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Looking towards the future

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

About to finish my first year in the business. I definitely feel cooking is who I am and look forward to learning as much as I can. Recently I have been thinking a lot about my future because I cant imagine working long hours and dealing with the level of stress we have to deal with for the rest of my life and I strongly feel that I need to look forward to opportunities and take chances to get myself into a position where I can live more comfortably. Once I put some more years in the kitchen Im thinking about starting my own company, though ill need more advice and knowledge about the subject and that will come in time. Have any of you felt this way when you started cooking? Maybe it get's easier over time but just in case, has anyone bought a food truck, or started a small catering company, ect..?

post #2 of 4
Im in my 36th year in the business. I can assure you if you start your own company you'll have even more rough hours and stress. Im in the process of starting a company right now, not my first as I own 3 restaurants, thank god with good manageing partners. This business will be doing all the food for a free school in sweden, 900 lunches a day, from scratch, half delivered down the street to a second location, 2 hot meal choices, 1 vegetarian choice, salad bar, fresh bread, from scratch, no lactose, no pork, and no nuts in the menu,. Plus afternoon snack for 60 in afterschool care and a student cafe. I wore the battery out on my phone by 1oclock today, recharged, talked to Estonia twice, meat order,,fish order,grocery order, vegetable order, still tracking down my robot coup stick mixer, damn DHL, licenced a payroll program, went to an equipment supplier and ordered a custom size work table, bought dish transport wagons for 450 plates, wrangled the electriction to get a new tilt top fry table finished, made 40 ltrs of fish stock, supervised 5 employees at 2 different work locations, got new locks and keys, tracked down the lock smith to get the correct new keys. Tought a carpenter how to measure a piece of wood, spent my time switching between english, swedish, my bad german and am going to have to pickup some thai. And If one more kid ask me if we can do our food Halah im going to just ignore them. Oh, and my 200 ltr steam kettle decided to just simmer instead of boil, thank god for having a second one.Is it stressful, hell yes. I wont even begin to talk about the tax people here, or the fact that i got 3 other places to look in on. The reward, other than the money, i get to cook good food, that i design, serve and tend to, all the kid cant wait to come to lunch, i supply 8 full time jobs at above industry wages. Summerize, owning your own business is not eaiser or less stressful, but it is very rewarding.
post #3 of 4

Lagom , you my brother are as tough as nails.


I work as a line cook , but our kitchen manager put up her notice so i ended up taking her position for 2 weeks (since my notice ends in tomx)


Well i prefer the line .. i rather cook then think about pay rolls , management and taxes. 

But since i studied restaurant management in the beginning of the year i decided , "hell why not". The chance i  had to be a kitchen supervisor/manager is definitely alot stressful then working the line....


The place is small ,  a mom and pop place , but imagine me

Switching from english to portuguese , trying to track down where my undelivered products are at , trying to find out why the guy delivering my products is 1 hour late. Creating the menu , creating tomorows menu , creating the menu for the weekend , creating the supply list , because well not everyone is intelligent and gives me everything i need on time , when i need it so i have to make supply lists ahead of time. Teaching the kitchen newbie how to cut cabbage. The stove isnt lighting , then fire is too low.....


Oh no , problem with the plumbing <_< and we are at service , no time for a plumber.... Hand me that ducktape and ill fix it for now. 

No toilet paper in the bathroom , dont worry ill get it. 

The restaurant owner doesnt understand something , ill explain it

Our dishwasher is complaining ill shut her up <_< 

No sugo , in the fridge and 3 hours till service , well that means ill devote some time to making 6 liters of sugo <_<

WAIT no sugo , BUT NO PASTA , another devotion to making fresh pasta <_<

Had to call in an employee who was running late , and another employee is a no-show

Had to get recipes for dishes i havent done in years

Had to take care of the wait staff who wouldnt care about the clients

Had to show a waiter how to treat a client 


When you manage a kitchen (and it isnt yours) along with working the line , along with being young u face problems.... I remember how , we didnt have salt in our kitchen , yep no salt , we had to actually buy salt at the supermakret before service just to not run out. 

We have run out of rice as well........... it got delivered 15 minutes before service

We ran out of onions , garlic ......

thank god this wasnt all during the same day. 


Also , the restaurant is a family style restaurant , so we did family style meals.....

meaning big portions for 2- 15 people at a table.

Many times we would have to make a batch of food just to suit one family Along with the fact that the menu chances daily according to season ,  and day.  I remember many times working 16 hours because after lunch we had nightly events so i would work from 7-4 and start prep at 4-7 and at 7 start working the event from 7-11


3 Days ago we were starting to clean up , and we get a family of 20 people 15 minutes before closing....

They wanted a pasta dish.... all of them wanted pasta.... we had nothing other then packaged pasta , ok , but we had no sauce.... thats when you do the harlem shuffle , put on you thinking caps and invent something to send before u lose 20 clients.....


That day i ended up making pasta with bacon , and gramalotta , with a dash of good olive oil , cheese , and fresh herbs it was a sucess , but the entire time i was sweating , and swearing. Then they end up wanting to know who made the meal , thats when i go out to meet clients sweating , dirty and tired , so i say "lets just shake hands , because a hug doesnt suit well right now"


P.S. these are things i did just this week , last week was alot worse , but since tomx is my last day anyway..... ill go back to working the line before taking a position like that , without proper preparation. 


But i think its rewarding and hell maybe when im older ill attempt it again for now working the line is funner.

The best days , are probably when you are organized , few problems occur , service goes well , you know you did a good job , and you still had some fun with the co-workers , but aside from that i just take it all in and love what i do . 

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



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


post #4 of 4

Don't know your situation, education, etc, but if you only have a year in the kitchen and want to learn, there is a great chef right in your back yard.

Fred Reyes at the Putah Creek Cafe. He has been a big player in the Sacramento food scene for 20+ years.

I worked with him for a short time as a Sous Chef in the early 90's and learned a lot from him.

I was promoted to chef when he departed, that was a big pair of shoes to step into because the restaurant had a very good reputation but I guess I did alright, as I stayed on for about five years until I found something else that I wanted to pursue.

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