I'm a newbie in the food/culinary industry, I just started working in a hotel as a commis/cook, and this is also my first ever job right after culinary school, been there for 5 months now and counting...
Being a newbie at all, without any actual first hand experience with working with other kitchens, I can't help but wonder, how is it like "there" (meaning, other kitchens out there).
Before I begin my concern, here is a background of what we do:
Where I work, there are 2 shifts: morning and afternoon (to late night).
In the morning shift, they are in-charge of the breakfast buffet, a la carte and room service for morning and lunch.
In the afternoon shift where I was assigned, we are in-charge of the kitchen's whole production: portioning of foods, cooking of sauces, garnishes, items for functions&events, prep for breakfast items for next day (marination of some bfast items, etc, etc..). On top of that, room service, ala carte service for late lunch to dinner as well.
The thing is, we make everything in big batches, like the sauces for example, we make big big pots of bechamel or tomato sauce then store it inside the walk-in chiller.. For meats like beef and pork, we pre-cook some (depends on the dish), then portion them then store them in the freezer for loooong time, even months until they run out. Our fish, chicken, and beef, they are all delivered to us frozen, by a manufacturer, already cut. For our event functions, for example, little Quiche Lorraines for 100 pax for Friday: We will already make it as early as Monday then store it in the freezer. (I think they do this to save time and minimize workload..)
Now the thing is, for me, I don't know If it's just me, but I think that by this system, all our food loses quality. My philosophy even before I started working, is as much as possible, when it comes to cooking and serving food, I want it to be as fresh as possible, so that's what I kinda expected.. Example, I expected sauces to be made at least on the day before or the same day as it is served, or garnishes like apple-cabbage slaw etc, are made on the same day as it is served, not stored in a chiller for a month or so... Because of this, I don't think my food philosophy or the kind of chef that I want to be someday matches with the system of how my workplace currently runs.
My question is this: Is this really like this on if not all, most of the kitchens out there? Or, is it really how hotel kitchens operate? Is this similar with fine dining restaurants? If not, do you think I should start looking for a job in an actual restaurant instead? Is there even a kitchen out there where my philosophy or vision applies, or am I being too ambitious and traditional?
With all humility, I ask you, my seniors out there, who have worked for a long long time. Thank you very much and I hope I don't come of as arrogant or anything, I'm just a curious lad. A very dreamy curious lad to say the least.
Cheers to all.