I graduated from culinary school last May, and was hired a few months ago by a luxury senior facility. The chef who runs that kitchen, was impressed with my skillset and work ethic. He also was impressed with my food and presentation. I had never worked in a professional kitchen before and he knew that, but liked my resume and how I attached my instagram food pages to it. He put me on the line the first week and gradually, I started catching on and took advice from the pros and got along with everyone.
Fast forward two weeks later, he told me the brand new facility across the street was now open and there was only the executive chef and a breakfast cook working and they needed a line cook to help them and I was put "on-loan" to them. A sous chef from an out-of-town facility was also "on-loan" to them to run the lunch and dinner shifts to help out. Corporate put her up in a hotel during the week and she drove home on the weekends.
I loved working with her, too. She was kind, smart, worked cleanly, and gave me a list of tasks to perform and I completed them quickly and efficiently. She complimented me on my work ethic and skills as well as the first chef. When the sous chef from my original facility came to visit me, she told her I was an asset to their team. I felt really good working with people who have the same passion for food as I do, but the good feelings would be tested time and again. The breakfast/lunch cook and executive chef called corporate and told them they didn't want the sous chef to come back and help them; that I was all they wanted.
The breakfast/lunch cook and the executive chef called corporate and told them NOT to send the female sous chef back to help them because she reorganized their dry storage and lowboys. Truth is, the place was spanking brand new with top-of-the-line appliances and gadgets, three dining rooms, and only 16 residents, but the chef and breakfast/lunch cook couldn't handle them. I'm serious, they could barely get the memory care residents they meals. All the sous chef did was clean up their mess/neglect. Hell, I went online my first day over there and took the meat slicing machine apart, which was laden with grease and old meat and other foodstuff. I even printed out a guide for it, which the dishwasher, breakfast guy jumped for joy that finally someone knew how to take it apart to clean.
I don't understand why this guy is still working there. He gets flustered on the line, if more than three orders come in, he was shoving every cambro under the sun into lowboys for storage, when all he needed up front were the foodstuff needed for that shift. You couldn't even make a salad because the components needed were in the walk-in, not in the lowboy, which meant leaving the line to find them. Corporate sent the company's executive chef down and he reorganized the walk-in and freezer and told us to keep the place clean. They have since hired two new cooks, who came in like gangbusters and everything is on time, runs so smoothly and we all get along. One of the cooks was a semester ahead of me in school, except he has 2 years working experience over me; it's cool. The guys really good and easy to work with. All three of us get along and they appreciate my skills; except the this chef will not allow me to work his line. I am the official prep cook and told I have to crawl before I walk.
I get along with everyone, except the chef and this breakfast/lunch guy. The minute I told him that I was a recent culinary school graduate, but know my way around a kitchen, he began treating me as if I didn't know what a fork was, how to slice, dice, or even cook an egg. The breakfast/lunch cook can't even prep his line. The chef preps for him, which I think is ridiculous. Aside from making breakfast and lunch for the regular residents, this cook hardly finds time to restock his line. He is supposed to make lunch for the memory care residents, too, but when I come in to help, nothing is ever ready, so I have to do it myself or it will be late.
HERE'S MY QUESTION: Why am I being treated poorly? I've demonstrated myself time and again. One day the food wasn't ready when I came in to work and I asked the breakfast/lunch cook if sandwiches he put in the pass were for me, and he screamed at me, "Take the fuckin' sandwiches!" and turned and then turned and screamed, "Aw Goddammit!", and threw a whisk into the servers station; leaving a dent in the brand new cabinet. He was suspended for a week, but the fuck-up is back, acting like nothing happened. Chef told me he told corporate that every task he's given me, I didn't finish in a timely manner. Tasks, what tasks? I arrive at work 30 minutes early and ask if he needs help, which he always says, "No, I'm fine" and he and the chef both laugh.
Everything he said is untrue and he is intimidated by the new cooks because they are on auto-pilot and when chef isn't there, they teach me the fundamentals of working the line. Also, I am in charge of plating desserts and I take my designs up a notch. I am not the average culinary school graduate. I went to school BECAUSE I ALREADY KNEW HOW TO COOK, and went for the documentation and to sharpen my skills. This is a second career for me and I love it since I was a child and have been cooking since I was 12. I am 59 years old, keep myself in good shape and spirits.
Honestly, I feel abandoned my the first chef I worked with. Every time I turn in my timesheet, everyone asks me when I'm coming back. The new cooks tell me I'm one of them now and want me to stay. It's the chef and breakfast/lunch guy that are mysteries to me and I don't feel welcome around them. Why corporate sent me to work across the street to be humiliated by a chef who caters to men, tells me I have a lot to learn. Oh really, so if that be the case, then why aren't you "teaching" me? Why are you showing me internet awards and pictures of you in the past, but treat the men like stars? Why am I an afterthought? Why are you prepping for a line cook, when he should be able to hold his own?
Lastly, when chef sees my plated desserts, he says, "Oh, you're learning". what a dig! He's not teaching me anything, except to clean up his messes he makes and walks away. I got tired of it and now I leave it. He eventually comes back and cleans it; on a good day.
I just do my job and work with the two new cooks. They make it bearable. I only speak to the breakfast/lunch cook when the job requires it. He is an unnecessary communication as far as I'm concerned. But here's a mystery, when I'm working quietly, the chef will run over to me and ask me how I'm doing or will start teasing me. I feel stupid because he'll say something funny and I'll laugh. He'll share personal information about himself and I'll feel he's opening up a bit, but then he's sullen again and, if I need to ask him a question, he'll brush me off. But, then he's back. Geebus! This manic behavior reminds me of my mother. She was crazier than a bag of weasels!
I just don't get it.
Edited by Etherial - 7/2/15 at 6:11am