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Sooo.... About me...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

  Hey everyone, I've been browsing this site for over a year and started posting responses about 2 months ago. This community has been a great resource for information from people from many different backgrounds. It's nice to see different points of view on subjects as well as hear about personal experiences dealing with cooking, work, education, etc..

 

  So... I guess I should give a bit on my background. My name's Josh, I'm 28, born and raised in New Orleans and have been working in restaurants for roughly 10 years. Dabbled with some other professions, even the military after Katrina cut my college experience short. I started in the F.O.H. and worked my way up (Sometime sideways) that ladder into some really well respected restaurants over 7 years. Eventually I got burnt out trying to maintain in the upper echelon of New Orleans fine dining.

 

  I got fed up with putting on a face for the wealthy, ironing dress clothes every day and trying to keep up the physical appearance and demeanor of a fine dining waiter, someone who wasn't really me (A mid 20's single guy, who regularly barhopped through the French Quarter home every night to a crummy apartment, blowing nearly every dollar he had raked in.) But at one time I worked for a year at a high end restaurant that I held two positions, one being a server the other an expo. I remember how much fun I had hustling, joking, sweating, cursing etc. through that window; finalizing plating and staging ticket lines 30-40 deep, nearly half on fire. Watching and feeling for the cooks I worked with, oven doors were kicked shut, on the fly brunoised garnishes replenished in the blink of an eye, and some of the craziest things were yelled in the rush; I could have died laughing my ass off. However after a bad burn at a different restaurant years later waiting tables, I had had it with the niceties of working the floor. Quit and switched gears to B.O.H. in one moment of actualization. Never looked back. 

 

  A couple years later I'm a lot happier as a line cook, only worked 3 places but learned a hell of lot more than how to milk guest check averages up. Yeah the money sucks comparatively, but it's not a gamble anymore. Now my poker face is against my ingredients, my tickets and my former F.O.H. comrades; my knife and skillet my ace king suited. Still waiting for the flop with only two and a half years "technically" a cook, but with 10 years in any part of the restaurant service industry in New Orleans your a pro, or should be.

 

  Anyways, enough about me, this site rocks... period. This is my go to site because there are so many people with decades of personal experiences in professional kitchens, which beats looking something up on Wikipedia or YouTube by a lot. I hope I can contribute some of my experiences as I learn more and experiment at work and home.

 

  One last little thing, our season here ends in late may, and after spending a month last summer in the Pacific Northwest, I am considering moving to either Seattle, Olympia, or Portland. The food scene seems equally as awesome and diverse as here, and the standard of living is way better. So any advice on anything on working and living as a cook in those areas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, catch yall later.

post #2 of 6

Welcome chef and thanks for sharing your experience. I have no experience with Seattle or any of the areas you mentioned. You would do well to post your question in the professional chefs area. Thanks for joining and sharing your experience. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #3 of 6

NOC, working the FOH takes takes a different kind of person. I started in the FOH managing Restaurants. I always worked the dining room talking with customers, taking care of problems before they become problems. I also helped my servers during a rush or serving a large party. There are some people that are made for the job, I know you have worked with these people. These are the people that were born to wait tables, everything they do is with ease. They find time for every customer, they talked and kid and loved by all. The rest of the waiters go through  the dining room not liking it as much. They look at the customer as a PITA. The FOB isn't for everyone! 

   I am in the PNW, I would take Portland over Seattle. Portland's attitude in Food is wide open, creative and funky. Everything and anything goes. There is a big Food truck/cart and pod acceptance with fun loving cooks and chefs loving what their doing. Seattle has a bit different atmosphere, to me it's a bit more straight laced, not as free and open as Portland,Or. Portland is also a short distance to the mountains with great hiking and skiing. It is also a short hop over to the Oregon and Washington coast  for a few days of R&R with some real good fresh Oysters, Crab and other seafood.........Take care and welcome to Cheftalk..........Chef Bill

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses Nicko and Bill. I can and have done F.O.H. but got tired of being the salesman instead of the craftsman, I decided I wanted that to change that, even if it meant sacrificing pay for pride. I was near Olympia, WA during my visit last year and saw that city and Portland each for a day, my brother lives and works in Seattle, but I didn't get a chance to go up there. I had a blast in Portland touring the city and its restaurants, and I remember a large area with a strip of food trucks, I had some of the best Generals Tso's chicken I've ever had for 8 bucks lol. The city is beautiful and engaging as well. I still have a lot of time before I really start looking at rental's in any city in the PNW, and I appreciate the input. If I might ask Chef Bill; what is an average starting pay for a line cook in the PNW? Here it's $10.00/hr. and our min. is $7.25/hr. My brother makes $13.50/hr. washing dishes, so are the wages for line cooks around $16.00/hr. starting off? Thanks again... Josh

post #5 of 6

Hey Josh, I think once you teach everyone how to make BBQ shrimp you could write your own ticket. If your a good front line cook in Nola you s/b be fine walking in around $14 to $16 to $18 range. Of course most Chefs will want to give you a trail run to see how good you are at a bit low wages. You know how this business is, it depends on the house. I would say the inner city will pay more than the burbs. I'm about 200 miles East of Seattle about the same distance from Portland, Or. Thing are a bit more wide open out hear, I'll drive from my house down the Columbia Gorge 200 miles and it doesn't bother me at all. When I lived on the East coast driving 200 miles I would have to be sedated.......I would do my homework before you got here to see what Restaurants and menus would give you a challenge. Let me know If I could help in anyway .....Take care......Bill

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Yeah I'm hoping for stages here and there at multiple restaurants to see where I stand. I don't mind a 3 month probationary period before I am assessed for a higher wage. Hoping to live in the intercity or nearby as I don't drive, but from what I understand public transportation is very good up there. Here you're be better off walking to work for an hour during the 2 weeks of Mardi Gras.

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