Hi community, this is my first post. I've cooked for a couple of years but the job I have now quickly taught me that I wasn't really cooking like I want to until now. I work for probably the best boss in the universe, and possibly one of the coolest restaurants out there. I cannot tell you all how fortunate I feel and how much I love what I do. I just feel like there are improvements I need to really make with speed and knife cuts and plating to keep up. I try as hard as I can to keep a good pace, but some days I feel so unfocused and slow. Other days my lists grow, I'm jumping over to help on a station, sometimes busting some suds--and it all gets done fine. For you seasoned chefs and cooks out there, what are the best pointers you can give me? My heart is one hundred per cent in the work, my ears are open and my hands are ready. What can I do to be the best cook I can be, and how do you all suggest maintaining focus and quality?
New to fine dining. Need some advice.
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Sounds like you are on the right track. There is no substitute for experience, and as you gain confidence in your abilities and the hard tasks you are doing now become more routine, the easier it gets (though it never gets "easy") and the faster you will be.
Some more specific examples might help too...where exactly are your techniques lacking?
Listen, willingness to learn and attitude are about 70%. You seem to have that, the rest should come with experience and dedication.
Here are a few words of advice.
Set standards for yourself. Don't ever try to get away with sending something sub par out the door. Make sure the standard comes from YOU. Would YOU want to eat it? Does it represent YOU the way it should? Would chef be proud of you sending it out?
If you make a mistake, own it. Don't try to hide it, don't lie, don't blame someone else. If you mess up, say "chef I messed up." Let them tell you how to fix it. He/she might yell at you, whatever, but I almost guarantee they will have more respect for you than if you tried to hide it or send it to the diner.
Keep a recipe journal. Write everything down--recipes, plate ups, ideas, menu items you like, etc. These are valuable now, but will remain valuable throughout your career as you look back for ideas/inspiration.
Like I said, sounds like you are on the right track. Keep it up.