or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Respect in The Kitchen

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I have been away from Chef Talk for a minute. In April of 2012  was hired as a sous chef for a Fench restaurant. Before hand I stated I had no French cuisine experience, but was motivated to learn. Honestly I needed a job. Securing a restaurant position that will help you pay the bills is a challenge.  The owner was very understanding or it seemed at first he would be a good person to work for. At first things were going well.  Before you knew it he was sreaming through the window.  Before anyone starts to say stop whining. Put it on the back burner.  I'm also a 10 year Army veteran. I can handle the demands. It has to come with respect though.  I firmly believe in great respect in the kitchen. I'm a 43 year old man that has been through the ringer when it comes to this business. When the rudeness and cursing starts thats where I draw the line. I believe that you need to nip it as soon as it starts. I politely said one day that screaming at me would not get his food any faster. Demanding a 2 minute ticket time for something that takes 10 minutes. Let's be realistic. Well unfortunately I was laid off.  I wonder if it was because I stood up for myself. Anyways it was a bittersweet situation. I started to wonder if cooking was my calling. He would not be the first screamer I would have to work for.  It started to get nerve racking. I was getting tired of seeing hard workers being treated like a burnt omelette. Why Is it so hard to treat people with respect.  I think culinary schools should teach a class on respect. I refused to let an angry man ruin what I love doing. I secured another leadership role for a concert venue. The sad part is my supervisor has a some what angry side. I'm starting to guess that these people really hate their job. The only reason i'm staying put is because I'm being prepped for the executive position. If you are a chef that tries to put fear in a cook. Think of the results if you served up old fashion respect.

 

P.S.- Thers only one Chef Ramsey.

post #2 of 28

I certainly don't condone nor endorse angry abusive behavior however, to play devil's advocate, how would you react to allowing someone else to write checks on your checking account? Would you always be benevolent and understanding?

 

In a lot of ways having employees is similar to the checking account scenario because basically you are granting permission to another person to have some control over your financial destiny.

 

Owning a restaurant is an emotional high wire act, not everyone is good at it.

 

The same sentiments and statements can basically be said for supervision and or management as well because it comes down to someone's job being based on the performance of others, which can be a scary prospect..

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

I can respect him for wanting to protect his investment. I said this to other employees as they were caught in the cross hairs. If your uncertain of this investment, do you blame others because of your uncertainty. As I mentioned in the beginning, it's nothing more than than old fashion respect. I worked for a company for 6 years ( Restaurant Partners Inc.) that has built their foundation on respect. Thank you Chef for your reply.

post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Paulk View Post

 Why Is it so hard to treat people with respect.  I think culinary schools should teach a class on respect.

 

 

I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

It's not the culinary schools that need to teach respect, it's the kindergartens, the grade schools, the highschools, the colleges, the universities, and the media--especially the media need to teach respect.

 

The owner is just a conduit for the public, and the public--for the most part--don't care a  rat's hindquarters about the restaurant, the owner, or the employees.  Most figure if they scream loud enough they will get it, and if they scream even louder, they will get if for free.

 

Q:  Why does a restaurant take your visa # to book a table?

A: So they can charge a no-show if you don't show.  Many people would do this, and the restaurant has to staff and prep accordingly, and  then, the owner is faced with full staff and  few diners.  No respect, we decided to go to another place, screw you.  Charge me a cancellation fee, and I'll change my mind quickly.

 

The public generally has no respect for for restaurants or staff.  The  public generally has no respect for any commercial enterprise, really.  If they don't see what they want, they leave; vote with their feet.  Screw you, you don't have what I want, or at the price I want.

 

Few owners have respect for staff, for in most instances staff are a liability.  Customers are a liability too.

 

And the whole mess is called consumerism.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #5 of 28

Culinary schools teaching respect would make sense if culinary schools made Chefs.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you FoodPump for your reply. Correct me if i'm wrong. From what I have read your saying because you feel that customers don't care about your investment. That gives the owner or any supervisor to treat his or her staff with an aggressive attitude. Almost attempting to put fear in them to get results.

I truly understand the stressors of the hospitality business. I have came across many of them. To see your staff as a liability questions me. Why are you in the business of serving guest. Sir I wish you the best.

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you Just Jim for your reply. You are absolutely correct. As mentioned before I can respect an owner and operator wanting to protect their investment. When you have a yeller or even someone that curses at their staff should not be in the business. As it may seem I have ruffled some aprons. The question is what has happened to old fashion respect?  Treating your staff as valuable investment will get you alot further with a quality product being presented. I truly believe you can be firm with respect. I truly believe that the culinary schools have  taken advantage of the demand of wanting to be a professional chef. Avoiding the important areas towards becoming a knowledgeable chef.

post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Paulk View Post

. When you have a yeller or even someone that curses at their staff should not be in the business. As it may seem I have ruffled some aprons.

I don't really read any ruffled aprons in the replies, but could be, also could not be.

 

As to an owner or supervisory person who yells and berates staff, numbers will determine if they should be business or not; not a politically correct morale review board.

 

I am definitely an advocate of a free enterprise system, but it does come with it's downsides, mainly not everyone (owners and supervisors) will behave as I think they should! chef.gif Go figure!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Paulk View Post

. I truly believe that the culinary schools have  taken advantage of the demand of wanting to be a professional chef. Avoiding the important areas towards becoming a knowledgeable chef.

 

Free enterprise system at work again.

 

Whenever I look for a potential new candidate to join our team, I always look first and foremost for attitude. I can teach culinary skills, life skills (or lack thereof) are already long ago established way before they hit my doorstep or culinary school.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
post #9 of 28

Beecause some people have no class ,does not mean none of us should.

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

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 #10 of 28

Believe it or not I have just had the very same experience but not with an owner but the chef, The problem is that some people don't hire you to do a job but to be the whipping boy. There is a reason for getting hired and some people don't want to relinquish the responsability for the reward. Even four star resorts hire monkeys. this guy used to threaten the waiters with knives and somehow nothing ever happened to him. You've got to believe in kharma. 

post #11 of 28

Dear Bill,

 

I understand where you are coming from.

 

However, I come from a land that wants to mimic California, to adopt it's views and practices. Just this spring "Worksafe" (the worker's comp board) delivered an edict making ALL employers responsible for any domestic violence an employee endures at home.  No B.S. here, with both the labour board and worksafe, the mandate is "The onus is on the employer" which is truly the most racist method of dealing with situations.

 

So, after 10 years of fighting bogus claims filed by employees, I sold my previous business (catering for 2-800) and opened up a Mom & Pop chocolate shop and pastry business.  No employees,a nd when I do need seasonal help it is under contract--that is, the worker is hired as a company and the worker assumes all responsibility.

 

I serve the good customers and the bad, the good keep coming back, and the bad are still looking for a better deal.

 

I don't deem an employee a liability, the gov't and it's ministries do...................

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #12 of 28

I'm fortunate to work at a place where all my peers (6 sous chefs), the exec chef, and F&B managers all believe (and expect) that we should respect each other.  We are all held accountable for our duties, expected to complete our tasks and run our restaurants in a profitable manner, teach our staff to be team players, and hold both our staff and each other accountable to a professional ethic. 

 

Yes, we do get angry, sometimes say or do something inappropriate.  And our camaraderie is filled with course language and gestures, but the rule is always "do no harm".  Because of this, morale is high (with management and the crew), productivity and consistency is good, turnover is very low...people like to work here and our customers feel it.  Even unruly customers are tolerated only to a point.  If they cross the line too far they are politely and professionally confronted.

 

I've worked for a few screamers... good for you Bill for not putting up with it.  That kind of person is a worthless leader and will often ruin their own career or their own business if they are the owner.  Turnover is high, morale is low, he ends up with a crew that hates their job and hates him.  Customers can feel that too.

Six stitches to go home early and you can't die until your shift is over.
Reply
Six stitches to go home early and you can't die until your shift is over.
Reply
post #13 of 28

One can never demand respect, one may only earn it.

 

One can most certainly demand humane treatment, but even that can be denied in exceptional cases.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 

I have been away for a while. I have been so busy with my new position. I truly appreciate everyones input.  I have learned that the way someone acts or reacts to someone could be caused by outside sources. Some have the capability of controlling their temper and some not. In the end what matters is how I react. I tell myself every day that I must concentrate on my own success in the kitchen. Once again I feel honored to  get feed back from so many professional chefs  that are veterans of the culinary arts.

post #15 of 28

There is a difference between good leadership where someone already has their strengths developed, and training where one is being pushed to reach new heights.  Weather or not respect comes into the situation depends on what's going on and the agreement between the parties.  I'm betting that no one has ever become a master chef with their mentors saying please and thank you to them with a cute smile all day.

post #16 of 28

shows like hells kitchen and gordon ramsay are unfortunately why this continues to happen. Luckily in more and more kitchens collaboration and respect are showing to be far better ways to run kitchens than yelling at people and demeaning them.

post #17 of 28

i like to yell at my gm.

post #18 of 28

I am huge on respect in the kitchen. I am generally a very easygoing person, bordering on nice. That being said I HATE it when a newbie comes in and disrepectful from the get-go (criticizing plating, knife cuts, gabbing with cooks, CUTTING ME OFF WHEN I AM EXPLAINING THINGS or finishing my sentences for me when I am trying to explain things). In my opinion a new cook should shut the f***k up for the first couple of weeks and pay very close attention to what is going on around them and absorb everything that is said to them. It's when stuff like this happens that I start getting a little edgy and let them crash and burn. If the person is able to show me a modicum of interest and respect I will in turn give them pointers on the station they are working, give them tips on EXACTLY how the chef likes things done so they don't get yelled at, etc. Like I said, I can be a pretty nice person.

post #19 of 28

The hubs finally got enough signed counseling vouchers to fire a FNG that would take out his phone and start texting when he (hubs) would be talking to him.

Kinda left the rest of us speechless.

HOW can you even think of something like that?

 

mimi

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Spriggs View Post

shows like hells kitchen and gordon ramsay are unfortunately why this continues to happen. Luckily in more and more kitchens collaboration and respect are showing to be far better ways to run kitchens than yelling at people and demeaning them.

The sad/funny part is how influential TV is.

 

The TV personality is way different from the actual person.  

 

Sit back and think about it... do you really think someone could get away with that TV behaviour and still earn multiple michelin stars?

 

Remember he had several stars before he became famous for screaming.

 

I hope TV makes a change soon... 

----

 


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

 

Reply

----

 


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

 

Reply
post #21 of 28

I've told people this before but they don't believe me--Ramsay is playing a ROLE.

That to my understanding is based on a Chef he apprenticed with who was notorious

for his unhinged, screaming abusive demeanor. Some where along the line someone

decided this adopted behaviour would make a good TV show. And after 10 years, I'd

wager they were right.

 

Some restaurants are just being operated as no win scenarios, like the OP's original job.

And what's often over looked, is that the clientele is usually quite aware of the dissent

going on in the BOH, and it sort of...wafts into the dining room and permeates the mood.

 So much for the relaxing dining experience.

In my opinion, the abusive approach is ultimately self-defeating across the spectrum, and

in the end the doors get closed with the books in the red.

 

 

Quote:

 No respect, we decided to go to another place, screw you.

Charge me a cancellation fee, and I'll change my mind quickly.

So IOW, you're looking at making a reservation as a type of....verbal contract?

Interesting concept Foodpump.

post #22 of 28
I wouldn't blame Gordon, in fact the bloke is quite kind in person and on his British shows. That being said how about we let the blame rest with CIA or JWU. They both seem more influential at putting out arrogant disrespectful cooks than a simple television personality.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

It's not the culinary schools that need to teach respect, it's the kindergartens, the grade schools, the highschools, the colleges, the universities, and the media--especially the media need to teach respect.

 

 

I totally agree.  I am finding that society is becoming more and more disrespectful and in general people have little to no respect for others.   I have always been the type of person who says please & thank you, holds doors open for others and helps others out in any way that I can.  I have also raised my children to do the same.  I don't have much experience working in a kitchen, however, this sort of behaviour is elicited in many different industries.  I have been working in the medical field for 12 years now and have worked with my fair share of screamers.  I had one employer whom I worked for 6 years who would surely make Gordon Ramsey blush with their language.  After belligerently yelling at me for over an hour saying everything from 'you are a ****ing idiot' to 'I can't even stand to look at you'  the employer then screamed that they demanded our respect.

 

How can one respect someone who obviously doesn't respect anyone else?  

 

Needless to say the staff turn over rate was astronomical.

 

I don't understand peoples though process.  I always treat others how I would like to be treated - thought that would be common sense but it is apparent it's not.  

 

You can always teach new skills to someone who is willing, however, you cannot change a bad attitude.

~MissyD

Reply

~MissyD

Reply
post #24 of 28

Personally, I don't feel like yelling and berating in the kitchen is some new phenomenon, and it has nothing to do with Gordon Ramsey or the CIA. The line is running on adrenaline during service and a small mistake can throw off the entire flow, and often ends up making things harder for the other cooks on the line. A chef running the wheel does not have time to pull someone aside and politely ask them to do better next time every time they screw up. Chefs yell to send a quick message to everyone in the kitchen to step it up, get your food out, do it right, and do it quickly. There have been brigade systems in kitchens for hundreds of years because chefs want their kitchens to run with military precision. People are paying money for that precision, and its the chefs reputation on the line when the food goes out to the table. Any chef that has worked their way up to leading a top kitchen learned the concept of respect a long time ago, but respect in a kitchen is earned not given. Obviously there are chefs that take things too far, usually because something is going horribly in their personal lives, but it is up to each individual whether or not it is worth putting up with that in order to gain the knowledge you get from working in their kitchen. Entitlement, laziness, and oversensitivity are the real problems.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

The sad/funny part is how influential TV is.

 

The TV personality is way different from the actual person.  

 

Sit back and think about it... do you really think someone could get away with that TV behaviour and still earn multiple michelin stars?

 

Remember he had several stars before he became famous for screaming.

 

I hope TV makes a change soon... 

 

totally agree with what you have said. however it doesnt change the fact that in my opinion, he's done more harm than good thanks to his Hells kitchen appearances. Imagine some kids parents watching that show, do you think they would advise their children to join this industry? imagine some commis chef who looks up to him, thinking thats the way you need to behave to be a top chef.

 

Look at the likes of thomas keller and david kinch among others, you dont have to be a nazi to run a restaurant.

post #26 of 28

I've worked for a screamer or two, had pans thrown at me, been chastized and embarased infront of everybody, etc. I never took it to personally. Most of the yelling plate throwing chefs ballanced it out with gestures of kindness a few hours or a day after a good verbal lashing. The ones that are just mean for the sake of it are not worth working with. Its not worth being pissed off about work when you are at home.

 

I dont really do it myself now, even though I have been through it. Sure I lay into the occasional cook once in a while if they do something blatantly stupid and try to be sneaky about it, but I always buy their dinner that night or a 12 pack or something.

 

You have to ballance the good with the bad or nobody will work with you.

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meezenplaz View Post


 

 

So IOW, you're looking at making a reservation as a type of....verbal contract?

Interesting concept Foodpump.

Have to explain a bit on this one, first of all the above was concerning my earlier post which explained why most restaurants do ask for your VIsa # when booking, and my thoughts on this.  Meezenplaz did include this in his post, but the quote did not come through in my copying and pasting of Meez's post.

 

Not only do you need respect in the kitchen, the customer has to have respect for the restaurant, and the restaurant needs to respect the customer--respect all around.  It would be a beautiful world if this was the case.  Fact is many places do require you to put down you visa #, if they didn't, a good portion of  the customers--well over 40% would not respect their reservations and not show up.

 

If you book a flight or a concert, you pay in advance, so you rarely pull a now-show.  Many doctors and dentists are charging a flat $25.00 no show fee if you miss an appointment.  I myself learned the "hard way" to get the customer's visa # when ordering a cake, after I was left holding a custom made cake with over two hour's worth of decorating depicting a grim reaper and the inscription "Lordy, lordy, Gordy's fourty!  I seriously doubt I could toss it in the display case with the strawberry tarts and hope for a quick sale....

 

Yes, making a reservation is a verbal contract, and no-shows wreak damage on the restaurant.  No-shows are a sign of disrespect, and costly.  Which is why most places demand a visa # to book your table.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #28 of 28

Just last night I was having a smoke with my landlord, and I was telling him about working my present job. One of the first things he asks was, 'Is there really all that craziness and yelling like on TV?' While sometimes true, I told him media tends to blow these things out of proportion...

 

I have been lucky to come from a tight-nit family that weren't afraid to discipline their kids, to of been raised as someone who knows the value of a dollar, and taught how to treat others like I would like to be treated. Sadly, society is quickly losing sight of what even basic common courtesy really means, and this is trickling into our beloved kitchens. Media, proper parenting, schooling, and sense of entitlement are all factors imho.

 

Even through the roughest of times, you need to keep your head held high and soldier on to get the job done. I've discovered through my work ethic and respectful demeanor, I always connect with like-minded individuals in and outside the kitchen, which can form some strong bonds. And it quickly enables me to filter out all the drama queens, ass kissers, and lazy wastes of space...

 

In all honesty I would rather deal with screamers, as opposed to those who say nothing to you in person, and then goes behind your back and talks !@#$ about you. How am I supposed to know what mistakes I made and that they need to be fixed if you don't even tell me? I've actually dealt with more of these types than with screamers...

'A fool can't act the wise, but the wise can act a fool...' - Kweli

Reply

'A fool can't act the wise, but the wise can act a fool...' - Kweli

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs