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New Sous Chef!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hey! So I've been floating around here (and a few restaurants) and I've just been given a sous position at a cool downtown italian restaurant etc etc. Very exciting. Anyway, I was promoted from the ranks, meaning that over the last two years I've worked with and even been taught by, some of the guys and girls I'm now expected to manage. I have no fears that they will outright disrespect me, as we are all close and have fun and genuinely like each other, but in the first steps of being the new sous, I'm finding difficulty. I'm trying to get the kitchen back up to 'like new' cleanliness, get the cooks to focus on tasting/food standards, and bring the food and experience of the guests back up to where it was when we opened. It hasn't slipped much, but there is definite room for improvement. I'm  trying to lead by example (I still close with them, clean, taste my food ten times before it sells etc) but I also want to be able to suggest/dictate without sounding like an asshole. It seems like a delicate situation, and I'd love some advice on how to be an effective manager and sous chef, especially when the cooks still see me as simply one of them but with a different shirt.Thanks guys! Any advice, tips, and ideas will be much appreciated!

post #2 of 9
It's a delicate position but a sous has no friends. You are the enforcer of the standard set by your chef. Set the bar high and keep yourself to that standard. Cook better than everyone else, clean more thoroughly than everyone else and don't take any BS from your cooks. If you have to discipline your cooks then do it. Don't be afraid to write people up or fire them if it gets to that point but put in the time to train them properly. Not only how to do the tasks at hand but also why they are done the way they're done. To be a sous is to be the toughest and best cook in the kitchen.
post #3 of 9

Good advice, Captain!

post #4 of 9

The position doesn't make any of us a leader, and once you become a leader you will have followers.

Bring it to the team in a positive way, have pre-shifts and point out areas of improvement, also hold people accountable. 

Good luck and put good energy into the team. 

post #5 of 9
Good day young grasshoppa
Fist I'd like to say congratulations on the promotion.
I will always say we are all equals in here if we all work as a well old machine then there is no rush we can't slay and make our B!+€H. You got the promotion because you exude what it was they expected in a sous chef . The title means nothing really. for you will still hold the same standards as before you got the hard don't play into the rubbish of nagging or talking about other people behind their backs ie the drama of kitchens .think of it like this.what is a perfect head chef in your mind .what makes you want to give your all all the time for them . Perhaps they are a great leader maybe a natural at teaching or kind understanding. If you think of the attributes that of a amazing head chef or sous for that matter I think you will find the answer to your questions . Hope this helps you brotha
post #6 of 9
Originally Posted by thecaptain435 View Post

Cook better than everyone else, clean more thoroughly than everyone else and don't take any BS from your cooks.

This is great advice. Make sure your staff has no reason to second guess you
post #7 of 9

If you make a mistake own up to it, you hold them accountable they will notice if you mess up. +1 with the captain "No friends"

post #8 of 9
I too just landed a sous. In a new restaurant, with cooks I have never cooked with. Scary?? A little. The place seats 164, I have 2 solid cooks and 8 prep/dish/fryers. I need two more solid cooks but nobody is applying. I am a little nervous. So, in short, I will be managing 12-13 people, on a brand new line, with a menu I have never worked with and have only managed 2 people in the past. Oh yeah, did I mention we open in 3 weeks? My cooks are all pretty young but show some signs of wanting to learn. We all meet this Friday so we can all get to know each other a little bit. And to review the menu. Plus, I have to train one of the managing partners how to expedite. I know that we will cycle through a couple of our line people within a month or so (hopefully not) but I guess what I am trying to say is that I am mostly nervous about finding some good help and that I really hope they pay attention to the training they receive. Yikes. Congratulations on your promotion and hope things go well for ya!
post #9 of 9

I had this exact experience with my first sous position.  It took a while for both the other cooks and myself to realize that we no longer could have the same relationship that we once did.  You got the promotion because of how you work and exhibit yourself in the kitchen.  Don't change your work ethic and expect the same quality out of your fellow cooks.  Don't let the power get to your head and start being a dick to everybody in the kitchen, but also don't let things slide.  If you notice where an improvement needs to be made, voice it.  Tell them what they are doing wrong, why it is the wrong way to do it, and then teach them the correct way.  When you teach your team and begin to help them grow and improve as chefs, the respect will come.

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