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Advice please! First time-manager: Stuck between two possible opportunities

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hi there, I literally joined this so that I could gather some unbiased yet experienced advice.
So I just turned 23 (yesterday, actually tongue.gif) and have spent the last 3 years at my current workplace. Before that I was in culinary school (the two actually overlapped for about 16 months) which also taught me a bit of introductory management.

I started at my current workplace as a prep cook (as my only other kitchen job was a 5-ish month gig as a dishwasher) and worked my way up to where I am now. I'm a line cook, but I can run the line, manage my co-workers, write prep lists, do the kitchen labour costing, do last-minute night-time orders, run parties, receive and order food, do inventory etc. but I'm just a line cook. In my restaurant, all those duties (except maybe running the line) are CDP or sous chef jobs.

We recently had a new set of management come in and both the new sous and exec seem to like me. I've spoken to them about becoming a CDP and it looks promising, but the exec has still mentioned that he thinks "I'm not yet ready for the next step, but with the right support I will be". Apparently he has a new (female) sous coming in soon (no timeframe yet. Probably a few months) who he thinks will be a good mentor for me (because I'm also a girl and he thinks we'll be able to relate).

Now, I already have a mentor. I'm not saying that you can't have more than one, but this guy pushed me when I was stuck on one of my first few stations, and within less than a year I learned everything I listed above. He and I work extremely well together and are very well acquainted with each other's skill sets. this mentor of mine is a CDP, looking to become a sous.

Recently a FOH manager left to a new restaurant and shortly thereafter offered me a walk-in-the-door "sous chef" position under a exec from a very classy and well-known restaurant (from around here in Canada. tongue.gif) He said that I can take my time with the decision and that it will always be available, and apparently the exec is very keen on me working with him (though that's just from what the FOH manager has told him). I'm not sure if this is actually a "sous chef" position, or if the manager means to say it's a "CDP" position. It's a much smaller restaurant than where I work now so maybe they only have a sous chef and no CDPs? (it's 100-seat, single-restaurant; I work in a 250-seat original restaurant that is part of a group- not a chain) I'm not really sure about that part.

Sorry for the long post!
So I need advice. Would it make more sense to go for the definite risk of the new restaurant, or should I stick it out where I am for a bit longer?

Other food for thought:
-My end goal is not about the title, but learning. And part of that learning is management. I'm not worried about pay. I'm worried that most times I feel stuck. When I don't, it's because I'm doing things a manager should be doing. I don't really mind, but I'm worried that I'm just being taken advantage of. But, I guess to an extent that's part of the industry.
-I feel like I've been doing the job of a CDP for at least 4 months now. If not longer. I know I have the skills, and I'm certain I have the leadership. Maybe I need some help on how to "give advice to others without sounding like you're giving advice"? Maybe I need help with confidence, and maybe I'm a bit too-approachable (BUT! Everyone will listen to me and seems to respect me. They come to me with problems and will push hard to get things done for me. I treat them with respect and they reciprocate)
-If I stay here, I'm worried I'll rely too much on having people who know me very well- how am I supposed to grow and get more confidence if my mentor is always there to "catch me when I fall" so-to-speak?
-I have a lot I can learn from either restaurant
-The past exec pretty much said the same thing to me as this exec, but also said I "need more experience in different restaurants"
-Is the fact that I'm asking about all of this, and the fact that I'm thinking so much and am still a bit uncertain mean I'm not ready?
-I'm not generally a confident person, and I always have ridiculously high expectations for myself. I'll be nervous before my shift, but once I start and I'm calling a 600+ night or am pushing out that VIP party or teaching the new chef de cuisine how to close our kitchen- I feel very confident and sure about what I'm doing. So, I guess even if I'm unsure at first, I tend to make things happen once I'm in whatever stressful or difficult situation I get that day.
post #2 of 2

I think once you learned all you can from one place it is time to move on. I have done it about every 2 years/18 months. I don't think that you are ready to be a sous chef though. so maybe you should move but not to that place. The reason? Everybody working under you will be watching you, as a sous chef you should know more than the others and I am talking all the aspects of the kitchen, cooking, management, paperwork...I am not a fan of quick advancement because if you can't back up your position with knowledge people you work with have no respect for you. Also jumping over positions will rob you of those crucial years of learning as you go along. Once upon a time in French kitchens it took 8-10 years to move up between positions....You are 23 and have it all ahead of you what is the rush? Good luck with whatever you decide!

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