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First head chef job

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Guys, I need all the advice I can get on my actual situation.
I've been working in professional kitchens for three years now. I've always been a food lover, and from a very young age I had the luck to be in contact with fresh, natural products (my father grew up in a small Spanish fisherman's village and my mother lived in a farm for 15 years), but I'm not an academic chef. I never went to catering school. I just picked up the skills that I needed in every job I had, and tried to stay close to the chefs who cared the most about the food they cooked.

I'm missing the point here. I work in a pub restaurant in Liverpool, and the businness is not going well, despite the fact that we have an amazing beer garden and we are located in the city centre. Today I was offered the head chef position by the general manager, after showing him pictures of the state in wich the actual head chef left the kitchen after yesterday's buffet.
He basically ran away when he finished. He didn't clean after himself, left the fridge door and the gas tap open and forgot a dozen cod fillets out of the freezer all night, which I had to bin in the morning, after cleaning his mess. He's never been this sloppy before, but I can't say he cares about the restaurant either (he recently accepted to be the head chef of another of the company's restaurants, saying first that he would do shifts on both, but he's not. He never came back. His only responsibility with this kitchen now is to call our providers regarding to orders). Also, all his experience resumes in 5 years in a burguer joint.

I'm aware that being a good head chef is not a game and I still have a long way to go, but at the same time I think that I can do this. It can't get any worse (famous last words).My workmates support me as well, they are good guys and I can always delegate on them.

I'm very excited about the job, and got already a thousand ideas about the menu, the buffet service, rotas, stock management, suppliers...BUT as I said, I need real advice from other professionals.
I'm especially worried about my relationship with the managers, who might use my lack of experience on their favour, and I will end up worrying about things that are not keeping the service standards high,my staff happy and trained and making my restaurant a profitable business. I'm going to meet with them in a few days and I was hoping you could help me with your personal experiences in cases like this.

Thank you very much guys,
Bon appetite!
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 
Our menu consists of food such as burguers, steaks, chicken wings, hot dogs, fish and chips, ciabattas...very simple stuff, which is not doing any favour to the business, only making it ambiguous. The strongest point of this place is that we have a tap of amazing import beers, which change every now and again.

Other two points I missed: one of my workmates is a chef with 15 years of experience, who happens to be my best friend as well. The only reason he didn't get the head chef job is because of his low English level. He is keen to fill any of my knowledge gaps and has been pretty much my rock for this time.

The other thing I forgot to say is that the front of house staff fully supports me being promoted.
post #3 of 4
Straight out of the gate..

Make amends and friends with the FOH managers. In this case, you are all in this together.. So the best advice I can give is to set aside your ego and work together with them. In the end, it's what's best for business, and that may mean that you need to compromise or work in hand with FOH. Above all else, they are not your enemy.

Second, what I would do is if you have any POS sales reports, spend the time breaking down what are your dogs, stars, workhorses, and puzzles by the numbers BEFORE you start making changes. Remember that sweeping changes will be met with huge resistance. It's better to have a long game and vision to get you there.. I'll give you an example...

I started off as the head chef of a place that prepare everything in advance. I mean everything. Fries, fish for fish and chips, chicken for the grill. Now, I knew that we were going to make everything fresh, but I knew if I just simply switched it would have failed. Instead, bit by bit, I set up a "system" and taught the cook's how to do it.

So, by the time the summer hit, we not only made fries in house, we floated fish and chips a la minute, Grilled all proteins to order, baked our bread fresh, made our own dressings, etc, etc. The changes made over the course of the year were profound, but they had to happen in stages... Not only for the cook's, but for management and ultimately ownership.

Hope that helps...

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

Reply

Jason Sandeman

http://jasonsandeman.com

Developing Systems So You Can Cook

Reply
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by welldonechef View Post

Straight out of the gate..

Make amends and friends with the FOH managers. In this case, you are all in this together.. So the best advice I can give is to set aside your ego and work together with them. In the end, it's what's best for business, and that may mean that you need to compromise or work in hand with FOH. Above all else, they are not your enemy.

Second, what I would do is if you have any POS sales reports, spend the time breaking down what are your dogs, stars, workhorses, and puzzles by the numbers BEFORE you start making changes. Remember that sweeping changes will be met with huge resistance. It's better to have a long game and vision to get you there.. I'll give you an example...

I started off as the head chef of a place that prepare everything in advance. I mean everything. Fries, fish for fish and chips, chicken for the grill. Now, I knew that we were going to make everything fresh, but I knew if I just simply switched it would have failed. Instead, bit by bit, I set up a "system" and taught the cook's how to do it.

So, by the time the summer hit, we not only made fries in house, we floated fish and chips a la minute, Grilled all proteins to order, baked our bread fresh, made our own dressings, etc, etc. The changes made over the course of the year were profound, but they had to happen in stages... Not only for the cook's, but for management and ultimately ownership.

Hope that helps...



It does help, thank you so much!
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