After being in the kitchen for 2 years at a couple restaurants I find myself as a sous at a casual place for the last 6 months. I have learned a lot business wise (food costs, personnel management, dealing with upper management, menu development and learning what customers like and don't like). I still feel like even though I am at a management level I feel inadequate.
I work in a casual restaurant and proper technique, quality ingredients and the cooks around me aren't very talented or knowledgeable. I am much more talented than our head chef/owner who has been in the business for 30 years at mostly old school places. I have no one over me to teach and grow and tell me better, I am learning a lot of it on my own as I go and through textbook style books (CIA, jacques pepin essential techniques, FCI textbook etc). I consider myself very hardworking, smart and use proper technique whenever I know how to and never take shortcuts.
I feel like on one hand I am in an OK place career wise having just turned 23 and being a sous chef with only 2 and half years kitchen experience. I get to implement ideas on our seasonal menu and for special events. I feel like I have a mature palate and create balanced well composed dishes with the ingredients I have available. Sometimes I do make sort of "rookie" mistakes and I hear about these mightily from our head chef when they do occur, which is not too often. On the other hand I feel like I need to move on because while I am learning I need to do it quicker and a better more upscale kitchen will do that for me. I want to be the best and be challenged. I know I have confidence issues and don't give myself much credit and sort of view myself through negative glasses but I also know in reality I could be doing more.
I am making a little more as a sous than a line cook right now and I think that is part of what is preventing me from leaving, I feel like a sell out but on the other hand I also need to survive financially. Transportation is also an issue as I can only travel via public transportation which limits me a lot. I feel like I just want to escape to a resort type of place where my living arrangements would be secure and I could learn and grow in the kitchen.
I don't know what to do, am I just over-thinking this? Too anxious to know better? Too scared to make the change?
I would love to hear your own personal stories and any advice for people once in this situation?