, i did for a long period of time. I refuse to work wth lazy and undetermined people. Especially if those people are suppossed to be my boss.

 

As far as I'm concerned, leadership starts at the top. It's a trickle down effect on the entire team. If the leader is lazy then the kitchen is lazy. If the leader is hot tempered then the kitchen is hot tempered. I saw it progress and I saw it progressively get worse. I got tired of it and did something about it. There was no yelling or screaming, just a simple I can't work here anymore.

 

I'll be fine. I'm determined to become a great chef and own my own place one day. I have the work ethic and intelligence to keep moving forward in order to become very successful one day.

post #18 of 25

Michael,

 

Good luck in your future endeavors.

 

One last bit of advice, and remember it is worth almost as much as it costs you, NEVER assume you know what is going on/happening/etc., a great majority of the time, an assumption makes ASS/U/ME. If you have clear FACTS, then make your decision(s) based on FACTS, not what you "think you know" or assume.

 

Again, good luck, and always remember, you always have the option to leave a job, even if you cannot afford to.

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 #19 of 25

No one is being an a-hole. You asked some questions, you got some answers.

You asked if this is normal? Well, in the respect that your boss doesn't answer to you.. yes it's normal. Do you tell the dishwasher when you're going to washroom? Let the busboy know when you have a day off? You made your choice, it sounds like it was the right one for you.

 

You claim we don't know you, and that is true. We also don't know your chef. We also don't know his boss. We also don't know what sort of opinion your chef has of you, nor what your work ethic is... all we know is what you tell us. You post. We answer. That's the way forums work. Sometimes you hear what you want, others you don't. I respect my staff, I work with them, I ensure they have lives outside of work, I train them, I I teach them, I answer their questions... but I don't answer to them about what I am doing, or why I am doing it. I have my job, they have theirs. THAT is why I say "do your job". You didn't like it, you left. See how easy that is?

 

As for the work ethic and intelligence to be successful? Look at the job titles in this thread... we didn't get here by being slack. We got here by busting hump. We were where you are, and we got where we are... and along the road, we've seen it all. Good cooks, bad cooks, in-betweens, great joints, crappy joints and just-a-paycheque joints. Good on you for making a stand... but I promise, the day will come when your ideals will be in a battle with your ability to put food in your own fridge. Then, maybe my advice to you won't seem quite so "a-holeish".

 

We get hired for a job, and we get paid for that job. If we don't like it... we move on. If we are paid for "X" then we do "X". If we don't like the details surrounding "X", then we leave. Otherwise, we toe the line and zip it. No one is forcing us to work for the people we work for.

 

and if you can't smell the sarcasm in BillyB's post... you may want to go back and read it again.

post #20 of 25

I have worked in over 25 restaurants, with many different management teams/people/owners.Some were great, some were not. I learned from all of them, it made me the Chef/Owner/Manager I am today. I learned to open my mouth when I should, shut my mouth when I must. I never learned anything with my mouth open, I worked some places for a paycheck, some places for a promotion......life is full of stepping stones, pick the ones that are right for you, ...................The best..............ChefBillyB

post #21 of 25

Like other have said it is not your business, if you do not agree with what is going on then get another job. With the chefs family owning the place and his friend being the sous it is unlikely things will change. You do not know whats going on all day only what you see chefs do a lot more that tou may think. The obvious is that the owners see no problem with what he is doing so there is no problem. I am afraid there would not be much you can do to change that situation. The owners may very well believe he is there 15 hours a day and so he is.

 

Not to be one of those A******s you wrote about but kitchens like that are everywhere, I have worked with a few chefs like that too. It will not change. I have always been one of the "if I wouldn't do it I couldn't ask anyone else to do it " types, your ethic is admirable, too bad not many people share it these days.

 

One piece of advice a chef told me long ago when I was complaining about some similar things. You can learn something from everyone, what have you learned from this particular chef?

(i'm not talking about making sauce here LOL)

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post #22 of 25

I have to concur, it's really none of your business what he is doing. I think that it is silly for the prep/sous chef to question the job description of the head chef.

If he is screwing off and not getting things done the owners will figure it out quickly.

In all the kitchens I have worked in it is very rare for the head chef to do any prep work. That is what the prep chef is for.

 

post #23 of 25
I have seen this before many times. I am very blessed at this moment to work for the most involved chef I've ever known. It is a pleasure, he will jump in right next to you on even the most menial task ie; chopping garlic, making hollandaise, scrubbing the broiler, tourneing potatoes...you get the point. He will pull a double on a 200+ cover day then stay and break down the line. I usually force him out to get rest, he trusts me as his sous chef, we have excellent communication, its just his work ethic. I fall in line exactly the same when he is absent because I see excellent results out of my line all the way down to commis. I will carry this style with me when I someday have Chef in front of my name without the sous. It is very effective and nothing speaks to your abilities as a chef greater than turning out exceptional cooks from your kitchen. That's my opinion, my Chef says the day of the clipboard chef has all but ended with the economy & rising food costs, owners are expecting more production out of less staff. I must concur. We do 150+ cover nights with only a two man line running broiler, grill, saute, fry and middle plus I expedite from my position on the line. This is where fine dining & just dining in general is headed everywhere except the largest operations. Not easy but definitely the truth. Good luck on something that is a better fit for you but just remember the old saying " gotta pay the cost to be the boss" in the kitchen that literally means blood , sweat, cuts, burns & tears. Best wishes
post #24 of 25

I think I am walking into the same situation as VAchef1 has... the chef/owner of my new place is very involved with both of his restaurants and he is all for communication between him and myself as I will be essentially running his first place while he gets his new one off the ground.  It's refreshing to be working with/for someone who actually understands this industry!  I have always said that I will never ask my staff to do anything I will not do myself unless it is something I am physically  unable to do and I seem to have gained great respect for that way of working...

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #25 of 25

I only want to chip in on one issue here: the temper. Nobody likes working for somebody who is unpredictable and unapproachable. A good chef - in my opinion - motivates, teaches and sets the bar. The best chef I ever worked for made me feel proud of myself. I also think he was the hardest working person I've ever worked with. He made me want to be better and make him look good in the process. That is what I think makes a successful supervisor.

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