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Going from Sous to Line Cook

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

As some of you might know I have been the Executive Sous at my last place, basically ran the whole kitchen top to bottom but without the title of head chef (that was reserved for the more or less out of the kitchen owner) or control over the menu. Got tired of the money problems within the restaurant, not to mention the lack of caring by the owner who just doesn't want to own a restaurant anymore. So I got a new job at restaurant as an hourly line cook. About an hour away from my house but still easy to get to. French kitchen, old equipment, high volume, angry line cooks and a chef team who rule with an iron fist.

 

I went from being a pretty easy going sous, I never lost my cool or patience with anyone and generally very well liked by both BOH and FOH to being treated like I am the scum of the Earth with a learning disability. I have one been there 2 shifts and I am running my station fine, ticket times are fine and the chef de cuisine even said that I was the best hire he's seen in the last 5 years after yelling at me for not popping a hole in a tin of EVOO.

 

Now I am not sensitive by any means nor am I someone to talk back to a manager, but this place seems to be a little over the top. This is not a Michelin star place by any means nor are the kitchen management anywhere near talented as they think they are. I have been yelled at more in two shifts than I have my entire previous kitchen career. It's not even genuine screw ups on my part, it's doing things like grinding pepper coarsely after being told by the Jr, Sous to do it that way and the chef de cuisine coming over and blowing a lid because he wants it ground finely.

 

I have been running a kitchen for quite some time so I know how things are. But this chef team are just not on the same page food wise (do it my way but then don't tell the head chef I told you not to do it his way sort of thing) and they just have no management skills other than blowing a lid when dealing with problems. The Jr. Sous who seems very intimidated by me for some reason is riding my @ss like there's no tomorrow. He's very new to being a sous is from what I hear is screwing up constantly like not ordering produce correctly etc. etc. and seems to just want to blame his screw ups on everyone else ("you should have told me we needed beets!!" when the walk-in clearly has no beets anywhere, he almost lost it on this poor girl). This Jr. Sous is really on a power trip when the head chef and chef de cuisine are not around but is f*cking up terribly when he tries to run the ship during service.

 

Any advice for dealing with this? In particular the Jr. Sous who wants to make me quit?

post #2 of 4
Well to me it sounds like they have watched to many episodes of hell's kitchen. That typt of management is antiquated and not effective anymore, yet there are still people that havent, and never will, figure that out. Your there to cook and do it well. If you think you are doing a good job and taking unprofessional abuse from the management the you can either professionaly put your foot down a stop it, take it in sllence, or leave. I would try the first and be prepared to do the 3rd since to me 2 isnt even a consideration. I employee 43 people at my places, and never yell and dont put up with that kinda crap from one worker to another. I expierenced that crap in the 70's and 80's. Its not accecaptable anymore. Just me 2 kronar worth.
post #3 of 4

Unless you're desperate for work I say bail.  Life is too short to work a shit job like that.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #4 of 4

The sous is intimidated because he figures you are after his job. If it is some place you feel that you might want to stay, then roll with it and ride him out. Maybe they brought you on because they sense the problems with him and see you as a possible replacement.

 

Do things the way the chef wants things done. When differences crop up tell the chef point blank thank you, I was shown differently but now that I understand how you want it done that is the way it will done from now on. Don't offer the sous' name as the person that told you wrong but tell him if he asks. You won't be throwing anybody under the bus, just truthful.

 

If the sous rides you about it or doing things his way and not telling the chef, suggest a sit-down with the three of you just to clarify things. If it continues go to chef with the suggestion.

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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