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Need advice from experienced chefs

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Im a new cook and want to show more initiative in the kitchen but im not sure where to start. How did you guys make yourself stand out when you first started working in the kitchen?

post #2 of 26
Be the hardest working guy in the room
post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingfarvito View Post

Be the hardest working guy in the room

 

True dat, but what does that REALLY mean?

 

Working on a line has so many facets to be aware of while putting out those orders.

If all the prep was done correctly and pars kept, there usually are little problems.

 

Best advice is to be aware of the whole picture of the kitchen, just not your little world.

Be aware of the things that are necessary to run a kitchen, not just your little world.

 

Watch your peers and see how they handle to day to day functions of the kitchen.

See what they miss and you pick it up. Be aware of what they forget and you fill in the blanks.

Handle others carefully, be positive, be polite but not a suck up.

Know what has to be done everyday, once a day, once a week, once a month.

Know the inventory of your area very well.

Once you become more comfortable in your job, ask Chef for more to do. Maybe you could order for your area, or ask Chef if he'd trust you with the monthly inventory.

 

Be smart, and keep your eye open.

post #4 of 26

In addition to what the others said, I'll suggest 

Never say "It's not my job". Be willing, ready and able to sweep the floor, clean the area around the dumpster, prep the case of fava beans, help the other cooks do their prep. 

Never get upset about momentary problems. 

Show up on time. 

Stay late. 

Be clean and neat. In addition to your own work space, when you have some time, find an area of the kitchen that seems dirty and clean it. (Behind the equipment, under the equipment, inside the equipment, in the storage room, wipe the front of the coolers and walls. 

Educate yourself outside of work. 

Be willing to share your knowledge. 

Don't complain. You will get cut, burned, have tired body parts, feel greasy and disgusting, sweat, be under a lot of pressure. Suck it up and keep smiling. 

Take direction well. If someone tells you something that you think is obvious, be quiet and listen. 

You are going to screw it up. Go home, have a beer, get a good night's sleep. Tomorrow is another chance. 

post #5 of 26

learn the whole menu from ordering to mez to service.

keep talking to Chef, and don't hang out with lamers.

and EAT ! there is no point creating if you dont know how to EAT !

post #6 of 26

Do your job and do it well.

 

Organize.  Always.  At all times.

 

Clean.  Always.  All the time.

post #7 of 26

How would you stand out and make an impression on me.....

 

Be on time. When i say on time i am talking 30 minutes before you need to punch in.  Don't be sick or impaired, do not whine or complain.

Be faster and more efficient then anyone else. That also means not making any mistakes and getting the job done.

With the time you bank... help others. "im going to the walk in/store room...need anything? Im getting myself a drink, can i get anyone else one?   Pick up that dirty dish tub and drop it off at the dish room. When deliveries come in...carry something as you go.

Keep everything CLEAN.... and cleaning more then what is your responsibility.

Dont be a slob... or lazy.

Label, rotate, and make sure lids are back on containers.

Know the whole menu...not just what you are doing.

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

thats true, but i dont only want to be the hardest working guy, i want to be the smartest working guy

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddy12712 View Post
 

thats true, but i dont only want to be the hardest working guy, i want to be the smartest working guy

 

 

then trust me... you wont stand out in any way.

 

ALL of the chefs are supposed to be the hardest smartest working guy.

post #10 of 26

.

post #11 of 26

Hey @freddy12712 ,

I don't have much to offer from the above. I learned that networking with more experienced Chefs is good. I also offered my services to the Chefs, on and off property.

Personally, I think the most important thing is " NEVER  put your business in the street"  personal affairs really need to stay personal.

Good Luck

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddy12712 View Post
 

 i want to be the smartest working guy

no empty handed trips

efficiency of motions

multitask

prioritize

keep eye on big picture

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 

i like this answer, thank you

post #14 of 26
Don't ask questions..you should just keep your head down and work-find stuff on your own-know your stations mise en place..if your really lost,ask a co worker before your shift-don't ask the chef,we have enough to worry about-the cooks that produce and keep the flow going are the ones that get noticed...home work-learn your restaurant inside and
out with your off time-you'll get a million different answers for this-keep your head down and work hard is the advice I got from Andre Soltner many shifts ago...good luck
post #15 of 26
I agree with the comments above. It's great to do things on your own, that's how you learn, but when push comes to shove and you need to do something on the fly and you have no idea, you gotta ask someone. Otherwise you might be responsible for slowing things down. Also, maybe ask the occasional question to the chef about the night's dinner special or something. It shows enthusiasm for cooking and prep which most good chefs have themselves. Just don't over do it wink.gif
post #16 of 26
Also, I'm pretty new as well but I've worked very hard to get to the place I'm at right now. If you ever want some advice or anything feel free to PM me! I've learned a thing or two haha
post #17 of 26

Keep you head down, your station/ self clean and your ears open. Never argue with Chef, no matter what, he/she earned their stripes. Good you ask, it means you are serious about learning. Good luck. 

post #18 of 26

1. Show up on time (translation 15 minutes early)

2. Work Clean

3. Work Organized

4. Always know what your next task is

5. Never assume you know more than the person next to you

6. Ask smart questions (yes, there are dumb questions)

7. Get interested in wine

8. If you have time to lean, you have time to clean

9. Never complain about your work

10. If all else fails, "Yes Chef"

post #19 of 26

Don't be lazy.

post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike8913 View Post
 

1. Show up on time (translation 15 minutes early)

2. Work Clean

3. Work Organized

4. Always know what your next task is

5. Never assume you know more than the person next to you

6. Ask smart questions (yes, there are dumb questions)

7. Get interested in wine

8. If you have time to lean, you have time to clean

9. Never complain about your work

10. If all else fails, "Yes Chef"

Get interested in wine?

post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 

im definitely not lazy

post #22 of 26


If you see something to be done (floor needs sweeping, counter needs to be wiped off etc.) do it without someone telling you. My biggest problem before I left this business, and one of the main reasons I left, was people who flat out could not be trained. They could not handle being told what to do and did not seem to be capable of simply following directions. They all had their own ideas about how things should be done and how they could "improve" on set recipes, etc. If I told them, no, we do not put ranch dressing in our mashed potatoes, I was "yelling" at them and not acknowledging their culinary genius, which resulted in a bunch of sulking and bad attitude. I spent most of my time arguing with people, and yeah, I could fire them, but the next ones through the door wouldn't be any better. So my best advice is simply do what you're told and do it the way you are told. I don't mean to imply that you don't already do this, but I'm thinking about how someone that would just do what I told them would have been a star employee for me.

post #23 of 26

STOP.

LISTEN.

THINK.

 

Work small and Clean.

Ask Questions.

Show up early, and DO not stand around.

Always ask, "what can I be doing next?"

Have the desire to learn and push yourself forward.

Try to laugh, because honestly...it really is just food. Have fun!

post #24 of 26

When I began my career in culinary arts I put my head down, worked hard, respected my chefs, and didn't get caught up in the kitchen bullshit. There will always be people that will try to discredit you, see through it and keep your head high. Be true to yourself and never serve anything you are not proud of. (And don't suck up haha, chef's hate it.) But be confident and question things from time to time. The Chef will notice you if you're just your true self. 

post #25 of 26

be the first one to show up and the last one to leave

post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

great advice, thanks.

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