A little background before I start: 2 years kitchen experience (1 month on dish, 2 months on prep, 7 months on GM, 7 months on fry, 6 months on grill and one month on saute/grill off and on). I've only worked in 2 restaurants but have interned at 2 very upscale places uncompensated basically doing prep and some line cooking.
I consider myself smart and very hardworking and almost never take shortcuts. I NEVER call in, never late and never show up hungover, work is work in my mind. I have a good knack for developing menu items (which I have been allowed to do the last few months) in terms of what we can do execution wise, portions, and how balanced it is on the plate. I always try to make a cohesive dish and never put something on just to put it on. And not for nothing my presentation is a lot better than chef's, even she says so =). I think menu development is my strongest point, I love how analytical it is.
So today I was asked to become the Sous, which I agreed, but now I'm thinking I spoke too soon. Management is good for the most part, not terrible but not great either. It's a small place and business is way down from years past, it's generally not busy. It started out doing more upscale things (for the area, we are in a lower-middle class, large suburb in a economically challenged downtown) and when I started they were basically dumb-downed to mostly burgers, flatbreads, and not very good entrees. FWIW the food back when it was "upscale" wasn't very good, it was way overdone and just left me like 'why?" for the most part, it way trying too hard I think. Now we have done a menu change a 7 weeks ago doing better things that are simply done and better quality, for the most part. It seems to be catching on with customers but very slowly. Not to mention the growing pains with some customers and FOH staff how they don't like the new food (I KNOW its better though). This really scares the owner though, she's convinced the big portions, lower prices, poor execution and low quality is the way to go, that's what is keeping her afloat day to day. I'm convinced better quality, best execution as possible and not to mention the small price increase that goes along with this, is the way to go for long term success.
I love cooking, and really want to cook at a high level in the metro area at a line cook level because it hones my skills and teaches me more in that aspect. Currently I am more so applying things I know already and also what I learn along the way, which isn't nearly as much as if I were in a better kitchen. I feel like I have SO much to learn and I have confidence issues with my cooking and skills even when people say its good.
So I don't know what to do. Should I go into the big city at a better kitchen at a line cook level with confidence issues and cook food that excites me or should I stay and grind it out at my current Sous position, cooking food I am not totally happy with and not knowing where we are going food-wise? What is most important for me is how much I can learn, pay is irrelevant, I want to succeed and be a good chef. Oh and by the way I'm 22 and have no management experience.