I'm struggling with a situation as the new chef, in a two-chef privately owned year round remote lodge operation. I've been here 3 months, and the senior chef has been here just over a year. We prepare b,l,d almost daily, share the "work load" and are more or less equals, according to our boss, although the other chef is the "decision maker, order placer, and menu maker" due to seniority, because "somebody has to be in charge".
I am very organized, clean and methodical; she is hap-hazard, disorganized and does not practice good food handling techniques, nor does she label/date anything. She leaves a mess when she goes home for the day, brags about how wonderful her own food is, and gets mad when somebody likes my cooking. I always thought that chef's like to create great things, have a passion for what they do and want to make things as good as possible under given circumstances. She looks for the easy way out, the quickest way, and leaves a trail behind her. I don't want to clean up after her, but if I need a work area that's dirty, I have no choice but to clean it. She boasts about her credentials, of going to CIA, Hyde Park, plus lots of experience post grad. working under the likes of Mark Miller, a stint at The Little Nell, collaboration with Marcus Samuelson, etc.
My credentials are boring by comparison, but my food (and attitude) has always been well received, here included, and it bothers her that I am getting complements, maybe more of them than she is. She has the bosses snowballed as to her "greatness" (or at least some of them) and I'm wondering if I just need to be patient, and let the chips fall where they may. When our billionaire owner came to town last month and I had my first opportunity to cook for him and a few guests in his private home. I prepared some of his own venison, which he loved. For dessert, my co-chef said she wanted me to re-serve some 5-day old already caramelized, long re-dissolved creme brulee! (And he loves creme brulee.) I can make great creme brulee, but I wouldn't serve THAT creme brulee to anyone, much less to the big bossman on my first cooking date with him! Another example, she offered to thaw out some jumbo shrimp and b.s chicken breasts for me on Thursday for a dinner on I was cooking on the following Tuesday. I'm very into fresh, high quality food, and thawing these two quick thawing foods 5 days ahead just isn't right in my book. Why would you do that? Overnight is all they need in the walk-in. We also "help" each other prep, according to her rule, and I don't have a problem with that concept, but I don't want to put my name on something she's had a hand in because it could be old, left out at room temp. way too long, been poorly prepared or who knows what.
Possessing a lifelong interest and passion for food and cooking, I am humble, non-confrontational, take a lot of pride in my food and work ethic, love the intimacy of interaction with the guests I'm feeding (most of whom are "demanding and a pain in the ass" according to my co-chef). I don't feel that way, I like to get to know them a little, and I care.
So am I, or do I, have unrealistic expectations here?
I would love feedback, advice, and/or suggestions in whatever capacity you offer! Many thanks in advance!