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Working for an executive chef with drug problems

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello to all those I aspire to join in the  at the top and all those also on there way up like myself.  This is a topic which has been on here a few times, and I m more just looking for advice on my current situation.  I find myself the Sous of a restaurant with a lot of creative freedom, dream come true right, well it would be but I am a huge fan of collaboration and as such I often chat with the exec about ideas I have and am working on all of which he obviously  oks and lets me move forward with.  so often on his days off I go in extra early and get my prep done for the night and then continue to work on reworks and new dishes.  The problem I am running into is the exec likes to come in on his days off high as shit and just take all the components I have spent days deciding what would be best how to add texture and color and blah blah blah to the dish, throw it together and then go show it off. Now I understand my position but is this normal are most chefs out there to ask for your in put let you drive the plate until the last second then in a drug addled frenzy suddenly steal it out from under you.  And the worst part is he comes in like that thinks the plate is complete based purely on the esthetics but dosent take the time to taste it.  The plate that has inspired this post still needs work IMO as the flavors are still one note though it looks very nice.


So I know a ton of people are going to find some way to spin this into me being something negative, but I really am just looking for guidance, he is the exec I get that but I feel that he is not helping things acting like this when he is high.

post #2 of 11

No one above his head you can go to with the problem? I mean I'm all for collaboration, but it sounds to me he's downright stealing your work and pawning it off as his own on top of being high off his ass. Precarious even more is that if the dish is muddled and isn't a completed work, I can guarantee that if whoever he presents it to doesn't like it, he'll be sure as shit to blame you for the problem. 

post #3 of 11
He pays you to think for him, its not stealing. Your choice to do it or don't. You may need to change your routine a bt if you can. I would spin this more negative on you but you get my drift and pre empted it.

The drug problem is another story. If you cant be around that then leave. Hard choices....

Maybe confront him do an intervention of sorts? Save his life be a hero. Ive seen it done but alcohol abuse that time.

Or carry on stat quo, you have freedom and a job..... Could be worse.
post #4 of 11

Uh....since when does an executive chef get a sous chef to 'think' for him?? That would be one crazy and screwed up system. A sous chef may 'cook' for the executive chef and run the 'cooking' aspect of the kitchen via supervisory roles but to 'think' for a chef.......that is new. 


An executive chef has the menu planning to deal with and that involves creating the menu. If this chef is 'using' his sous chef to get ideas instead of 'utilizing' the sous' ideas and collaborating by fine tuning together and giving credit where credit is due........well then that is stealing my friend and in my world, you get your chops handed to you LITERALLY.....don't care what title you have.


@LuvThePlate I would go above his head or beyond the door. Meaning, talk to the owners or his superior to get stuff sorted or get outta there by saying thank you for a the opportunity but it is time to seek a more collaborative opportunity elsewhere. THE END. That is complete and utter BS what he is doing and no matter how much you hear the old adage of 'suck it up' or 'if you can't handle the heat' shyte, there is no room for putting up with abusive behaviour.......and this is one of those times. Great kitchens are ones where you get to learn and grow as a chef alongside a great executive or head chef that allows the room for collaboration and growth. This means they will take the time to teach you about the ingredients, what they taste like, why you are using them and where they come from. This allows the executive chef to trust in your collaborative efforts because they have given you a proper foundation to base off of. MAN, what you have just typed out gets my ire up as I do not condone any abuse, drugs, alcohol or otherwise in my environment. It will crush any creative soul quickly and painfully. Stand up and speak up or get out!


Hope some of that helps but in any event, trust your instincts and tell us how you fare off ;)

post #5 of 11

Believe it or not, your ability to manage a situation like this and turn it into a positive is an important part of your growth.  For example "Not finished" is a very common occurance nowadays but it still can be as good as you can do.  Not finished can be worked on later on as well.  


Chef's drug use is his problem.  There is nothing you can do about it.  At this level you should have a level of trust where you can be extremely frank with the chef behind closed doors.  Build the trust, work together, the kitchen will be stronger.  Make it known to him at some point but only when you feel he can be receptive to it.


Good luck

post #6 of 11
Originally Posted by Fablesable View Post

Uh....since when does an executive chef get a sous chef to 'think' for him?? That would be one crazy and screwed up system. A sous chef may 'cook' for the executive chef and run the 'cooking' aspect of the kitchen via supervisory roles but to 'think' for a chef.......that is new. 

An executive chef has the menu planning to deal with and that involves creating the menu. If this chef is 'using' his sous chef

Well, hes doing it at work. So yeah. I am not condoning abuse nor " using".

Keep your ideas at home then. I didn't say it is right and your reading a bit into it but yes as Sous, in this situation as it seems to me, he gets paid to think up dishes. Therefor the creativity. I do get your point of view as well, and if it is utter BS then there isn't much of a discussion is there.

If I bring something to work, an idea, an ingredient, technique, whatever, it becomes their; because they pay me to do so. Otherwise I'll keep it to myself and work on it at hone or in another kitchen. Luckily my Exec is nice about collaboration and does not have a drug problem, yet.
post #7 of 11

@chefboyOG Hmm...yea I understand what you are sayin now...thank you. I do agree with you and hope that the OP can get it straight with his captain or get into a place that has a more collaborative executive chef. ;)

post #8 of 11

Definitely go above his station.

If you have the relationship where you can talk to him in private about this, more power to you - but from experience I know that most people do not have that relationship

post #9 of 11
Good topic I know so many chefs that's abuse drink and stimulants to keep them active and also to cope with the job in general a few years ago I was In a similar position where my boss did the same and your the one putting the hard work in and he's taking the credit but that's how it always is for any job, it sounds like he's too comfortable in the position he's in and has lost interest and thinks he bully his staff too make him seem like he's in control. Your best off leaving or putting a full statement of complaint to your boss/manager? And let them decide there's nothing wrong with speaking the truth about your situation just don't let it make it feel like your snitching or whatever ... Good luck! X
post #10 of 11
It seems pretty rare that you as a sous, get to create and sell your own ideas at such a high volume. Seems like your exec is lazy and selfish for taking credit, but you are his sous. He chose you and gave you this opportunity. This chef is showing off his accomplishments and work. What I mean here, is that it's a matter of perspective. One that I totally disagree with by the way, I'm on your side, but perhaps your chef views these menu items and specials as his own because he chose the cook who creates them. Talk about ego problems right? Who knows. But hey, maybe one day soon, you can get a job as an exec as a result of the experience you're gaining now? The fact that you have done the work of a head chef regardless of credit is pretty damn impressive. Good luck!
post #11 of 11

Hey Dude!


Really cool site. Thanks for telling me about it. I will be doing much perusing... Hang in there. I see all the hard work you are doing... by yourself... and I see how unfair it is. I was about to tell you to milk this job "opportunity" for all its worth before going, but I am rethinking what I was going to say. I spent so much of my working life angry at ungrateful owners, and lousy coworkers. I hate to see the same thing happen to someone else. I have had so many horrible work experiences that I am beginning to lose faith that great working conditions exist. But I know how spirit crushing a bad kitchen can be... especially to someone with a great love of their profession. Our fearless leader has nothing correct to teach you. He is a line cook who got promoted by default. The owners may be interested in food in an offhanded way, but their only passion is money and they have zero loyalty and professionalism. There is nothing that you could learn here that you could not learn better somewhere else. Being angry all the time does terrible things to you after a while. I speak from experience. There are great kitchens out there doing amazing things with food. It might take a while to find a good situation but there has to be something better than what you are experiencing now. You are going to be working hard wherever you go, so you can work hard and learn a lot from talented, passionate people, or you can work hard, not learn much, and get taken advantage of by some crappy, over entitled people. At least if you get your ass kicked in a great kitchen you will come out of it with so much more. I hope you have a great night for a change and see you soon.

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