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I went down last night, what can i improve?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hey cheftalk

 

I'm a 19 year old chef student from denmark. I work at a high level restaurant in copenhagen with great chefs / student.

Sunday the 17/7 was my first day on a section called garnish.

 

I was with a guy and he helped me set up still service and i then did service. Things were good, but there were a few things with the tastes and such. Nothing big and something i can figure out.

 

 

But...

 

yesterday monday 18/7 i was alone on this section... prepping and doing service. Second day on garnish and alone :)

 

I went down pretty hard. 

I ran out of things lot's of times, guy beside keeps calling me times and i just get late late all the time, with the garnish.  

 

 

Now i'm working on friday and saturday night and i want to "comeback" and really do a good job over at this section.

 

 

Can u guys help me with this? 

 

how to take over a section good and know how to do things and such

 

just help as much :D

 

also on the service. I can write the dishes i'm doing if u need.

post #2 of 25
Sounds like whoever was to show you the ropes may have shorted you on the amt you needed to prep for usual service.
Ask your immediate supervisor how much of each item you will need for each nite's service and write it down.
The par may vary ( busier services like weekends and special parties) so until you are settled in go ahead and ask every time you work a shift.
Better to ask than be caught out short IMO.

mimi
post #3 of 25

It doesn't matter if you have the best schooling in the world, its experience that counts, and the learning curve is going to extremely steep.  Accept that you will make mistakes, Accept that without those mistakes you won't progress, and you will be just fine.

 

Oh, and accept that you being new, will usually get the raw end of the deal most if not always

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

I know i'm lerning from this. 

 

In last night briefing about the service, he said it wasn't good... but he didn't get mad at me and he also told me , that i'm learning from it (going down) and will eventuelly crack the "code".

post #5 of 25

Study the menu; get a system down of the most used items or the staples that are key that the garnish is built around and build from there... you can never over prep...push thru it and do not stress about small mistakes  They happen.  remember to have fun you are doing what you love

post #6 of 25

Sounds like you are working for a good chef. One that understands it takes time to build up and gain experience before you are a star. Garnish is one of the hardest stations because it can get so hectic with making all the stuff to go with the protein. It is usually a "starting" station on the hot line but damn, it can get crazy. 

 

Try not to make the same mistake twice. You WILL make mistakes, it is just part of learning, but if you constantly make the same mistakes over and over there is a problem. Iterate each day on your learning...fix the problems and work that into how you prep and how you cook. Nothing drives a chef crazier than making the same mistake over and over again. 

 

Keep a notebook...dishes you do, plating, recipes, etc. Write notes to yourself on how to work better. 

 

When I was young I would show up for work 1-2 hours early and work off the clock (not usually recommended by some people around here, but it really helped me get all my stuff done when I was new and a lot slower). I did this to make sure I was set up for service...nothing in a kitchen is (in my opinion) worse than being behind all day. If you are ready and twiddling your thumbs at 5pm waiting for the first tickets, that is GOOD. Once I got into a routine, learned the fastest way to prep, knew my pars, etc, I could come in at a "regular" time and still get it done. Showing up early is a good way to show your chef you are serious about what you are doing and committed to being the best. Again, it is totally your call, but if you get shift pay or salary it especially might help you to show up a little earlier. I don't know how it works in Europe. You might have some people here tell you to never work for no pay, but again, it is your call. I did it, and I know a LOT of cooks and chefs who did it, especially when they were younger and just starting out, in order to be set up and learn the ropes. 

 

One last thing...don't let mistakes sink you. Fix your mistakes, obviously, but don't let a mistake effect the rest of your service. FIX the problem ASAP, and move on. I've seen lots of cooks have a bad start to a night, get flustered, and spiral out of control for the whole service. You have to mentally be able to move on, not take it personally, and come back with more fire to do it right. 

 

Good luck...welcome to the big leagues!

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Someday View Post

Sounds like you are working for a good chef. One that understands it takes time to build up and gain experience before you are a star. Garnish is one of the hardest stations because it can get so hectic with making all the stuff to go with the protein. It is usually a "starting" station on the hot line but damn, it can get crazy. 

Try not to make the same mistake twice. You WILL make mistakes, it is just part of learning, but if you constantly make the same mistakes over and over there is a problem. Iterate each day on your learning...fix the problems and work that into how you prep and how you cook. Nothing drives a chef crazier than making the same mistake over and over again. 

Keep a notebook...dishes you do, plating, recipes, etc. Write notes to yourself on how to work better. 

When I was young I would show up for work 1-2 hours early and work off the clock (not usually recommended by some people around here, but it really helped me get all my stuff done when I was new and a lot slower). I did this to make sure I was set up for service...nothing in a kitchen is (in my opinion) worse than being behind all day. If you are ready and twiddling your thumbs at 5pm waiting for the first tickets, that is GOOD. Once I got into a routine, learned the fastest way to prep, knew my pars, etc, I could come in at a "regular" time and still get it done. Showing up early is a good way to show your chef you are serious about what you are doing and committed to being the best. Again, it is totally your call, but if you get shift pay or salary it especially might help you to show up a little earlier. I don't know how it works in Europe. You might have some people here tell you to never work for no pay, but again, it is your call. I did it, and I know a LOT of cooks and chefs who did it, especially when they were younger and just starting out, in order to be set up and learn the ropes. 

One last thing...don't let mistakes sink you. Fix your mistakes, obviously, but don't let a mistake effect the rest of your service. FIX the problem ASAP, and move on. I've seen lots of cooks have a bad start to a night, get flustered, and spiral out of control for the whole service. You have to mentally be able to move on, not take it personally, and come back with more fire to do it right. 

Good luck...welcome to the big leagues!

Maybe I just don't get it... but, how is working off the clock (to ensure you have a smooth service) ANY different than working for minimum wage/crap wages????? Either way, at the end of the day, you're working for less than you should be receiving ....

I see no difference.

Yea, the chef wants me to clock in/start work only at the precise minute I'm scheduled.... But, the chef also wants me to work for $10 an hour; have a professional knife kit with every knife as sharp as possible; work the entire shift with no breaks(no bathroom break, no water break, nothing) ; have zero conversations that aren't related to work and never once stand in place without wiping or cleaning something .....

My current "chef" is paying me $10 an hour, he says he will eventually pay me more but he has NO timeline for when that could happen. He says he starts all his cooks at min wage....
Ok , great. ... Let me come in and bust my ass and be a professional everyday; ensuring I'm on the clock for the bare amount of time possible and that I do everything I possibly could in the time I'm on the clock... Then you just pay me minimum wage, and whenever you feel like giving me more money, that will be great! Granted, you're only in the restaurant on Friday and Saturday so you're missing 75% of the time I'm working, but whatever. .. We do it cause we love it 🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄
post #8 of 25
I'm learning everyday .... Chefs will screw their line cooks over at every opportunity they get.... Most chefs, I should say.

The good ones don't, but granted, their are many more bad chefs than their are good ones .... Something else I learn everyday....
post #9 of 25

do you love it?

post #10 of 25

I understand your frustration ..but your best move is to get ahead of the job anticipate what is next.....you should always be cleaning.  you have to do the time off the clock in order to get ahead the sooner you start the easier your job will be.

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by flipflopgirl View Post

Sounds like whoever was to show you the ropes may have shorted you on the amt you needed to prep for usual service.
Ask your immediate supervisor how much of each item you will need for each nite's service and write it down.
The par may vary ( busier services like weekends and special parties) so until you are settled in go ahead and ask every time you work a shift.
Better to ask than be caught out short IMO.

mimi

This is the best answer to this thread.  Every station should have a par sheet.  Every station should have a list of any extras such as parties, large tables expected, and number of reservations. It is the Executive chefs job to insure this happens.  Ask if there are any questions?  Inventory at the end of your shift and leave it for the next shift.  No professional Chef should ask someone to work off the clock.  In the US this is illegal and it is unethical.  Don't get discouraged it takes time to learn.   

post #12 of 25

I didn't mean that he should go in early and work off the clock.  I just think that some homework might help out.  But I do agree the organization and prep starts at the top.

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 

So here is the menu i'm doing (not plating, my headchef does that)

 

Main course

Heartsalad on pan. Braise it

Mix 2 pures + salt + lemon to make a sauce (warm up)

2x times different crudites with some vinaigrette

Herbs

Potato's with pure , cream fraiche, butter and such. 

 

 

Here is what happened. 

 

I couldn't cook the heartsalad as my chef wanted it. It was good, then bad and so on. I put them on pan with oil and butter. Cooking off. 

 

1) Ran out of pure

2) Too slow, to the guy calling the times.

3) Always a step behind. (Frustrated me)

 

 

 

We got a MEP like everybody else. Normaly when i swap sections, i try to learn what's on the menu... then how much we use pr. night (to calculate almost how much we make), because then i can "overprep" and don't run out and still have breakup for next day. I do that normaly on a section, so i don't have to do everything every day annd such.

 

Edit:

there is more to the section, it just ain't selling so much. Like the beef, white asparges and veg.


Edited by seb96 - 7/20/16 at 8:01am
post #14 of 25

It is hard to call from my chair on this side of the screen, but usually the difficulties I have seen with people having a hard time keeping up once the tickets start to fly, is because of  inability to see enough of the big picture.

 

Working the line, a cook has to be able to work more than one ticket at a time. It is a highly involved dance though because it involves timing and sequencing to come off properly. You can't get too far ahead, you can't get too far behind. You have to stay in step by seeing the big picture.

 

Prioritizing. What needs to be done now. What can be done next. What can be put on the shelf a bit; but you have to be able to do for all the tickets at the same time, not just a ticket at a time. For most people this doesn't happen instantaneously, instead it comes with time, experience, and perseverance.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #15 of 25
They used to tell me, if you need help, work faster!
I tell new cooks, keep pushing, don't let up, in a couple weeks it'll 'click' and it'll be easy.
post #16 of 25

The fact that you got beat down and want to get back up and improve is all you need.  You'll be fine if you keep that attitude and keep getting back up.  Remember fast is smooth and smooth is fast. 

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

It is hard to call from my chair on this side of the screen, but usually the difficulties I have seen with people having a hard time keeping up once the tickets start to fly, is because of  inability to see enough of the big picture.

 

Working the line, a cook has to be able to work more than one ticket at a time. It is a highly involved dance though because it involves timing and sequencing to come off properly. You can't get too far ahead, you can't get too far behind. You have to stay in step by seeing the big picture.

 

Prioritizing. What needs to be done now. What can be done next. What can be put on the shelf a bit; but you have to be able to do for all the tickets at the same time, not just a ticket at a time. For most people this doesn't happen instantaneously, instead it comes with time, experience, and perseverance.

This is so true...

The ability to work more then one ticket at a time is crucial in a restaurant. You need t work more then 1 pan at a time and more then 1 component at a time. Multitask.

 

Also you need to prep and make sure everything is ready for service this includes having enough portions. Sure someone could have/should have given you some details on the amounts, but regardless no one in the restaurant is a psychic to give you correct portions needed per day. You need to have an estimate and probably work above that number to always have a large amount. Its probably better to overprep, though don´t exaggerate.  

 

You culd also just talk to the other line cooks that have your garnishes and ask how much they are going to prep and use that number for a base. 

 

But you are working garnish, and depending on the kitchen the garnish station is the one station that shouldn´t run out of mise-en-place. Garnish needs to walk with all the other stations that require components from your station. The meat station shouldn´t be waiting on garnish, neither should hot apps, or fish. Its a station that needs to always have stuff ready to be sent out.

 

In the restaurant i work at now, we don´t even have anyone working garnish, garnish is like a phantom station, we use garnishes, but who ever needs a garnish for a dish preps/finalizes it themselves for there own dish or has someone with more freetime do it every now and then. Everyone in my kitchen doubles down on garnish. 

 

It´s not a tough station, you just need to work out the kinks of it, and get used to the rythm. There are more complicated stations... 


Edited by KaiqueKuisine - 7/20/16 at 4:57pm

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 

don't want to sound roud or anything, but here in denmark we don't do it the same way as u. some of it :)

 

 

We got these sections

plancha 

fry'er

raw

garnish

fish

dessert

 

 

i sent up garnish, then fish comes up

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by seb96 View Post
 

don't want to sound roud or anything, but here in denmark we don't do it the same way as u. some of it :)

 

It has nothing to do with your country, it´s restaurant dependent... 

Each restaurant has there own brigade and stations. Sometimes one cook can do more then one station... 

Sometimes a station can be discarded and the responsabilities of that station pass to another. 

 

It depends on the restaurant.

 

Your still young, there are still many more resaturants with many more stations im sure you will pass through, that won´t be the same as the place you currently work at. 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

Reply

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 

okey, thank u for the help guys.

post #21 of 25
Sweat and work as hard as possible during prep. Once the rush comes just try to stay as methodical as possible. No wasted movements. Shutting down will not accomplish anything. Most likely the cook beside you is struggling too. He's just use to it
post #22 of 25
This little trick has helped me in years past. When you go to bed reflect on service. Replay it and visualize your movements. Think of your mistakes and then visualize how you would fix them.This all helps me commit the actions to long term memory.

I often dream of service. I feel like it's practice.
post #23 of 25

This is my favorite saying " Plan your work and work your plan. ". This is a philosophy that has guided me through my 25 year career as a Chef.  From the time I was a line cook until just today.  I prep well for the shift and the day before.  Write your own prep list on a pocket note tablet that you keep with you.  Ask questions to the front of the house..." how many reservations?  How many tops are we expecting tonight ?  This will mentally prepare you for the day.  Keep your mise en place organized.  Have a back up for everything and touch every item that is on the menu, that could be ordered from your station.  Have a back up or every item and raw ingredients and a cutting board at arms rach , in case you get slammed and need to slam out some onions or something.

 

 

A positive attitude and keeping a strong pace all day in the kitchen is key. Make your prep list so that the tasks that take longest are started first and work backwards towards service time..  Keep calm under pressure and take deep breaths often.  Hydrate yourself. Listen and learn.  To the other cooks, chef and servers.  Each day you grow if you have what it takes.

 

 

 

 

Best of luck to you

 

 

I hope you find enjoyment in it as I have in my life.

 

Chef Dave

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef Harris View Post
 

This is my favorite saying " Plan your work and work your plan. ". This is a philosophy that has guided me through my 25 year career as a Chef.  From the time I was a line cook until just today.  I prep well for the shift and the day before.  Write your own prep list on a pocket note tablet that you keep with you.  Ask questions to the front of the house..." how many reservations?  How many tops are we expecting tonight ?  This will mentally prepare you for the day.  Keep your mise en place organized.  Have a back up for everything and touch every item that is on the menu, that could be ordered from your station.  Have a back up or every item and raw ingredients and a cutting board at arms rach , in case you get slammed and need to slam out some onions or something.

 

 

A positive attitude and keeping a strong pace all day in the kitchen is key. Make your prep list so that the tasks that take longest are started first and work backwards towards service time..  Keep calm under pressure and take deep breaths often.  Hydrate yourself. Listen and learn.  To the other cooks, chef and servers.  Each day you grow if you have what it takes.

 

 

 

 

Best of luck to you

 

 

I hope you find enjoyment in it as I have in my life.

 

Chef Dave

Seriously I just love this so much.  I swear Chef's have been the most inspiring people I've ever heard/met in my life.  Thank you for sharing this. 

post #25 of 25

i can really relate to this i started on cold section in a bistro i had 10 starters and 5 deserts under my belt along with 1 section head AKA  cdp  so 

 

 learnt the way etc the first night i was alone on the section

 wednesdy night i did service fucked up alot ...kept mistiming orders to fast too slow....

what im getting at is one really needs to be in the moment in every sense you need to be very tuned in   in a busy kitchen cause your chef will bark orders left and right if you cant mentally remember i use to do this trick i use to take out 1 basic mis en place of every dish barked . and  in the order it is supposed to go..once you start getting accustomed to the sequence of things its muscle memory 

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