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Lead cook "role"?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I ask this question because I rarely see things like this anymore.

 

Do restaurants still use rounds cooks, Junior Sous or "lead cooks"?  it seems like in Boston, you just don't see this happening at all. I'm very content in my role as a Junior Sous Chef, but I still stage' at various Boston restaurants as much as I possibly can, which my chef(s) know about, and don't object to.

 

I ask, because I just don't see people taking the bull by the horns during dinner service, now obviously when i'm at these other restaurants I have to be careful and mindful of what I say, because I don't work there, but I pull no punches at my home club as far as who is running the line.

 

It seems like a lack of communication, as a whole, IMO. I don't hear people talking, or if they are talking, it's about last nights Southpark or Family Guy episodes, i'm not going to lie, it's fairly disheartening to hear stuff like that during dinner service.

 

What do you think, are these dying roles in a kitchen?

post #2 of 10

I really cannot answer your question, but i can share my experience...

 

I work currently in a production facility and there i am full time and paid more than the part timers so they expect more from me...  I have absolutely no issues with that whatsoever  and I do my very best to ensure my department is up to snuff so to speak and then some..  I have never been one to slack off when it comes to work and when I see something needs to be done I roll up my sleeves and get the job done.   I have had more than my fair share of cheese chopping marathons because the boss knows i can pull a rabbit out of my hat when it comes to cheese chopping, but even he said that we need to share that with the other people in my department.   I'm the lead in my department and the bosses respect my experience...

 

I agree,,, I don't see people taking the bull by the horns either... they seem too afraid or something to take that jump for some reason...

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??
Reply
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeniek View Post

 

 

I agree,,, I don't see people taking the bull by the horns either... they seem too afraid or something to take that jump for some reason...

It seems to me people don't want to step on anyone elses toes to get to their goals. I took jobs from 3 other people to get where I am, and I don't feel bad about it at all, i'm still the most humble person you'll meet, but I don't take to people slacking on their jobs one bit.

 

A lot of people, atleast in this area, want to show up, cook, and go home with a check once a week. People don't realize what it takes to make it places in this industry, and they're fine with settling for mediocre, it would seem.

post #4 of 10

In my kitchen, There is someone on grill, someone on saute, and then 2 people on garde manger and usually 3-4 dishwashers on a busy weekend. I call the orders, help cook the food if they need it, and take food from every station to plate it. I expedite as I do this so servers know which is there's. So yes at least where I work we do. If I'm not there, I have 2-3 people doing my job so they can keep up. 

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cookers View Post

In my kitchen, There is someone on grill, someone on saute, and then 2 people on garde manger and usually 3-4 dishwashers on a busy weekend. I call the orders, help cook the food if they need it, and take food from every station to plate it. I expedite as I do this so servers know which is there's. So yes at least where I work we do. If I'm not there, I have 2-3 people doing my job so they can keep up. 

That's exactly what we have at my club. I work the grill on busy nights, we have a saute' guy, and two guys on GM.. our dishwashers are actually convicts from a local prison release program, but they bust ass.

 

Our Sous expedites, i'd much rather have him running the veg and setting plates, but they don't see it that way. The situation is that I can't run the whole line from the grill, which I wish I could, I have the expedited printer, so I see all cold items going with my apps and entrees, but the timing is always off, no matter how hard I push, people are still off.. we've gone over this situation probably 100 times, and yet nothing changes on how dinner is run. We always have to wait on veg to get warm before we can pickup orders, which I find totally unacceptable.

 

FOH is a whole different story, one night they'll run flawless on how they seat, and the next night it's a total circus, with 8-12 tables being sat at once, and all firing at the same time.

post #6 of 10

If the place needs a manager or lead or sous they should pay the person to do it. Why should anyone take the head  man position when they are not appreciated or compansated. The owners and upper management deserve what they creat.

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 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquirrelRJ View Post

 I still stage' at various Boston restaurants as much as I possibly can, which my chef(s) know about, and don't object to.

 

Hi Chef. Just curious: If you are working right now why do you stage at other restaurants? I plan on doing the same when I move to NYC. What are the benefits in doing this? What are the steps in finding restaurants that are willing to let you stage and how do you tell your Exec.Chef about it? Thanks.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexalexnyc View Post

Hi Chef. Just curious: If you are working right now why do you stage at other restaurants? I plan on doing the same when I move to NYC. What are the benefits in doing this? What are the steps in finding restaurants that are willing to let you stage and how do you tell your Exec.Chef about it? Thanks.

The benefits are huge, every restaurant kitchen is different and a lot can be learned by spending a week in someone else's kitchen.  As to how to find a restaurant willing to let you do it, all you can do is ask, the worst thing that will happen is someone says no.   Most restaurants are not going to turn away qualified free labor though.   I still know of a few  EXECUTIVE chefs that will go and stage somewhere exceptional in order to bring back some new ideas.  

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquirrelRJ View Post

That's exactly what we have at my club. I work the grill on busy nights, we have a saute' guy, and two guys on GM.. our dishwashers are actually convicts from a local prison release program, but they bust ass.

 

Our Sous expedites, i'd much rather have him running the veg and setting plates, but they don't see it that way. The situation is that I can't run the whole line from the grill, which I wish I could, I have the expedited printer, so I see all cold items going with my apps and entrees, but the timing is always off, no matter how hard I push, people are still off.. we've gone over this situation probably 100 times, and yet nothing changes on how dinner is run. We always have to wait on veg to get warm before we can pickup orders, which I find totally unacceptable.

 

FOH is a whole different story, one night they'll run flawless on how they seat, and the next night it's a total circus, with 8-12 tables being sat at once, and all firing at the same time.

 

Everything we do is made from scratch for the most part right then and there which makes it even more difficult when busy, however our timing is never really off. Are people just being lazy? Is there a lack of communication between stations? If it's just you trying to make it all work together, walk away. Try to overcome the guilt knowing the plates aren't going out up to par like they should if you're the one who is all about quality and let them figure it out on their own. Sometimes when you sit back and you let others sink, they will try to develop a system of their own and if doesn't work, they'll ask for help. This is how I train my cooks to become faster. I let them get behind and let them do everything. When they need help and I join in, they have to show me where they are. By showing me, they are developing a system and work together as a team with me. 

post #10 of 10

When you work on a line, one of the main goals is to create the menu items in a fast efficient manner. When saute or grill backs up it can throw a wrench into production big time.

It takes a keen eye and multiple skills to pull off a station. Prep must be done in advance, timing, ovens.....all being the responsibility of each cook. The hard part is not the food.

The hard part is creating a team that can and will work together to the get the job done. If that means that grill has to saute or place veggies or starches on the plate so be it.

If the broiler guy has more orders than room on the grill with steaks waiting to be cooked yet, not much can be done. Sometimes steaks can be removed to sizzler plates and finished in the oven to make more room.....whatever the case, my point is that the team should all work together to get those orders out.

The cooks need to be taught this from the beginning and as each new employee comes in the "team" should welcome him/her in and help them to join that team.

I know this i almost fantasy but.....it is the best way to work.

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