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moving to a professional kitchen

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

hey everyone

I'm new here but I wish to seek advice from professional chef with my situation.

I've just completed my chef's apprenticeship (which was based in a grammar school) and now I have landed a job in a decent little restaurant with the head chef being the owner, the food is fantastic and watching the head chef do her magic in service is incredible to see. I know i will learn a lot at this place,

obviously Im new so i haven't had enough time to become fluent in the practices here and my first service didn't go so well, as it is a small kitchen there only ever 2 chefs working at a time. I was expecting to assist another chef in service but I was put on the line right away, with barely any knowledge of how this kitchen functions. 

needless to say I could tell the head chef was pissed off with my performance (understandably) so now im worried if I don't improve with my next service I fear I will be let go.

thing is, I know I can do it as i've proven to myself in another restaurant which i worked for 6 months before my apprenticeship, I can be a slow learner but when it becomes routine when I know im fine.

what are your thoughts on this?

thanks in advance

post #2 of 6
My advice is to show that you are eager to learn, ask clear and concise questions, if the kitchen is operational when you are not on shift go and watch service (including familiarizing yourself with where things are, their recipes, their routine), when on shift and there's downtime don't just stand there, prep/clean
post #3 of 6

Talk to the chef.  Let her know you're a hard worker and willing to learn, then back it up with your actions.  It's understandable that there will be a learning curve.  Try not to get stressed out as that will only make matters worse.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #4 of 6

There is always a lot going on in the background and in the chef's mind that is not always apparent. But also, don't feel intimidated to ask for direction or advice from them or other cooks. It's always a little nerve wrecking to start in a new kitchen. Even if you've been cooking for a while or have formal education. But always be active. Ask questions, get involved, learn where things go and how the chef wants things done. Recipes and so on. Talk to the dish washers, they've probably been there for a minute. But always, always, don't be a twat and try and learn as much as you can! :)

post #5 of 6

I've seen a lot of dumb stuff go down in restaurants including people getting fired simply because there was a lack of communication. If your next service does not go so hot then I would simply talk to the Chef at the end of the night. Ask what you are doing wrong, ask what you should work on. Communicate. This shows that you want to be better. IMO it is better for you to ask your Chef these questions rather than some people on a forum who were not there for your first service. As long as you clearly work hard and have a good attitude and are trying to improve yourself then you WILL improve and your Chef WILL notice. 

post #6 of 6

if you want to pick up quickly, look at the menu and think about that service. research your dishes and the dishes on the menu and understand them. bring a pocket notebook and pen and write out everything you need to do to prep your station and write down all advice given to you. bring a timer! ask lots of questions and communicate with the line when working; not joking, but understand your pick and when your food needs to be in the window.

The best way to show you are there to work and learn is to come in prepared; come in early and set your station, have all your tools, write instructions down so you arent that guy who is asking the same question over and over, use a timer and not burn things, stay clean!, and keep your head down and focus. Do all of that and your chef will not let you go; he will yell at you... but in an establishment where the standards are high they will yell and push you to do better and if they arent it is because they have given up on you or you are the prodigy of line cooks but that is unlikely.

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