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A tough decision made....I feel strange, but optimistic

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

 

I am in a strange place right now and just wanted to see if anyone could relate.  I got my first cooking job in a really beautiful small restaurant about 5 months ago.  The place is a long way from my home (about 50 minutes each way).  I applied to the job and told the chef I had no experience in a kitchen, but was really passionate and driven to gain knowledge.  He hired me, and told me that I would get a chance to improve but if I did not work fast enough I would have to be let go.  Anyway, I learned quickly, and kept the job.  This chef has taught me a lot, and we have a somewhat personal relationship now.  Anyway, I get paid very little at this job, and spend at least ten dollars in gas going to and from work every day.  This never bothered me, because I was passionate about working at this restaurant.  

 

So, as I got more confident in my cooking and my knife skills I figured I would "stage" at some of the nicer restaurants around where I live, just to gain experience.  I did it at a couple places and had a great time.  I was never looking for another job, but just an opportunity to learn.  Anyway, last weekend I staged at an amazing restaurant in my city and they said that they want to hire me.  I would be making more money, and would be able to take the subway to work in a very small amount of time.  I decided to take the job and now I have to break it to my current chef.  I feel really bad because I almost feel disloyal in a way.  This chef has taught me so much and really took a chance with hiring me in the first place.  Now I will be leaving him after just a couple months........Is this wrong of me?  Do you think he will understand my point of view?

 

This is just eating away at me.  I guess I am worried about ruining a nice relationship that I had with someone who believed in me.  Has anyone else ever been in a similar situation? 

post #2 of 14

I know how you feel. But still buissnes is buissnes. Would it be "loyal" to yourselfe and your ambitions to stay at a place whit less pay and a longer way to travel. What place will you grow the most in? Take the new job but talk to your chef and explain. If hes a good guy he will understand.

 

post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by NordicFood View Post

...If hes a good guy he will understand.

Conversely, if he doesn't understand, he is not a good guy. crazy.gif
 

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #4 of 14

Congratulations!  You must feel very proud of yourself!

 

Just give him the facts of this new job opportunity.  Once he hears it, he should be nothing but supportive and telling you that of course you have to take it.  He may lament losing you, but at the same time will feel happy for you.  You didn't commit to working for him for any specific period of time, and the arrangement has been mutually beneficial, so while you may feel that you owe him - in essence, you don't.  Yes, he gave you your big break (your first of many big breaks!), and for that you owe him a sincere thanks and the availability to help him out in the future, if permitting.

You have to leave like a mench, though.  If he needs 2 weeks from you while he finds a replacement, your new boss likely will respect that as they'd want the same treatment.  If you can work for them part-time for the next 2 weeks while finishing things up, that may help.

Chefs value good workers, as you yourself seem to be, so don't worry - the 2 week wait won't jeopardize the opportunity waiting for you.

 

Good luck!

post #5 of 14

You didn't do a lot of time under the current chef. While there is obviously no rule or laws, IMO one should try and spend at least a year with each mentor chef in order to work all the seasons and get everything you can from a chef. 

 

I am actually of the opposite side of the coin from the previous posters. You have not shown loyalty. This chef took you under his wing, spend time and energy training you from nothing, and now, just as you start to become valuable to the team, he gets to hear that all the great skills he provided you are going to benefit another chef. 

 

IMO, you should have worked for him for at least a year, then asked him to help you find another position at a restaurant that will pay more and be a step up. 

 

However, it is a business, and I hope it works out for you. Good luck, starting at new places can be both exciting and scary. 

post #6 of 14

Ask yourself "why do I go to work?" then you will figure it out.

 

If you and the Chef have a good relationship then stay in touch with him, it does not have to mean that the door is closed.

 

Experience has taught me that nothing in life lasts forever and you must do what is right for you. Good luck and don't beat yourself up over it.

post #7 of 14

You gotta follow the dollar.  There's certainly no rule, even unspoken, that you owe a debt of indenturement simply because he gave you a "chance."  Sounds like you worked hard and did a good job, for less than you were worth.  If he's a reasonable guy he'll understand.  And as others have said, put in notice and leave on good terms.  No sense burning a bridge.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #8 of 14

 

When he was your age he most likely did same thing. No one can knock you for trying to get ahead .Yo must do what is good for you. Render your 2 week notice and hopefully leave on great terms. If he doesn't then better you leave anyway. Good Luck to you

Sorry I do not agree with Somedays answer  as to loyalty. You have been working there and he has saved $ by paying you little. So some exploytation can be seen here to a degree. The great skills you learned were instead of paying you the true value of the position you held

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...

Reply

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...

Reply
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

 

Thank you all so much for the responses.  I can understand why some people would criticize my decision, and I respect that opinion.

 

Putting in my two week was really difficult, but the chef was very understanding.  I could tell that he was sad to see me leave, but not angry at all.  He was very supportive and told me that he was happy for me.  I am leaving on really good terms.   All my coworkers have been asking about the new restaurant that I am working at.  

 

Being a line cook sure is interesting work!  I am going to miss a lot of people from my old job tremendously.  I got really close with one line cook who showed me a ton of great stuff.  I loved working with him and hope that we might end up in the same kitchen at some point again in the future.

 

I am still adjusting to my new restaurant.  The work I am doing is certainly more difficult.......I view it as a good thing though.  The amount of prep I have to do before service is substantially more.  I am rushing to get it all done.   The place is always busy, so I have to really stay mentally aware all the time.  The chef is an absolute perfectionist, and has no problem sending tons of food back.  What a life!  I do have to stay, that in some strange way, I really do love it.  I'm sure all of you feel the same way.

 

 

post #10 of 14

IF THE CHEF SENDS MERCHANDISE BACK, i REALLY RESPECT THAT. The only way to produce quality is to start with the components that assure quality. We do not pay these purveyors with broken , defective  or bad money, so then why do they think we will accept broken, defective or bad products??  Good for him

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...

Reply

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...

Reply
post #11 of 14

That's very impressive that with no previous experience, after five months you were staging and ended up getting a job offer.  Good for you man!  I've been at it a year now, and don't feel like I'm ready to do something like that...

 

As for your question, I can see it both ways.  Yes the chef was probably 'exploiting' you with lesser pay, but he also gave you a shot and an opportunity.  I feel similarly with my chef, there's a bit of gratitude/loyalty, at least for the time being.  Glad to hear it all worked out, at the end of the day you should do what's best for you.

post #12 of 14

I had one simple credo while I was starting out and it was this, If I'm not earning, or learning I'm leaving. When you're young you can add fun to that but, if you need money then you should at least discuss this with your chef, if he respects the work you are doing he'll show you or at least be honest whith you about it, you need to be honest with him too he may not know things about you that you may take for granted.

post #13 of 14

Wow, congrats on your success so far.  And I'm glad you were able to leave on good terms.  Stay in touch with your chef, as I'm sure he'd be glad to help you out in the future.  I still stay in touch with my chef (who's as much a personal friend now as my teacher) and he has always been glad to help me with questions I've had or finding resources for things.  Good luck at your new job, and with your future endeavors!

post #14 of 14

Maybe this can help.

 

Tell the chef in your current job that you can help if he needs another person in the future when someone does not show up and you are available.  Never make one chef mad.  Maybe  he knows some chefs you will encounter in the future.  Established chefs frown at disloyalty, ungratefulness, and exploitation of their knowledge.    

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