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Advice for Saute Station?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

After doing well on grill I've been promoted, sort of, to saute, a few nights a week, I did it by myself this all this week (Mon-Sat) as our saute guy is seeing family in Brazil. I feel confident on grill even though I've only done it a few months in total but saute is throwing me for a little curve when it gets busy. When its slow I like the quality of my dishes, when it gets busy the inexperience shows in the quality. I'm not too thrilled with myself either as this is only an 8 burner range and we only seat about 60 or so. When I have pans on every burner I start to forget things (the risotto was nearly dried out on one dish, forgetting about the garlic and letting it scorch etc.). Also doesn't help that the range is so old that on two pilots I have to manually light nearly constantly, another burner gives me basically 45% power on full blast and all my pans are warped. The difference between grill and saute is amazing, I feel so flat footed on grill where on saute you feel so quick and limber.

 

Please, any advice for beasting saute?

post #2 of 21
You need to set it up to your advantage. Scorched pans? We all have them

That burner that only gets 45% flame? Use that for something you burn easily

Just like a grill, use your burners like sections, each burner has it's own personality so get to know it. The only thing that can help that is time unfortunately. Work on your speed when it's slow
post #3 of 21

time and a repetative setup. just learn timing on dishes and like said above learn your burners and how you can make them work the best for you. 

post #4 of 21

Just takes time man. Saute in a busy restaurant is the most challenging station. Sides for steaks, entrees that aren't meat, apps, etc etc. Once you get a handle on it you will feel like a god though. Just work through it, make sure your mis en place is maxed and move your arse.
 

post #5 of 21
If you have an underutilized oven put some of your pans in there. When I was first getting started some one showed me that so incase I forgot something I wouldn't be starting with a cold pan. It's a nice crutch when you're in a bind.

Aside from practice and repetition.... Ask the owner for a flattop stove
;-)
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by linecook854 View Post

After doing well on grill I've been promoted, sort of, to saute, a few nights a week, I did it by myself this all this week (Mon-Sat) as our saute guy is seeing family in Brazil. I feel confident on grill even though I've only done it a few months in total but saute is throwing me for a little curve when it gets busy. When its slow I like the quality of my dishes, when it gets busy the inexperience shows in the quality. I'm not too thrilled with myself either as this is only an 8 burner range and we only seat about 60 or so. When I have pans on every burner I start to forget things (the risotto was nearly dried out on one dish, forgetting about the garlic and letting it scorch etc.). Also doesn't help that the range is so old that on two pilots I have to manually light nearly constantly, another burner gives me basically 45% power on full blast and all my pans are warped. The difference between grill and saute is amazing, I feel so flat footed on grill where on saute you feel so quick and limber.

 

Please, any advice for beasting saute?

A few things, with the 45% burner pile a huge stack of saute pans on the burner so you have progressively hotter pans if you need them.  Just like the oven trick, you need to be always starting with hot pans because speed is the main component of saute.  The burners you need to light manually, always keep on, if only on low so you do not have to keep relighting them.  Always keep a dry towel in your main hand so you don't have to worry about grabbing those super heated pans.  Finally, the best trick I use is wearing about 3 or 4 pairs of rubber gloves on the line.  This depends on how used your hands are to hot surfaces.  These act as a second skin when grabbing raw product you can just shed a layer of gloves and put on another pair or they act as insulation for plating or cooking with your hands.  Never shed your last pair because you will never get another pair on with the sweaty hands.  Always keep a pot of boiling water or hot stock on the stove for saving things that are dired out or flashing things that need a quick reheat of needed.  The reheating in water is only for emergency use, but it comes it handy for other things if you are used to having it.  If you can only work 4 burners at a time, make those the 4 fastest burners you have ever worked.  Use the other four for heating pans, water, other things that make you faster etc...  No since in working 8 burners when your food quality is terrible on 8.

 

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post #7 of 21

Dude, I'm in the same bind right now. I only got 6 burners and I also have to throw the meat on the grill, so imagine doing 250 covers with all 6 burners going and 5 different kinds of meat on the grill...but hell..I've witnessed my Sous doing it, and if he can I know I can too. The problems I'm having right now is setting up my station on time and focusing and communicating with expo, but like all things in the restaurant biz, figure out how you can cut shortcuts and with repetition youll get the hang of it. just focus and drink lots of coffee, or if you got an espresso machine, take advantage of it haha.

post #8 of 21

i was really lucky on my last one i had i guess you would call it a french flat top so a large cast iron square with 4 burners under it kept at different temps, one corner i reserved for the pans ( also all cast iron) and 2 induction burners. i stumbled for weeks/months getting it dialed but as mentioned above keeping pans on the ready and hot is one of the best words of advice. 

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike8913 View Post

If you have an underutilized oven put some of your pans in there. When I was first getting started some one showed me that so incase I forgot something I wouldn't be starting with a cold pan. It's a nice crutch when you're in a bind.

Aside from practice and repetition.... Ask the owner for a flattop stove
;-)

you should never have to worry about starting with a warm pan its tricks like putting pans on a burner so there hot or putting them in the oven for an entire service that warps pans and makes them harder to work with, a flat top is ideal but not needed, there is a ton of timing involved with that station take a menu home and write out how you would cook each dish from as soon as the ticket comes in, untill that ticket is called. its a hard station but its fun, just remember to relax and cook.

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefCameron View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike8913 View Post

If you have an underutilized oven put some of your pans in there. When I was first getting started some one showed me that so incase I forgot something I wouldn't be starting with a cold pan. It's a nice crutch when you're in a bind.

Aside from practice and repetition.... Ask the owner for a flattop stove
;-)

you should never have to worry about starting with a warm pan its tricks like putting pans on a burner so there hot or putting them in the oven for an entire service that warps pans and makes them harder to work with, a flat top is ideal but not needed, there is a ton of timing involved with that station take a menu home and write out how you would cook each dish from as soon as the ticket comes in, untill that ticket is called. its a hard station but its fun, just and remember to relax and cook.


Keeping pans hot does not warp them. Taking a hot pan and rapidly cooling it causes warping. It's simple metallurgy.
post #11 of 21

You can put them in the salamander if you have one.

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike8913 View Post


Keeping pans hot does not warp them. Taking a hot pan and rapidly cooling it causes warping. It's simple metallurgy.


A lot of restaurants use aluminum pans in the saute station. In my experience, putting a dry aluminum pan on direct flame causes the bottoms to pop out. From what I have seen, a little oil or indirect heat, such as an oven, and that doesn't happen.

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post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post


A lot of restaurants use aluminum pans in the saute station. In my experience, putting a dry aluminum pan on direct flame causes the bottoms to pop out. From what I have seen, a little oil or indirect heat, such as an oven, and that doesn't happen.

I would agree that it makes the pans warp a little bit but they get hugely beaten up anyways.  Oven is best, burner works.

 

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post #14 of 21

I have the same issue with one of my burners..I have 6 of them and one of the front ones need to be constantly manually turned on when service starts and I have to rock and roll. I don't like leaving burners going if I'm not using it. Same with my pans, all warped, and loose wiggly handles, but I've experienced that in almost all the kitchens I've worked in.

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post #15 of 21

A few pointers i've picked up along the way.

-when ever a call is made pull it out or pull something that signifies the dish in your mind so you know its on your list. if its on your board then its not forgotten.

-there is more time wasted for a pan to heat up than anything else (that and water to boil) so hot pans and hot water pot are key

-dry towel dry towel dry towel. i can not stress how important it is having a nice little stack of clean dry towels on your station as well as a wet one with sanitizer. the dry ones so you don't burn the crap out of yourself on all the hot things and the wet sani rag for wiping down your saute station every chance you get. just cause your busy doesnt mean the station has to look like ww3. it will save you so much time later when you don't have burned on caked on crustiness all over your station.

- be prepared for dropping a utensil. have a back up in a bucket off to the side just in case. I always keep an extra pair of tongs, fish spat, ladle, rubber spat, wooden spoon and slotted spoon so if you do drop one you can ditch it to dish or in your dish tub and grab another.

-your main burners are prime real estate. if there is anything that can be started on the burner and finished in the oven get it off your burners asap. if its something that can be made and let to hang out until fired do it, then all you have is a little reheat and then sell.

-always reset, if there is ever a lull in the rush take that time to refill, reset, and re-hydrate. That means restock, replace the pans you went through, refill water pot, clean/ wipe down your line, and drink some water cause i know your sweating like a whore in church in front of that station if all those burners are cranked and going.

-communication is so important. finding out how long the rest of the ticket is gonna take to get to the window is key to your timing. whether its communication with the rest of the line or the expo/chef it is important.

-condensing is key as well. if you have five different tickets that are all calling for the same sauce use one pan not 5. your dish guys will love you for not sending all your pans at once and then wondering why its taking so long to get them back. this is especially important when you have a limited number of pans. 

-being prepared before service starts is key. if not possible make sure everything that is possible is set and ready to go then get back to prepping. its less of a problem to 86 one thing than to see everything take an extra 5-10 mins because there is only a little of everything on your station and after the first wave you are out of everything.

there are others i will post a part two shortly

post #16 of 21

Don't fiddle with the pilots.  Take the flame from the burner next to it.  You put two pans together, one on the lit burner and one on the messed up pilot one, open up the gas full throttle and let the flame from the other burner light the gas.

 

Sometimes you can spark it by banging the pan on the grates.

post #17 of 21
Or a little squirt squirt of some liquor if handy
post #18 of 21

have you taken the burner out? could be dirty or just need an adjustment on the back of them there is a screw that allows you to control the amount of propane/air. Could help.

 

As far as the station goes, be confident, and be prepared. Set the station up very well and make sure you like where everything is. You have to make it work for you. As others have mentioned you can keep some pans on a low flame to keep them hot which does help. 

 

You mentioned trying to work eight burners at once? it can be done but i dont see why you need it, saute is normally very fast searing or finishing sauces etc. 

 

If you have fish to sear you can do multiple fish in one pan, even if that fish has a pan sauce once the fish is cook remove to a warm place while you finish the sauce. I feel you could work 3-4 burners much for effeciently than trying to do 8 when your starting out. 

 

Does your place cook some dishes ahead and reheat and finish to serve or is just cook until its done and send it?

 

Always start with the item that takes the longest to cook on each order, and try to group similar items together so that your using less pans and burners at once. 

 

Also keep the station very clean, when you use something put it back right away and keep the counter wiped down. If everything is clean and you have space you can work faster and function if your station is cluttered you will feel overwhelmed. 

 

good luck.

post #19 of 21

WELL , from my point of view sautee is alot harder then grill. 

Why u ask? Simple. 

 

Sautee really reminds me of that shooting duck game you find at carnavals. In the game u gotta knock the ducks out as fast as possible , you have to see where they are coming from and the best and fastest way to kill the most ducks in the lowest amount of time. Get what i mean? Sautee is the same way , you have to view your station all at once , see what stays hot the longest , what doesnt , what you can cook quickly , what takes longer , where is all your mise en place at the time , have it all by you , you have to know how to control your flame , make the flame benefit you... etc... and a hundred other things you will get used to in time. 

 

Now grill is different... Sure you have to be speedy , but it doesnt require you to stay and look over your food the entire time. You can leave a peice of steak on the grill knowing that it wont be done in 2 minutes. You can breathe put a steak on the grill , go get your mise , fetch other items , work another pan , and breathe , and organize yourself more since well ... meat takes awhile to cook...

 

During my first 2 months in the kitchen i worked both with entrees from grill and meat station , and worked sautee....

My meat would usually be on time everyday with few errors , while my sautee would get my ass kicked since i have poor flame control. 

Now im responsible for 11 entrees on sautee and i knock them all out with little error , usually on time. My advice is to stay focused , breathe , and observe your station and your constant errors. 

You have to be practical. 

My advice is:

- Keep everything near you

- Have your mise done to the slightest details possible

- ALWAYS have a pot of boiling water by you , it has become a necessity for me , especially since i have 2 pasta dishes , 3 rice dishes , that hot water helps alot , especially when cooking.

-BE annoying in the kitchen FIGHT for your burners ( in my kitchen we have 6 burners i usually attempt to occupy 3-4 , but there are days when i can only occupy 2 and thats when hell breaks loose ).

-Set goals for yourself on plating , cooking , etc...

-AS GORDON RAMSAY WOULD SAY: TASTE , TASTE , TASTE , i have a bucket of spoons in my station , i use all of them by the end of my shift. I use one ,stir , taste , and into the dirty spoons bucket it goes. 

-Dont be Afraid to wash your own pan if you need to. 

-When ever you have a bit of free time ( even if its 30 seconds ) use it to of course breathe , and organize a bit of your station ( as much as humanly possible ).

-Be intelligent , if by helping a co-worker , can be of benefit to you  , do it . I remember having hot water on the stove , and the cook responsible for meats and grill needed hot water , i didnt think twice , since he was using a burner a bit of boiling water wouldnt hurt if that meant him finishing and letting me use his burner so i could finish faster.  

-Remember everything has its own cooking time , those that cook fastest  you attempt to do last or close to the end. 

-BE FRIENDS WITH THE DISHWASHERS , when your running of of pans , and the ones your using are dirty , you have no idea how being friends with a dishwasher can help you. The dishwasher at my place is so nice , i be-friended her as quick as possible and now 30 seconds after i send a dirty pan out , its back in my station nice and clean. 

-Remember , a mess will only attract more mess , if your dis-organized the chance of you taking longer to find something ( equipment , ingredient etc... ) will only take longer , in the process you may end up dis-organizing your station even more.

-If something is burning take it off the stove , if its cold raise the flame , if its to hot lower your flame , etc.. etc... control the flame , it in no way controls you. 

 

There are a alot of other things as well but that varies from kitchen to kitchen. I basically started getting used to sautee , and can run it just as fast as my head chef and sous chef ( who by the way i may be replacing by mid-june). 

 

The restaurant i work at has 36 family style meals ( its a huge buffet , where we are usually sending out orders after every meal finishes ) we open at 11 , but the cooks are there by 7:30 to start building the meals , by 10:00 or 10:30 we are all usually cooking. 

 

We have:

 

18 salads - i can make 18 family style salads in 3 1/2 hours pretty quickly... since well no heat

11 from Sautee - again i can have all my meals done , but im usually stresses since i start cooking by 10:30 working 4 burners at once

7 from Meat and Grill - By far one of the easiest stations to prepare family style meals as long as you have mise done. 

 

The worst things about working at a family style restaurant or a buffet is the fact the menu changes everyday , but usually remains with the same rythm. 

Everday I have 3 rice dishes , 1 vegetable , 1 green , 1 puree or mash , and one vegetarian style dish , and 2 pasta and 2 others ,  how the dish is made and the ingredients varies. 

This way i organize myself usually knowing what takes longer then others. 

 

Well my post is becoming huge , but anyway hope it helped in some way. A kitchen requires patience , and you will get used to as time goes by. Just keep your cool , remain calm , and dont forget to breathe ( especially since if you dont breathe your a dead man , and a dead man on the kitchen floor is useless and will be taken out like the trash ). 


Edited by KaiqueKuisine - 6/9/13 at 1:23pm

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post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgraeff1 View Post

have you taken the burner out? could be dirty or just need an adjustment on the back of them there is a screw that allows you to control the amount of propane/air. Could help.

 

As far as the station goes, be confident, and be prepared. Set the station up very well and make sure you like where everything is. You have to make it work for you. As others have mentioned you can keep some pans on a low flame to keep them hot which does help. 

 

You mentioned trying to work eight burners at once? it can be done but i dont see why you need it, saute is normally very fast searing or finishing sauces etc. 

 

If you have fish to sear you can do multiple fish in one pan, even if that fish has a pan sauce once the fish is cook remove to a warm place while you finish the sauce. I feel you could work 3-4 burners much for effeciently than trying to do 8 when your starting out. 

 

Does your place cook some dishes ahead and reheat and finish to serve or is just cook until its done and send it?

 

Always start with the item that takes the longest to cook on each order, and try to group similar items together so that your using less pans and burners at once. 

 

Also keep the station very clean, when you use something put it back right away and keep the counter wiped down. If everything is clean and you have space you can work faster and function if your station is cluttered you will feel overwhelmed. 

 

good luck.

Thank you for your input. We are a semi-upscale small place (40 seats in the dining room and 20 or so at the lounge and bar who also order off the regular menu) and we only have two cooks on hot line so working all 8 burners is necessary at times. All hot entrees and apps are split between saute and grill. No we don't cook anything ahead of time, everything to order. We do not run an order-fire-pickup system we cook everything as the ticket is rung in with no course-lines between courses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiqueKuisine View Post

WELL , from my point of view sautee is alot harder then grill. 

Why u ask? Simple. 

 

Sautee really reminds me of that shooting duck game you find at carnavals. In the game u gotta knock the ducks out as fast as possible , you have to see where they are coming from and the best and fastest way to kill the most ducks in the lowest amount of time. Get what i mean? Sautee is the same way , you have to view your station all at once , see what stays hot the longest , what doesnt , what you can cook quickly , what takes longer , where is all your mise en place at the time , have it all by you , you have to know how to control your flame , make the flame benefit you... etc... and a hundred other things you will get used to in time. 

 

Now grill is different... Sure you have to be speedy , but it doesnt require you to stay and look over your food the entire time. You can leave a peice of steak on the grill knowing that it wont be done in 2 minutes. You can breathe put a steak on the grill , go get your mise , fetch other items , work another pan , and breathe , and organize yourself more since well ... meat takes awhile to cook...

 

During my first 2 months in the kitchen i worked both with entrees from grill and meat station , and worked sautee....

My meat would usually be on time everyday with few errors , while my sautee would get my ass kicked since i have poor flame control. 

Now im responsible for 11 entrees on sautee and i knock them all out with little error , usually on time. My advice is to stay focused , breathe , and observe your station and your constant errors. 

You have to be practical. 

My advice is:

- Keep everything near you

- Have your mise done to the slightest details possible

- ALWAYS have a pot of boiling water by you , it has become a necessity for me , especially since i have 2 pasta dishes , 3 rice dishes , that hot water helps alot , especially when cooking.

-BE annoying in the kitchen FIGHT for your burners ( in my kitchen we have 6 burners i usually attempt to occupy 3-4 , but there are days when i can only occupy 2 and thats when hell breaks loose ).

-Set goals for yourself on plating , cooking , etc...

-AS GORDON RAMSAY WOULD SAY: TASTE , TASTE , TASTE , i have a bucket of spoons in my station , i use all of them by the end of my shift. I use one ,stir , taste , and into the dirty spoons bucket it goes. 

-Dont be Afraid to wash your own pan if you need to. 

-When ever you have a bit of free time ( even if its 30 seconds ) use it to of course breathe , and organize a bit of your station ( as much as humanly possible ).

-Be intelligent , if by helping a co-worker , can be of benefit to you  , do it . I remember having hot water on the stove , and the cook responsible for meats and grill needed hot water , i didnt think twice , since he was using a burner a bit of boiling water wouldnt hurt if that meant him finishing and letting me use his burner so i could finish faster.  

-Remember everything has its own cooking time , those that cook fastest  you attempt to do last or close to the end. 

-BE FRIENDS WITH THE DISHWASHERS , when your running of of pans , and the ones your using are dirty , you have no idea how being friends with a dishwasher can help you. The dishwasher at my place is so nice , i be-friended her as quick as possible and now 30 seconds after i send a dirty pan out , its back in my station nice and clean. 

-Remember , a mess will only attract more mess , if your dis-organized the chance of you taking longer to find something ( equipment , ingredient etc... ) will only take longer , in the process you may end up dis-organizing your station even more.

-If something is burning take it off the stove , if its cold raise the flame , if its to hot lower your flame , etc.. etc... control the flame , it in no way controls you. 

 

There are a alot of other things as well but that varies from kitchen to kitchen. I basically started getting used to sautee , and can run it just as fast as my head chef and sous chef ( who by the way i may be replacing by mid-june). 

 

The restaurant i work at has 36 family style meals ( its a huge buffet , where we are usually sending out orders after every meal finishes ) we open at 11 , but the cooks are there by 7:30 to start building the meals , by 10:00 or 10:30 we are all usually cooking. 

 

We have:

 

18 salads - i can make 18 family style salads in 3 1/2 hours pretty quickly... since well no heat

11 from Sautee - again i can have all my meals done , but im usually stresses since i start cooking by 10:30 working 4 burners at once

7 from Meat and Grill - By far one of the easiest stations to prepare family style meals as long as you have mise done. 

 

The worst things about working at a family style restaurant or a buffet is the fact the menu changes everyday , but usually remains with the same rythm. 

Everday I have 3 rice dishes , 1 vegetable , 1 green , 1 puree or mash , and one vegetarian style dish , and 2 pasta and 2 others ,  how the dish is made and the ingredients varies. 

This way i organize myself usually knowing what takes longer then others. 

 

Well my post is becoming huge , but anyway hope it helped in some way. A kitchen requires patience , and you will get used to as time goes by. Just keep your cool , remain calm , and dont forget to breathe ( especially since if you dont breathe your a dead man , and a dead man on the kitchen floor is useless and will be taken out like the trash ). 

 

Thank you for your advice (even if it was a mile long!). It's funny I also compare saute and grill to shooting, saute is like a sniper and grill is like a machine gun. At my place saute is quick, refined and delicate where as grill is fast, high volume and heavy handed. Grill on my place also works a fryer and an oven (flatbreads etc.) so standing over it looking at things cook just isn't possible. Are there multiple saute cooks at your place? Theres only one on during every shift at my place so I'm trying to compare.

post #21 of 21

Haha no im the only one running sautee , and when the salad cook is on her day off i take over salads and my head chef produces on sautee for me. 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

Reply

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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