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New chef de cuisine

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I became a chef de cuisine in June last year. I work In a small kitchen that is starting to get a good amount of recognition. We are wanting to take things to another level, but my main problem is getting respect from all of the kitchen staff. I am looking for input in different management styles that may help me keep a positive control over the kitchen without having to become a complete jerk.
post #2 of 10

Being a  complete jerk will never get you respect. Be friendly with staff, but not friends with the staff. Be firm, consistent, and fair. Give concise and clear directions. I remember one time in the middle of a chaotic service, I grabbed a large stock pot and gave it to someone with the directions to fill it 3/4 of the way with potatoes and then water to cover the potatoes and put it on the stove. When I went to grab my new batch of freshly cooked potatoes, they were nowhere near ready. I didn't tell the guy to cook them or turn them on or put flame under them. I said to put them on the stove which is exactly what he did. I couldn't be mad, he did what I said. the mistake in communication was mine.


Edited by cheflayne - 1/23/14 at 5:47pm
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #3 of 10

You have to figure out why you're not getting respect?  Are they jealous?  Are they more qualified?  You need to honestly look in the mirror and think about how you're doing things and if you're on point, sack up, sit em' down and hash it out.  Address issues head on, you rule the roost or you don't.  You need to work smarter and harder than your staff and set the bar high in terms of expectations of them.  Make them invested, continue to garner success for your biz, and the bottom line of making sure you're making $$ for the boss. 

 

You don't need to be a jerk, you need to be right.  I that means you're a jerk, so be it......i call my guys out on BS and give them praise when it's super on point.....guess what, the BS dies out quick....if you have good guys.  If not, it's time to start looking.......the job is f'ing tough.  No lies....you're going to spend more time, blood, sweat, and tears in this position than I have in some relationships...it's also more rewarding.  But you need to dive in.....man up and grab the challenge head on.  Figure out how to cheat without sacrificing quality....learn to use the TEAM for the collective benefit..understand when to drive the point home and when to whisper the criticism. 

 

Honestly, I dont care if my guys like me, hate me, or in between.  I care about between the hours of 5:30 and 10 putting out stunning food and maing sure I have the $$ coming in to pay the team.   if I have to step on someones ego or throat to do it.......sorry, it's biz.  My guys respect the fact that I'm always willing to dig in and help someone out.....I've provided bail, car payments, Mise, you name it..........and in turn....they kill it.  Its quid pro quo.........they aint helping, then they're part of the problem. 

 

Best of luck.

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by NotSwedishChef View Post
 

You have to figure out why you're not getting respect?  Are they jealous?  Are they more qualified?  You need to honestly look in the mirror and think about how you're doing things and if you're on point, sack up, sit em' down and hash it out.  Address issues head on, you rule the roost or you don't.  You need to work smarter and harder than your staff and set the bar high in terms of expectations of them.  Make them invested, continue to garner success for your biz, and the bottom line of making sure you're making $$ for the boss. 

 

You don't need to be a jerk, you need to be right.  I that means you're a jerk, so be it......i call my guys out on BS and give them praise when it's super on point.....guess what, the BS dies out quick....if you have good guys.  If not, it's time to start looking.......the job is f'ing tough.  No lies....you're going to spend more time, blood, sweat, and tears in this position than I have in some relationships...it's also more rewarding.  But you need to dive in.....man up and grab the challenge head on.  Figure out how to cheat without sacrificing quality....learn to use the TEAM for the collective benefit..understand when to drive the point home and when to whisper the criticism. 

 

Honestly, I dont care if my guys like me, hate me, or in between.  I care about between the hours of 5:30 and 10 putting out stunning food and maing sure I have the $$ coming in to pay the team.   if I have to step on someones ego or throat to do it.......sorry, it's biz.  My guys respect the fact that I'm always willing to dig in and help someone out.....I've provided bail, car payments, Mise, you name it..........and in turn....they kill it.  Its quid pro quo.........they aint helping, then they're part of the problem. 

 

Best of luck.

An outstanding post.

 

russellsi, I don't know the exact circumstances so I'm not sure how much it helps, but I think a huge part of being accepted as a leader is for your crew to know you have their backs. You've gotta do your job, and sometimes that means you've gotta sort some things straight; but team unity always makes up for it.

 

When I was a greenhorn line cook still learning my first ever station, I'll never forget the kitchen manager/expo reassuring me, "Don't worry, we'll never let you go down in flames." I really do think that feeling of knowing your boss has your back (rather than breathing down your back) motivates many people to do very well. But as said, it's just a balancing act of all your duties as head honcho. Best of luck, in any case!

post #5 of 10

You never have to be a jerk.  I am respected because of my cool unwavering eyes and ways.  At that first sign...start looking.  Loyalty is what we give them and it is what we deserve.  Like my food motto:  Quality before compromise....spills over into staff

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input. I honestly think part is jealously. It's why I don't like telling people how long I've been doing this and have my position. But I've earned. I always praise my staff, I will do the dirty jobs just the same as they do. I tell them I will never let them fall, and if they need help and I don't see, ask. I give them small tools as a gesture of gratitude. We've also had multiple meetings to praise and and have ope dialogue to let them know what we need to work on. I think maybe I praise too much. They know I can be tough on them as well.
post #7 of 10

Praising staff is great and definitely needs to be done. You just need to make sure that over time you also balance out the praising with pointing out areas that need improvement or are less than stellar. After a while, constant praising or praising too much renders praise less valuable, appreciated, and treasured when it is received.

 

If the sun were out all the time, we wouldn't know what dark is.

 

A quick question, don't read too much into it, you mentioned that "I will do the dirty jobs just the same as they do". You will, but do you? There is a huge difference, especially in the eyes of staff, between "will" and "do".

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
I DO them. We are a very small staffed kitchen so there is not much room for people calling out. If dish calls out, I do dish. I work the line. Anything I expect of them I have done and I do it so they can see I do whatever it is.
post #9 of 10

Kudos Chef!

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #10 of 10
I was executive chef of a casino for 8.5 years with a staff of 120. Made 85% from scratch. The biggest thing for me was making sure each person working with me front of the house and back understood my views and standards on food. And they were held accountable to those standards. When they did great I let them know and when they fell below standards I let them know and gave them directions on how to get it back right. Biggest things is to communicate and keep UR standards and get them to change. Promote teamwork and recognize great work. Cooking for staff meals sometimes break barriers but know this they are not the boss and rank has to be followed. I'm opening my owe place now in about 2 weeks wish u the best in the world.
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