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New Chef advice

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So I've been working in a hotel kitchen for about a month now as my first proper Commis Chef job and I'm having mixed feelings about it, I find that I'm being overlooked and ignored by the other Chefs and at times ridiculed by them when I'm clumsy or get something wrong. I dont feel like anyone has made any effort to teach me anything despite me showing enthusiasm to learn. When my starters section is all clean and prepped nobody ever gives me jobs to do and im tired of going around the kitchen asking what needs doing, I also think some of them think Im lazy because sometimes I dont do anything but clean and prep veg (which im always happy to do) but thats because i dont know what else needs doing or how to do it. ive spoken to the head chef about this and he said to master the section i work now and when it gets busy in the summer I could be trained on fish or meat but ive not spoken to him about how i feel ignored by everyone else there because this may be normal, can anyone help out? thanks
post #2 of 13
You've been doing this a month. I've been doing this since 1978. Overlooked and ignored? Give it a few years before anyone is convinced of your dedication to the industry. Ridiculed? Well let put it this way, after almost 40 years in the business I broke a simple 30 liter batch of mayonnaise the other day, twice. Im the ovner and I still took a bunch of crap from everyone else. I don't wat to say something like "suck it up buttercup " but ehhh,,, you know.
post #3 of 13
One month? Suck it up buttercup.

Earn your keep. That comes with time and experience. Keep doing your job to the best of you ability and be persistent.

One month is not nearly enough time to prove yourself.
post #4 of 13
As an exec, one thing that tickles my cockles is seeing my staff deep cleaning during down time, I mean scraping the gunk off of knobs and the sides of the equipment (and its legs) with a putty knife, wiping down racks, cleaning vents and walls, anything that isn't done as part of the daily routine.
post #5 of 13
Not to be a heartless jerk but why is there gunk built up on anything in your kitchen? I cook for over a thousand people everyday and there is no "extra cleaning " in my places. Never had been over the years. Through cleaning daily.
post #6 of 13

Slipp000- I have to agree with everyone else. A month is just about long enough to remember peoples' names and where they keep the stove. 

Do as the chef says. Learn your station, keep it spotless. On your own time you can read cookbooks and visit other kitchens, make some bread and other things at home. While at work, keep improving how you do your job, be ready and willing to help as requested, watch and learn from the other cooks and always work with a positive attitude. 

You get grief from other cooks when you screw up. We all do. Get over it. In six months or a year or two you will have some experience to think about. At the moment you have just arrived. 

post #7 of 13
@Lagom, chefs before me have apparently not made detail cleaning a priority so I'm getting my staff (inherited btw) to make time for it. Baby steps with limited and sporadic downtime. The equipment is old and well used/abused unfortunately. Today I had my kitchen helper scraping old oil goop from around the fryer legs.
post #8 of 13

Lagom,

     Sadly I have worked in too many kitchens where regular, thorough cleaning was never a priority, especially busy, independently owned ones. Broken or poorly functioning equipment, missing handles and knobs, dirty hood filters, greasy walls behind the stoves, sloppy, unkempt walk ins, too many depressingly poor conditions to think about. When I've attempted to discuss it, the other cooks didn't care, the owners thought repairs and paying staff to deep clean would be too expensive, it wasn't necessary, etc. etc.   I recently had the chance to stand and observe in the kitchen of one of the trendy hip fusion spots around here. Despite the cooks' belief in themselves as all that, it was obvious to me they had no discipline in the cleanliness department. 

     Now, after too many bad experiences, in the event I am interviewing or interested in working any place, I ask for a tour of the kitchen. If I don't like what I see and hear, I'm gone. Ironically, where I work now is far from hip, trendy or haute cuisine, but it's as clean as any other place I've ever seen. 

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by slipp000 View Post

So I've been working in a hotel kitchen for about a month now as my first proper Commis Chef job and I'm having mixed feelings about it, I find that I'm being overlooked and ignored by the other Chefs and at times ridiculed by them when I'm clumsy or get something wrong. I dont feel like anyone has made any effort to teach me anything despite me showing enthusiasm to learn. When my starters section is all clean and prepped nobody ever gives me jobs to do and im tired of going around the kitchen asking what needs doing, I also think some of them think Im lazy because sometimes I dont do anything but clean and prep veg (which im always happy to do) but thats because i dont know what else needs doing or how to do it. ive spoken to the head chef about this and he said to master the section i work now and when it gets busy in the summer I could be trained on fish or meat but ive not spoken to him about how i feel ignored by everyone else there because this may be normal, can anyone help out? thanks

 

Firstly, welcome to ChefTalk.

 

You have gotten some pretty honest opinions here, slipp000.

It sounds like you are looking for pats on the shoulder before you've earned it.

 

One month on the job in any place you'd go is simply not enough time to evaluate your job and how you fit in the scheme of things.

 

Chef hired YOU for a reason as he/she saw something in YOU.

Now it's YOUR turn to see what YOU are made of.

I capitalized YOU for a reason.

Stop looking to others for kudos and start looking at YOU and what YOU should do.

Don't compare yourself to others either.

post #10 of 13

Talking of pats on the back, I was very young at my first Commis job on a ship. There was quite a bit of a language barrier. Your position is to know all the positions in the brigade.

My approach was to reverse pat O T Back. I would see the Banquet Chef bringing something up and tell him, " I heard you make the best Yadda Yadda, would you mind showing me how you do it

and I can help you while making it. Once the other Chefs see that you can actually be of some assistance, they'll come around. Your already ahead of the game because it appears you've been hired

from outside. Moving up to Commis within the same kitchen seems like you'll never get the respect of other Chefs.

Be patient and good luck. Oh, and as far as down time and cleaning, get your dishwashers to do those things and stick around them so the other Chefs see that you can manage people and not be just another cook or employee.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #11 of 13

It takes a while to earn respect. But also bear in mind that you're not in school. The chef's primary job is to run a profitably kitchen, not ensure you get a proper culinary education.  You're a cog in a machine- be a useful cog instead of a squeaky wheel.

"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
"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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post #12 of 13

You seem quite young and a lot of growing up to do. One month on the job is nothing. Learn whatever you can from the others by asking questions. Research and study at home. Step up and take care of things you see needs to be done such as cleaning, ask others if they need help with prep. Step up and make them notice you by doing well and making an effort to learn and find things to do. Ask your chef if you can study the standardized recipes.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by chef7734 View Post
 

You seem quite young and a lot of growing up to do. One month on the job is nothing. Learn whatever you can from the others by asking questions. Research and study at home. Step up and take care of things you see needs to be done such as cleaning, ask others if they need help with prep. Step up and make them notice you by doing well and making an effort to learn and find things to do. Ask your chef if you can study the standardized recipes.

 

Or maybe make the family meal....I have heard the way to a cooks heart is through the bartender.. oops I mean stomach.

Doesn't matter if it is fancy just grab a tub and go shopping in the walk in.

Someone who can take a handful of leftovers and make a tasty dish is pretty handy to have around.

 

mimi

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