Hi guys, I am 44 yrs old and still in the beginning of my 2nd year apprentice. English isn't my 1st language but I guess I can cope well in communication with other people.( still forgive me if the standard of my English isn't still good enough in your opinion).
It's probably too late for my age to start in the culinary industry but I do love cooking and have passion to be a chef. I understand it will be a long journey for me to be in that position. To me...being a chef isn't just a "title" which I am going to own it in the future but I thought I should achieve some good credits, efforts and at the end I would like to be a qualified chef...good qualified chef...full of knowledge, high dedication in the job and become a good mentor if I am qualified and successfully in the future as a chef(whatever chef title in the future). So I can pass my knowledge to the young apprentice too.
In relation to the dream(lol) and the principle that I mentioned above, I guess I have the problems in the work place that I am working now. I am not so sure about my own thought...that is why I am starting this discussion in this forum.
I am working in the Bar&Grill Restaurant in Australia. I started working in Dec 2013 and I got 38-44 hrs each week.(for a month I was in this condition), then came to Jan to now...I get roughly 15-22 hours each week.Sometimes 28-33 hrs...but it is extremely rare. No matter how deep it annoys me about the hours, but I still come and work there with hopes and self big dedication to my job. I have realized that my working hours are not the same with the other apprentice chef. Yes it is true that she was there 2 weeks before me, but the head chef trained her not just in the larder, but also in pans and grills. She mostly got 22-33 hrs each week.
And yes we all do wash dishes, including the head chef, sous chef, me and her...but I notice that I do more dishes than them. Even when I come to the restaurant and I find they are all busy in pans, grill, cold and hot larder... I take my own initiative to wash all the dishes without being asked. I do this as my logical thinking saying that nowhere else I can involve at that moment as everybody else is busy in the right spots. I mean....one is the cold and hot larder and the others are in the pans and grill. Nothing will stop me unless the sous chef or head chef asks me to help in hot/cold larder or do some preparations or helping them in serving up plates or do some general cleaning.
I ever asked the head chef why my hours dropped so much and why she didn't train me equally like what she did to the other apprentice. She said : 1. The majority hours should go to the chefs first, then us. Then when I asked why the other apprentice got more hours than me...then she asked me back : "does she?". Well there is no answer till now and I noticed her hours were still more than me. 2. She said that she had to be trained first as she worked there first and the big boss wanted her to be trained in pans and grills beside hot and cold larder. She said that she wanted me to be good first in larder...like coping up with speed and read orders properly. I also asked when I was going to be trained to cook steak and she said "we are going to teach you to cook steak once you are back from TAFE. (my BLOCK TAFE SCHEDULE WILL START AGAIN NEXT YEAR 2015) Fyi ....I did 10 week cookery course at TAFE in 2013 and continue now for commercial cookery until later 4th year apprentice chef. So once I finished in 2013 and got a job in this restaurant, then they scheduled me back to TAFE in May to June 2014. I did that and They are going to put me back to TAFE next year. While the other apprentice chef is supposed to attend TAFE from July right through Dec 2014.(being scheduled already). In other words....I will be in the situation I am now till next year and hopefully she would train me in pans and grills.
My mind is not happy as I feel there is something is not right. Because if she is not ever to do some efforts to put me in pans and grills and give me more hours to learn/deal with the situation in the restaurant, then how can I be good or get used to the method of cookery or how to serve the food /cook the food for this restaurant? If I have to wait till next year for learning how to cook steak and I am still stuck with dishes and just in the cold and hot larder including very,,,very simple preparation that I know of.....how am I going to learn something new and challenging there? please note here that I don't mind to do the dishes, sweep the floor, do cleaning, scrubbing pans, etc as I understand this is also parts of the job. But at the same time, I think I also deserve being well trained there. I can see from the name "APPRENTICE" should reflect what they suppose to do. In order to blend well with the role of job there and for my knowledge/career as a chef in the future, I still think they suppose to train me well especially they know exactly why I am there as an apprentice.
I am not trying to steal the chefs job once I become good or master it. I even tell myself many times that I will move on to the new place to get different knowledge in culinary industry. Unless there is chef position once I complete the studying and being offered by the boss, I don't have any intention to replace the chefs job.
The idea of teaching me how to cook steak next year is a bit weird for me as I don't see any reason why they have to postpone it. Next year I will definitely complete my 2nd year and if they are going to teach me once I am back/finished with TAFE..isn't it a bit late?
Other things that also worry me is basic tasks such as :
1. type of trainings I get in the restaurant won't cover and be the same with all TAFE subjects or how TAFE TAUGHT ME.
2. not all preparations they always do being taught to me.
3. so far I haven't made sauces though those sauces are part of preparation.
4. Opening restaurant/the service...such as turn on the deep fryer, how to prepare bain marie for sauces, etc.
I am in doubt now whether I should stay or leave the restaurant. I am doubtful if it is the right place for me start my chef career there. Fyi again...the other apprentice chef that I mentioned here before just resigned and the reason she resigned just purely she didn't like to do so much dishes and according to her..most of the time. (I guess I do more than her)
I don't know if my way of thinking is wrong or shows I have no passion at all. I am glad to hear some comments/thoughts from you all guys. I believe it will be very helpful for me. No matter how bad or good the critics or the advice from all of you, I am ready to listen and learn by heart. Thank you to you all.