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post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I helped open a wine restaurant in June.   Great Chef similar palate.  The job has been very challenging.  It has been no decision on menu until 1 hr before service, not reordering regular menu items because of cost (and lets not bother to change the menu or lower the price since changed to lower quality and cheap cost), never having all on same page as to plating or even how a dish is made, and letting the chef go over money and then not rehiring anyone. 

I suppose some would look at it as a good opportunity to end up head of this small kitchen.  I am not really head,it is me, owner with no restaurant experience and person 3 nights.  I have only 2 years restaurant experience and none as a line cook.  I think I have done OK but I want to be great.    I am 54 and took this as a new career.  I like others whose post I have read, have wanted to give up many times.  I have read a lot about training I feel I have received little or none.  I want some.  I want to work with a great chef that knows how to help instead of belittle or do nothing except bark out 50 things to do and 15 minutes later want to know why your not done.  This was some of my previous experience.  This is fourth job in 2 years.  Lost 2 due to seasonal lay offs.  Anyway I am hoping it wasn't a mistake to apply at a club.  They do 80-120 covers which is 3Xs the volume at my restaurant.  I do not want to go back to pantry, but I do realize at every establishment all should know how to work all stations.

If I do take this job I want to stay.  Please tell me how to get ego out of the way and not take things personally.  I always give it my all and my production has never been an issue.  I can tell you when I am cooking 20 different items and having to plate as well I get a bit overwhelmed especially when the part time guy and owner expo are standing doing nothing and staring at me impatiently.

post #2 of 7

Your post is all over the place. You start out by saying you helped open a place in June and finish by seeming to say you are working at a club. Or you applied at a club? I can't figure out your situation or your question. Please re write for clarity. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

You are right.  I feel like I am all over the place.  I applied to work at a country club.  They have a chef and a sous chef.  I feel I have so much to learn that this environment might be better for me.  This business is tough and I feel I am thrown into positions I am not ready for.  I have tried to step up at the current position.  All I am doing now is self taught.  The menu at my current position was expanded after the chef left. 

My post would be so long if I went into all I deal with at current position.  I want to grow and in order to do that I think I need leadership.

What I really want is advice about how to hang in there with the low pay, not enough hours and working all weekends and holidays. 

post #4 of 7

Okay, I'm still a bit confused about your current situation but I'll attempt to answer. 

If you are honest in your application at the country club there is no reason not to take a job there if you get offered one. 

You will certainly find more structure and organization there. There is no reason you should not start at pantry if that is the job offered. As you point out, you have little training and a lot to learn.

Being great takes a lot of time training, learning and frustration. No one who is "great" got there by having it easy.

Every kitchen works on much the same basic principle.

1. Order  and store food needed to produce the menu.

2. Prepare the food in various ways so it can be cooked as quickly as possible after being ordered.

3. Cook menu items ordered off the menu in the order they arrive and in such a manner so that all dishes for each table are ready to be served simultaneously. All while maintaining high standards of quality and cleanliness. 

So it would help to be working at a place that does this well so you can see how it is done correctly. That does not sound like the place you are now. 

Cooking food to order in a restaurant takes planning, preparation organization, discipline and hard work. It is stressful, often dangerous work. There is an enormous amount to learn. Different foods require different preparations. Different cooking methods are suitable for different foods. Different foods combine well, others do not. There is a right way to do everything. You have no idea what that is. 


You will work on the pantry until you have learned to have all the foods you work with ready before service, otherwise known as mise-en-place. Then you will have to produce the dishes that come from your station in an efficient manner, timed with other dishes from other stations as appropriate while remaining calm and professional no matter how busy you get or who may be breathing down your neck. You will have to take orders from an overbearing jerk who doesn't like you very much (you think). 

When service has ended you will have to clean up your station, restock it for the next service and help the other staff members do the same. You will develop good knife skills, learn how to organize your work, remain clean throughout your workday and remain respectful of others while doing so. 

You will also be stressed out, frustrated, pissed off, greasy and wet. You will burn yourself and cut your self repeatedly. You will be very tired at the end of the day. Your feet will hurt. Your pride will hurt. This will last for a long time or until you learn your lessons and then you will get promoted to the next station. The food you prepare will change. Nothing else will.  It will suck even worse than the one before it. You will remain confused, frustrated and pissed off. And do not forget, you are choosing to do this and you will never learn it all or learn enough.

The next time you begin feeling sorry for yourself, go out to the dining room and see the customers or the empty seats to remind yourself that it is not about you. And then suck it up, shut it up and go back to work. 

Oh, I almost forgot... Welcome to the world of cooking. 

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Well thank you for your honesty.  You are so right about the pantry it is up to me to prove I can move to the next level.  It is about me to some degree because if I do not do my job great the dining room will grow more and more empty. So far that hasn't happened and I don't want it to.  God blessed me with working with a few very good people who I was able to learn the little bit I know.

If offered I will accept the country club job and I will suck it up and learn.


post #6 of 7

id reccomend some aderall or vyvance.  dont take that personal but a good line cook/kitchen worker should be able to pinpoint the stuff they need to do and what needs to be done in what order and then do it.   sounds like you need to start with good list/notes.   keep your pen and note pad handy and do exactly what you write down and cross off as you go.   if you need to add to your list then do it.   yes some were born with "it" but the ability to actually preform in a kitchen in a smooth organized manner takes years and years of trial and many errors.   at 2 years and you question your abilities to run a halfway busy line then id reccomend starting somewhere like a pantry station.   hone your skills and let the boss deside when youre ready to move up.   as far as living on the pay that you described,i couldnt do it.   maybe lots of top ramen and sangwiches.   tortillas with pb&j.   wonder where ive had those foods all in one day???   anyway goodluck to you.  

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  $10 hr. is not the pay for a lead.  You really need to work with a lead before you become one.  Or that's my thought.  Don't need drugs just have to stay in the moment and realize I can only change me no one else.

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