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Scraping the Container and Other Parsimony

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I teamed up with a fresh outta c school prep cook today to make the weeks salad dressings. We'd just finished making a big stock pot of ranch, and I'd just come back from the dry storage with a couple of boxes of oil for the vinegrettes, when I caught the guy lugging the pot over to the dish pit. "Dude," I said, " let me show you something" I got out my rubber spatula and scrapped the sides and recovered ~1 quart of dressing.

 

Are they not teaching these kinds of work habits?

post #2 of 25

No they dont. And they don't care anyway, no more $ in their pocket. Thats the attitude today

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 #3 of 25

what would make them care? 

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 25

Nothing can make them care, that has to start inside with each individual. I can show them that I care and explain why as I go along. Hopefully, they grow to care as well. I have to be consistent though, any lapses on my part only tends to erode my credibility aas an example.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #5 of 25

They are what they are, and are not caring enough," It's only a job" and the boss has plenty of money is the logic.

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 #6 of 25

I had a friend who graduated from culinary school come over and cook dinner for me and another friend the other night (a Sunday tradition where one person cooks, one buys cigars and one buys the booze), and he decided to make "Jambalaya".  I put it quotes mainly because it was more like a mushy rice and unseasoned chicken meat and chicken "andoullie" sausage (CHICKEN SAUSAGE?!?!?) and quite frankly was terrible. 

 

Anyways, my point is that he chopped up a ton of onions and celery and used about half of it and threw the rest of it a way?!  I'm like dude, did culinary school not teach you to season your food and to use everything you prep!?!?  I was shocked...and pretty upset that he just thought to throw it away.  I dunno, I thought a $50,000 education would actually TEACH YOU SOMETHING!

post #7 of 25

We have one young line cook who is a culinary grad and even the concept of rotating product seems to escape him.  Instead of looking at the dates on things he grabs whatever he can, and it's crazy.  Cleaning up after himself seems to be something else that's beyond him too...

 

We have another line cook who is also a culinary grad and he is great when it comes to every aspect of the kitchen, so honestly I think it comes down to the person as opposed to whether or not they are culinary grads...

OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #8 of 25

Agreed but once again, using your resources and not being wasteful is a VERY important aspect to the business side of cooking, and if these culinary grads want to some day be Executive Chefs, then they'll have to learn that you CANT waste what you paid for. 

 

I'm not a culinary grad but don't they teach you the business aspect of cooking?  Someone please enlighten me... Because if they're not, these students are drastically over paid for their education.

post #9 of 25

You guys have never worked in a "betting kitchen".

 

Like:

 

I'll bet you a beer that I can get what's left in that 1 gallon pail into this 1/9th insert.

 

I'll bet you two beers I can remove the entire contents of this robot-coupe into this 1/6 insert, without  getting the counter dirty, do it in 45 seconds and leave both the bowl, blade, and lid clean.

 

I'll bet you I can squeeze another half-cup of 35% whipping cream out of this quart carton that you wanted to throw out.

 

Ah those were the days, always getting free beers after work............................

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #10 of 25

You can lead a horse to water ., but you can't make him drink.  Its not the school.as in my opinion they are all the same it is the student.

       Also the odds of them becoming a true Exec.Chef are few and far between. 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...

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post #11 of 25

It all depends on the student. Culinary school gives you a million opportunities but if you are only going to achieve a piece of paper, its not for you. If you take the initiative you can learn how to do anything. You can experiment as much as you like and not have to worry about paying for it.


Edited by Bussler - 3/14/12 at 7:17am
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bussler View Post

It all depends on the student. Culinary school gives you a million opportunities but if you are only going to achieve a piece of paper, its not for you. If you take the initiative you can learn how to do anything. You can experiment as much as you like and not have to worry about paying for it.



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

You can lead a horse to water ., but you can't make him drink.  Its not the school.as in my opinion they are all the same it is the student.

       Also the odds of them becoming a true Exec.Chef are few and far between. EJB




But do cullinary schools actually teach the business aspect of cooking?  or is it just technique, ingredients, pairings etc...???

post #13 of 25

In my experience, it was predominately "technique, ingredients, pairings etc". The view of the industry that is presented is a distorted one that bears little resemblance to reality.

 

Labor is inaccurate because no kitchen has as many people in it as does a classroom kitchen. In school we had 2 people working on 1 dish on the menu. That hasn't happened anywhere in my working life. You don't clean behind yourself. You definitely don't do dishes. You don't sweep. You don't mop.

 

Food cost are skewed and not really addressed at all except in lectures. In the kitchen, it is like food cost....what is that?

 

I had already been in the industry for 10 years before I went to school. Prior to school I was trained by old school Europeans, who wasted nothing, and I mean nothing. I was shocked when I first got school. I went to administration and expressed my dismay at some of the things that I witnessed.

 

They knew where I was coming from, but as they explained, people pay money to come here, they don't want to do dishes, floors, etc. Also, in order to learn to cook food, food must be cooked and because of that waste will occur. Legalities and liability issues prohibited us from donating leftover food to charities etc.

 

I was so glad that I had real world experience before going to school and used to chuckle to myself at the culture shock newbie grads with no experience were going to experience when they hit the real world.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #14 of 25

I think a lot of it has to do with the person themselves as opposed to just culinary school students/grads. I’ve met people along the spectrum, both graduates and those who opted against school. I guess I was lucky because waste was very carefully watched where I went to culinary school. I had to take a couple classes concerning the business aspect and the chef who taught them heavily stressed not wasting anything. It also wasn’t some empty speech because all the chef instructors where pretty meticulous about making sure nothing got wasted and if you were caught, you would get reamed. By the time a bowl was to go to the dishroom, it had better be scraped out and nearly clean. I had one chef who would give you an F for the day if he caught you wasting food, no questions asked. It may not seem like a threat but when you were in school and you really couldn’t afford that, because could mean repeating the semester and paying even more money. I should add that 3 F's during the semester meant failing and repeating.

 

Every time I hear other people talk about culinary school on the board, it doesn’t really sound like my experience. The stereotype that all culinary grads seem to come out thinking they are ready to be executive chefs wanting the world to be handed to them on a silver platter. My schooling experience was anything but that. All my kitchen classes involved working individually on 1 or 2 dishes for that days menu dishes that would be served to paying customers instead of 2 or 3 people on one dish. Time actually working in the kitchen grossly outnumbered the hours just sitting in a classroom; it wasn’t uncommon for me to be in the kitchen 12-14 hours, 3-4 times a week. People had to do dishes, as well as sweeping and mopping. We were also told that after graduation, we were not to go after sous chef/executive chef jobs because it wasn’t realistic and we were not at that skill level yet. I went back to a previous summer job where I had started as a dishwasher/prep cook, started back as a grill cook, and slowly worked my way up the line. I guess I got lucky with my experience. All I’m trying to say with this last tidbit is yes, there are many culinary grads who are tools expecting the world to be handed to them, but there are also some who still plan on starting from the bottom and work their way up the old fashion way (as well as scrape the bottom of the bowl).

 

post #15 of 25

Again it is the student not the school. In your case you listened to what they tld you about seeking employment etc. You sound as if you were very serious as well as studious. In my experience most of the grads were not. Many thought they were the son of A Escoffier, when in fact they new nothing . Only what they read in a book, but with many pages missing.

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 #16 of 25

When I first read the first post on this thread by thetincook I rolled my eyes and sighed. I thought to myself........"yup" welcome to the real world.

 

School does not teach motivation.

School does not teach creative thinking

School does not teach responsibility

School does not teach sense of urgency...

The list can go on, but you get the idea.

None of the above mentioned qualities are something that can be taught either in theory or practice.

 

Either it comes as part of your personality or it doesn't.

This is one of the problems.

 

As has been spoken about already is the example where in class 3 people are making one plate of food. One of the 3 may be committed while the other 2 are just there to take up space.

The "team" get's an A for the day but most of the work was done by only the one.  This is an example of a real world situation. 

 

I had a line cook once that was homeless (I inherited him and did not know this before I took the job). Each day he would come in and go into the bathroom for 1 hour. Yup 1 whole hour, during which time he would shower, shave and clean up for work......on the time clock. When I discovered this and called him up on it, I was told he had gotten permission from the former Chef to do this.

I had no problem with it but he had to clock in "after" cleaning up as the company will not pay him for it anymore. Next day he quit.

That wasn't the end of it.....as 3 days later I got a call from someone claiming to be this guys' lawyer, seeking some kind of severance pay. (the guy hadn't even been there a year yet.)

 

Anyway the point being people will never stop surprising you with their antics.  You can't fix stupid.

post #17 of 25

I'm not going to defend or crap on culinary schools.  I personally had a really good experience at school but I worked really hard at it and tried to take advantage of all the resources the school had.  

 

I totally agree that it really comes down to the individual student (future worker) when it comes to work ethic.  No school can create good character.  A good school can make good people better, and that's about all you can expect.

 

I think the thing to remember is that this isn't confined to culinary schools.  All post-secondary education has an element of not preparing the student for the "real world."  And all schools churn out self -entitiled know-it-alls who are all swagger and no substance.

 

--Al

post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post

 

 

\ You don't clean behind yourself. You definitely don't do dishes. You don't sweep. You don't mop.

 


 

 

Wish I had gone to that culinary school!  We definitely had to do all of those things every day.


 

 

post #19 of 25

Allen ! The key words you used ""I worked very hard'' Most of them do not.

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 #20 of 25

A great school to learn food cost control and the business side of the business is and always will be CORNEL University. They were the first and still the echolon of the schools for Hospitality(not culinary)

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 #21 of 25

Yea, I was just shocked when my friend who graduated from le cordon bleu (sp?) and was so wasteful with his product... I couldn't believe that he (in my mind) didnt get his money's worth of $50,000 of "education" and they didn't spell out these simple steps to actually BEING A CHEF. 

 

Dont waste food

Accountability

food cost

and even labor cost...

 

It was a total shock that he didn't know these things after paying that kind of money.  Crazy...

post #22 of 25

The best school for learning those skills is to be an owner. Very tough curriculum though and pretty much a pass or fail grading system.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post

In my experience, it was predominately "technique, ingredients, pairings etc". The view of the industry that is presented is a distorted one that bears little resemblance to reality.

 

Labor is inaccurate because no kitchen has as many people in it as does a classroom kitchen. In school we had 2 people working on 1 dish on the menu. That has happened anywhere in my working life. You don't clean behind yourself. You definitely don't do dishes. You don't sweep. You don't mop.

 

...

 

They knew where I was coming from, but as they explained, people pay money to come here, they don't want to do dishes, floors, etc. Also, in order to learn to cook food, food must be cooked and because of that waste will occur. Legalities and liability issues prohibited us from donating leftover food to charities etc.

 

...


Funny, at the culinary school I went to, LATTC, the students did all the cleaning. In fact, I think I did more cleaning (inc dishes) at school, then I'd do on the job. Mainly because the school doesn't have dishwashers or porters. They stressed CYAG.

 

All our 'learning' production went to the campus restaurant, bakeshop, cafeteria, and the day care center we had the contract for. Sometimes, we didn't have enough demand to meet out total production capacity though.

 

post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm adding people who order salad dressing on the side to my list of food cost wreckers. The two oz cup, that seems to be standard, is more dressing then a small salad needs.

post #25 of 25

I actually went to a community college culinary school. This was good for a couple of reasons.. first, the school was broke...lol, food cost was definitely a concern (so much so that we were not allowed to throw away vegetable trimmings, we had to wait for the chef to come around and look at our waste before we could toss it.) And secondly we actually sold most of the food we made to the rest of the school, and the school depended on the revenue to buy more food. So the way we looked at it was, "the less we waste and the more we sell, the better ingredients we can get"...it worked for us. But we were only a couple of really driven students in huge program, our thinking definitely put us in the minority.

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