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Need to vent, this station is eating me up - Page 2

post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

LOL. This is cracking me up. TY for that. You ""test" them because it is better in the long run", and you "test them, just the first few weeks". OMG, how long does it take to figure things out? I test for the first shift, if things work out, then good, if not we look for an answer. I sure as sure don't want anyone testing me for any longer than that. What exactly, is at all wrong with being comfortable? Do you buy and wear uncomfortable shoes or use uncomfortable knives on purpose? I do my best work when I'm comfortable. Do you want to work with uncomfortable ovens or grill/stove tops where you get burned all the time? Who the hey wants a staff constantly on edge? Not me, I'm funny like that. I PAY my staff. That is what motivates them to do things better. Please stop kidding yourself with the idea that anyone is lucky to have anyone else. With today's market and economy everyone is lucky to have employment, not at all the other way around; employment is not lucky to have you, me or anyone else. I'm not pompous in my beliefs, I'm just realistic in the way I operate. 

 

For me, in my experience I have found out that it's better if I give new hires a months probationary period to really get to know them and for them to really get to know us. It means both parties are making an informed decision at the end of this period. Why wouldn't I want to see what they are capable of during this period? The reason I do this is because I found that hiring people after only a day as you suggest was very hit and miss for me, some would work out and some wouldn't. This way every member of staff I've hired has been with me long term.

 

Also being comfortable, in my experience, starts to make people complacent, sloppy and demotivated. Surely there is a happy medium between being comfortable and being on edge? Obviously I pay my staff, but for me there has to be something more in it for myself and I like to see that in my brigade as well. I can make a lot more money doing another job as could they, so making sure that we are all achieving our personal goals and making sure that they are constantly learning is important to me. I felt very lucky to have certain chefs mentor me and invest a lot of their time in me when I was younger so I try to pass that on to the younger chefs that now work for me and hope when they are in chef positions of their own they will do the same. I would hate to have the attitude of "it's just a job" but I understand that we all have bills to pay and this certainly affects our decisions. Also here is another strategy I use that will horrify you. I always offer a really crap salary to start with so that I know they are not here solely for the money as they can easily get a higher paying job elsewhere. After a month I bump them up to the industry average.

 

Clearly we are very different people with very different management styles. Like Greg suggested, let's just agree to disagree on this one.

 

post #32 of 42

I think the OP has been given some really good advice here.  All I can add is to go with your gut.  If you feel that this is right for you then go that extra mile to make it work.  If you really feel that it is not for you, get out and do something else.  There is no shame in saying that a kitchen was just not the right fit for you.   All the best to you and remember... you are young and there are so many possibilities out there for you.  Learn lots, write down everything and you will be that much better for every experience you have.

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post #33 of 42

as someone a few years further along the same path as you (not trying to sound condecending, im only 26, ive had 8 years working, 2 of them in manhattan for real dicks who sure could cook). i think you really just have to be reasonably confident in yourself, make sure your knife is sharp and you werent out drinking until 4 am in queens or something, listen to what youre being told, never make excuses for yourself (doesnt sound like you are), and have a good way to blow off steam after work. go for a run, find someone who can put up with your bellyaching, and make sure you take care of your body, its your best tool, and if youre not at 100% for a high pressure service, mistakes will happen. the best kitchens ive worked in were run by people with high expectations of me, and had no problems letting me know when i didnt live up to them. youre going to learn the most in those spots, as everyone has said. its much worse to have something to strive for than to be chomping on the bit in a half ass kitchen, trust me, thats where i am right now. 

post #34 of 42

i work pantry/grill in high pressure kitchen somewhere between 200/300 covers any given night. i am a second semester student and have been pushing myself. i want to push myself through all the stations. tonight i was given a chance at the grill. as soon ass the rush hit i hit a confidence wall. i had one hamburger sent back and it pushed the line back. then i was pushed back into the pantry. i took it real personal and was real hurt that i failed. but got back into the grill before the night ended. it was a blow to my confidence. but to me my failures are what make me better. i love challenges and the fact that i couldnt live up to the challenge only made me want it more. it hurt i could not deliver but it also made me want to be better. i still have confidence in my ability its just the pressure that i need to improve on. i have watched all the other stations with great attention and always show up an hour or so early for my shift. its the criticism and pressure that push me to better. rather than put me down. you just have to remember why you do what you do. failure makes you stronger, just dont make the same mistakes twice. please note i am drunk


Edited by journeyman81 - 6/16/11 at 3:08am
post #35 of 42

Folks, don't get your jackets in a knot about this topic. It's a good one, for sure, and it gets all of us fired up, no matter what. I was at a garden party not two weeks ago having this same argument with a couple of colleagues from waaaay back - two of them just retired. You know, this is really a fundimental difference in philosophy. I don't think one is right over the other, as i have seen both positive as well as negative results with both approaches. I for one tend to be the "nurturing" kind - I'm no push-over, mind you, but I remember what I went through as a young apprentice, and I don't wish that on anyone. I was about the same age as you abrams, and my first post as entremetier (that's how it's spelled. In the old style of French cooking, the "entremets" were the starch and veg which was served between the roasts and whatever the next course was - entre met means "put inbetween - so much for French lessons...). I would wake up in cold sweats every night for weeks, and felt like bolting just as service would start. My chef was a very demanding man, and the dent in the side of the walk-in cooler reminded all that he had a habit of throwing frying pans. I learned to duck... My sous was the excat opposite. A gentle, happy sort from Bavaria who was very good at his job and understood to tech me without shouting or being rude. I learned more from him than from chef. That approach works for me, but I'm sure some learn better if they are put under pressure. I didn't need chef to put more pressure on me than was already on me running this station, so I appreciated the sous patience. Mind you, by all accounts my work was not in need of correction. Different story if the work is shoddy, because we all know it's the chef who gets blamed if things don't go right. One of my chefs once told me that each plate leaving the kitchen had his name on it (it actually did. It was in the glaze, part of the design of the plate) and he did't care who made it, the customer thought he was the one responsible. That's also a lot of pressure to bear. So, either way, there is something to be said for both approaches. The one's I can't stand are one's who have gotten so used to screaming and belittling their staff, they can't do it any other way anymore, and they're not getting results anymore. I had teachers in highschool like that, too. The one's I respect are those who get the results, and have their staff sweat just by a certain look, a tone of voice, a gesture. Now THAT'S control...

Respect for all, over all.

post #36 of 42

stay with it

i'm a 42 yr old chef back in the buisness after 5 yrs . off.I struggle sometimes and believe me ther are times I want to walk,but I don't give up.

It sounds like you have the passion, and that counts for alot.You will get through this...don't give up!!

post #37 of 42

f*** that,.give up. it's the worst paying job ever. especially for an older guy. read anthony bourdains latest book where he says he won't hire older guys because they are too set in their ways and can't take instruction from a younger guy. copy that.I am sorry I ever got into it. I want to get out and do something else so I can actually make a f***ing living for a change; F*** the passion you allegedly have. executive chefs that make a hundred grand a year have been doing it for 30 years at least most of which started cooking at 16. are you in that bracket? not likely. you have to be able to make a living. and this is the worst industry for that.

post #38 of 42


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelbanger View PostThe one's I can't stand are one's who have gotten so used to screaming and belittling their staff, they can't do it any other way anymore, and they're not getting results anymore


This sentence is why I left a very well paying KM job to go back to being a breaky cook and and the cook at an emergency hot meal program run by a local urban Ministry.  I'm sorry but no one should have to tolerate the abuse that is so rampant in our business and something has to give soon...

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post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by abrams892 View Post

thanks for the advice guys. things are going smoother now. i started going in 30-45 minutes early and it makes a world of difference. i'll just keep grinding till i can't grind no mo'. i'm not gonna let this station or these sous chefs win.


you got the right idea, show up as early as you possibly can (after lunch clears out, when you're done with school/another job, whatever). i used to work one or two hours off the clock at a hard kitchen for around a year before i started taking on some sous-like responsibilities, like making prep and order lists and training new cooks.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by abrams892 View Post

The chef doesn't give any constructive criticism, nor is he testing me. He is in fact a jerk.

 

ive felt like this too before, but after a while you will likely build your working relationship with eachother and find respect..you might feel bad having said stuff like this when you first started...then again, i said these things at that same hard kitchen in the beginning.

post #40 of 42

And there are many occassions where young guys won't hire older guys because they are insecure and afraid the older guy will take their job or show them up. When I was in my 50s I had a position where all the young guys after screwing things up would come over to me and ask me ""How do you fix it"""  I gave them credit for asking, as this is called LEARNING.

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 #41 of 42

leeniek,

sounds like you found your niche. Sometimes it takes a wake-up call to get where you really want to be. Are you happy where you are? Does your job give you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment? In the end, that's all what counts. We tend to get so hung up about being the best and most respected, highest paid, etc. etc. but when it comes down to it, what did you accomplish for yourself? I know one of the most famous chefs in Europe, whose name I won't mention, and he told me that all this fame and fortune only caused him to be a nervous wreck, cost him his wife and children, and he nearly ended up in jail for getting caught with cocaine in his posession. So much for fame and fortune. it still can't buy you happiness...

post #42 of 42

Thanks, Steelbanger.  All of us have different abilities and goals and where one person is comfortable the next one is not. I did my first shift at the shelter (soup kitchen) today and I just loved it but I'll save the details for a separate post. 

 

 

 

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