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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Chefs,

I just took over 3 kitchens as exec sous in an upscale very expensive retirement home. This place has state of the art equipment and set ups. 3 kitchens extend into dinning rooms so you can see the cooks cook live. So I'm 4 days in and my staff doesn't even cook, they reheat food that's cooked on our large kitchen on the bottom floor. Sometimes the food is cooked a day or 2 in advance which is ridiculous seeing as each floor just cooks for 30ish ppl.

My cooks get paid 23$hr STARTING so this lack of actual cooking and lack of flavor is uncalled for, pure laziness and the exec chef wants me to change that (hes new himself). Our facility has no restrictions on seasonings what so ever (unless specified per individual). My question for you all is how would you go about training the staff so we can start giving these folks the food they DESERVE...we have a test kitchen on site where I can teach them. Should I maybe introduce 1-3 dishes a week to them untill I totally revamp the menu? New setting for me so all advice is appreciated. Thank you all in advance.
 

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Should I maybe introduce 1-3 dishes a week to them untill I totally revamp the menu?
Sounds like a solid reasonable plan to me. As you go about doing this and are delegating tasks for the day, give the cooks who are willing to learn, tasks that reflect this and will allow them to learn. Give the cooks who are just there for a check, tasks that will reflect this.
 

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If anyone grumbles about the task they got, just tell them that you don't really make that decsion, their attitude determines what task they get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If anyone grumbles about the task they got, just tell them that you don't really make that decsion, their attitude determines what task they get.
Thanks for the advice!!
I got a feeling 1 of my cooks won't be able to adjust to actually cooking for a change but they are replaceable I guess.
 

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I used to work in a similar setup. expensive retirement home. biggest issue for us though was 1. the pay sucked $23 for your cooks is a LOT where as for us a lot of the cooks were getting like $13-14 only and they have been with the company for 5+ years and for that amount it is extremely low and disrespectful imo. 2. the chef would just introduce food that he liked and that was cheap at the time rarely took into consideration what the residents liked yet alone their complaints and yes they complain a LOT but they weren't wrong either. 3. lack of rotation; we served the same damn food almost on a weekly basis. chef would put turkey chili a dish they hated every single sunday. it wasn't that bad tbh but they just didn't care for it.

what I would suggest is you introduce new meals SLOWLY and talk to your staff about it before hand and if they need to be taught then teach them. our executive rarely if any taught us anything. a lot of our meals were literally off google with us not knowing wtf we are doing. I'd be making dishes i've literally never made in my life before but luckily for me i've eaten most of them. it was pretty bad a lot of the time since i ran my own station i would literally go home and work at home looking up recipes and seeing how things were made and what not when in reality im not even being paid enough for this. 2nd listen to their complaints and try to work around it. sometimes it is too difficult due to costs but a lot of the time their complaints are fairly manageable. rotate the damn menu, if they hate specific new items take it off the menu don't be like my old chef and just keep running it. idk how much food went to waste but it's a LOT. once made vegetable lasagna i think it was made 18 pans for both kitchens split 9/9. at the end of the night we had 6 pants left over because they hated it.

teach them how things should taste. we had a very stubborn sous chef who would always tell me to taste her food and i would tell her it needs more flavor and what to add. she refused to listen saying they are old. which yes i understand but it was terribly bland. when it goes out the servers would come back tell us they are complaining it's bland. For me a #1 rule is follow up with the cooks make sure they are okay with the work environment. At this retirement home they were running us like slaves. i ran 9 out of the 10 options we served on a daily basis; 9!!!. nobody every helped me if anything from prepping to cooking to plating. sous chef didn't even know how to expedite and when she did it took her forever just to send anything out. Had a cook who would be gone half her shift every single day and another who would get paid just to show up didn't even work much and nothing was ever done about it despite multiple cooks complaining to the management.

in the end though the entire company and management was terrible even seen an ad for it on Facebook and surprisingly a lot of the residents from out of state were complaining as well about the service but mostly the food and how much they pay yet they get food service like. they would complain about how little food they were getting which at our location was true we gave them very little food due to the executive chef telling us to give smaller portions and yes a lot of them complained about it as well.

take what you want out of this it's just my 2c as a cook working at a high end retirement home feeding about 350-400 daily with 2 kitchens. You just need to try new things, see what they like and dislike and adjust. my station was probably the busiest though because unless we had something they loved i'd get slammed for sure. i would always just forecast what they would order and adjust because after a while when running certain things you know what they like. such as somen salad i'd make about 50 per day about 40 would be gone for lunch dine in alone take out would be about 20 if anything. also never run anything that is say good/bad such as us if their side served bad food i'd get slammed and they would simply waste all the food they made. serve items that are more or less in line with each other or at least options that can be reused for other meals in the future like soups or something.
 
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