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Line Cooking

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi,

I'm a newby here. Recently I took a job as a line cook. Normally I do catering/banquet ie batch cooking so line cooking is quite an experience.I am having difficulty with getting the whole batch cooking out of my head. Is it taboo to prep a few chicken breasts for enchiladas or saute 6 or 8 servings of veggies before the rush hits. I know that you never know if your gonna get to use them but I can't see waiting till you get an order for a chicken quesadilla or chicken Caesar to put a breast on the grill. This includes hamburgers. I pre grilled 6  burgers and then set them on the stove in some beef broth. I used them in a matter of an hour and they were nice and juicy. The problem is the other line cook gets all freaky yet he will microwave something. I need advice.Thanx 

post #2 of 21
These are questions that you need to ask the chef, not not others opinions from the internet.
Also, if I went to your place and ordered a burger that had been pre cooked, I wouldn't be back. It takes 7-8 min to cook a 1/4 lb patty fresh from raw.
post #3 of 21
"I can't see waiting till you get an order for a chicken quesadilla or chicken Caesar to put a breast on the grill."

Think about that statement.


Take a chicken breast that you grilled and(hopefully chilled) and reheat it then eat it. At the same time grille a fresh one and eat it. Which would you rather pay for? If you honestly cant tell a difference then I dont know what else to say.

I have nothing against batch cooking. I have made and continue to make a very good living catering. However with my a la carte cooking it is a completely different approach. You got to force yourself to seperate the two.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

First of all why would you put a hot grilled chicken breast on a cold Caesar salad? Thats 1 point that I guess i wasn't clear on.I wanted to grill a few up and refridgerate. Then grill a few and keep on stove in chicken broth to chopped up for enchiladas/quesadillas. They would be kept at right temp. My reasoning is last night I had orders for 10 chicken enchiladas. By the time we got all of them grilled, chopped and made, our time was way over and we had complaints.

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovegadgets View Post
 

First of all why would you put a hot grilled chicken breast on a cold Caesar salad? Thats 1 point that I guess i wasn't clear on.I wanted to grill a few up and refridgerate. Then grill a few and keep on stove in chicken broth to chopped up for enchiladas/quesadillas. They would be kept at right temp. My reasoning is last night I had orders for 10 chicken enchiladas. By the time we got all of them grilled, chopped and made, our time was way over and we had complaints.

 

Because people expect the chicken to be hot.

 

Chicken breasts do not take that long to cook, so the reasoning for your long ticket time was due to your inefficient kitchen most likely.  

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

not here and they use 1/2 pound. and then you have the waitresses standing there looking at you.it usually takes them 10 to 15 minutes to get a burger out. And thats if there is only 1 or 2.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

you maybe right and being i'm new at line cooking answer me this.If the chicken needs to be diced up for whatever dish, would you dice it first or cook it whole before dicing.Sorry if that sounds like a stupid question. but if it can be diced fist than I can have that done ahead of time 

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovegadgets View Post
 

you maybe right and being i'm new at line cooking answer me this.If the chicken needs to be diced up for whatever dish, would you dice it first or cook it whole before dicing.Sorry if that sounds like a stupid question. but if it can be diced fist than I can have that done ahead of time 


Personally, I think the more exposed surface the chicken has to heat the greater the chance of drying. I would dice after cooking whole. Just me

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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #9 of 21
I'm with chefbuba on this, there should be an SOP. I've worked places where they do cold chicken (always precooked) and places where they grill to order- but it's always done the same way in any given place. Personally I never pre cook for a la carte service, unless it's something that gets help hot, like a roast.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for your input. I appreciate it.Very helpful:rolleyes:

post #11 of 21

Prepping chicken breasts means butterflying, making them into a paillard, or both? Both ways reduce the cook time, and I'd rather those methods be used than cooking at high heat and producing rubbery or suety chicken. I'd also rather wait for fresh. I've gotten grilled chicken Caesar salad for $18 at a restaurant and it looked beautiful, but the chicken was obviously reheated (taste). I don't know how Arby's did theirs, but they heat their pre-cooked 'grilled' breasts in a microwave and they tasted much fresher. -Consider the other cook's methods and taste test against your own. 

 

Lower cook temperature on chicken may take slightly longer, but resting time is practically nullified, and results are much better.

 

Serve me a pre-cooked burger and find out if I come back. -Maybe if you have the prices of mcdonalds and burger king.

post #12 of 21
You would never butterfly or pound a chicken breast for presentation on a salad though... :/
post #13 of 21
Ask chef if u were on my line I would.let u go
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tweakz View Post
 

Prepping chicken breasts means butterflying, making them into a paillard, or both? Both ways reduce the cook time, and I'd rather those methods be used than cooking at high heat and producing rubbery or suety chicken. I'd also rather wait for fresh. I've gotten grilled chicken Caesar salad for $18 at a restaurant and it looked beautiful, but the chicken was obviously reheated (taste). I don't know how Arby's did theirs, but they heat their pre-cooked 'grilled' breasts in a microwave and they tasted much fresher. -Consider the other cook's methods and taste test against your own. 

 

Lower cook temperature on chicken may take slightly longer, but resting time is practically nullified, and results are much better.

 

Serve me a pre-cooked burger and find out if I come back. -Maybe if you have the prices of mcdonalds and burger king.

 

 

A chicken breast should not be that thick to where you have to butterfly it, that's tacky. Your chicken breasts should be at a thickness where they should not take more than 12 minutes to cook. 

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

You know I came to this forum for advice. I have been a line cook for about 4 weeks now so I am learning, trial and error. I don't need some condescending attitude.I can get that at work.

post #16 of 21

I've catered,  and worked high end banquet room, as well as on a corporate short order line.

 

It's expected in catering that food is prepared in bulk. Indeed, it would be highly impractical

to cook custom orders for a party of say, 150. That said, I never...ever precooked beef, be

it hamburgers, beef franks or steaks. Fresh gilled on site, even while the "first wave" were in line

getting served. Same applied to seafood and chicken breasts.

(and if there was no provision for cooking at the event site, I didn't provide steaks or chicken breasts

or burgers, they were compelled to order something else, like a beef dish in a sauce for instance, that

could be transported and held efficiently)

 

I did however, cook a grillful of burgers and hold them in chaffers in a light broth for 20 mins

or so. Acceptable....in that context. Thousands of burgers  and I never got a single complaint.

Was this because its tastes "just as as good as fresh"? No. It's because it was expected.

 

It is not however, expected in a restaurant. If in doubt (and as suggested above) proceed how YOU

would want to be treated--would it bother you to find out your $10.99 burger plate had a pre-made patty,

for no other reason than the convenience of the kitchen staff?

 

If you're still unconvinced, cook a burger on your flattie, dunk it in your magic broth and hold for 20 mins,

all "nice and juicy". Then make a fresh patty med rare or med, and taste them both side by side,

just the meat, no bun etc. You'll see that despite being moist, the taste has changed.

 

If that still leaves you skeptical, serve it to someone else (fellow cook, your favorite server, etc)

in a "blind test" and see which one they'd rather fork up an Alexander for.

 

That said, even if there's not enough of a taste difference to make you a believer, there's an accepted

"code" of how things are done, in terms of what a paying customer expects. And people are accustomed

to feeling cheated and unhappy when shortcuts are taken with their order, even if it saves time and

keeps them from complaining about the time it DID take.

Makes it sound like they want their cake and eat it too huh?

Well they do--welcome to FSR's!

 

Bottom line, (again as said above) I would ask your Super,Chef, Km, or GM  how they want it done.

And in a corporate chain, they have THEIR standards and you (and the store) are expected to stick to it.

Either way it's all on their shoulders... and you're just the cooker-upper.

post #17 of 21

Generally it's not considered a good idea to sandbag food but you'll have to ask your chef.  If you're long a chix and it's a busy service you'll probably sell it but I wouldn't do it on purpose except perhaps if you're really weeded.  It depends I guess.

"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
Reply
post #18 of 21
Essentially the way I see it the OP already got his answer: ask your chef. He doesn't seem keen on taking that advice... frown.gif We don't want to tell you what your standard operating procedures are because they are always different. What is "by the book" in one establishment is verboten in another; whatever we tell you will invariably be wrong.

So again! Ask your chef, communicate to him you feel you're getting condescending attitude from senior staff instead of proper mentorship. If he doesn't see any problem with this then look for employment elsewhere and stress in your interviews that you want to learn, don't mince words when it comes to talking about your skills-- be honest about your experience. That's the best I think anyone here can offer you. Best practice is typically not to heat invidual portions in advance, whether that be a chicken breast or a filet mignon or a portion of veg. cool.gifThe larger issue here to me is the fact you don't feel comfortable asking for help in your own kitchen.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovegadgets View Post

Hi,
I'm a newby here. ....The problem is the other line cook...... I need advice.

Do what you have to do. Personally I have pre grilled finished in oven chicken breast and do burgers to order. I just dont have time to wait 15 minutes for a piece of chicken during lunch.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the very informative advise and I intend to talk to the chef and follow his lead. ..Again Thank you very much.:)

post #21 of 21

Feel out your customers, and ask your chef.  Many customers get a one hour break nowadays; so a 12m wait is worth it.

 

I did put a *?* at the end of a previous statement, and the OP does mention quesadillas. Also; I wouldn't smash a chicken breast. Paillards can be made by rolling with a rolling pin, and I butterfly 60lbs of chicken 4 nights a week for quesadillas, burritos, and salads.  Even cooking is something I value.

 

The company I work for boasts of using only the highest culinary standards possible (sorry not all of our employers bluff this). 

 

Make your Chef happy and do as they wish with your feedback.

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