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You know those little piss ant prep cooks?

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

The following is a plea to managers far and wide;

I am really trying my hardest I am. I feel so terrible when I disappoint chef. Im late to work but it isnt because I like to sleep in its because of a sleep schedule that develops when unemployed. Imagine if you had to flip your sleep schedule all of a sudden.

 

Im sorry I cant do my job right but it would be appreciated if you would do something more than just get mad and take the time to teach me something as opposed to condescending to me? Im really smart I am, I can learn this I just need to be show how to do stuff. Because alot of the things you need me to do arent as familiar to me. I dont have the muscle memory to french a rack of lamb as fast as you or your other workers im sorry but it takes time. Didnt you need time when you started out?

 

NOT EVERYONE HAS CHEF HANDS AND CAN GRAB A PAN RIGHT OUT OF A STEAMTABLE/hotbox/line

 

Ok well now that that is over tell me back what I do that upsets you the most. I want it all. But explain why this upsets you, and why it would be so terrible to take some time and talk with the prep cook one on one about it after shift over a cigarette or something.

post #2 of 44

Your excuse for being late is poor, regardless of your former situation, you show up on time, it's that simple.

post #3 of 44

First of all, never be late!  Set your alarm one hour earlier, show respect.  If you want to learn and stay in this profession, keep your eyes open, come in early, watch the others perform, learn.  If you don't think this is worth it, work at a McDonald's.  This new career is very demanding, especially in today's tough market.  A few years ago it was okay to have extra staff on, today's market is very competitive and you will have to make sacrifices.  Culinary Arts is always changing, but the basics will remain the same as it has been for centuries, learn those first, then you can hone up on different cuisines.  If you don't want to take the time to study the art, find a simple job, like teaching or brain surgery.  Being an artist is something that comes naturally or learned but either way, it is a discipline of love.  I don't mean to sound negative, it is a choice, for many it is a long struggle to achieve your goal (setting one is a must) and for some it comes quicker.  Remember, respect is the most important issue in a kitchen if you want to survive, it comes in handy to know, as for one day, you may become a Chef and you will have known what is expected of an apprentice.  Endure, it is worth it.

post #4 of 44

I would explain to him that a job is a job. It is a privilege to work for you and not a right, however he does have the right to quit at any given time. I have extremely bad sleeping problems that allow me anywhere from 3-5 hours of sleep on average. I am still at work on time every day. There's nothing stopping him from doing that. Tell him to cut the bull, step his game up and show you what he's made of, and if he assures you he's a good worker, you will show him the way to getting those chef hands. However if he fails, you'll find a replacement who can DO THE JOB. 

post #5 of 44

Had a prep guy once, complained he was always late 'cause the bus was always late.  I liked the guy, so I looked him square in the eye and told him to take an earlier bus, get here earlier, sit in the staff room with a coffee, and start work on time.  He was smart and did just that.

 

Then again, I had a waitress who complained her bus was always late.  I didn't like her, so I told her to come to work 30 minutes later, but with the same quitting time.  Two days later it's the same complaint, "No problem", I tell her, "start work a half hour later, but the same quitting time".  This shite went on until she was only working 4 hours/day.  She freaked when she saw her paycheck that month and left.  I didn't like her......

...."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 #6 of 44

Ever gone to a baseball game?? 1 then 2 then 3 strikes and your OUT   And stop with the ecxuses do something about it and stop blaming society.

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 #7 of 44

We fired a guy who had a doctorate in Food Science because he couldnt make it to work on time, ALWAYS 18 minutes late.  No kids to drop off, no 2nd job, no reason other than he was ALWAYS late.  Boss asked him repeatedly to come in ontime like everyone else and finally one day had enough and at 8:18 when the guy walked in like he did everyday he was handed a 2 week severance check and his paycheck with a box and told to clean out his desk and go some place that started at 8:30 to accomodate his schedule. 

 

BEING LATE IS A SIGN OF LAZINESS!!

 

Pot is too hot, CARRY A TOWEL ON YOUR APRON, IN YOUR BACK POCKET AND OVER YOUR SHOULDER!!

 

Dont french racks fast enough?  Offer to come in early or on your day off and do it for free to work on your speed and show the Chef you are committed to him and the craft.

 

Nobody cares if youre smart at this point, they care if you can perform.

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.
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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.
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post #8 of 44

You should schedule them late and then work the heck out of them.  Then when they complain tell them to come in a half hour early.

post #9 of 44

So much fo the pity-wallow, eh?....................... 

...."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 44

Like others, you lost me immediately with your weak excuse for arriving late for work.

So, you start your day on a negative note, and then wonder why you are looked at negatively about everything else you do?

You are unreliable.

As a Chef, why would I want to put more effort into improving your skills than you do?

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #11 of 44

This guy cant be serious, if he is its not even worthy of replying to

post #12 of 44

Although the reason this fellow offers for being late is obviously lame an he comes across as a bit whiney, the responses that follow from "professional" chefs are indicative of a pervasive kitchen culture that I can only describe as bullying. Like the chef he works for, instead of offering the constructive advice he asks for, the "pros" here choose to berate him further.

 

This kind of behavior is so familiar, so pervasive in this industry. So few understand how expensive and counter-productive it is. It takes 3 months of full time work to properly train someone in just about any kind of production job.

If you as a chef, owner, or manager commit to hiring someone, why on earth would you choose to make that training period take longer and cost you more than it already does?

Teaching by intimidation does not work. This is not the army where you must break down a recruit's individuality so he can become part of an organized fighting unit. It's a kitchen where fine motor skills are taught and learned through repetitive practice. 

 

Now, Damnprepcook, here's some useful advice-

Like Woody Allen once said, "Half of success is just showing up". Show up on time. My Dad, an Air Force Colonel, drilled into us-"If you give a damn about anything, show up 15 minutes early." A lot about your dedication and commitment to the job is communicated by when and how you arrive at the job site. If you walk in, put on an apron and get to work-that's good. If you show up, get a coffee, socialize with a wait or two, then stand around waiting to be told what to do, no pro will take that as anything but lack of interest and drive.

 

One thing you can do that will indicate your dedication to learning is to bring a small notebook with you and make notes about how the chef does things. Ask questions and make note of the answers. If you show you can repeat tomorrow what you were shown today. No, you might not have the muscle memory yet, but do what you can on your own to develop it-practice on celery at home. Watch YouTube videos on frenching lamb racks, quartering chickens and cleaning the silver skin off tenderloins.

 

Don't offer opinions, just do the work how it's done in the shop you're working for. Stand up straight, show up ready to go, keep your work place tidy and organized, clean up after others without being told to. Go above and beyond to make others' work easier and the same will eventually be afforded to you. 

 

In your defense, you may be working for one big jerk of a chef-there are lots of them out there. Sometimes places, for whatever reason, have such high turnover that the chef just has to fill a job with a warm body to get through the day meanwhile, he's doing the majority of the work himself. You don't know what kind of pressure the guy may be under. Or, he might just be a mean ass drunk too. You just don't know.

 

Whatever it is, if you want to do kitchen work, develop as many skills on your own as you can. Develop as much of a photographic memory as you can (but notebooks help.) Keep your head down and apply yourself. Think of it as boot camp and do all you can to help the other members of your team.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #13 of 44
Quote:
Teaching by intimidation does not work

I have to disagree there.  Its not necessary to teach that way as there are other methods that work, but for a long time guys that were complete and total terrors in the kitchen produced some excellent cooks.   Just look at all the great chefs trained by guys like Marco Pierre White and Joel Robuchon.  Those guys were notorious tyrants in the kitchen.

post #14 of 44

Hey lady, before you make statements about being professional and bullying this guy, read the thread about how to deal with kitchen a******* and you will see many people sticking up for and giving advice to a young cook and chastising those who were picking on him. This fellow on the other hand is joking with his post or his reasons for complaining are pathetic.

post #15 of 44

That may be true ez. But it's clear that this guy (or girl) is young and inexperienced, but interested. 

He asked for advice.

Why not give him something useful?

 

Continuing to bully him serves little purpose other than to further the negative stereotype of the a$$---e chef?

Chefs I learned most from were the skilled, efficient workers-not the blowhards.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #16 of 44

I re-read my post.

I saw nothing bullying.

I asked questions that should cause a person to use some insight to find their own answers.

 

Not every chef has time to give an employee the time the OP is requesting.

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

I'm supposed to devote my entire attention after a 17 hour day to explain why showing up late is a problem in a kitchen?

Maybe if the OP showed up early I could find that time.

 

Kudos to the food editor for taking the time to lay some things out for the OP.

To chastise me or others for not doing the same seems, well, rather bullying.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #17 of 44

The "late to work" bothers me.

 

Why would I go out of my way when someone doesn't go out of their way to be on time?

 

For me, there are very few valid reasons to be late to work, and virtually all of the valid reasons revolve around a one time emergency, usually involving medical assistance.

 

On time, or early, gives me hope that there might be some potential worth nurturing. Otherwise....

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #18 of 44

Everyone who responded to the O.P. picked up on the late-for-work business.

 

And as with others, I have re-read my post and could find no bullying or negativeness.

 

There is a lot of advice in the above posts.  But I also must say that any Chef who is not obliged with an apprenticeship contract, is also not obliged--by any law or covenant--to show his employees techniques or offer advice, insight or explanations. 

 

And not to put too fine a point on it, but I know of many Japanese cooks who, if ever late, must apologize and bow to EVERY member of the kitchen before putting on an apron.

...."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 #19 of 44

You stated ""I am really smart""  How smart can you be if you are late all the time??

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 #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefhow View Post

We fired a guy who had a doctorate in Food Science because he couldnt make it to work on time, ALWAYS 18 minutes late.  No kids to drop off, no 2nd job, no reason other than he was ALWAYS late.  Boss asked him repeatedly to come in ontime like everyone else and finally one day had enough and at 8:18 when the guy walked in like he did everyday he was handed a 2 week severance check and his paycheck with a box and told to clean out his desk and go some place that started at 8:30 to accomodate his schedule. 

 

BEING LATE IS A SIGN OF LAZINESS!!

 

Pot is too hot, CARRY A TOWEL ON YOUR APRON, IN YOUR BACK POCKET AND OVER YOUR SHOULDER!!

 

Dont french racks fast enough?  Offer to come in early or on your day off and do it for free to work on your speed and show the Chef you are committed to him and the craft.

 

Nobody cares if youre smart at this point, they care if you can perform.

 

 

Show me where I bullied this poor young man/lady in my post that I have quoted.  He's lucky he didnt get what I got from one of those "bullies" that I spent years training under and fine tuning my skills, building a thick enough skin to be able to handle the critisisms that come with being a chef and having the pressure's of a full production kitchen that does business.

Please, tell me...

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.
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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.
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post #21 of 44

OK so the the OP cant get to work on time, cant take the heat of working in a kitchen and feels the need to be hand held through the tough moments. Geeze and your just the prep cook? If you were in my kitchen the three strikes (you being late of course) would apply and I would fire you! But Just so I do not sound like a bully here is the advice. Show up early, WORK HARD, keep your mouth shut except for pertinent questions, WORK HARD, follow directions, WORK HARD, learn all you can and of course WORK HARD. Oh and it also sounds like perhaps you need to grow up but then of course I am not your father. Oh and just an FYI, I am not a bully but I am a chef and that kinda means the boss.

The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

 

But I also must say that any Chef who is not obliged with an apprenticeship contract, is also not obliged--by any law or covenant--to show his employees techniques or offer advice, insight or explanations. 

 

 

You can't be serious!

Any Chef that has passion for what he/she does has to teach and educate his staff to produce his menu and make them better at what they do.

It's the Chef's and businesses reputation on the line. I know that when I take a day off I can trust and rely on my staff to serve the food on the menu the way I showed them and to have pride in what they serve.

post #23 of 44

Of course I have  passion to teach and instruct, I've been doing it for almost 30 years now, but it's MY passion.

 

If an employee can't be bothered to show up on time, my passion to instruct that employee goes out the window.

...."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 #24 of 44

Hi, sometimes the Chef can have a bad day too.  As far as the photographic memory a phone camera will help too.  But being late, everyone doesn't know you will even be in so they start the day off with having to start what you need in your station.  That's not fair.  Not a team player.

post #25 of 44

The Chef having a bad day makes that prep cooks day even harder when they show up late over and over again.  In fact, if the Chef is having a bad day and they walk in late for the umpteenth time they may end up looking for a new job rather than facing a harder than normal shift.

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.
Reply
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.
Reply
post #26 of 44

Early Is ontime, ontime is late, and late is never acceptable, Well almost never accptable.....  I think your starting your day on the wrong foot, I understand your sleep schedule has been fliped but thats no excuse, a few weeks on the job you should be getting used to it unless they are bringing you in all differnet kind of hours. Im training somone right now that has no experence and was my dishwasher, He has always been on time and gives me respect, I have a more senior person and he wonders why I dont train him to cook, Its because hes late, lazy and has no respect for me or my kithen.  Not every one can pick up pans out of the hot box or steam table but thats an easy fix.  If you want to make it in this industy push your self to be the best and learn on your own.  When i was a cook if i didnt read all the forums and cooks books that i did I woulndt know what i know.  Its all about one thing really, PASSION, either you have it or you dont, If you cant get to work on time then i will question yours....Good luck

post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by prepcook View Post

Ok well now that that is over tell me back what I do that upsets you the most. I want it all. But explain why this upsets you, and why it would be so terrible to take some time and talk with the prep cook one on one about it after shift over a cigarette or something.

 

As previously mentioned, BE ON TIME (this means early).

 

I am not certain of your age, but you clearly sound like you are part of the "entitlement generation".  You are in the wrong business if you feel that your Chef needs to explain to you what upsets him.  It's his kitchen, YOU had better catch on quickly.  If you feel you are not being taught, it may be that you are not paying the proper attention to what is happening around you at work.  Your Chef has a myriad of responsibilities other than teaching a prep cook.

 

In short, suck it up buttercup...

 

Good luck though.  Forward thinking in your daily duties may help you!

post #28 of 44

This is me, beating a dead horse.

 

When I was a kid and prepping, I didn't drive.  I called a cab 45 minutes before my shift, to make sure I was there at least 15 minutes early, no matter what.  I actually enjoyed being there early, because it gave me time to chat with the Chef.  I'd work alongside him off the clock and he ended up telling me "Know what, just clock in as soon as you get here everyday.  You bust your @ss, I see that."  That man taught me a lot about running a proper kitchen;  not just cooking, but how to talk to people.  Know one thing he'd never tolerate?  Anyone being late.  I watched him fire one of his sous chefs (who'd been working for him for a few years) one day because he was late 3 times in a month.

 

I've kept that mentality.  3 strikes, you're out.  I'm always interested in teaching young talent, and I'll bend a lot...but if you can't even be on time...don't bother showing up at all, I'll replace you with someone with a better work ethic.  Not trying to be an @ss here, but that's just how it is.

post #29 of 44

This pretty much sums it up, for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adamm View Post

.  Its all about one thing really, PASSION, either you have it or you dont.

post #30 of 44

Agreed. It is not about being a HA it's about the way it is, and should be.

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
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