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tips for working in a high end kitchen

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi so I am currently going to school for culinary and got a job in a really high end and well reputed in region we could say its the best here. I have worked kitchen for the past 2 years but never anything at that level of cooking, as much that I am excited for the opportunity I am also really nervous because my skills really limited compare to the other workers and during my stage I did feel like a dead weight at some point. I know it was just a stage but I am very invested in this job and really want to be a great worker but I cant shake that nervous feelings about my overall skills.

post #2 of 4

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a professional chef nor am I super well versed in the professional chef environment. But I do have advice from a similar situation to yours.

 

At one point in time I was put/recruited onto a team for something where I was absolutely outclassed by basically everybody else there. During practice i would feel like I was holding the other members back due to my inexperience and lack of ability. It's definitely not easy being in a position where you feel like and know that you're the weak link in the chain especially when everybody needs to be on the same page. 

 

Fast forward a little in time and here's the knowledge that I've gained:

Know that you were only brought on because the people who you're going to be working for (or working with in my situation) thought you were good enough to be brought on in this first place. They don't expect you immediately to as good as your seniors. Although they do expect you to give it your all.

 

Find out what you're good at and why you're there in the first place. I'm not sure exactly what happens inside a kitchen but I'm sure there's something you're good and confident at and you should make it to where you can excel in what you feel like you can help the most in. Of course you should be able to do what is required and necessary but finding out what you're particularily good at and doing that is important in a situation where everybody else just seems better (I'm not sure whether this applies in the professional kitchen, but if it does all the better).

 

Remember to have fun too. I'm sure you're in this business due to some sort of passion for cooking. It's probably where your nervousness comes from. But it's something you should enjoy. Practicing (in my case and I guess yours if you can call it practicing cooking) should be something enjoyable even if it is work. It's impossible to get through something really challenging if you're heart isn't in it. Don't shut yourself in a cage or worrying over whether X or Y or whatever scenario you can be worried about. Maintain your health and keep a positive attitude.

 

You should watch what others around you are doing. Especially those who seem to be doing the best. Of course this is obvious advice, but whenever you're always worried about what you're doing it's hard to learn from what those around you are doing right. Provided that you don't lose focus and make unnecessary mistakes, try to learn as much as you can from those around you.Also remember to learn from your own mistakes.I noticed that you wrote that during some times in your stage (I'm guessing this is like a tryout?) you felt like you were a deadweight. Think about those moments and don't worry too much about the exact details but rather the big picture (ie: not exact movements where you messed up but rather what everybody else was doing and why you didn't fit in). Also, don't shut yourself off and get tunnel vision panicking over everything you have to do. Those other people all got there from some starting point too.

 

This last one might sound a little cliche, but it's so very true for everything. Hard work really does pay off. Don't give up and push through your work in thick and thin. Also don't worry too much. I doubt any successful establishment is going to be overly strict and just boot people out for one mistake. Hopefully your boss/bosses will understand that you're still learning and growing as a professional and allow you to mature. That comes with hard work though. I had to work my butt off to even just play catch up with my teammates but it's all worth it if it's something that you enjoy doing. I think this is the most important piece of advice I can really offer. If you want to get anywhere you're really going to have to work for it.

 

I hope this helps ease your nerves a little :).

post #3 of 4

advice:

1) arrive 10 minutes early for your shift, everyday.

2) bring a notebook and take lots of notes.

3) listen and learn, it's the little details that matter most.

4) stay meek and humble and ready to learn.

5) always keep your knives sharp and clean.

6) buy a good pair of work shoes as often as you need too.

7) don't go out drinking after work when you have to open then next day.

8) have a thick skin for things co-workers say in the trenches.

9) have a big heart for the ppl who keep the wheels turning. (the dishwashers)

 

not kitchen, but life related advice:

Live well and be happy.

post #4 of 4

I gave advice on the line one day, that I try to live by in the professional kitchen life. Because there will always be a better, more intense, bigger, more intimidating job or restaurant, so you have to live by it:

 

The only way to flip and omelette is to have the upmost confidence in your ability to flip that omelette.

 

So don't worry you'll be fine. Keep your eyes open and your knife sharp.

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