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my head chef can't cook

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
My executive chef can't cook. I've seen him cook once in 6 months. It was a medium well steak which went out raw. All he does is paperwork. Its a small hotel with a small staff but the dude acts like its the Ritz. Falls to pieces if he has to do anything.
post #2 of 20

Are you trying to tell us that,  just give you a week and you'll bring down the food cost to 21% and labour to 18% with you manning the  line single handedly?

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 20

Sometimes after being away from the line it takes a while to get it back.  

post #4 of 20
Whatever you think about his ability to work the line, his job is to pay other people to do.it.
post #5 of 20

As you said HEAD CHEF, but he can budget enough money to keep you employed. Ill bet he can do food cost, inventory, ordering, waste reports, temp logs and so on. Maybe because you think you can cook better then him you should have his job. He pays you to cook not to be a chef. Being a chef is all about management and if has to come out and cook a med steak then you and the line is not doing there job like you said its a small kitchen not the RITZ CARLTON so whats the problem?

post #6 of 20

I'm confused about your rant.

Are you not happy because your manager/boss cant do your job, while he's doing his own,

and while you're NOT doing his?

 

Or are you unhappy because you don't think he deserves his title and pay, because

he cant do your job as well? Do you feel his job entails the ability and obligation to

effectively and skillfully perform all jobs he's responsible for, yours included?

 

In other professions, the title manager, as well as the added responsibility and pay and long hours

etc are pretty much accepted as the status quo. No one expects the General Manager of a large

Auto Dealership for example, to slip on coveralls, run out to the service bay and change out a water pump.

 

It's the title that throws people off, even those like you in the industry.... the "chef" in head chef

makes people expect the ultimate in cooking skills. While the title Kitchen manager doesn't seem to

elicit that reaction nearly as much for some reason. And a General Manager can be responsible

for everything in the entire establishment, yet no one expects them to be a crackerjack cook either.

 

Hmmm.

post #7 of 20

Although the OP's post is somewhat vague I do think they bring up an interesting point:  At what point should the chef be absolved from having any ability to cook?  Beyond the costing, inventory, staff management, etc. the chef still has to train staff, keep standards up to a certain level and plan menus.  This at least implies a certain level of cooking ability.  A chef that sends out raw steak as med-well is doing a poor job of setting an example and of quality checking:  It's easy to go and criticize other people for doing things wrong, but it's even more important to own up to your own mistakes when you make them and not blame them on equipment failures or being 'rusty' or on the other cooks.

 

And honestly, if you're going to put up a flimsy excuse such as 'working with numbers is SO HARD', then why don't we just hire a bookkeeper and make them the executive chef?  I'm sure they've had much more experience crunching raw numbers.  Although the exec chef may not and perhaps shouldn't be the best cook at the establishment, they should be competent enough to show people how to do something correctly if the need arises, because no matter how well you are prepared there will be once day where you are forced to cook something and you better not make a complete fool out of yourself to either your staff or to the clientele.  Ultimately the chef is being paid more and given more responsibility because they are capable of crunching numbers, managing, AND cooking, not just one or two of the above.

"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #8 of 20

YOUR TIME MAY COME, BUT FOR NOW HE IS THE CHEF.!

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #9 of 20
So what are you going to do about it . Nothing?.talk smack behide his or her back ? Quit? ... if this is you're career then I suggest you learn learn learn everything there is to know about the industrie you are in be a sponge and absorb as much information as you can from this place and move on to bigger and better things .
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post
 

YOUR TIME MAY COME, BUT FOR NOW HE IS THE CHEF.!

 

so what? if he can't cook he can't cook. none of us even know if he is running the numbers properly, if he is, good for him. 

 

But I disagree with most of you, a "head chef" should be able to cook, period. "Being away from the line" sounds like a lame excuse to me. I don't know the guy and the OP's post is short so it's hard to form a strong argument but i agree with him if the guy really is that bad. If he doesn't have the skills to cook himself how can he teach anybody anything? 

post #11 of 20

If the Exec can't cook he sure as better be in a situation where he doesn't have to! It's damn hard to command any respect in a kitchen when nearly every station cook is better on station than the chef. 


Edited by Phaedrus - 11/2/14 at 1:02am
"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 #12 of 20

I think you all scared away the OP with your answers people.

 

Truth is, we really don't know the whole picture do we?

 

Let's see.....so far, we have attacked the Chef because he/she is so inundated with paperwork and management responsibilities, that he/she  has to delegate cooking responsibilities to the line cooks.

 

Then  we attacked the Chef yet again because we feel that no matter what happens,,, the Chef is LARGE AND IN CHARGE and has to do all the jobs in the kitchen perfectly, including getting an order correct the first time, even after not being on the line for what could have been months,

 

Chef's Diary....."Today was all about meetings. I had 4 meetings before noon today.

Milk delivery was very late, so I had to send a busser out to the store with petty cash for milk.

Dishwasher called in sick....third time this month....hmmmmmmm looks like I need to look for another one. sigh!

Banquet meeting at 2:00 today......Banquet captain got all bent out of shape because some manager stepped out of line. PLEASE!!!! 

Great.... the walk-in cooler is reading 57 degrees CRAP!!!

 

It's in between shifts, and an order comes in for a steak.......Nobody here....oh well....I guess I have to take care of it. 

Steak is on the broiler, phone rings, yadda, yadda, yadda, good-bye..........

GM walks in and wants to chat......

how'd they want that steak again?

post #13 of 20

In summer we were down an line cook and needed someone to fill in...So my head chef jumped right in and started working the broiler station. We were working at quite a fast pace about 45 plates - every 30 mins. I was plating/expo/communicator that night and I continually ask my chef where the steaks were for the ticket I'm plating. About the 4th time I asked him, he yells directly at me "F**k off, I don't do this every day like you do!" All of us secretly laughing on the inside because of his out burst. But I learned to role with his pace and to slow my other cooks down, after all we are a team. To this day it is the running joke of the kitchen. Its important that you know your chef will give it his all, but without doing it everyday, they get rusty and might need some time on the line before there as good as you are. 

"Are you 5 o'clock ready?!" - My Chef
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"Are you 5 o'clock ready?!" - My Chef
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post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
It sounds mean, I was angry when I wrote that. Its just that he lacks ability and experience. I've run larger kitchens myself and cooked and administrated. He's a nice guy though. But he's quite lazy. I wouldn't do anything about it though I just wanted to bitch on the internet.
I got sacked today anyway by the gm for 'abusing' the supervisor so its no longer an issue.
post #15 of 20
The plot thickens!
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefross View Post

 

 

It's in between shifts, and an order comes in for a steak.......Nobody here....oh well....I guess I have to take care of it. 

Steak is on the broiler, phone rings, yadda, yadda, yadda, good-bye..........

GM walks in and wants to chat......

how'd they want that steak again?

Numbers run businesses but the food on the table is where the rubber meets the road.  I hope if I ever dine in that hypothetical joint I don't get served an overcooked steak with a side of excuses. 

"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
"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 #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
 

Numbers run businesses but the food on the table is where the rubber meets the road.  I hope if I ever dine in that hypothetical joint I don't get served an overcooked steak with a side of excuses. 


Right on.........Chef I hope the same thing, but reality is, that this happens more then people realize.

post #18 of 20

There are always 3 sides to every story.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #19 of 20
Well im sorry to hear you lost your job, heres to finding one soon that fits you better.

You guys can come off as pretty brutal especially to newcomers, remind me never to vent
my emotions in CT. I think theres enough jade in here to build a good sized
statue for the town square. Lol
post #20 of 20

Every chef is different. My last job as chef de cuisine the exec was a very fine cook. His palette was great and he made some great dishes. But as the chef team and the servers would tell anyone, he was no longer an all star at expediting and running the line. I was much better at that job. But I never begrudged him his ability to work on recipes or behind the scenes stuff. His job was to run the kitchen, my job was to run the chefs and the line for service. I believe in active cheffing, but as I'm discovering as a new exec at a place that I keep having to do daily prep and line cooking, I have little time to administrate and make changes.

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