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Crappy Chef

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Not even 5 months in and Im out of a job today.Im not too upset , as Im sure I can find another job soon.But im feeling discouraged as how my cooking carreer has started.Ive been working in kitchens about 2 years.
Ive had my ups and downs but mostly downs.
Worked my way up from dishwasher to prepcook to line cook at small restaurants (2)

The place I was just working at was terrible.The absolute worst old people with 0 managing skills.The job itself was easy but It was so hard to just be happy and cook with the bosses I had.While there 5 people came and left in the 5 month time span and I was also planning on leaving but got the notice I was fired.While there I actually regressed from where I was when I left my 1st job.And I feel lost at this point and cofidence on the floor.I guess I expected I would excel and be at a secure place at this point .Now, what do you veteran chefs recommend for this young chef? Almost 2 yrs in , what should be my realistic goals and plan to be able to succed in this biz? And how have you guys dealt with dissapointments in your cooking carreers and getting fired from jobs/and setbacks? Any advice or sharing of your personal experience will be greatly appreciated.
Edited by HabaneroLove - 12/4/13 at 12:10pm
post #2 of 18
Seems like your previous employer felt your sentiments. What made them so bad?
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Their lack of management and direction .It was hard to figure out what to do since guy was running one version of the restaurant and the lady HER version of the restaurant.Verbal abuse, minimum wage, long hours....stuff like that. Wich is a shame because I went in there with the idea of cleaning and organizing the place up but its hard to care for the owners and their business when its such a depressing setting in there.

I dont know any chefs personally so sometimes its hard to get some momentum going so I can succeed.I feel like a fish swimming in circles in need of a clear path to get me on track to where I need to be.
post #4 of 18
It all comes down to you. If you have the passion then keep fighting. Every chef has ups and downs, every situation has different influences and nuances.
If you are currently out of work, how about taking a break and having a little think? Look at yourself from the outside looking in, and figure out what you really want. Sometimes this line of work is beyond frustrating, with heavy work for light pay.
For me, I got out for a few years and went to retail management. My Goodness how soulless I felt. I am back in and even though my tendinitis in both arms absolutely burns after a busy night I can't wait to clock in again.
I am a tiny woman but I will do whatever necessary to get through service properly, from running up and down the line to doing dishes. I am so sore after that I could cry but go to sleep feeling mentally good.
If you can relate then keep trying. If not perhaps the kitchens aren't for you. Best of luck!
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by HabaneroLove View Post

Their lack of management and direction .It was hard to figure out what to do since guy was running one version of the restaurant and the lady HER version of the restaurant.Verbal abuse, minimum wage, long hours....stuff like that. Wich is a shame because I went in there with the idea of cleaning and organizing the place up but its hard to care for the owners and their business when its such a depressing setting in there.

I dont know any chefs personally so sometimes its hard to get some momentum going so I can succeed.I feel like a fish swimming in circles in need of a clear path to get me on track to where I need to be.

 

Dude you pretty much described the food industry by and large. If you need someone else to give you direction and drive you will never be a chef. Stop being such a prima donna, next job scrub anything and everything during down time. Don't do it because you like your employer, or even that he pays you to do it, do it on principle.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Well I dont need drive,but would like direction.Im sure very few people are amazing at their chef duties in their first year or so and at one point someone gave them advice , encouraged them, instructed them or shared a vision. IM NOT SCARED of hard work or low pay as l have faith I will be in a better position in the future.But seeing as Ive had a rough start maybe just getting a push forward while im down n out ,from a bunch of internet chefs might just help! Especially now that im the hunt for a new job! Any advice or stories shared appreciated!
post #7 of 18
Good luck on your job hunt! Its not all doom n gloom. A good job cooking can be very rewarding. Look hard for a good spot where you can learn, find a mentor.
post #8 of 18

Chefs that aren't amazing in their first year aren't usually around in the second, its a dog eat dog world. So toughen up is the advice, because the more you advance the harder it will be on you.

post #9 of 18

Couple things here. 1; Keep your head up. When the sh*T gets going, put your head down, and keep pushing! 

                                     2. Its not going to get any easier. Your next situation is hopefully better you but                                          you never WANT it to get easy. 

                                     3. My body hurts, my knees are shot, I ache every night after service. Hell, I                                                ache every morning before open. I'm tired                                                                                          beyond my years. I dont see my family nearly as much as I should. I've had                                            more highs and lows than I can 

                                         remember. All this being said, I'm only 28 years old. So you have a long road                                          ahead of you kid, but dont let it get in 

                                         your head.

                                     4. maybe take a "lesser titled" job under a well known and respected chef? I was                                          offered my first head Chef position

                                         when I was 22 years. I was offered again at 25. Although I would have                                                  made more money if I had taken either of 

                                          the positions, I turned both down. I instead took that time to work under                                              some of the best chefs in the Boston, New 

                                          Haven, New York scene. In some of the coolest kitchens. Everything from                                              old school 8 man brigades to humpin                                               out                                            250+  covers in a tiny kitchen with a 3 man line. 

 

 

Again, keep your head up. I dont think you are being a prima donna, and I think it is wrong for anyone to tell you that. Anyone who says they havnt had doubts in their careers isnt telling the truth. they just may have not voiced them as you are. And remember, respect in a kitchen goes a long way. on the contrary, dont be a push over. DONT CALL YOURSELF A CRAPPY CHEF!

 

Cheers and Good luck!

post #10 of 18

Sorry for the weird looking format of my last post. Im on my cell phone.

post #11 of 18

First of all, you are doing just fine. There is nothing wrong with how your career is going. After only two years, you have only just begun.

     Find another job. Very few people know chefs to begin with, they meet them by knocking on doors. Find a great restaurant in your area and get a job there. You may or may not like the chef. Work hard. Develop good work habits like working neat and clean, keeping your knives sharp and all kitchen equipment in good working order. Show respect for yourself and your colleagues.

     Understand the importance of mise-en-place.  Buy some decent pots and pans for yourself. Keep working. Read and study good cookbooks. Practice the art of making great sauces. Read magazines like Cooks Illustrated. Join the ACF to meet other chefs in your area and let them get to know you. Remain positive. Do stages at other restaurants so they can get to know you. Practice cooking at home. Get a job in a hotel. Study baking. Make your own bread. Get a new job after a year or so. Develop your understanding of butchering, charcuterie, filleting fish, pates and terrines, practice your knife skills at home with a bag of carrots, onions and other vegetables.  Get a job in a catering outfit. Go to orchards to harvest fresh fruits and vegetables so you can practice the art of canning.  Buy a book on ice carving. Buy a block of ice once in awhile and practice just for the heck of it. Make dinner for your family and friends.  Every opportunity you find to cook is an opportunity to sharpen your skills in some way. Always do your best, no matter what you are doing. Keep learning. 

     Sometimes you will excel. Sometime you will not. There is no failure, only learning. You have picked a profession that has more to teach you than you will learn in a lifetime. You can view that as a curse or a blessing. 

post #12 of 18

Chefwriter , i loved that advice , even though i wasnt the thread starter it was still very touching and inspiring to me.

Defintely a phrase im going to save and use in the future. 

 

Hope you dont mind if i steal it xD. 

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

Dr.Seuss

Reply

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

Dr.Seuss

Reply
post #13 of 18

As was previously mentioned, with only a few years under your belt, you are just beginning your adventures in restaurantland.

 

Please, please, PLEASE take Chefwriters advice.

From another point of view, try to think of even the negative places you'll work in your career, as a learning experience.

Experiences don't always have to turn out positive to be a learning moment.

 

Oh and one other piece of advice. And this is so prevalent with the young.

 

Please don't come into a restaurant and decide YOU know what's best for their place and then try to implement what you don't understand.

 

So many people think they can re-invent the wheel, and their attitude is usually what gets them in trouble.

I understand they mean well, and are passionate, but what is not understood is that the situation they see and the experiences they've had may not work.

As with any situation, it is important to first look at what's happening with more than just a glance. Sometimes it may take months to fully understand a situation that you see

so that you can get all the details before you come up with a solution.

 

I regret that you were fired from your job HabeneroLove, but try to take this as a learning moment and go over in your head what YOU did and NOT what THEY did because, after all....this

is YOUR career not there's. Best of luck.

post #14 of 18
Chef writer nailed it man. best advice ever, I wish someone had told me that when I was two years in
post #15 of 18

On your last job, did you regularly ask the owners a lot of questions concerning methods and procedures?

post #16 of 18
I'm late on this one, didn't see it til now...
You've just come off a valuable learning experience.
Like a professional pickpocket, its not enuf to have the skill to do the job,
you have to be able to pick your mark. If I were you I'd set my sites on a stable
Restaurant chain. Mom n pops are often fought with problems and the husband
on the right hand, while the wife is running things with her left hand is an absolutely
classic scenario with mom n pops. And many sign up with Ramsey or Irvine and go
on TV, many don't. Lol And many go out of business and blame the economy.
Remind yourself these people who's answer is to fire people regularly,
have no clue how to run a restaurant. Cut your self some slack, find something else,
and this time ask a lot more questions before you sign on.
Starting with how much control you do, or don't have in that kitchen.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Well I tried to ask as many questions as possible but I was annoying for asking , I guess I was expected to know.

I was at fault too, I made some bad calls because Im highly inexperienced.But in the end , I wanted to be better but there was no one around to propetly instruct me.

Thanks everyone for the + input.Ive been practicing and perfecting some dishes as of lately and bought a bunch of expensive books on knife handling, cuts, technique and kitchen lingo.Also taking a sanatation course to get certified and up and ready for my challange.I failed my previous one, its been hard but im ready to try again.

Like they say " If I fall because im a dumbass, Ill pick myself up because im a badass".
post #18 of 18

You didn't fail anything.  It's called experience.

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