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Update from a 19 year old.  

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Hello chefs. I'm not sure if any of you remember, but about 18 months ago I started a thread explaining my job. I moved up from line cook to head of the kitchen very quickly. I posted this thread immediately after becoming head of the kitchen. I was 17 years old at the time, and remember getting extremely discouraging responses from you all. "you are not a chef, your just a f***ing kid!" was one of them. I thought i'd briefly share with you how things are going. I operate a crew of 1 sous chef and 6 full time line cooks, as well as 4 kids that are part time. The oldest person on the line is 24. I'm 19. We serve between 200 and 250 covers on a weekend night, around 120 on a weeknight. The restaurant is moderately profitable and I get paid well. As do the cooks. I have a great relationship with the young (30 years old) owner, who also owns two other restaurants. I take care of scheduling, ordering, and managing the crew etc. I am gaining connections with other chefs in our immediate area, as we are in a shopping/dining/entertainment area in the urban core of our city. I have got 2 other job offers to be sous-chef around town, both of which weren't that great. Thats about it- we have a great crew and profitable restaurant. I have learned alot from ChefTalk, and thank you for all the information you give. I don't post much, I'm all eyes and ears...learned as much as i could about the business in the 4 years busting suds and searing ribeyes by the hundreds leading up to this position. Oh, and I told you so - LOL. Thanks chefs.

post #2 of 32

Sorry but I do not remember your older post but let me be the first to say congrats. Keep growing and keep learning as in this biz it never ends. At your age and experience (mine also) it is great to learn and network with other cooks/chefs as well as read/learn/tweak and apply the knowledge.

Keep up the good work and post some more of what you are up to.

The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
post #3 of 32

I'm new here, and thusly haven't read your former post.  So you're a Chef.  You manage a small kitchen.  It's profitable.  Congratulations.  Here, take this cookie.  Put that in your mouth.  Mmmm.

 

I think maybe you were met by such resentment because you held the position of Chef at such a young age, with no real experience.  Experience at that restaurant, sure, and I'm not discrediting that.  Many of us that didn't go to culinary school had to toil under a lot of different chefs before we were even allowed to wear a coat.  I'm sure you're very good at what you do, but your knowledge is therein limited by the scope of your menu.

 

I really don't mean to sound spiteful or condescending here, but you can't really pull off an "I told you so" to a large group of properly trained chefs, many of which have worked in huge kitchens, just because you're the king of a diner somewhere that no one's ever even heard of.


Edited by RBandu - 5/23/12 at 10:03pm
post #4 of 32

punctuation... then i might know what you are talking about...

 

... till then i'd have to say I haven't a clue what your update is about

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

post #5 of 32

This is the thread :

 

17 years old and Executive chef

 

 

"I'm all eyes and ears" ......always a good thing.

 

 

 

Glad you posted and gave an update.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(162 photos)
Wine and Cheese
(62 photos)
 
post #6 of 32
Quote:

I'm new here, and thusly haven't read your former post.  So you're a Chef.  You manage a small kitchen.  It's profitable.  Congratulations.  Here, take this cookie.  Put that in your mouth.  Mmmm.

 

I think maybe you were met by such resentment because you held the position of Chef at such a young age, with no real experience.  Experience at that restaurant, sure, and I'm not discrediting that.  Many of us that didn't go to culinary school had to toil under a lot of different chefs before we were even allowed to wear a coat.  I'm sure you're very good at what you do, but your knowledge is therein limited by the scope of your menu.

 

I really don't mean to sound spiteful or condescending here, but you can't really pull off an "I told you so" to a large group of properly trained chefs, many of which have worked in huge kitchens, just because you're the king of a diner somewhere that no one's ever even heard of.

 

I post an update. I never ask for your 2 cents. I realize everything your telling me, i wasn't born last night. No need for the condescending post. Just wanted to let the older chefs out there know what's going on, as most older chefs are interested in the next generation of troops in the trenches. It is no diner, it's a 142 seat French Brasserie.

post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by nebraskabeef View Post

 

I post an update. I never ask for your 2 cents.

You do realize you are posting on a discussion board right?  This isn't your twitter account or facebook page.

post #8 of 32

You're OK Kid. It's all good. Ride the pony you're on as long as you can, it won't last forever. When the time to move on comes along you can do it with a few $$$ in your pocket. No problemmo with that. Don't worry about any negativity. It's non-productive. Worry about dishes coming back. Our business aint'e rocket surgery, it's putting really good food on plates and serving as many happy return customers willing to give us their $$$ as we can.

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by nebraskabeef View Post

 

I post an update. I never ask for your 2 cents. I realize everything your telling me, i wasn't born last night. No need for the condescending post. Just wanted to let the older chefs out there know what's going on, as most older chefs are interested in the next generation of troops in the trenches. It is no diner, it's a 142 seat French Brasserie.

 

Nebraskabeef:

 

RBandu was directing his comment at the originator of this thread, not you. The person starting this thread runs the kitchen of a steakhouse. Regardless of that, when you start threads here, you don't get to pick and choose what type of reply you will get. As Twyst said, this is an internet discussion forum. Anyone's posts here will be discussed, that's the whole point.

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
post #10 of 32

I'm kind of confused.  Is nebraskabeef an alias of the original poster?  Also tell me more about this 142-seat "French" brewery in Nebraska. 

post #11 of 32

Like, really, I keep checking for a reply every minute. 

post #12 of 32

''4 years busting suds and searing ribeyes by the hundreds leading up to this position''

 

If that's all it took to become an executive chef and make a lot of money, why did I waste so much time learning thousands of other things? Geeeez!

post #13 of 32

Congrats.. But here is something to ponder. You are the Chef  THERE in that place and have been there 18. monthes. That does not mean that you can do this in every place. If you walked into an all continental cuisine upscale emporium ,lmay not even know what the dishes they are serving are. Not that I am trying to discourage you, but if You walked into a NYC Hotel, or club with 4 or 5 outlets  I believe you would be overwelmed and lost. I could probably ask you to prepare 5 dishes, and you would not even know what they were. You are diong well and good for the place and situation you are in, again congrats.

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 #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by nebraskabeef View Post

 Just wanted to let the older chefs out there know what's going on, as most older chefs are interested in the next generation of troops in the trenches.

 

Most of us are very interested and are glad to hear things are going well. I do have to say I'm a bit confused as it looks like we one person posting under two accounts but hey it's early and I haven't had my coffee yet. If that is the case and it's an over site then perhaps the mods could combine the accounts.

 I've always felt that if you swim in the Internet forum pool long enough eventually some one will rub your ru-barb the wrong way. That doesn't mean you have to give them the satisfaction of a response. Far easier said than done at times.

In either event now that "17yearsoldexec" has secured the position perhaps it's time for a little humility. I'm sure when most of us were in our teens and even our 20's we wanted that title of Executive Chef so bad we could taste it. Enjoy the ride but remember an Executive Chef is not a working Chef or Chef de Cuisine. If you haven't already get involved with the ACF and get your employment documented. More points for certification so you can get that C.E.C. at the end of your name.  ;)

Keep up the good work!

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 

Nebraskabeef is my dad, and i didn't realize he was still logged in when i wrote my last reply. LOL that must have seemed confusing as hell. Thanks for all the encouragement, and chefedb you are absolutely right. Like I said, I'm all ears, just learning as much as i can.

 

 

It's a 74 year-old, place that is currently owned by the grandson of the original owner, who came from france as many immigrants in Omaha have. We are known for our house-brewed beer and not-ironically out of style french classics such as coq au vin and porc mignon. Je n'ai jamais dit que je connaissais plus que quiconque. ne pas mettre des mots dans ma bouche.

post #16 of 32

Gotta love Google Translate...

Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 17yearsoldexec View Post

 We are known for our house-brewed beer and not-ironically out of style french classics such as coq au vin and porc mignon.

A french brasserie that isnt known for classic french food, but is instead known for its beer.   I am confused ><

post #18 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twyst View Post

A french brasserie that isnt known for classic french food, but is instead known for its beer.   I am confused ><

 

We are known for classic french food, that's what I said. I even gave examples of dishes...? And "Brasserie" directly translates to "Brewery" in english.

post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 17yearsoldexec View Post

 

We are known for classic french food, that's what I said. I even gave examples of dishes...? And "Brasserie" directly translates to "Brewery" in english.

lol I read what you said a different way.  I read it as we are known for beer, NOT for dishes like coq au vin ......

Now I c wut u did there

post #20 of 32

You did however mention Beer first. I to had to look twice.  Bistro's I waent to in France we mostly drank wine  and Evian water  never really went to a bad one.

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 #21 of 32

imo, some of you guys should take a mulligan!

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

post #22 of 32

So, the original post you made in March of 2011 said it was a prime/steakhouse, now it's a french brasserie? Also, 14 months later you went from doing 40-50 on the weeknights, to 120 on the weeknights, and 200-250 on the weekends? Impressive for a 19 year old to turn around a place by over 120% in 14 months.

post #23 of 32

They regularly do lunch 'banquets' on weekdays for nearby businesses, I'm guessing he threw that number in there. I know for a fact that friday and saturday nights usually break 200. He knows he would get laughed at anywhere else; that's why he seeks advice and info online. The bottom line is that the place makes a descent profit and he runs it fairly well. He knows a little about french cooking and is very fluent in mexican spanish, so working with his cooks is easy. He gets alot of help from his old man, as well as the young owner of the place. I apologize if my son offended any of you, he is very proud of what he does and I believe he was seeking some generic comments, like "nice little restaurant, keep up the good work." He gets dissed by most other chefs.

post #24 of 32

Now I am truly confused. you are his father and the owner and you are the Sous Chef? He is your son and he is the Ex. Chef?  It is a French Bistro that sells beer but used to be a Steakhouse and does  Lunch Banquets for other businesses? And his all spanish cooks cook French?  Don't know about anyone else but I am lost . As far as what applause he was expecting from us we are all trying to figure exactly what kind of place this is?

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 #25 of 32
Quote:
As far as what applause he was expecting from us we are all trying to figure exactly what kind of place this is?

Exactly. It's difficult to form an opinion, let alone deliver praise, even constructive

criticism to a poster offering confusing, even conflicting information... the

type of cuisine issue etc, then further complicated with the differing usernames.

I've followed both these threads, and on the face of it, I'm compelled to be

proud of a member who's gained such a level of responsibilty in this industry at

so young an age, and the 19 year old in this case does express himself fairly

well in wirting....another contrast to what would be typical of his contemporary

peer group--wish I had been as on the ball at that age. However like others

in here I cant get my head around the situation being presented. (Yes it's all in

the presentation! :-) And I too sensed a bit of "I told you so" in his post, albeit

a bit understandable, given a few of the "vibes" presented back to him in his

original thread. Add to that the new wrinkle of it being a family business, and the

confusion-emulsion thickens.

 

Which brings up an interesting point; exactly what constitutes....here, in the eyes

of several professsionals who have decades in the industry and have earned their

titles the old way, ground up, many greweling hours.... an Executive Chef.

Techinically, someone who runs or owns and runs a kitchen and is responsible

for all aspects of getting that (qualilty) product out the door would qualify, even

a Genaral Manager. But do we all consider the GM at our local Denny's for example,

an Executive chef? Well I for one, don't believe the title applies there at all.

But I have trouble applying it only to certain cuisines either.

 

All goes to the point that, as we all come from different experience-sets, our

definitions can differ. And that a new-to-the-industry chef can't expect high praise

for a title earned quickly, from Pro Chefs who've expended barrels of blood sweat

and tears to get there, many in high volume, world class kitchens.

 

The final point is one that's been covered here often--that clear informative,

consistent posts usually gain the most helpful responses.

 

-Meez

post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

Now I am truly confused. you are his father and the owner and you are the Sous Chef? He is your son and he is the Ex. Chef?  It is a French Bistro that sells beer but used to be a Steakhouse and does  Lunch Banquets for other businesses? And his all spanish cooks cook French?  Don't know about anyone else but I am lost . As far as what applause he was expecting from us we are all trying to figure exactly what kind of place this is?

 

I am his father but am in no way associated with the business, just give my son advice on a regular basis as I was a chef for years. We are in no way related to the owner. The sous chef is an entirely different guy. It is not a bistro- It's a Brasserie (which is french for Brewery) - classic french food, large menu, lots of steaks. Like most line cooks, the cooks under him are mostly mexican or ecuadorian. Just trying to straighten things out you guys all had it wrong.
 

post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by nebraskabeef View Post

. Like most line cooks, the cooks under him are mostly mexican or ecuadorian.

Is this the norm? I know of no Mexican or Ecuadorian line cooks, personally.

 

I'm still confused, because in the original thread your son made, referenced in this thread, he says it's a prime rib / steakhouse.. so they turned it into a French Brasserie as well as hiking up the business 120% in 14 months?

 

He's in the wrong aspect of the culinary industry, he should be a consultant.

post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquirrelRJ View Post

Is this the norm? I know of no Mexican or Ecuadorian line cooks, personally.

 

 

 

Kind of flabbergasted by that comment, but perhaps it was sarcasm?

 

If it's not, where are you located?   Mexican and south american cooks are the lifeblood of the restaurant industry in almost every city Ive worked in.   Im not sure how NYC would eat if all the mexican and ecuadorian cooks went on strike!

post #29 of 32

LOL. If you don't speak Spanish, then good luck working in Chicago. 

 

 

* Just as a conversational idea here, how about maybe getting off the kid's back with all the detail nit-picking already. Try to "live and let live" and lets just converse. If you're bothered so much in this thread then maybe read/contribute to some others instead.   

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

post #30 of 32

I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU READ HIS ORIGINAL POST.(as he says about 18 monthes ago) He states the place is owned by his father and it is a french bistro selling beer. I suggest you sit HIM down and tell him what  and how to discribe the place. We did not have it wrong , He did

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...

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