Absorbing Stress

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by jaidyn, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. jaidyn

    jaidyn

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    Hey guys, this is something that I've been working on in the kitchen, but a few helpful pointers would be amazing...

    The kitchen I work at is very stressful (aren't they all :)), and sometimes it becomes so intense I find it hard to just suck it up. Me and the other staff are very close and I want to know how I can absorb stress without exploding and offending people, and/or let off steam in an appropriate manner (not Gordon Ramsay style lol)
    I'm sure a few of you have been there,

    Thanks,

    Jay
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Don't take anything personally. 

    Remain emotionally detached. A kitchen is a practical place. When a problem arises, focus on fixing it, not getting upset about it. Getting upset wastes time and in the middle of service you need to use your time wisely. 

    Avoid drugs and alcohol as a stress relief. Get proper nutrition and sleep so you are at your physical best. Find a good, healthy hobby for your off hours. 

    Stay organized and on top of your mise-en-place. Plan your work.

    Develop the ability to recognize and acknowledge your mistakes instantly, then work to correct them, instantly. 

    Service hours are inherently stressful. The more you organize and plan, the more efficient you will become and the less the unexpected will throw you off. 

    You can cry on the inside but remain calm on the outside. Act as if you are in control of yourself and others will feel less stressed which in turn provides you with less stress. 

    At the end of the day, remember what you learned and forget the rest. Tomorrow is a new day. 
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
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  3. jaidyn

    jaidyn

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    Thanks again for that, that really helps.
    That's an interesting thought... Remain emotionally detached, it easy to get so caught up with your work your emotions get pulled along as well.

    Lol does espresso count as a drug?? Haha

    Cheers
     
  4. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Well [chefwriter] I guess that let's out Valium, violence and blowing out all the pilots and standing at the kitchen

    door with your thumb on the flint wheel of a Bic, huh? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif

    Seriously commercial kitchen stress (or even "event" stress) is something you cannot explain to people

    who have not experienced it personally. Its not life and death, but it sure as hell can feel like it.

    And I don't have an easy answer either, I just know that when one person loses it and starts, say throwing

    Saute pans around the room, it makes it FAR harder for everyone else to keep their cool.

    Also, especially with a close knit group like you mentioned, detachment isnt a natural state of being, and it's

    important to spend away-from-work time together and wind down, drinks, pizza and beer, whatever.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  5. chefross

    chefross

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    As you progress and have more experiences you'll find the calm will find its' way.

    The stress is indeed hard and not everyone can handle it or deal with it on a nightly basis.
    Advice is not going to help unless it's heeded.
    Everything that chefwriter said was spot on.
    Eating right, getting enough rest for the body and brain to repair itself. Getting off work at 2:00 am and hitting the bar might be one way of dealing with stress, but is it really the smartest? Just sayin.
     
  6. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Remember that this too (whatever it is) shall pass.

    It is food, not life or death.

    Time accelerates in your mind. Take deep breaths and return to center.

    A good chef should be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but paddling like hell down below.

    Smile.
     
  7. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    Like Meez said it isnt life and death , and i usually remember service will always end....EVENTUALLY

    The problem with my kitchen as that we are friends inside and outside of work , so we usually try to specify to never take what happens in the kitchen seriously ( since line cooks during a rush can act like a-holes).

    Now the stress of doing in event is far worse , because something can and will always go wrong , either inside or outside of the kitchen , i usually try to remain calm all through out service , and stay focused. If we are in the sh** , then thats when i stop talking and start doing the harlem shuffle. 

    Remember its just a kitchen , your dealing with flames , tools , equipment , eletricity , co-workers , food etc.... anything can happen , your job is to cook , produce , clean up and go home , the rocks in the middle of the road you either drive over or around them , they get in your way but dont stop you. 

    Also a few good screams in the bathroom or the cooler usually help. Or even swearing out loud , as long as it isnt directed towards co-workers. 

    This is why i find having a hobby or something to do outside of work a good way to destress. 
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  8. linecook854

    linecook854

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    I'd say 9 of out 10 chefs vent their stresses externally (yelling at people, getting loud, slamming a pot or pan, walk-in meltdowns etc. etc.) but the minority like myself tend to internalize which is way worse for your health. All this leads to is anxiety, stress and worry outside of work about work, constant aggravation and never venting just builds up. Recipe for a heart attack or stroke. This depends on your personality type as much as anything, introverts vs. extroverts I'd suppose.

    Either way you behave one method that works for me (relatively) is just thinking about the big picture when sh*t starts hitting the fan. Think about why you do this, where you want to be and how you're gonna get there. Think of the goal you want to reach and how this day is just another step to reaching that goal.
     
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  9. jaidyn

    jaidyn

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    Great feedback guys, thanks. It's crazy how helpful it can be when you find out you're not alone. ;)

    Yeah, I find the bathroom a good place to cool off. Needed to do that today haha

    Thanks for the help guys,

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  10. Henry O'Brien

    Henry O'Brien

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    This is such an old topic, but it always applies as I think we all know. I’m cool with my employees, but it’s a pretty steadily revolving door. So that changes on the day to day.

    I do my very best to never lash out at employees, I do occasionally lash out at the owners, but I generally apologize right away, sometimes just, so much shot has gone wrong in such a short period, it’s hard not to. I like smashing. Hopped playes out at the dumpsters, but working 7 days a week, 12-16 hours a day does get to you, I really don’t have any advice, I’m more looking for some. I hardly even sleep at this point cause I’m so stressed, and I can’t “not take work home with me” because there’s still all sorts of work and staffing that gets done once I’m home.

    I honestyl kinda tl;dr’d this whole topic, but I get the gist of what everyone is saying.

    The one price of advice I can give,is if you’re working somewhere you can have music, find something that calms you down and brigs you a little joy, play it, as loud and often as you can. That helps me, but I could always use some additional advice, cause I’m generally just at my breaking point constantly.
     
  11. Flatheadfoodie

    Flatheadfoodie

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    Murphy’s law was coined by an airplane mechanic, I’m guessing he also worked in a kitchen at some point. The kitchen I manage just lost our commissary kitchen and with it a ton of freezer/walk-in space. This coming two weeks from our busiest time of year. Im talking new menu pretty much round the goddamn clock prep and maybe pulling tables. I’m certain we’ll figure it out and come out of the rapids with the boat intact, however this is the most stressful situation I’ve encountered. I’ve found stress management is all about leaving work at work. If my home life wasn’t on track my work life would suffer. Just taking off the chef coat and reading a good book has always worked for me.
     
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  12. Connor Kolacki

    Connor Kolacki

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    Balancing professionalism and dicking around. Obviously the dicking around comes out when there are no more customers to feed.
     
  13. jasimo

    jasimo

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    Hi Jay, Gordon took over my restaurant in Mayfair, london, The Maze, never saw it coming till the last moment, owners moved soooo fast, was offered a sous position but i had sights for the QE2 at that time, worked with them for 3 months, no problem with antics, if your a dimwit then you will come under fire, we go boxing, and have a swear box, i ficking blobby loose all week, hehe, just cool out bro, a chef should be passionate and keep calm under stress, try to be polite and think of your aggressor, standing stark naked in front of you, works every time for me, just smile and get on with the job in hand, hope this helps, we are all equal, some have loads of money, some not, we are all on a quest for ourselves and our loved ones to make a better life, just remember there is a better job out there for you, go for it. take care
    jasimo
     
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  14. jasimo

    jasimo

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    uk city and guilds 706/3 pastry and larder, exec chef, 2 rosettes award, michelin trained, private
    as a note; chefs are a dying breed now, if you go for a position, make sure you go 20% higher than the offered rate as they will have factored in this rate already if you don't ask for it., if you don't; the trade will be in dire straights, we do in europe now, 20% now this year for annual salaries, please help our global chef trade, god bless
     
  15. jasimo

    jasimo

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    uk city and guilds 706/3 pastry and larder, exec chef, 2 rosettes award, michelin trained, private
    Bollocks, sorry all, didn't see the post was 5 years ago, hes probably a head chef already, have to put my randy and coke down, to 3 a night.
     
  16. foodpump

    foodpump

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    So how does negotiating a salary alleviate or “absorb” stress?