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pride versus practicality

Poll Results: should i stay, or should i go?

 
  • 33% (2)
    ride it out for a while
  • 33% (2)
    quit as soon as possible
  • 33% (2)
    suck it up and settle into your new career for the next 5+ years
  • 0% (0)
    other (please explain)
6 Total Votes  
post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've recently started a new job in a hotel. I was extremely excited for the job due to the perks. Free gym use, super discounted rooms world wide, 401k option after a year, benefits after 90 days, plus a few other things. It's a super, super easy job, and the pay is pretty good. However, I already know it isn't where I want to be. The food is sub par, the restaurant side is DEAD and they rely almost entirely on banquet revenue. The first night I worked the line there they did $895 in sales through the restaurant and considered it a busy night. It's a sysco kitchen, basically everything is frozen (aside from produce for the most part). It's a title, and the pay is alright, but it isn't exactly a creative outlet, and I'm slightly embarrassed of the quality of the food I'm forced to put out. I've been going back in forth in my head, liking it, hating it, liking it, hating it. It's a solid job, and I can always be creative at home if I want, but I just want a more prestigious kitchen job. Somewhere where 90%+ of the food is made in house, the flavors are bold and delicious, the demi is actually made from bones, not Minors tubs, and I have some creative freedom and input in the menu. I feel like this place is going to crush my work ethic (due to the extreme slow season until march) and creativity. I don't feel I can grow as a cook, but I do think I could learn a little more as far as the managerial side of kitchen operations.

So I'm stuck...do is suck it up and hang in for a year or two for the experience and stability, or do I seek employment elsewhere, which could mean more risk of losing my job a new place were to close of me.

Decisions, decisions...anyone else ever face a similar moral dilemma?
post #2 of 10

Sometimes you have to fight your battles one at a time.. If you dont want to stick it out and try to help their restaurant revenue thats up to you.. But one thing Ive learned being a chef is you have to change things.. It normally takes be 8 months to a year to mold a restaurant to my desired food costs to make good revenue.. and not all things are bad. I understand making everything from scratch.. Trust me I do but there are some things taking for instance making demi from scratch by roasting off your veal bones and making up the mirapoix etc etc.. When I made demi from scratch it would take me a good 16 hours of simmering and straining.. Then I switched to a bastardised product for a while to see if anyone would notice.. They didn't and still never have and I have been going up in revenue.. But its not about the demi its about making unique dishes and making the customers happy.. Keep the food simple and fresh try to make everything from scratch within your labor and your ability and if you cant then find a product suitable until you can.. And Like I say fight your battles one at a time especially if your not happy with the current situation.. And if the person who hired you doesn't trust you to run their kitchen or let you have any input or creativity maybe you should go looking for work elsewhere if the opportunity is available and that should be a priority especially if your not happy.. money does matter but only so much and if you have to make a living off something you think you love to do. money should never be an issue so dont put up with that crap unless youve got mouths at home to feed.. then just look for the best way out unless you want to be miserable....  

 

-Chef Red

post #3 of 10

Most hotel restaurants unless privatly franchised by a top name are sub par. Banquet is and always was where the $$ is.

     Figure it out You did $895.00 in the restaurant in a a night. One banquet lets say wedding of 100 guest F & B only @ $85.00 pp is $8500.00 in the same amount of time. With a food cost of about 15 to 23%. Yo can't fight figures

    When I was much younger I ran a facility in NY with 6 ballrooms, we fed in season about 10000 patrons per week.  Our gross $ was 17 million $ per year with an amazing 11 % food cost .

     Why such a low cost? because of the huge volume and because everything was made from scratch.  This was in the 70s so you can imagine what 17 million was then. As an example of volume I purchased about  400 as is primal ribs of beef a week,and we butchered our own, not counting chickens, fish, duck, veal and everything else. The funny part is that it was upscale catering and in those days a minimum of 45 to 50 $  a person. Even the waiters made a lot of money then, AND WOULD ACTUALLY BUY THE JOBS.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL  EJB.

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...

Reply
post #4 of 10

"Most hotel restaurants unless privately franchised by a top name are sub par."

 

Chef Ed I don't think you can speculate on the quality of hotel restaurant food anymore these days. Many of them are top quality, of course, depending upon location and talent.

post #5 of 10

When I was younger and more naive I really thought restaurants were about making great food.  Now I understand that they're about making money.  I honestly do understand where you're coming from; it's no fun to fun working in a Sysco kitchen.  I too ran one years ago, everything Sysco and nearly everything out of a box, bottle or can.  Only you can determine what to do, but I suggest sticking it out for a year if you can.  Almost every job will teach you something, even if it's what not to do.  I don't know what the outlook is where you are or if you've "made a name" for yourself already but lots of people are lucky to be working at all.  Is your work history strong now?  If so, quitting one job after a short period of work won't hurt you.  If your work history isn't good, another short stint will just reinforce your rep as a flake.  When I see a resume that lists a dozen jobs in three years I won't even consider it.

"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
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"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
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post #6 of 10

You can learn a lot about running a kitchen.  The banquet side is pretty eye opening for people coming in from a restaurant, plus, you will get the experience of running two weddings, four meetings, one senior luncheon, the bar, the restaurant menu, the lobby cafe buffet, and employee food all at the same time.

post #7 of 10

Kuan is correct, what he described is how I broke my cherry, was the best place I ever worked, 1000 seat ball room, three other smaller rooms, 250 seat dining room. 

I learned a lot and advanced quickly through the corp and would never had all that different experience working in a small indi restaurant.

 

post #8 of 10

I have found that banquet cooks make the transition well to line work but take a line cook and work with them in high production feeding and they lose it.

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post

I have found that banquet cooks make the transition well to line work but take a line cook and work with them in high production feeding and they lose it.



I'm working with the guy that reverses that.  He was a great banquet cook but he's barely keeping a nostril above water on the line.  We're a very busy, fast paced place and this guy just get out of "banquet mode" and gear up.  The big difference is that you don't have the entire day to have it done by a certain time.  He's always had the BEO but that never prepared him to think on his feet and react moment by moment.  If you had a 50 top in the regular restaurant but you had the complete order a week in advance you could prepare it- but then you'd be just like that banquet cook.

 

Doing 2,500 plates at once is a certain kind of challenge.  But doing that doesn't prepare your doing 250 completely different ones in the same time span.

 

In summary, knowing a guy can stand in a line and put 3,000 chicken breasts on a plate of rice he was handed doesn't mean much to me when evaluating if that person can cook the line.  Not looking for a fight, just done both sides for several decades.

"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
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post #10 of 10

Phaedrus....all good points.

I too have had issues with banquet cooks not fitting in on the line as well.

 

Where I'm coming from here is that as a banquet cook one is exposed to all the line work itself  as in broiler work, saute, pantry and baking. Albeit preparing for a one time only situation versus multiple platings through out the evening is a challenge and one that not everyone can handle....even experienced banquet cooks.  

 

 

So I guess the in between thought here would be that it depends on the individual, their motivation, and attitude......

 

 

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