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I don't belong in this position

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I went out yesterday and applied for a sous chef position at a hotel. I was told by the Exec. Chef that I was his top choice for the position. Why? Why me? Not that I don't want it but I feel underqualified. Two years total cooking experience (of which one was unpaid) and an AAS in Food and Beverage Management (working on one in Culinary Arts). I thought it took several years to become even a master cook let alone a sous chef. Should I take the position if formally offered or should I pass and get on as a prep or line cook? PLease help me out here.....


:confused:
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
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Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #2 of 45
If this is a good chef, he maybe wanting to hire a person and not a position. If I had someone come along and had a thirst for knowledge, level head, enthusiasm, possible longevity, maybe not so schooled in short cutting things, it's a no brainer.
I personally would ask the same questions of him though. If you are both on the same page and you get it CONGRATULATIONS!

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #3 of 45
My current sous had about the same amount of experiance as you, and he has worked out great. Maybe the Exec. she something in you that you maybe don't see in yourself yet. If you are offered the job I'd take it. On the job training I guess. Is this guy good? Maybe he's giving you the leg up someone gave him yrs ago.
Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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Enjoy Life ~ Eat out more often
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post #4 of 45
Jeff,

First of all BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!!

Could you tell me more about the hotel?

Size
F&B activities
What role you would play as a Sous (I have worked in hotels with over 14 Sous Chefs for all the various outlets.

There must be some reason for the Exec chef feeling positive about you.

I'm not sure what a "master Cook" is, but a sous chef is the person who keeps the ball rolling. he/she is the most important eliment to the Chef.

If you have worked in high quality places for the past 2 years and have worked the various stations and have an understanding of personal managment you may be ready.

Tell us a little more about the Hotel.

Remeber to look at the donut not the hole
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #5 of 45
Well... why did you apply?

Kuan
post #6 of 45
As to your problem, my last job was working for an exec chef who was , in fact, very good. But he wanted people working for him that knew only what he taught them, that way they never questioned anything.they were simply programed robots who knew only their small part of the line and didnt want to learn anything else.If you truly are passionate about cooking, I suggest you take the job and learn all you can. Just dont let yourself stagnate and constantly keep you eyes and ears open.Speaking for myself, i have never worked for anyone that I didnt learn something from. I've been cooking for 20 + years and i still consider myself a student. Employers will use you for their benifit, thats why you are hired, but use them for your benifit too. Even if it is learning.
ToYMaN
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ToYMaN
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post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 
Cape Chef the hotel is on the strip in Las Vegas. High-volume, of course. My duties would be as a banquet sous chef. A master cook here is the same as a saucier. I applied on a personal dare. I didn't tell anyone I applied. How do you handle a dream when the reality of it stands before you? We shall soon find out. And working as a sous will help me with ACF certification as a CSC or CCC. I'm VERY nervous. Other than knowing the name of the property and its location, I know nothing about their F&B department. I am learning. I'm 27 so I am not too young. I just love everything about what I do.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #8 of 45

Be brave!

Okay, Jeff, deep breath. And again. And again. Good. Keep breathing.

CC is right: think about what your responsibilities would be. The exec believes that you would be able to handle them. So that means that even if your skills are not quite there, he trusts that you can LEARN what you need to do the job right. I've heard it said that it's best to take a job that's just beyond your skill level, so that you are forced to learn.

It's a long process from applying for a job to having to decide whether or not to take it. When you talk with the exec again, ask lots of questions about the job -- so that you have a clear idea of what you might be getting into. Trail as many times as they'll let you, so that you'll see how the operation really runs.

I agree with the others: if you think this chef can teach you what you need to know, take it! I've worked under sous chefs with far more "experience" who can't compare to what I've seen of you and your commitment! :D
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #9 of 45
Jeff,

Toyman made some key points, the most important being every step you take in your Culinary career will be an oppurtunity to learn and grow.
Be a sponge and a filter at the same time.

Take in everything and filter out what doesn't benifit your growth (with out being disrespectful)

Take the job.

Banquet chefs are another breed in large volume outlets,if you get with a quality house you can learn great timing and production skills.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #10 of 45
Culinarian,

Beware!

Sorry to be a contrarian here. Sous-chefs have it real difficult. On one hand you must be confident enough to be able to excercise authority on a bunch of difficult-to-manage people, and on the other, you are given little room to manoeuvre. Sous are usually the scapegoats when the place becomes stale, when it doesn't come in within its costs, when staff becomes unmanageable, when the exec chef fails to take his/her responsibilities, etc, etc. Ever noticed how there's so often a very high rotation of sous-chefs? In my neck of the woods, it's never an enviable position, and sous chefs get the axe all the time.

You are right to be suspicious, given your level of experience. On the other hand, maybe there's a big demand in your area for qualified managerial potential, in which case I would shop around and see how other hotels feel about you, and how you fit in with them. It'll give you a basis of comparison, and you'll be better equipped to make a decision.

That said, CC is right: banquets are a completely different animal. Your race-to-the-finish attitude will pay off, and the qualifications in terms of personal cooking style and finesse are less important than your ability to deliver on time.

I haven't met many banquet sous chefs that really felt gratified and experienced much job satisfaction. However, this would be a huge step up for you and all the folks above who told what a great learning experience it would be are correct. Ask them if you could do a banquet with them before you make your decision. See how they work, if they make sense, how open they are to your ideas, etc. Get to know the banquet chef REALLY well because you will be his "b-tch" for the duration of your career there.

This advice comes from my own experience in hotel banquets. Whatever the outcome, do believe in yourself and good luck to you!
post #11 of 45
WOW!
well good experiences-bad experiences they are all experiences.
sometimes we learn more from the bad ones.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #12 of 45
Don't we ever!!! ;) :D

You gotta know when to hold, know when to fold ...
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #13 of 45

No brainer.

My thought. Were you honest in your interview as to what your capabilities are? If so, and the chef wants to hire you, he may see the potential in you. The great jobs are the ones that you grow into, that stretch your talents and make you work. You might not know the job yet, but at least someone who IS familiar with its' duties is interested in having you do it. As an employer I can honestly say that rarely does the "perfect person for the job" ever apply for the job, and when they DO they don't stay. It seems that once they become proficient enough they want more of a challenge! I think it is kind of a natural progression to grow into and then out of a job. This industry runs on the up-and-comers like you. Take the job and quit doubting yourself!
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #14 of 45
Take the job. It's an opportunity for growth. Also, visit this website and if possible, buy the book.

http://www.whomovedmycheese.com/

Kuan
post #15 of 45
Thread Starter 
kuan.

I've read that book at least once a month. It's fantastic! I guess my main concern is a position of authority. I thought to myself, "how do I go about directing someone to do something knowing they have more experience than I?" Then I realized if they're more experienced then I wouldn't HAVE to ask them to do something they should already be doing. If offered the job I'm taking it!!!!! I asked a guy that ws in my basic skills class how it is (he's a sous too). He said "the hardest part is costing and purchasing. Most of the time you're like a foreman on a construction job". That means I don't get to use the "tools". I'd love to be a working chef. I'm definately taking it if offered. besides, "Sous Chef Jeff" sounds too cool!


:bounce: :roll: :smiles: :cool: :crazy: :cool: :D :chef:
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #16 of 45
I'll go through this point by point:

Actually, more experienced or not, you'll find that the cooks working for you will need direction, training and supervision, and it has to come from you. If it doesn't, you will have a difficult time earning their respect. Respect doesn't come automatically w/ the title; you've got to prove yourself worthy of it. Lifer line cooks being a generally cynical lot can make this a challenge. As with many things in a kitchen, common sense will see you through on this.

Costing is easy. Mostly, it's simple math, with knowledge of what your market will bear (your price points) figured in, as well.

Purchasing can be difficult, at times. I've a feeling that you won't have to worry too much about it in this particular position; most larger operations have someone whose specific duty is to take care of this. You will, more than likely, need to requisition items, though. If you brush up on your banquet yields, you should do fine.

Lastly, a sous chef in any department is almost by definition a working chef, so don't worry about that.

I want to emphasize that none of the above is meant to discourage you from taking this position; I personally am of the opinion that you should. The intrinsic learning oppurtunities are too good to pass up. So, good luck and remember that if you ever need help, we are just a post away.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #17 of 45
Best of luck Jeff!

..and What Greg said! ;)
post #18 of 45
I would think of what I have to loose by taking this job, then figure out how to deal with it, then go for it! Even if you only work there for a month or two you will with out a doubt learn SOMETHING!

Go for it!
My wife woke me last night; I screamed at the top of my lungs "How many times do I have to tell you:
SWEEP THE FLOOR!"


Posh Nosh Restaurant "Casual Gourmet"
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My wife woke me last night; I screamed at the top of my lungs "How many times do I have to tell you:
SWEEP THE FLOOR!"


Posh Nosh Restaurant "Casual Gourmet"
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post #19 of 45
You're about to head down the path of one of the absolute worst jobs in the world! You will work harder, longer and more like a dog than ever in your life. You will be undepaid and under appreciated. Everything you will do is likely to be questioned.
You better have steel underwear and a very thick skin.
And if you can survive this and learn how to delegate!!!!!!!even people with years more experience need to be led sometimes. There are leaders and followers and many that are followers do so simply because they don't want to be leaders and expect and follow without question those that do lead regardless of the age.
If you do this and survive you will be able to handle anything and be in a position to get the big bucks. The big buck chefs are the ones that do the big work!
Good luck, do it now while you're young and gung ho!
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #20 of 45
Why so negative you!?!? :) LOL... three words make it easy.

Mise

en

Place

Kuan :)
post #21 of 45
the number one job of the sous is to ensure that the chef gets his days off, in other words, be there when you are supposed too and do the work assigned to you, never be afraid to ask questions and as far as the other cooks go, dont let them know that you dont know something, keep em guessin, a quick lesson in management 101, men are better led than drivin, good luck to you:)
"what doesn't destroy me, makes me stronger"
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"what doesn't destroy me, makes me stronger"
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post #22 of 45
So.....WHAT HAPPENED!? What did you do? Did you take it? If so, how's it going?
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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post #23 of 45
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry 4 not posting the results.


I took the position!!!! I will hold it until the beginning of next Summer, unless something else comes along. 6am-4pm five days a week is about average. I get a rotating day off. It's really not a hard job (with apologies to all sous chefs aboard). And yes I do work!!!
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #24 of 45
Thread Starter 
More info on the position: It appears as though I am filling the "void" until they can hire someone more permanent. The Exec. Chef knows I go toschool. His words: "Although I believe you are capable of the job I need someone more permanent. I also need someone right now. You're it until further notice, kid." He called me kid! I'm 27!!!


Oh well. Now my name is Chef Jeff.......:chef: Ya know!!!
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #25 of 45
50hrs? Are you guys a union house?

Kuan
post #26 of 45
It's natural to feel a little bit of ambivalence toward a responsible position you've never held before - but you had the chutzpah to apply for it and I say grab it if it's offered.

You'll have knots in your stomach for a short time, but once you get comfortable you'll enjoy it. You obviously aspired to occupy such a position - so don't sell yourself short if they offer it to you.

DH and I had a small restaurant in SW Co. When we closed, we had basically no traffic. The HR manager from ARAMark at Mesa Verde National Park was one of our regular customers. When he heard we closed, he basically sprinted up the road to grab my husband for their fine dining restaurant inside the park. "I know you know how to cook and I know you can handle volume. I need you in the park - my head chef is going to self destruct if he doesn't get some help." He sped hubby through the interview and application process and in 1 day had him working in the kitchen.

They did 400 covers a night compared to the 4 lunches a day we were doing at the end (we weren't ALWAYS so slow but tourist season meant nothing to our town seeing as no one was interested in touring it). They threw him at the grill and it was baptism by fire. He came home and curled up in fetal position after the first 2 nights work. I thought he might quit!

He got his chops back and then found he had time to spare. In a week, he was doing the grill, AND the soup of the day ("They ran out of ideas"). THEN, he was working the grill, doing the soup of the day AND the special of the day ("Yeah, they had all this venison and cranberries and the next thing you know...").

Bottom line is - you might feel a bit over your head when you start but after a time, you find your groove and let loose - then the sky's the limit.
Food is sex for the stomach.
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Food is sex for the stomach.
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post #27 of 45
Thread Starter 
Kuan,

yes we are a union house. However, this doesn't apply to me. My position is not governed by a union contract because it's a managerial position. The hours are the one stated on my hire sheet. I work more, sometimes less hours. I'm salaried. They can AND will do with me as they wish as far as my hours go.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
post #28 of 45
Congrats on the position. I am sure it will only lead to bigger and better things.
post #29 of 45
Have you start working ? How is it going Jeff?
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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post #30 of 45
Thread Starter 
It's not too bad.



I think (from what I've seen), the two hardest jobs in BOH operations is Executive Chef and Saucier. At least where I'm at. I do just fine being a sous. I wanna know, is it ok to have the kitchen staff just call me Jeff? Not that I mind being called a chef I just don't think in my mind I am one...........yet.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

M.E.A.T.
Mankind Enjoying Animal Tastiness
Reply
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