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I don't know what else to do.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi, I've been on these forums for a while but this is my first post. I apologize if this is in the wrong forum but I need advice...

 

I've been in this country club kitchen now for 2 years. I've worked my way up to the saute station (Lead Line Cook). There are two people in the kitchen that I consider above me and those are the Sous Chef and the Executive Chef. When I started out I was considered "green" as in I had next to no experience. I worked at a Chili's before but nothing even close to the fine dining atmosphere. I started at Garde Manger, then moved to Grill/Fryer and finally to Saute.

 

I've learned absolutely everything that I could learn in this short period of time. I've learned things from everyone in the kitchen including incredibly fun things and the things that nobody else wants to do. At first it was an amazing feeling, learning to do things and asking questions about everything. I felt on top of the world and I couldn't get enough. I soon realized that the more things that I learned to do, the more responsibility I was taking on. When I realized this, I asked for a raise and I was given one to compensate for the new responsibilities. Once again, I was on top of the world. Doing what I love, learning new things every day and getting paid accordingly.

 

After training new people to work the stations that I had previously worked, I continued to do some of the prep from each station to help out in addition to the prep for my new station. I thought that this would be temporary like it was for the guy before me (the Sous) Little did I know that this help would be taken advantage of. On a daily basis, I do the entire prep for my station and a majority of the prep for the other stations. At first I didn't mind because I considered it practice for me and help for the other guys.

 

As a result, the cooks under me are lazy, slow, corner cutting, and disappear without notice while I am stuck doing their prep. They use the prep and don't even let me know that things are getting low until they are gone. This leaves me frustrated and scrambling to prep things. I even made a prep list for everything that needs to be prepped for the stations. I called a kitchen meeting and told everyone that these things need to be prepped when low or to let someone else know that these things need to be prepped.

 

I don't want to go to the Chef because I want to be able to handle things like this myself. The Chef has no problem with the way things are going because everything gets done. BUT IT'S ME DOING ALMOST ALL OF THE WORK! Am I expecting too much of the cooks below me?! 

 

I don't want to be a line cook forever but I don't know how to change the way things are. I I live for this, I want to be a Chef. Someone please give me some guidance!!

post #2 of 10
2 things i'd like clarified: How many kitchens are your chef & sous overseeing? I think it's impossible that they don't know about this. The second is, why are they ok with this? It's a terrible system, especially if the other cooks are scheduled to prep.

Stop doing their prep. But, someone has to hold them accountable when they fail; so, talk to the chef or sous about it. Some people you might be able to back off gradually, some people you will not get results frm if you don't push them, some people really need help. But when your prep is done, if you have extra time, you should be able to see who actually needs help.
The alternative is, you come in early and do all the prep, and they all get scheduled at 430, so they can dry out there salad bowls before they start.
I have to say, if you want to be a chef, you have to learn how to manage people. You can't do everything yourself, you have to give people the expectAtion that they will do it
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

It's just one kitchen and I agree, it's a terrible system. The Chef is in the office for most of the day "writing menus" and the Sous is in the kitchen sometimes but does little to help the situation. I don't even try to find out where they are most of the time because I just feel like it would stress me out even more.

 

The thing is: when I was working my way up I got chewed out about EVERYTHING! Now that new guys have taken my place it's like everybody's gone soft or something. I'm glad that I was treated the way that I was because I'm good at most of the things I do and if I'm not, I bust my ass until I am. 

 

I don't mind helping, I really don't. But when it gets to the point that if I don't help it's not gonna get done then I'm just stuck. Somebody has to do it! I want to manage but I don't know how. It seems like whenever I tell somebody something they get offended or feel like I'm attacking them. During service it's not a problem, they listen. But up until then it's just like i'm babysitting all day! Thanks for the reply, this is weighing pretty heavy on me lately especially today.

post #4 of 10

Would the sous or the chef blame you if the kitchen wasn't set up on time? Why not just stop setting up the station? Tell them you aren't doing it anymore, and if they can't set up their stations on their own you will tell chef that they can't handle the workload and you have been helping them the whole time. 

 

You don't have to be a dick, but you can absolutely let them know that you won't be doing their job for them anymore. 

 

Part of the blame lies with you because you have enabled the behavior to continue for this long without saying/doing anything to stop it. Time to stop letting them get away with it. 

 

And, hey, why not involve the chef(s)? That is part of their job...

 

Look at it this way too...you aren't doing them any favors. How are they going to progress and learn if you keep doing it for them? They'll never grow as cooks, they'll never learn the push, if you don't make them. Think about how it would have gone for you if, back when you were first starting, someone did all your prep for you and you never did anything. Think about how slow you would have progressed. 

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Someday View Post
 

Would the sous or the chef blame you if the kitchen wasn't set up on time? Why not just stop setting up the station? Tell them you aren't doing it anymore, and if they can't set up their stations on their own you will tell chef that they can't handle the workload and you have been helping them the whole time. 

 

You don't have to be a dick, but you can absolutely let them know that you won't be doing their job for them anymore. 

 

Part of the blame lies with you because you have enabled the behavior to continue for this long without saying/doing anything to stop it. Time to stop letting them get away with it. 

 

And, hey, why not involve the chef(s)? That is part of their job...

 

Look at it this way too...you aren't doing them any favors. How are they going to progress and learn if you keep doing it for them? They'll never grow as cooks, they'll never learn the push, if you don't make them. Think about how it would have gone for you if, back when you were first starting, someone did all your prep for you and you never did anything. Think about how slow you would have progressed. 


Thank you Someday.........

post #6 of 10

I think I'd speak to my HC and explain what has been happening and also what you are going to do.

 

Then he can keep an eye on it to and help support you.

 

From the sounds of It you are a diligent hard worker, he's probably seen it happen but not noticed it and it's all become normal practice. have a chat with him, its part of his job to mentor you. No point in getting more frustrated and letting things come to a head.

 

Good luck

post #7 of 10

I would sit the guys down and explain things more less like you did here

Quote:
 After training new people to work the stations that I had previously worked, I continued to do some of the prep from each station to help out in addition to the prep for my new station. I thought that this would be temporary...

Continue on by saying that the temporary period is long past and that they need to step it and assume full responsibility for their stations without having to rely on you so much as you have your own responsibilities. Everyone needs to cooperate and handle their share of the load in order to insure that things run smoothly so that the business remains successful. Fully explain as you did here that there are

Quote:
prep list for everything that needs to be prepped for the stations... these things need to be prepped when low or to let someone else know that these things need to be prepped.

Ask them if they are clear on their duties and responsibilities and if they have any questions. Tell them that you will sit down with them in two weeks (or whatever time period but a definite timeline) and you will discuss the progress made up to that point. Tell them if you don't think that it is satisfactory then you would feel it necessary to arrange a sit down with the chef, but that you trying to avoid this because he has enough on his plate as it is and you feel that this situation can be handled between you guys without having to burden him with it.

 

Ask them if you were clear enough. Finish up by saying "Then let's get to work."

 

 

Quote:
 I don't even try to find out where they are most of the time

Don't. Not your job. It is their responsibility to do their job. Put it firmly in their arena and leave the results up to them.

 

Quote:
 It seems like whenever I tell somebody something they get offended or feel like I'm attacking them.

As long as your approach when presenting constructive criticism is good, their reaction is on them  Don't be affected by their reactions.

 

Quote:
 up until then it's just like i'm babysitting all day!

Welcome to management.

 

FWIW I would hire you in a minute. You sound like a valuable asset to any team. Keep up the good work and attitude!

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

I was in a very similar situation. I started off as a pastry chef and heading up the weekend brunch, then people started getting fired and quitting. I took on more work, not because I was asked to by the owner or head chef, but because it needed to be done and I loved the restaurant. So in the end, I was prepping for service and desserts, brunch, running a line, inventory, ordering and training. I was working between 80-100 hours a week for months. I learned a ton and really discovered how hard I could push myself, but by the end of my time there I was drained, overworked and grossly underpaid. 

When I left, I almost stopped cooking for good. I was so burned out.

 

I realize now that good management would never allow dedicated and talented workers to drown. It's managements responsibility to delegate and organize their staff. 

If you don't have the authority to tell your coworkers "what's up", then let your chef deal with it. 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
I love this forum. I felt like there was nobody to talk to and you guys proved me wrong. Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely try all of these things.

This also helps me realize that I still have a lot if self-molding to do!
post #10 of 10
One of the hardest things for me when i was a new manager, was getting other people to do things instead of doing them myself. Gotta learn it becausethats what its all about! But if you can do it when you don't have 'real' authority, thats leadership.
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