Aggravating Work Environments

Joined Mar 16, 2016
Obviously talking about aggravating kitchen work environments....
Mostly dealing with a lack of planning ahead, not prepping proficiently, working harder instead of smarter, not spending money on basic equipment like nine pans, sheet pans, etc.; as well as not having equipment to work safely such as deep fryer oil filtering/draining tools. Along with disgustingly dirty floors and work surfaces. Not enough saute pans to even work a busy service. And finally a dish pit that is also disgustingly dirty and not very proficient as a result.

I've been working on the line for about 4-5 years now. Not worked in tooo many kitchens, but enough to know a poorly run kitchen when I see one..
This is my current work place; well, one of them. I'm working two jobs, the other line cook job I'm working is night and day in the difference of proficiency and stress levels. Granted, the crappy kitchen is quite a bit busier than the well run kitchen. But I see no reason the good restaurant couldn't simply scale up their operations if need be to meet a higher demand.
I stay at the crappy kitchen cause I've only been here for about 6 weeks and don't want to burn any bridges if not needed and would like to do 6 months ideally, for the sake of my resume...
But it is major stress, unneeded, and it's the whole kitchen that deals with ridiculous stress levels, more than the average kitchen. And it would be one thing if it were a Michelin star restaurant, but it is far, far from it. Our service is so inefficient that were not able to produce good food.
As someone who likes to do things the right way, it's very frustrating.
Does everyone else just simply run far and fast away from places like this? Or do you do your 6 months so that you can at least learn how to not run a kitchen...?
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Joined Mar 16, 2016
Wait I almost forgot... Ovens that have got to be 100 years old and work like complete crap and the pull outs and reach ins on the line also do not work well, resulting in unsafe storage temperatures for many potentially hazardous foods, like meat.

And for the record, I've worked in old, dirty kitchens with old equipment but Those also were run much more efficiently and with much more smarter ways of working. And we were able to produce a good product in those, a good, safe product is not being produced in this kitchen...
Joined Jun 27, 2012
I wouldn't want my name attached to a nasty kitchen.

Under the circumstances 6 weeks is just about right to start looking for a new PT gig.

It is a small world and believe me when I say that even if you used this kitchen for a reference you would not even have to mention why you want to leave.

They will know.

Joined Oct 31, 2012
Boy this post brings up many unhappy memories. I won't torture anyone with those but perhaps because of them I decided some time ago that I would never work in such a place again. So the bottom line for me here is that you should leave. Find another job first, then give notice. 

      Don't wait the six months. If you are able to recognize a good kitchen, then go look for one. Make sure in your search that you ask to see the kitchen or arrive at the back door first so you have to walk through so you have a chance to observe. 

     There is nothing to gain by working in such a place and as flipflopgirl says, I wouldn't want my name attached to one. Limit your jobs to places that meet your standards, which as you describe in your post may not be indicated by how busy they are. 

     As a young cook, I too often made the mistake of applying to and working in "the best place in town" based on public opinion. Too often  those places were dirty, unorganized and inefficient.  I didn't know I could or should see the kitchen before accepting the job or that there would be such a broad difference between what the public opinion was and what actually went on behind the scenes. Find those places held in high esteem by other cooks and by all means see the kitchen first. Life's too short to waste time in a bad kitchen.  
Joined Feb 8, 2009
 Almost everyone gets a tour of the kitchen when hired. If you didn't agree with things then, don't complain about it now. Why would anyone worry about keeping a job for 6 months just to put it on a Resume. It looks like you already learned how not to run a kitchen. Leave now before bad habits rub off........
Joined Apr 11, 2013
Well... that sucks. 

I´ve been int he industry for about 4 years and i´ve worked in 3 kitchens (currently on my fourth). I have also done gigs all around and before working in BOH i worked FOH. 

So i know a bad kitchen when i see one. 

In your position i wouldnt suffer. I wouldnt want my name attached to a place like that. We do some sacrifices for our resume, but sometimes you have to think "is it worth it". 

What is this place going to do for your resume, are you learning something, is the chef you work for good...?

I once worked at a very busy restaurant. Putting out literally 100-200 covers just during lunch. 

It was busy, but everything we were making was lacking quality, organization, etc. 

The stove was terrible, the fridge was so small everything just stayed cramped, flat top was overused to do even some of the simpler things. Fryer always filled with black burnt oil, GOSH IT WAS TERRIBLE. 

I was 18 at the time (with some experience in BOH and alot of FOH experience), and even then i knew i could work somewhere that had more organization and hygiene. 

So i worked 2 days and then i quit. I pulled literally 2 18 hour shifts back to back and when i got home and slept less then 4 hours and had to go back to work, i realized it wasn´t worth it at all. 

Communicated the chef and didn´t go back. 

Today if im walking on the sidewalk and i will end up passing in front the restaurant i switch sides and cross the streets just to not even have to look at the managers face. Not of embarrassment but out of shame. I can´t believe i went through the stress of working in a place like that. 

2 days felt like hell. 

One week later i got a better job, at a very nice italian restaurant. The enviroment was calm, even though we were putting out 100 covers a night and we were small on staff the food was still better quality and the hygiene and organization was better. 

Sad part was the equipment was old, and the oven was 100 years old.... 

Aside from that, the experience was well worth the time i put in to working at a place that to this day i still have an open door to go back to if i need it. 

When working in the industry there are certain things we tolerate and certain things that deep down inside we reject and can´t stand. I have a really big fuss over organization and hygiene. Thats something i really like when working BOH. Even when its hectic i try to keep organized and clean, so so does the brigade, when i have a breather i start organizing my station and my brigades stations to make the job easier.  

I can´t stand dirty things anywhere...

I can´t stand someone knowing its dirty and still using it. Like using a dirty cutting board stained with blood to cut veg (yes i have seen this). 

So yeah, i´m not a chef, i´m just a line cook, but i have standards. I will never work at a place that i consider less then the previous place i have worked at. I always strive to work somewhere better or somewhere where i will feel better or i can learn. 

Its not being stuck up, but its just being sincere with yourself. I have worked in some bad places and having that experience and those memories today i wouldnt ever work in a place equivalent. 

So, no work in a place where you feel proud to work at. A place where you can learn, grow, and produce at least decent food in a decent manner.

It´s just food, but the relationship of a cook with another person is so intimate. You feed another human being, what you produce enters another persons body, so why not produce something correctly, that tastes good and makes someone feel good. 
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Joined Jul 26, 2015
if I'm offered a position, ill usually ask for a stage in order to circumvent situations like these.
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