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Issue in the BOH

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hey to those of the kitchen,


      First off to introduce myself, I'm a guy, 27 years old and finishing up culinary school, I'm fascinated with the culinary arts, stoked to peaches on the high anxiety of the kitchen and plan on spending my days ascending the ladder, traveling and yada yada. I'm currently a dishwasher at a fine dining New York Classic style cafe that does 250+ lunches and about the same on dinner (California).


Here's the situation: The sous chef, talks smack behind the head chef and has control of the kitchen staff although they say he's an a-hole, he gets me involved in the s~~~ talking to make the chef look bad. He has been promising to get me onto the line for 10 months now and I've only seen 15 pantry shifts and 15 minutes of broiler training. In addition to this, the head chef is 60 years old, a likeable guy who doesn't have a lot of control over the kitchen and he promises me the first available full time pantry shift that's available.




Is this a common dilemma that rookies need to trudge though or should I be pressing my slacks and rewriting my resume?




To those CIA grads who go streight to the line and those with gas stations and fast food in their past (like me), what would you do?





Humble thanks for your opinions.

California Cook


California Cook

post #2 of 9

Please understand that the issue here is not the food.

Your knowledge and experiences are what define you.

The Sous seems like he has some issues.

This is not uncommon.

You're slowly being introduced to life in the workplace.

Stuff like this goes on everywhere.

It's up to you how you want to deal with it.

If you choose to take sides, be prepared for the consequences.


It would seem by your explanation that the (60 year old) Chef has things well under control.

How else would you explain why Sous hasn't moved you forward.

post #3 of 9

Sage advice from Ross.

You will learn as you move thru different kitchens (heck this is common in every workplace, food or not) that most have a bit of behind the scenes politicking going on.

Took me many years to learn to keep my nose to the grind and ignore all the backbiting/stabbing.

Believe me, Chef knows what is being said by who.

Don't let this Sous drag you with him on his way down.

post #4 of 9

The situation you're in is too common.


Put your head down, do your job, stay in the good graces of both the head chef and sous chef so they'll both be able and willing to recommend you for another job.

Work all your off-hours on the line, giving a hand and getting the experience.  Sacrifice your social life now for easier upwards movement.  Remember, dedication is not defined by coming in to work and doing your "job" - it's what you do beyond it.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

After hours work on the line. Now there's a great idea.

These guys are a handful at work.

Trying to get myself there is quite the challenge.

Tired, just worked double on 3hrs sleep.

Thanks for shining some light on the subject.

My family's all engineers and psychologists so chef talk sages, you're my hero.

California Cook


California Cook

post #6 of 9

Definitely get the sleep your body needs.

I know you're in a rough situation, but the best way through it or out of it is to literally tackle it head-on.  It might sound like the last thing you want to do, but when you can and as much as you can, start getting experience on the line.  I've seen my fair share of dishwashers just hanging out near the line, always watching...And then when one of the cooks needs a hand, he doesn't wait to be asked - he just steps in and puts the mash and veg on the plate, waits for the steak, sauces it and puts it in the window.  Damn that's appreciated when your getting slammed!

Be that guy.

Don't be a culinary school student dishwasher waiting for a break - make it happen.

You can wax poetic about passion and dedication, skill, talent and potential all you want - It don't mean a thing.  Actions speak volumes.

post #7 of 9

I agree with the other, dont get dragged into the sous chefs issuse! helping in any way your can watch the flow of the line when you can tell some one is in the weeds help them out things like this do not get looked over looked. come in early see if you can help the line cooks prep there stations. You maybe learning a lot at culinary school but nothing beats the knowledge you get from actully working. both combined help you to one day become a excellent chef. A good chef knows whats going on, stay clean work your butt off go beyond each and every day. your goal every day at work should be how much can i learn from the entire team. I graduated culinary school and worked the line i learned so much from cooks that never stepped in culinary school. you can learn from every one not just the sous and excu chef!!!

post #8 of 9

I agree with Chefross. 

Just don't get involved  in thhe nonsence if possible. Don't take sides. Just look straight ahead and keep those eyes wide open. Your time will come. Good Luck

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 #9 of 9

Agree with all, sucks but it's the nature of the beast. As Exec Chef myself, I know when people are talking behind my back and I'm sure the Chef at your place does to. For me I fire when necessary, but most of the time I let it go because I have bigger things to worry about as long as what I want done is getting done the way I want it done.

For you I would definately continue to watch and observe and give a hand when you can.

Unfortunately also sometimes you have to know when it's time to move on to somewhere else if your opporunity is not arrising, but leave in good graces..... I always call previous employers before I hire.

Remember nothing in this industry will EVER be handed to you, those with dedication and strong work ethic are the ones that succeed and further their carreer.

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