A Couple Questions for Professional Chefs

63
28
Joined Jun 8, 2017
Hello Chefs,

I'm new to line cooking (5 months in), but have always worked in the restaurant field. I got my line cook start at a pub, which was mainly all frozen food. Now I work at a BBQ joint and cook fresher foods. I am having a dilemma though. I have no respect for the owner as a chef as he never tastes his foods, even when he makes batches. He puts garlic powder in the mashed potatoes when he already puts in fresh, minced garlic. So, they taste fake or old. He has taught me to serve dry meat (mainly brisket) but just to pour au jus on top. Then gets concerned when we get bad reviews on yelp. I have even told him the brisket tasted dry but he only gets offended. They have adopted some of my cooking and plating techniques already, and I feel happy about that. I know I still have a lot to learn, and I have been learning here. I just feel as if I could be doing better, but I've only been at my current job for 3 months. A lot of restaurants want their cooks to have 2+ years experience on the line. I feel stuck and it is starting to show in my attitude. I want this as a career but they seem to lack passion for food, and it frustrates me.

The lead cook has 4 years in but it hardly shows. He doesn't even know how to run the line and the communication in this restaurant is nil to lacking. He tells me he doesn't even like cooking, and hates busy nights. 

So, I guess I have a few questions:

How do you know when it is time to move on?

What really is the difference between where I'm at right now vs someone whom has been doing this for 2 years? 

Am I just being a little overzealous and need to calm down?
 
1,841
543
Joined Aug 15, 2003
Find a new job ASAP. The first few kitchens you work in will set the tone for the rest of your career. My advice would be to work in an all scratch kitchen that has a real chef at the helm. It doesn't necessarily have to be "fine dining" or fancy cuisine--it should be pointed in the direction you want to continue your career path down (for example, if you want to do BBQ food for your career, then work at a BBQ joint, if you want to do upscale comfort food, work at a place like that). The main point is to have a trained, on premise chef who can guide, teach and motivate you to learn how to be a cook and then a chef. 

You do NOT want to work in a kitchen with no standards or no chef. At best, it will teach you how to be a lazy, corner cutting hack cook, and at worst, it will kill any passion you ever had for working with food. 

If you are only 5 months into your cooking career, you should be LEARNING from a chef, not teaching an owner or a lead line cook how to plate and cook things correctly. Like I said, get out ASAP. 

You don't say where you are from but there has to be better options for work out there. 
 
175
49
Joined Feb 8, 2015
Get out, find a kitchen that cares about the food they put out. I would always do research of the top 3 fine dining restaurants close to where you live. On the other hand food is what you make of it and how you treat it. I've had a 5 dollaar meal satisfy me where. I knew the chef put love in it than a 75 dollar fufu meal that had a name and money
 
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