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Lazy Chef

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Alright, so I'm a culinary student and took a job at a local Irish pub and restaurant. Now the restaurant had a horrible reputation awhile back and it only pumped out deep fried drunk food. So a year ago the guy who took over the place made some changes and improved the place. However He seemed to stop giving a damn about progressing the food. 

- We make a homemade Guinness beef stew. I discussed with his making it 3 times a week. His response was "Well, the soup has a 1 week shelf life." O.K whatever, he seemed defensive about it so I left the subject. So winter goes and summer comes and beef stew sales drop. I was worried when he made another 22qt batch of our beef stew. As always it was dated and put into the reach in and after the week was up i noticed we were at around 90% still. I gave him a heads up it was past the shelf life and let it be. Then I came back 3 days later and the soup was still there. I rolled my eyes, at week 2 I left him a note saying it was double the shelf life and should be tossed. His response was to rip the date off the container and continued to serve that soup well past 4 weeks.


- Next, coleslaw is made by adding mayo and fennel seed. We buy pre-cut coleslaw mix while we have bags of cabbage down stairs rotting.

I cant trow out the cabbage because he thinks that if you remove the first few layers the inside is ok and can be used for things like stuffed cabbage. The cabbage is from Saint Patrick's day. 


- Our downstairs walk in runs at 40 degrees. I tell him also everyday and I've started to record time, temp, and date on the walk in. His response is he will get around to it.


- He also solely buys from Sysco and falls for the reps pushes. Like right now we have 4 boxes of Aztec Chili with Ancient Grains frozen soup. I mean you go into an irish pub and the soup of the day is Aztec Chili with Ancient Grains, painful. Also the soups are not of the day, you'll be lucky its from the same week.

- He also does not follow last in last out. If i didn't flip the line every night we would have precooked chicken sitting at the bottom of a 3 week old unwash cambro with fresh chicken on the top.  


So I'm faced with a unique issue. I am sometimes embarrassed with that i have to serve. I need to be careful since i could quickly alienate myself if i try changing things quickly. But at the same time I worry about things like our fridge hovering around 40-44 degrees. He also would cook raw chicken, take no temp, them toss them into the line to be grilled later. So i also struggle with the fact that this could seriously be dangerous. So what I really need is some inspiration for some easy to make Irish food. Maybe if i get him making new easy dishes then I can slowly get him working towards something more. 

post #2 of 13

Moved to pro chef forum.


So you stick to your values as best as you can.  You can temp the chicken right?  Then temp it everytime.  If you can make a smaller batch of the soup, then make a smaller batch.  This is a growing experience for you.  Even places like these can find ways to be successful.  You cannot override the chef's decision, but you can stick with what you believe to be correct.

post #3 of 13

So you stick to your values as best as you can


Sorry, but I wouldn't stick with anything around there.  I'd get out as quickly as you can.  It's only a matter of time before this guy makes a bunch of people really sick and you don't want to be anywhere near that place when it happens.  I mean, if the guy won't even follow one of the most basic principals of food safety (making sure coolers that hold TCS foods are 40° or cooler) then this guy doesn't really care and you don't want your name being associated with this guy, in any way, when he makes a bunch of people sick.  Get out and don't look back.

post #4 of 13

I agree with Pete, get out of there, he"s goin down and he's gonna take you with him. If a health inspector walked in you would be shut down. That being said, never let anyone affect your principles, I tell my cooks all the time, Discipline is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. Keep your standards up, this won't be your last job and it's easier to keep up good standards than to change bad habits.

post #5 of 13

Get another job lined up. As soon as you're hired, call a health inspector and let them know what's going on and then get out of there. I cannot stand when people who think they know business try to run a kitchen with no food experience. 

post #6 of 13

Get out of there, before someone gets food poisoning and he blames you. Remember he already has a bad rep but you don't  YET

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...


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...

post #7 of 13

quit now, you don't want to stay there long enough that in the future you need to put that place on your resume. i agree with with calling the health department after you leave but don't bad mouth the chef or the establishment during your job interviews. do the owner and/or general manager know about this or do they not care either?

post #8 of 13
Originally Posted by NhLineCook View Post


So I'm faced with a unique issue.


Lol, no you're not. 


Unfortunately, this type of thing is all too common in the industry. It is one of the reasons why, before you get hired on a job, you should work in the kitchen for a shift (or even a half shift) to see what it is like, how they operate, cleanliness, professionalism, etc. At the very least, during the interview, ask to see the kitchen and have a look around. You can tell a lot just by having a walk through. 


If you are in NH, then I feel for you, because I know the number of quality restaurants is small. Your pool of potential workplaces may be tiny, so it may be hard to take the advice of "quit and find something better" (although that really is the best advice). If at all possible, find another job ASAP and don't look back. Also, when/if you interview with another chef, please don't badmouth the Pub during the interview. Everything you say may very well be true, but you will come off looking bad. Just say that you are looking for another job to "expand your cooking horizons" or something. Chefs know each other, so keep that in mind. 


The fact is, and the reason why everyone is telling you to get out ASAP, is that guy/chef isn't going to change. There is no way that you, as a culinary student, are going to give him advice that he will hear and take to heart. It sucks. Yes, the fridge is slightly too warm, he makes big batches of food and then lets it sit and fester, doesn't do FIFO, etc, and it is this way because he doesn't give a shit. You, unfortunately, cannot squeeze blood from a turnip and you can't make a lazy, burned out chef give a shit. 


You could try talking to him calmly and rationally, laying everything out you just stated in a clear, concise manner, and seeing if anything gets through, but I doubt it.


Quite the pickle. Hopefully you are by the seacoast so there might be some jobs. 

post #9 of 13

Ugh, put in your 2 week notice and run like hell.  Never look back.  Actually you most likely won't need to, you'll read about it in the paper.  You're obviously above his level of reasoning.  Where I am currently, we scrap the line at the end of the night.  If a soup lasts for more than 5 days, regardless of how much is left, it gets tossed, and we still manage to turn a keen profit.  If it's a pub, most of his money comes from booze, which is a cash cow.  Either his bartenders suck, business is horrible or he's skimming off the top; there's just no reason to operate like that.

post #10 of 13
Nhlinecook there are a lot of great restaurants in NH especially on the seacoast. I have a lot of friends in the area and if you're still looking p.m. And we can chat.
post #11 of 13

Try to find some other job...working like that is a sign that you agree with that...even if you are not...!!!


post #12 of 13

Just call the health inspector and inform them of the situation. This is more than just laziness he could make someone very sick or possibly kill them depending on the kitchen. As a chef and moral human being it shouldn't matter whether your employed there or not if you see something wrong take action with the owners first but personally I would call the health inspector to get the issue resolved immediately.

post #13 of 13

wow man, i almost thought i was the only person. im in a very similar situation. i try to stick it out, and correct people in their misinformation about the way things are supposed to be done in a kitchen - after all, its not a home kitchen, its a commercial restaurant, things are done alot different. i know that staying in this place will not only drive me insane with everything that is wrong, but i fear that it will also begin affecting MY values in the kitchen and knowledge of the business. its hard to bite your tongue and not get into a fight with the owners when they dont follow safety standards, practice FIFO with RTE foods, and a number of other things that make me (as well as any other food service PROFESSIONAL) cringe. however, i have also learned that standing up and calling your boss out about things like that, will only make the situation worse. why start a fight? no. someone whos been using these unacceptable practices for so long, will never change, or ever understand what he/she is doing wrong. so i am currently in the process of getting back into a REAL kitchen, then i will hit the ground running, and inform him that i can not, and will not, continue to put my reputation at risk by working in his establishment. this is the kind of job that i have reservations about even putting on a resume. anyway, get away. as fast as possible. best of luck to you!

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