Any tips and tricks from veterans would be awesome! I've been working in a busy cafe kitchen for about 3 years now and am seeking to attain more knowledge
Welcome to the forum.
1.Buy lots of professional level cookbooks, produced by either a culinary school or a famous chef and the classics like Larousse and Escoffier. Look through this website for other book recommendations. I enjoy "Ratios" by Michael Ruhlman as a good contemporary guide. Read them closely. Watch for the small instructions in technique like "fold in" or "let it rest". They can make all the difference in a successful product.
2. Find opportunities to stage at other restaurants and a hotel or two so you can broaden your understanding of how kitchens work in practice.
3. Work as waitstaff for awhile to better your understanding of how the kitchen and front of the house need to coordinate their activities.
4. Pay attention to the business end of things. Everything costs money, like water, food, payroll, taxes, maintenance, equipment. How to buy, limit costs, negotiate, schedule, organize, etc.
5. Don't stop learning. In a few years you may feel pretty knowledgeable and you might be. But there is always more to learn. Cooking and baking/pastry are very broad terms covering many areas of specialized knowledge and are only part of the field of hospitality and foodservice.
When you feel confident about a certain area of knowledge, remain humble. It is easy to forget small details and you can always refine your knowledge.
6. For a variety of reasons, this is a tough business. You will have a lot of bad days and it will be necessary to perform tasks you may find distasteful, boring or repetitive. You are not above any of it. Keep in mind that whatever the task before you, don't complain, do the job well and take pride in your work.