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Work Dilema

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have a situation at work that is annoying me to no end and I am unsure of what to do.  I wanted to see what other professionals thought of this situation.  As some of you may know I was hired in Aug. of last year as a sous chef to work for a university by a corporate entity.  A good friend of mine told me about the position and probably helped get me hired.  At first everything was great, but about halfway through the semester it is revealed to all the "sous" chefs (about 6 at the time" that in reality we weren't really sous chefs.  Well, at least not as far as the company was concerned.  Under the company's structure we were actually classified as "lead cooks".  However we were assured that this did not change anything as far as pay or how we were to be viewed by the cooks or the university.  This 'development" stung and I was more than ticked off but I was willing to put up with it due to the fact that I was still given responsibilities and duties of a sous chef.  However I was a little concerned that if I ever wanted to move to another job my title would not be backed up by what an actual sous chef does.  Well, the situation only keeps getting worse.  Due to several circumstances we are now down to 3 active "sous" chefs.  Now they have defined our roles as working a station where ever there is need.  In other words they now see us as the ultimate plug and play floaters.  They have also been taking away responsibilities from us.  I mean I know it is nice to have "less to do" but at the same time I feel as if my role and title have been diminished.  I am seriously not happy about this.  However I have talked to a manager friend of mine and he said that everything is in flux right now and they are still trying to figure things out and define roles.  I am unsure of what to do.  I have been there less than a year, but part of me want to look for a different job.  Another part wants to stick around and see just how everything plays out.  I am also concerned that any job I apply for will turn me down due to lack of experience (less than a year as a "sous" chef) or because I have not actually been doing what a real sous chef would do.  I certainly don't want to go back to being a cook, especially because I don't think I will get paid what I am getting now.  I think I have gotten to point in my career where I am past being a line cook.  Would any of you with the title of sous or executive chef go back to being a cook?  I am just not sure what to do at this point. 


Edited by ChefMannyDLM - 4/22/15 at 4:40pm
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefMannyDLM View Post
 

I have a situation at work that is annoying me to no end and I am unsure of what to do.  I wanted to see what other professionals thought of this situation.  As some of you may know I was hired in Aug. of last year as a sous chef to work for a university by the company Aramark. 

A good friend of mine told me about the position and probably helped get me hired.  At first everything was great, but about halfway through the semester it is revealed to all the "sous" chefs (about 6 at the time" that in reality we weren't really sous chefs.  Well, at least not as far as the company was concerned.  Under the company's structure we were actually classified as "lead cooks".  However we were assured that this did not change anything as far as pay or how we were to be viewed by the cooks or the university.  This 'development" stung and I was more than ticked off but I was willing to put up with it due to the fact that I was still given responsibilities and duties of a sous chef. 

However I was a little concerned that if I ever wanted to move to another job my title would not be backed up by what an actual sous chef does.  Well, the situation only keeps getting worse.  Due to several circumstances we are now down to 3 active "sous" chefs.  Now they have defined our roles as working a station where ever there is need.  In other words they now see us as the ultimate plug and play floaters.  They have also been taking away responsibilities from us.  I mean I know it is nice to have "less to do" but at the same time I feel as if my role and title have been diminished.  I am seriously not happy about this.  However I have talked to a manager friend of mine and he said that everything is in flux right now and they are still trying to figure things out and define roles.  I am unsure of what to do.

  I have been there less than a year, but part of me want to look for a different job.  Another part wants to stick around and see just how everything plays out.  I am also concerned that any job I apply for will turn me down due to lack of experience (less than a year as a "sous" chef) or because I have not actually been doing what a real sous chef would do.  I certainly don't want to go back to being a cook, especially because I don't think I will get paid what I am getting now.  I think I have gotten to point in my career where I am past being a line cook.  Would any of you with the title of sous or executive chef go back to being a cook?  I am just not sure what to do at this point. 

post #3 of 8

Don't get too wrapped up in the titles, bottom line we are all cooks, some with more knowledge and experience.

As long as you are getting paid good, I wouldn't sweat it. You are in an institutional setting where cooks are typically classified cook1,2,3, lead, etc and not fine dining.

If I saw your resume for example with 3 yrs as lead over 5 stations and 12 cooks putting out 400 meals 3x's day, I would know that you weren't  just the typical line jockey.

post #4 of 8

I sympathize completely with your position. A similar situation happened to me this past year working for a similar company. 

I have decided to stick it out for the time being. In the past I have left positions with large companies because the immediate situation was not to my liking. Had I stayed, things might have worked out differently. 

This time around I'm staying put for awhile. I get competitive hourly pay and benefits, something no one else in my area has been able to offer. 

I like Chefbuba's answer. Don't worry too much about titles. Companies like Aramark don't classify things the same. Institutional food service is a different animal in many ways. 

      You never know what will happen down the road. Management can change, the company stops shifting things around, a new position opens. If you are eligible for benefits, take advantage of them. Same for 401k and anything else offered by the company.  

     I suspect you most likely only have to work 40 hours a week, will probably get paid holidays and vacations and a few other perks unheard of in a regular restaurant. For me, that's pretty good right now. For the first time in many years, work interrupts my life, not the other way around.

     As for future job hunting- I wouldn't worry about that either. In resumes and interviews, it isn't the information or "facts", it's how you present them.   As ChefBuba said, you're not a typical line jockey after overseeing the volume you do. Everything can be explained in a positive way when the time comes. 

post #5 of 8

Some thoughts:

 

1. Working for a company that feeds a college campus isn't that great. Way too corporate (e.g. Sodexo but you obviously aren't employed by Sodexo) and not many people talk about campus food being good. Aramark is getting terrible PR right now for the sh*t food they're serving at Kauffman Stadium. I would bolt and run and gladly take a step down if I were you.

 

2. I work for a midwest restaurant group that isn't totally corporate but they are growing real quick and open a new restaurant every few months. A guy I worked with was the Sous of my restaurant and got bumped up to be a plug and play floater--opening up new restaurants here and there, working at busy ones when not opening a new restaurant. He recently got bumped to Exec at a brand spanking new restaurant after nearly a year in limbo as the plug and play floater, so there's a possibility of advancement.

 

3. I would gladly "demote" myself if I were in your position to work in a real kitchen in a real restaurant.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by westbigballin View Post
 

Some thoughts:

 

1. Working for a company that feeds a college campus isn't that great. Way too corporate (e.g. Sodexo but you obviously aren't employed by Sodexo) and not many people talk about campus food being good. Aramark is getting terrible PR right now for the sh*t food they're serving at Kauffman Stadium. I would bolt and run and gladly take a step down if I were you.

 

2. I work for a midwest restaurant group that isn't totally corporate but they are growing real quick and open a new restaurant every few months. A guy I worked with was the Sous of my restaurant and got bumped up to be a plug and play floater--opening up new restaurants here and there, working at busy ones when not opening a new restaurant. He recently got bumped to Exec at a brand spanking new restaurant after nearly a year in limbo as the plug and play floater, so there's a possibility of advancement.

 

3. I would gladly "demote" myself if I were in your position to work in a real kitchen in a real restaurant.

I agree with this, and have interviewed with Aramark myself. They don't get many high marks for their food.

post #7 of 8

I dunno about this....

 

I think we can all agree that Sodexo/Sysco food can be "stereotyped" as the quintessential vacuum tumbled chix brst @ 20% "protein" added content.

 

But if I was looking for a Sous, I' d be looking more for management skills.  Everybody would get training for me on how I want my food done, but I'd take it for granted that a Sous could jump in at any point of the game, could keep the kitchen running for 3-5 days while I'm gone, and could be competent with food cost and labour cost.

 

 

So I dunno, I guess the ultimate deciding factor for Manny is his account balance, and I don't think anyone here will fault him for what ever decision he makes.. 

...."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 #8 of 8

Chef Bubba says it all.. Also a question how do you define a sous chef?, and what are his responsabilities ?

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...

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