First time Sous Chef

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by zossolifer, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. zossolifer

    zossolifer

    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Hello chefs and cooks and industry people!
    After 5 years of working in various kitchens from dishwasher to lead line cook, I’ve finally landed a Sous Chef position which has been a personal goal of mine from the start.
    I was wondering if some experienced professionals could lend a word of advice...

    I’ve worked in some of the nicer restaurants in my area cooking food that I would consider some what elevated and that I’ve been proud to put in a pass through window.
    The Job as Sous that I recently took is at a restaurant with a ‘fast casual’ approach to dining and while I know that the food is from scratch and enjoyable, it’s not experimental or cutting edge.
    I took the job for the experience and immense learning opportunities in kitchen management. I can easily get behind the food we’re cooking, but the place is a small (very, very busy) franchise with a fast casual approach.

    I will be completing tasks such as ordering, scheduling, inventory, prep lists, running the window, maintaining responsibility when the chef/owner is gone, etc...

    My question is..

    Will this experience be worth it in the long run? I want to continue working as a Sous Chef and eventually work up to Executive one day, but in full service restaurants with more experiemental and interesting dishes.
    Is working as the Sous Chef of a fast casual restaurant going to affect my resume in a negative light?

    Any questions or advice would be very helpful. Thank you!

    -Dylan
     
    trouserdog likes this.
  2. dueh

    dueh

    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    47
    Exp:
    Professional Baker
    Any experience you can gain from this is good experience. Either a lesson of what to do, or not to do. It should be something that you can take into other positions further in your career. Every kitchen you work in will have scheduling, ordering, inventory, and of course prep and service. It all really depends on your attitude towards the whole thing. Just like a new dishwasher that wants to help with prep, they are working with that next step in mind. Set goals: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and crush it!

    Congrats on the promotion!
     
  3. zossolifer

    zossolifer

    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Thanks a lot for the input! I’m glad to hear all of that. I’m definitely going to treat each day as a learning experience.
    glad
     
  4. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    53
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    The answer is both yes and no and depends entirely on you. It's hard to just say one way or another without knowing all of the details but if you plan to climb any higher in your career these are important skills that you will absolutely need. What separates chefs from line cooks is the added responsibilities, navigating HR and mundane items that involve math, not just being able to cook well. If you feel that this place not quite serve the type of food you want, then put all your effort into learning the business side of management to help you when you do find a place you want to put roots down at.

    On the other hand if all you want to do is cook food all day and not worry about managing any other pat of the kitchen then find another place where you can just focus on that aspect. I've met plenty of chefs who hated all the paperwork and supervision and left that all to their sous chefs while they took care of all the food.
     
    sgsvirgil likes this.
  5. zossolifer

    zossolifer

    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Will do! Thanks a lot for the input.
     
  6. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    456
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    I'm going to chime in here.....I agree with all the answers so far.

    As a Sous Chef it is your responsibility to be the Chef's right hand man.
    Besides the ordering, inventory, window pass, etc...it's your duty to know all that Chef knows.

    Now that being said, it's not always feasible.
    You mention that your place is a very small busy franchise.
    What you are getting into is the mindset of the company and only that company.
    Good or bad you will learn "their way."
    Take what they teach you and weight it against what you already know.
    This will tell you what's ahead and what you still need to learn.
    Best of luck.
     
    sgsvirgil likes this.
  7. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    438
    Exp:
    Retired Owner/Operator
    In a word, no. I owned and operated a smaller restaurant (about 60 seats) for a long time. About 19 years ago, I hired a young cook who was exceptionally talented. She worked her way up the ladder and after about 10 years, she was running the kitchen which freed me up to focus on and develop other aspects of the restaurant. About 2 years ago, I retired and sold the restaurant to her and her husband thus fulfilling her lifelong goal to own and operate her own restaurant.

    What you are doing now is but one of many experiences you will have in your career. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Take what you learn and apply it towards your goals and always seek out new and exciting challenges. If you can gather most of that experience and learning from one restaurant, then, count yourself very lucky. However, most are not so fortunate.

    Being a sous in a busy establishment with a good reputation for quality food and service will shine on your resume. It will tell potential employers that you are capable and professional. I think this experience will serve as something that will enhance your resume.

    Good luck. :)
     
  8. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

    Messages:
    2,210
    Likes Received:
    534
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    My list:
    1: Catering Steward
    2: Head Catering Steward
    3: Asst Manager in a small concession in a Museum
    4: Manager in 150 seat Casual dining
    5: Manager 75 seat Fine Dining
    6: Asst Manager Steak house
    7: Food and Bev manager in a Hotel
    8: Private club Manager
    9: Private club Manager/Chef
    10: Private club Executive Chef
    11: Coliseum Member only Restaurant Manager/Chef
    12: Restaurant Manager Mexican/American/Italian Restaurant
    13: Water Park Concession/Catering Manager/Chef
    14: Hospital Chef
    15: Cafeteria manager in a Potato processing plant.

    On my way to work my first day managing the cafeteria in the potato processing plant. I wondered what the heck I was doing after taking this long journey with over 15 years of experience. What I thought was a downgrade and stall in my career was actually the beginning of another career. After Managing this for 4 years I started my own Food Service management company. I then started a Catering company along with getting a few more clients in Corporate/employee upscale cafeteria's feeding/ Vending and Corp Catering.
    I learning something from everyone of these operations that lead me to offer any and all kinds of catering. This experience gave me the opportunity to offer all kinds of menus and manage all kinds of employees.
    I still remember how defeated I felt driving up the driveway that first day at the Potato processing plant. Looking back this was really a stepping stone to a bigger and better opportunity to express my Culinary talents and Management skills. Although I didn't know this during my journey, I would not change a thing on what and how I learned my trade. The journey had it's ups and downs but this was how I educated myself into becoming a successful business person and knowledgeable Chef........Good luck.........ChefBillyB
     
  9. cheflayne

    cheflayne

    Messages:
    4,236
    Likes Received:
    577
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Depends upon who is doing the reading. To me, it would not. No two people are alike so you never know. Different interviewers have different perspectives and reactions.