I worked at a very nice restaurant in the U.S midwest featured in a few national culinary publications and everything was going well the first week but then I was working at a cafe under the same restaurant group and got slammed by orders and couldn't handle the volume and had a bit of a breakdown leading to me really questioning my passion and skills, I tend to get a bit temperamental when stressed so it lead to the kitchen manager telling me to "lose the attitude", even though it wasn't directed at any of them, mostly myself. I had worked in a short order breakfast chain mostly in the south east of the U.S and the owner/head chef was very impressed I stayed there as long as I did and really liked me. The other higher up chefs I worked under told me I was very hard on myself and lacked self confidence which I agree with. I was very nervous about being told "you're no good to us, you can leave now." so I wanted to be as perfect as possible with as few mistakes as possible. I did get hired though and did get paid for all my previous stage days so there's a plus!
Going back to the breakdown I had at the cafe, the stress stuck with me into the next day and just cast a dark cloud over me that I couldn't shake off and everyone saw it including the owner. He pulled me aside and had a chat with me to figure out what was going on. I told him I wasn't sure I could do this, but he reassured me I could and I went back to my work. A few hours later he pulled me aside again as I still couldn't shake the feeling that I had made a horrible mistake going to school for culinary as culinary is my 3rd career change and Im currently 26 and still not financially independent.
The way the kitchen ran was very imprecise and was told to me that it's very "relaxed" cooking. There were few measuring devices for ingredients and the standardized recipes very minimal in their direction, I will list a few examples:
I was told to make Tzatziki for a menu item and the recipe called for greek yogurt, cucumbers, tomatos, onions, and lemon juice, so I come back with my mise and told I need ENGLISH cucumbers. The recipe just said cucumbers so it kind of aggrivated me a little.
Then, as I was finishing up cutting the tomatoes, the chef walks by and says "did you remove the seeds?". I replied the recipe didn't say to do that in the directions. She said it was no big deal and said for next time to remove the seeds.
As for getting the ratios of ingredients correct, I was forced to eyeball and feel out weights as there was no way to actually measure there, coming from a short order world of ladles and measuring cups it was very difficult for me.
While julienneing bell peppers, I was instructed by another cook on the line that had been there for a number of years that I was supposed to cut the peppers top to bottom, not side to side. I as never made aware of this by chef and just felt utterly defeated once again. Chef told me it was okay but the feeling of failure and wasting product stuck with me.
After having my third talk with the owner he asked the hard question: "do you really want to do this?" which, after this point I was emotionally exhausted I replied "I don't know". Then after a bit more discussion I was told "we will not have this conversation again" and was sent back to work. The next 4 hours was a battle just to keep myself together and appear happy so that the chefs wouldn't see my distress. At around 6:30pm I couldn't take it anymore and I told the chef I was prepping for I was leaving for the day and thanked her for the opportunity, she offered me another day to get it together but I texted her that same night and told her I wouldn't be coming back.
Right now I am taking time away from working to reevaluate my career choice and very unsure I want to continue. I made an account just to post this as I have no one else to talk to about the industry and feeling very directionless at this point. Any advice is welcome, thankyou