I have worked a restaurant for five days. I have no formal experience, but I have done a lot of cooking and baking on my own. However, I was kind of put on the pastry line without really knowing how to plate the desserts, but I remembered from watching one of the chefs. But because I was new, I was slow and felt like I was fumbling around. The first three days they just had me baking things and not plating out dishes. But since I wasn't familiar with where things were I really struggled. I got yelled at for dumb things. I have been told to do different things from various people that have been training me these past five days. I am not a stupid person, but I got really overwhelmed and behind on the line on my fourth day and was told that it was unacceptable because I was so behind that I didn't get to an easy quick milkshake. I agree it was unacceptable, but I got behind because I made prior mistakes because nobody told me about small things such as kid sizes, to-go boxes, where to get different glasses, plates, etc. Everything is spread out all over the place, and I feel like I'm running around like a chicken. On the fifth day, I got yelled at for doing things that different more experienced chefs told me to do. I feel more comfortable with the desserts, but am really struggling with juggling multiple tickets at once. Like I said, I have no prior experience with plating and juggling multiple things at once, and when I asked for help because I didn't want to get behind people snapped at me or said I could do it. Any advice? I understand that people are under a lot of pressure, but being yelled at for me just makes me more stressed and nervous. I feel that whatever I do, it's always something wrong.
How to deal with getting yelled at
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1. Ask your trainer LOTS of questions
2. Absorb EVERYTHING. Did Chef give you a tour on the first day? You should remember where the majority of items are. Pay attention to how the walk-in is organized. Most (if not all) will have a section for "ready-to-eat", "dairy", "produce", etc. Knowing this will cut the time it takes for you to find things.
3. If your trainers really are telling you conflicting things then talk to Chef. Don't "rat" anybody out, but just inform him of the situation. Similarly, take everything your trainers say with a grain of salt. Look at the end result and find your OWN way of getting there, this could be why you think people are telling you differently (or maybe they really are. but in that case the Chef NEEDS to know)
4. Take a deep breath. Before your next shift, sit down a picture yourself during your shift. Image that you have 6+ tickets waiting for you and you are just killing it. You're super busy but you have a complete handle on the situation, you're enjoying it. I know it might seem silly or odd but it really does help. I used to do that before all sports games and it allowed me to go in with a brand new confidence.
5. If at the end of the day you really do try, maybe that specific restaurant isn't the one for you. Not all restaurants are as hostile as you are making that sound.
Tips to remember!!
1. Your mind looks the way your cutting board does. If your space is clean, you can think clearly.
2. Wipe down your board with a dry rag between every ticket. It doesn't take more than 2 seconds but it allows you to regather your thoughts to prepare for the next dish and catch your breath (also keeps you from getting pesto, for example, on the bottom of your plate). After just a week or less so it became a total habit of mine, almost a nervous tick, but it helps me focus.
3. At the end of the day your CHEF is your boss. I don't care if your trainer or another line cook told you to do this or that a certain way, they aren't writing your paychecks.
4. On the outside you can be scared or nervous but NOT on the outside, hostile kitchens will eat you alive.
5. Remember when you started in the first place! It will all get easier.
think of your work as having two parts:
1. production/training/communicating/nurturing everything (input)
2 serving everything that you learned to do in part 1, as fast as you possibly can at the required standard. (output)
service period is putting all your developed skills and knowledge into practice, there is no time to be sweet and polite, the orders are in and the guest wants their meal.. NOW!!!!
a lot of the pressure on you is actually caused by you, not necessarily on purpose, but as a result of the situation, if you knew what to do and did everything right then its unlikely the chef would be yelling at you...sure chefs can be crazy folks but theres very few who love to yell simply for entertainment purposes.
soooo.. the simple solution is learn more, and while this may seem easier said than done, I can gurantee that every hour less you spend playing clash of clans, or going out to parties every weekend with friends etc, and spend it writing notes on workflows etc will have a dramatic impact on what you can learn, and how fast you can learn it, and this will be found evident in the results you produce, which will lead to the chef most likely not yelling at you so much, and if the chef just cant help themselves but to be nasty at least you have learned a lot more skills, and you've also learned what kind of chef isn't needed in the industry and hopefully will have vision what you can do for your future.
since you don't have formal training then you are in the deep end of the pool, at 5 days of work and no knowledge beyond your home kitchen you have put yourself in the firing line, its not unreasonable to expect that if you want to be shot at then someone will take you up on the offer... for example I normally don't put people where they don't have some degree of capability, but if an individual steps up and says they want it then I will oblige them by giving to them, but if they fail absolutely I will crucify them to put them into place that they must learn more if they want to achieve what they intended... if they have courage to face me then I will educate them how to do what they want to achieve, and if they run away then they are too weak to handle the pressure to demand much of themselves or produce good results.
Edited by ChefShaneS - 6/25/16 at 10:09pm