At a cross road with my future career.

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by linecookliz, Oct 12, 2017 at 8:13 PM.

  1. Yes.

    2 vote(s)
  2. No, stay a while longer.

    0 vote(s)
  1. linecookliz


    Likes Received:
    Line Cook
    Recently I staged at an upscale, classy yet casual restaurant. Spanish, French and Italian themed food. Tapas, drinks and entree plates. They are a part of the 'farm to fork' and 'scratch kitchen' explosion that is going on right now in the California culinary world. Basically, one step down from what people consider fine dining. I got a call from the Chef this morning and he asked what I thought but never hinted at me working there or offering me a job. I said I loved it and asked to stage again this Sunday because on yelp and google it says that is a popular night there. He was surprised and a little hesitant but said yes. Then told me the time to come in.

    Currently, I work in a BBQ restaurant. Not farm to fork or all scratch. We have some scratch aspects such as some of our sauces, pizza dough and sides. I have been here for 7 months so far but wanted to move on within the first 3 months. Not the type of food I want to be cooking in the future but it is a good stepping stone. I asked for a raise and got it that paycheck, yet my last paycheck the raise was not there.

    I told the owner of the restaurant I work at right now that I staged at an upscale restaurant. (He asked why I was so intense that day and I gave an explanation but also hinted at more pay). He looked very worried. When he was leaving the restaurant for the night he started rambling on about how he wants to give me more responsibility and a higher pay. He wants me to work the busy nights and lunches now. I asked about my raise and he asked, "oh it wasn't on there?". I said 'no'. Then he told me I surpassed that pay raise anyway. Which was surprising to me.

    Anyway, now I feel guilty and don't know what to do. I know what I should do as a beginner cook (1 and a half years experience so far with no culinary training). At the same time my resume is a little spotty. Worked at all places for less than a year for the past 3 years. I'm worried how it will look to a future chef if I move on.

    I guess I am looking for advice from cooks and chefs that have more experience than I.
  2. chefbuba


    Likes Received:
    Professional Chef
    Stick it out for the year. Too many short stints makes you a bad candidate. I don't want to hire you, spend time and money on training then have you leave in six months.
    These kind of resumes always went into the bin regardless of where you worked.
    linecookliz likes this.
  3. someday


    Likes Received:
    Professional Chef
    I have to respectfully disagree with ChefBubba. He's generally correct, that you should stay in a job a minimum of 1 year, in order to cook the seasons and be respectful of your chef's time and energy training you.

    However, I see a couple of things that make me think twice about where you currently work:

    You don't want to cook BBQ for your should be cooking the type of food that you want to cook and learning how to do that. There is nothing wrong with cooking BBQ if that is what your ambition is...if you wanted to open a BBQ restaurant someday, or be the chef of a BBQ restaurant, I would say stay where you are. If not, well, then why work there?

    You don't cook from scratch. Big red flag for probably don't have a chef at the helm (I mean a real, true chef that is going to push you and teach you), or at least not a very good/motivated one. How are you going to learn to cook by opening packets and cans?

    If you aren't learning and growing and aren't cooking what you want to learn to cook, that should be enough to move on. Don't worry about the money (if you can) and make sure that the place you staged at is the place you want to stay for a while. Everyone needs a formative kitchen experience, the one place where you learn the ropes and the "bones" of cooking, and this could be your place.

    If your potential chef asks you why have you "job hopped" so much the last 3 years, be honest. Tell them you were trying to gain enough experience to get a job in a "real" from scratch, high end kitchen and that you would be committed to staying at your new job for a long time.
    linecookliz likes this.
  4. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

    Likes Received:
    Chef Emeritus
    My mentor told me that I should try to learn as much as I can at as many places as I can during the first 10 years of my cooking career. And that's exactly what I did. I worked for less than a year at a lot of places, but I worked my hardest and gave it my all during my time there. All the chefs/owners gave me blessings when I left; a few even said that they'd rather have a good worker like me for a while than a ho-hum worker permanently.

    What's more important though, is to let your employer know in advance of your leaving so a replacement can be found in time. It's fine with me if you want to leave after a month, but please give your notice properly, don't just quit by not showing up.
    linecookliz and drirene like this.
  5. chefross


    Likes Received:
    Former Chef
    While I agree with all the posts and advice, I saw something that caught my eye. The Chef that the OP went to was "hesitant" but said yes to the stage. We shall see what plays out if the OP decides to return to tell us...