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Advice needed urgently!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi all!
I'm in desperate need of advice. I'm a first-year Apprentice and in the kitchen I work at, there is only me and one Chef. Unfortunately, a few weeks ago he gave his one month notice of his resignation and he finished up at the end of this week. We've advertised for a new Chef but unfortunately, we haven't found one and I'm not sure what to do. 
I have no idea how long it will take the business to find a new chef and if we don't find one within say the next two weeks, I don't know what will happen to me. 
The advice I'm asking for is whether I should start taking my resume around town and trying to find somewhere who will take me on (it's heading into the beginning of winter, so it's not a busy or even average time of year for hospitality in my town), should I stay where I am for a bit longer and see what the new chef is like when we find them? I'm not sure what to do as I'm only 3 months into my first year and no where has advertised that they are hiring. I've thought about moving to Melbourne (Victoria, capital city near me) and trying to find work there but unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to finance myself if I move.
Thank you all in advance!
- Sam

post #2 of 9

Keep calm and cary on. So the chef left. You still have a job. You don't say who is doing the work the chef used to do. Are the owners helping get the work done or are you doing it all by yourself? What kind of restaurant and how tough is the menu? 

Just keep working and be willing to do whatever needs to be done. If you really don't know how to do something, ask. If nobody objects to the way you decide to do it, keep doing it that way until you learn a better way. You are now in a position to learn how to purchase food if they let you. You don't' have to worry about scheduling since you are the only cook. 

Do you have a  dishwasher, prep cook or any other help? Is there anything on the menu you don't know how to cook? 

Remember the longer they do without a chef, the more you learn to do what the chef did. 

Get used to working the situation as it is now and plan for when the busy season will arrive. By then they may hire someone to help you and make you the chef. If that happens, you should get the chefs pay. 

On this website are lots of recommendations for cookbooks and plenty of people to ask for help when you have a  specific question about anything. 

post #3 of 9
Should have started looking a month ago.

Dont quit your job however.
post #4 of 9
Originally Posted by samanthab2 View Post

The advice I'm asking for is whether I should start taking my resume around town

This is never a bad thing to do, even if you have a job that you love and want to stay at. You never know what wonderful opportunity might just around the next corner if you don't look. In the mean time, I would hold onto your current job because "why not?".

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

A month ago, I thought we would've found a new chef within the time given. But I do agree, I should've started looking.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

One of the waiters helps in the kitchen when he is able to do. We're a 'members-only' restaurant, so some days it's dead and we'll only do four meals, as other days/weeks it will be flat out, like a couple of weeks ago when we had a function for 30 on one day (3 course), function for 30 another night (6 course + canapes + palette cleanse) and a function for 45 (6 course + canapes + palette cleanse). 
There is a few things on the menu that I don't know how to cook or make (spring roll mixture, spiced apple chutney etc) but I'm hoping to get the Chef to leave the recipes behind or at least a basic copy of them so I can have a go and see how they turn out. 
Unfortunately we don't have a kitchenhand or a prep cook to help out, we have a guy who comes in some nights to help garnish and do the dishes, but it's irregular we have him in. 
But thank you for the advice, I've decided to stick it out for another couple of months but if we don't find someone within that time, I'll have to leave as I'll be unable to complete my apprenticeship without a supervising Chef as my apprenticeship is via correspondence instead of going to a school 2 days a fortnight. 

post #7 of 9

In the hopes you are still reading this thread, I'll post a reply. 

     If I understand your last post correctly, for the correspondence apprenticeship, you will need a signature from the chef stating you did the work, etc.  If that's the case why can't you have the club manager or whoever the head of the club is sign off on your work? 

You no longer have a chef and within the club you are no longer an apprentice. You are now running the kitchen. The apprenticeship is to insure you get your certificate with some experience so the school is not sending out certificates to inexperienced people who may then embarrass them. That will clearly not be you. 

   The recipes you mention not being able to do are easily found in cookbooks and online. It will be easier if the chef leaves the recipes but there is no reason you can't develop your own. 

     I agree that updating your resume is important and looking for other work is never a bad idea. However, I would inform the club management of your situation and then contact the school to see what they have to say. From what you have posted, the club seems to have a lot of confidence in you thus far.  With the backing of the club management and your continually increasing role in the kitchen, I don't see why the school would feel you have not completed the apprenticeship. It will be easier for the club to back you up and keep you on than undergo another search for a good employee. Should you decide to leave after that, you will have the certificate, the experience and a better resume. 

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm going to ask on Monday whether our General Manager is able to sign off on everything for me or if the President of the Club would have to instead. 
I spoke to the Chef last night about it, as yesterday was his last day and he said he is more then willing to send me some base recipes to certain things and that he would encourage me to make it my own and put a spin on the recipes, change what he does to what I do instead as it's now my kitchen. I was prompted to talk to him about it after reading your response to my previous post.
I'd really like to say thank you for your advice and I have taken it all on board and am going to try my hardest to make the situation I am currently in work for me and continue working at the club for as long as I believe I can.
Thank you very much,

post #9 of 9

Glad to find things working out for you. Hoping for the best. 

     I will add only that however long you work for the club, you should find opportunities to continue learning. From cleaning to organizing to managing and cooking and everything in between, there is always a different maybe better way.  Whatever the menu is to satisfy the club membership, there are endless ways to prepare and present those menu items. 

Read and collect cookbooks, look through the threads on this forum and search the internet, travel when you can, even in your own city.

     Investigate "staging" where you work for free at another restaurant for a day or more. You can learn much by just helping out and observing. Meet other cooks, eat out as often as possible in good restaurants, research and drink lots of wine, practice different things at home like canning and preserving, bread and pastry making, candy making, and so much more. You will be your own best teacher so remember that the end of your apprenticeship is the beginning of a long, enjoyable learning process.

You're off to a great start. 

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