Advice Needed for my upcoming Stage in a highend kitchen

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Joined Dec 11, 2017
I'm a 30 yo cook about to go into a very upscale German inspired kitchen. Menu Techniques and Station that will all be new to me.. I've been cooking about 4 5 years and I am in my opinion decent with fair knife skills. I've been told I'm better than I think but still doubtful that I'm on par with my new Station... Any advice on Saute or Grill? Trout, Salmon, Calamari, Venison, Elk, Lab, Filet?Sunchoke Soup?? Any tips for time management, Temping or Knife Skills? I want my best foot forward and I want this position.. Thank you for your advice..
 
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
The search function is your friend here...there are literally dozens of threads about this, all chock full of great advice.

Also, I object to your use of the term "stage." You are doing a trail or tryout. A stage is when you work for free for a few days-months as a learning experience. But that is neither here nor there, I'm just on a personal Quixote-esque quest to change the vocabulary for that word.

They aren't expecting you to master the station in a tryout. They will pair you with someone who you will trail all shift, watching, helping with MEP and setup, and maybe plating a few things during service. If you are killing it he/she may step aside and let you run the section for a few minutes to see how you do.

They want to make sure you are a good fit. They want to see you hustle, stay busy, and have high energy. They don't expect you to know how to work the station, but they want to feel comfortable knowing that they can train you to do it if they hire you.

Here's some general advice, in no particular order:

1. Make sure your knives are sharp
2. Uniform should look good--take an apron and a hat with you, just in case
3. Don't take all your knives, just a few. Don't drag in your full kit or your tackle box full of whatever
4. Be early, but not too early. Don't show up an hour before, but 15-20 minutes before is good. Leave a lot more time than you think to get there and get settled--if you get lost, don't know where to go, etc. then you have time built in
5. Don't talk too much. Questions are fine, especially about working there, the food, expectations, etc. Don't engage in mundane chit chat. Read the room...if everyone has their head down working fast/hard, then don't chatter. If they ask you questions, answer politely, with respect, but don't overdo your answer. No one wants your life story during a trail.
6. Treat everyone you meet at the restaurant with respect. The host/hostess, other cooks, dishwashers, servers, etc. Be friendly and engaging (but again, don't talk too much).
7. Take a small notebook with you to write stuff down with.
8. Have a pen and a sharpie for labeling.
9. Don't be afraid to grab a broom or a towel.
 
1,128
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Joined Apr 11, 2013
Here's some general advice, in no particular order:

1. Make sure your knives are sharp
2. Uniform should look good--take an apron and a hat with you, just in case
3. Don't take all your knives, just a few. Don't drag in your full kit or your tackle box full of whatever
4. Be early, but not too early. Don't show up an hour before, but 15-20 minutes before is good. Leave a lot more time than you think to get there and get settled--if you get lost, don't know where to go, etc. then you have time built in
5. Don't talk too much. Questions are fine, especially about working there, the food, expectations, etc. Don't engage in mundane chit chat. Read the room...if everyone has their head down working fast/hard, then don't chatter. If they ask you questions, answer politely, with respect, but don't overdo your answer. No one wants your life story during a trail.
6. Treat everyone you meet at the restaurant with respect. The host/hostess, other cooks, dishwashers, servers, etc. Be friendly and engaging (but again, don't talk too much).
7. Take a small notebook with you to write stuff down with.
8. Have a pen and a sharpie for labeling.
9. Don't be afraid to grab a broom or a towel.

I definitely agree with someday someday about everything stated.
I did a tryout 2 months ago for a new saute/stove position. I didn´t know the menu, I didn´t learn it in a day.
I was paired up, and followed directions well, I started getting into the rythm of the kitchen pretty quick. I kept the menu near by to confirm orders etc.
I just tried not to f*ck up, and burn anything. Sent out all my orders as fast as possible, the cook working with me took a 15 minute break, in those 15 minutes I ran the station.
It was a holiday here, place was packed, sent out orders flying, when I had a few moments I would help in the dishpit, I was friendly to all, followed pretty basic kitchen procedures, etc....

I avoided making a mess, I asked questions when necessary and just did my job. 4 days later I was hired, and today has just completed 2 months at this new place.

Before going in I tried to remain relaxed, I ate something decent, kept water nearby to drink. I had a spare apron in my bag, brought my own shoes, brought my own hat.
I was confident, anytime somebody needed help, even if it was something fairly basic, I offered myself (but only if I was free).
I kept the station clean and well just tried to demonstrate my professionalism.

Before this job I went through an 11 month hiatus from the kitchen, so I was a bit worried that I had lost my touch... but I didn´t, it´s just like riding a bike.

I´m sure you will do fine, keep us posted!!
 
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