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Well I'm at an interesting crossroads...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'll try to keep this short and simple.

 

I am a lead line cook at gastropub-concept restaurant for a rapidly growing restaurant group.

However, I am also attempting to go back to graduate school next August (2016). So, I have ~10-11 months left in the industry. This is important.

From what everyone has been whispering in my ear (my exec, FOH managers, other line cooks), I should forget about higher education and pursue a culinary career. It's gotten to my head that my aspirations for graduate school have been clouded.

I've rapidly outgrown my current workplace, as I am actually bored and unchallenged at work, and our menu is far below my talent level and capability (sounds cocky, but true, and my coworkers constantly tell me this [exec included])

 

So the company is opening a new restaurant in a few months of the same gastropub concept, but with a slightly expanded menu.

My name was in contention for Sous, and for roughly a month it seemed it was all but official that I would be Sous (confidence from corporate employees, my exec, managers, etc).

Had a meeting this morning and it turns out the company loves me and thinks I am a valuable asset with no ceiling in sight...

But they're making me lead line cook at the new restaurant... a VERY lateral move when I want experience, growth, challenges, and to climb the ladder as much as I can in my remaining time in the industry.

 

I'm extremely disappointed. Bummed. Hurt, even.

Why cap me off at lead line when I know I can give you 8-9 SOLID months of Sous Chef? 

Their concern is that I might not like it and my short time span in the industry. If I can forgo higher education for 2-3 years and kill it at lead line cook and enjoy it, only then can I climb the ladder to sous, and exec.

I can defer graduate school for one year if I love it as Sous, which I was not opposed to doing at all.

But pushing me laterally has killed any interest for me to continue working with the company because it caps me off and forces my hand to either commit years or get locked in as lead line cook.

 

 

I'm going to talk to my exec about this tomorrow morning, and of my plans to quit my current job once I get hired somewhere else. I'm looking for a scratch kitchen with changing menus, as I believe that's where I fit best with my talent, creativity, and skill.

 

What do you guys think? Sorry about the long read.

I fully understand their hesitance to promote me to sous... but 8-9 months is definitely enough time for me to make it worth their while.

post #2 of 12
Questions- how old are you? Do you want a family w kids? What if any retirement options does your current restaurant job offer? The reason i ask this is the answers to some of those questions will impact what direction you go in. Is your graduate degree something that will allow you to get a high paying job. Are you passionate about the field your degree is in. My take is management could be making your head big so they can hold onto you longer with their talk of moving you up. Dangling the carrot so to speak. Thats not to say you dont have the skills at all. Also a move like that is definately lateral for you. Are they prepared to offer you some sort of incentive to move you to a new place. More money or perks. Otherwise what is the benefit of you moving except for a change of scenery. Are you willing to give up your graduate program for a sous position. If you are thatnis a bargaining chip for you. Really as a sous a 1 year commitment is not much. If im hiring a sous chef ideally i would like to get 3 to 4 years from them. It is an important position and not one i M looking to fill on a yearly basis. Maybe if you could commit to a longer term they would give you the title. As a sous chef your only real move aafter that is to become an exec or possibly sous at a step up restaurant. While a sous chef the cooking part should be easy what you want to focus on learning is the scheduling purchasing and ordering and food and labor costs. How much do you know about those things. Do you know what the labor or food costs are at the current place you at. Kitchen life especially a management nob can be hard. Lots to think about and you have a big decision. Think about your life in 5 years from now if you stay in the reetaurant biz. Think about your life five years from now if you do your graduate program. Which one is better. Think about life 20 years from now with each path way. Which one is better.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm 22. Just graduated from college, and am taking a gap year between graduation and starting grad school.

 

The only benefit that they've offered for the lateral move is an extra 2 bucks per hour, which is not that big of a deal for me.

 

I am applying for medical school and ultimately aspire to be a physician, so there's that. I think I have a very good shot of getting in this application cycle, but one never knows these days.

 

I am definitely intelligent and cerebral enough to make the jump to sous chef easily. I already care about labor and food cost as lead line cook at my current place when determining when to make cuts in staff and whatnot. 

I have not done the order or purchasing or scheduling, but once again--I am very intelligent.

post #4 of 12

What stokes your fire more...  the business in general...or food?

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 #5 of 12

This is a very personal decision so a tough one to help with. Chezpopp has posed some good questions. 

I'll only add this. You currently work in a kitchen so you know what it is like. You can move on from here to better restaurants and become exec chef somewhere someday but you clearly know what the kitchen life is like.

 You want to be a physician. I'm going to bet it is not a whimsical desire but something you deeply want to do. 

But you have never done it so you may or may not like it. 

If you don't at least attempt to become a physician, you may end up always wondering what might have been. That's a tough thing to live with. 

So… my advice is to get into the program and see how far you can take it. You can always come back to cooking if you find a physicians life is not for you and you can find ways to continue to cook while you become a physician and even after. 

But if you follow the path to becoming a chef, years will pass and you can't go back to becoming a doctor. That path is now or never. 

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

That's where I'm leaning. Culinary can always be an off ramp from medicine. I've talked to my parents about my dreams to be a successful restauranteur / owner of a restaurant once I have my medical career established.

 

That's why I'm leaning towards quitting my job and finding a new kitchen experience. 

 

I'm on a limited amount of time before I begin medicine (hopefully), and I want to get the most out of it. If it's not sous chef at the gastropub concept, then I'll have to move on from the gastropub concept instead of wasting my time and potential by limiting myself there to flipping burgers.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

What stokes your fire more...  the business in general...or food?

 

I love food, and I love sharing it with others. I'm a workaholic, but I really don't see myself in the culinary field for the long haul unless I really make it.

post #7 of 12

What would being sous mean in terms of broadening your knowledge base? Which of your skills and experiences would benefit the most from your promotion?

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 #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

What would being sous mean in terms of broadening your knowledge base? Which of your skills and experiences would benefit the most from your promotion?

 

Learning everything that doesn't actually deal with cooking or prep e.g. management, paperwork, dealing with corporate, etc.

 

One of the reasons why I wanted to be Sous so bad is because it would provide valuable managerial experience that would be great in medicine. 

Medical schools these days are really looking for well-rounded individuals with life experience. 

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by westbigballin View Post
 

I love food, and I love sharing it with others. I'm a workaholic, but I really don't see myself in the culinary field for the long haul unless I really make it.

 

I figured as much when I asked the question, so for the 10-11 months you have left, which is it

Quote:
 

What stokes your fire more...  the business in general...or food?

 
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by westbigballin View Post
 

One of the reasons why I wanted to be Sous so bad is because it would provide valuable managerial experience that would be great in medicine. 

Medical schools these days are really looking for well-rounded individuals with life experience. 

 

Cool, got my answer. Makes sense.

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 #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

I guess it just makes sense for me to explore food by working in a different restaurant if there's nothing left for me at my current job and company.

post #12 of 12
Honestly, to my mind, a year as sous is still kind of entry level management. You would learn but you wouldn't really master it. Sounds like you already made your decision. After about two years, if all you want is food and techniques, it's time to move on. At a new restaurant, even things you know may be done differently which will only help you understand food better.
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