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I'm not learning!

3035 Views 20 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  cookinscool
I've been working in foodservice since july at good hotel here in Houston. I originally got the job as a way to gain experience and learn. I hope to have a lot of experience by the time i finish college and go on to CIA or NECI. I wasn't really worried about all, as long as i learned a lot. . It is a great set up for me because i'm very busy with all the other things in my life. I go to work sat. mornings and usually leave around 2 or 3, but i had enough freedom that i could leave most any time i needed too. I am getting paid now...but very very little...i'm not complaining. I began in prep doing the usual cutting the same veggie for hours and so on. It was really helping my knife skills. I also got to work in the hot kitchen which was a lot of fun, i was surprised my chef put me there so soon. Then, he moved me permanently to the bake shop. At first i knew it wasn't what i wanted to be doing but i think it's important to know because i hear that many chefs don't know much more than the basics about baking and i want to know everything about everything in food. I learned quite a bit for a while, but now, i come and do the same thing every weekend. It is also hard to learn from the baker because he is mexican as are most of the others in the foodservice dept. of the hotel. The communication barrier causes problems. The only way for me to work in the hot kitchen now is if i stay from the morning until sat. night when the bake shop is already closed. I don't have time to do this. My problem is, soon i will want to find a job at a restaurant doing prep and all but i feel that i will not be well enough prepared to do this. I feel like I am wasting time currently. But, i like my hours and my freedom and i don't think i could find that anywhere else right now, plus i want to show that i can hold a steady job for a decent amount of time. What do i do? Talk to my chef about it? I don't want to be a complainer and i think i'm too young to be so choosey. Are there other ways that i can make myself learn more? All i do is cut and plate cheese cakes, put dough into the roll maker and roll the dough into hot dog shaped things, roll dough on the big dough flattener thing(thats a lot of fun) etc. If you were to ask me to make any of the doughs for these things, i couldn't do it, especially in the quantites that we use. I basically just do the "mechanical" stuff. And its not that i don't enjoy doing these things, its that i don't feel i'm getting much out of doing them.
Sorry this has been so long, and i hope it made sense

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Being a veteran of many hotels I can tell you that a fairly large percentage of people working there don't have formal culinary training. Especially minorities. Many of them started busting their butts as dishwashers and worked their way up. Therefore they cook by rote. It's likely the baker can't explain it because he doesn't know himself. This is not to denegrate him in any way, it's simply reality. He might have been shown how to make all the items by the chef and that's the only way he will do it forever.
If you really want to know the answers to these questions, pick up a book and then watch him do these things and you'll understand a little more. Also try to arrange your schedule so that you can see how the other things are done. You don't have to work then, just find out when it's done and then tell the Chef that you'll be stopping by on your day off to see how it's done. Again, no Chef in his right mind will tell you no!
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