Advice, A lot on my plate!

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11
10
Joined Jan 10, 2010
Hello fellow Chefs.

I am a year into my position of Development Chef for a group of restaurants, 4 restaurants plus catering for a bunch of activities they do.

I have worked for the company before, as Exec, left and returned 2 years later to find all my hard work in shambles!
It has taken a while to get things back in order, but everything is still hanging on by a thread!
I develop the menus, recipes, train the chefs, bla bla bla for all our restaurants and side ventures, I have an exec under me, who handles everything else, brilliant by the way.
We have a central/test kitchen that handles the shitty prep, bakery, and dish development, and 3 main kitchens.
One of our restaurants, which has only been running from 8am to 6pm has now been opened for dinner. It is in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we are the only restaurant operating in it. These new dinners, I can't screw up!

Here is my dilemma, and where I could use some advice. I "work" a pretty good set of hours, 8hd 5dw, which covers all my admin work, site visits, fixes, etc, but all my development work happens when I'm off. I use my personal time, & kitchen for testing out my recipes (plus I hardly ever claim back for ingredients) and all the menu stuff i do, I do all the graphic design and all.....
I find myself working till 4am, at least, on most occasions.
I hardly ever get to cook anymore, besides the VIP events, or when the bosses are in town, but I still feel overloaded, without anything to show for it.
We have 2 new restaurants opening up soon, which is going to add more to my plate (sorry)
Feel like I am going to crash soon.

I have gotten back into double D'ing again, and only to help get through the workload (excuses I know) and worried I am gonna start making a habit out of it. Chefs life,.... Yay :(
It takes at least a box of smokes, and a bottle of red, or half a case of beer, or half a bottle of Jami and a sneaky g to get through a night.

That looks long winded, without much substance.
Its hard to explain, but the gist is -
- I feel like I work so hard but with nothing to show for it at the end of the day.
- I love to take on so much, and it over whelms me.
- I feel like i have to be everywhere at once.
- I don't have much me, relax, social time (and when I do its D&D)
- I get a load of praise from my bosses, and feel like I can't screw up or let them down.

Side note, the country I work in has just started to collapse, again. ei. sourcing ingredients is a bitch, paying for shit is a nightmare. Look up Zimbabwe..... Fun times ahead!!

Another note, yes I know D&D is bad, and I'm working on that.

One other thing, I would love if someone could have a look at my menus, and give me some tips!

Thanks!
 
1,341
865
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Here's some advice.

1. Move. If the country is about to implode, why stay? You wouldn't ride a sinking ship would you?
2. Give up D&D before you incinerate your career. This business is littered with the carcasses of failed careers due to D&D.

Problems solved.

A good chef in Europe, Asia, Australia or the US is always in demand.

Post your menus and I will be happy to look them over. But, without knowing what your sourcing options are, it will be like navigating the Alps in plane blindfolded.

Good luck. :)
 
804
305
Joined Sep 17, 2018
I guess I'm not really sure what you are asking. As far as too much on your plate, you either need to take a step back and decide if it is something you want to do or if you are just doing it to not "let your bosses down" or if you want to continue see if you can either unload some of this work to lower positions like your exec or have them hire/create a new position to help you. It is not reasonable for a company that is growing/expanding to expect the employees to continue without the added support. For the part about bring your work home/after hours work, a lot of professionals both in this field and others do that so I don't really think you are in a unique position these no offense. Also, when you take on a leadership role like this you are bound to do more delegating and less cooking, simply because your priorities lie in different areas. If you strongly feel that you need to get back to more hands on cooking than I suggest maybe a break from the type of position you have will be beneficial to ease your stress. And finally if you currently think there is going to be trouble with the country and you are having a hard time getting ingredients now I would suggest you explore other options. Hope this helps and good luck.
 
4,474
422
Joined Jun 27, 2012
I have worked for the company before, as Exec, left and returned 2 years later to find all my hard work in shambles!
It has taken a while to get things back in order, but everything is still hanging on by a thread!
It takes at least a box of smokes, and a bottle of red, or half a case of beer, or half a bottle of Jami and a sneaky g to get through a night.

You WORKED (key word) there before...I am curious as to why your SOPs were tossed in the shredder when the door hit you in the a** on your way out 2 years ago.
You implied the place was a well oiled machine and then....what happened to cause you to leave?
Me thinks your ego was stroked to get you back and once things are running smoothly (again) you will be out of the picture (again) that is if you don't hit a tree driving 60 MPH on your way home.

Having to catch a buzz to get thru a shift is a HUGE red flag.
NO biz (hospitality or not) is worth risking substance addiction (which 99% of the time will either land you in the morgue with a fashionable toe tag or as "friend of Bill" for the rest of your life.

just sayin'
mimi
 

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