I don't want to hijack the "Technique or Speed?" thread but it got me thinking about my "rookie" year in the kitchen. Mostly it was cold line (I hated it!) and sorta all around guy (clean out the walk-ins, put away sysco, wash dishes when the dishwasher didn't show up, grab the line's mise en place during service etc.etc.). Although 3 years into my "career" I am now a sous, I'm not too far removed to forget these memories.
I remember my first 6-12 months in the kitchen as being the most disheartening, scary and unsure. For my first month I literally washed dishes for free, 40 hours a week, completely uncompensated for a month just to get the chance to work on cold-line. I was so afraid of screwing up, I felt so unimportant to others in the kitchen, I felt borderline brain-dead and such a burden. I wanted to give up so many times thinking I would never be not stupid enough to get off of cold-line.
As I compare myself now as a sous at a different place to a current "rookie" who is having a hard time I can't help but feel bad. She is not "with-it" yet, she can't get anything done without checking with me, is terribly slow and needs constant attention. She has it so much easier than I did, I can not even explain it to her because she has no other kitchen experience to base it on. She keeps blaming her short-comings on me ("You're so mean!" When in actuality I'm perhaps the most understanding individual) the owner, her station and the restaurant. I fully understand her gripes but can't help but want to yell at the top of my lungs how easy she has it. Lately I'm finding it so hard not to want to tell her to find somewhere else to work. I knew hiring her would be a long-term investment and she wouldn't perform right away but 3 months into it she has progressed so little if any. Her only bright spot was her stage when she was confident, on the ball and seemingly a tough-cookie. 3 months later and I don't know what to do with her. In my heart I want to nurture someone who wants to learn like one sous did for me but on the other hand I really question her dedication.
So what to do with her? I have such a meaningful story to tell her about my struggles starting out and how I dug myself out (with the help of one sous chef) but at the same time she doesn't want to hear it. Anything but "me, me, me" is difficult for her to understand. I want it to work out for her but my patience is wearing quite thin. Also, how was your first year or so in the kitchen? Anyone else have a similar experience to mine?