Good memory

Joined Jun 20, 2014
I've just started to work as a line cook. One of my biggest challenges is to remember what's on the ticket, and if there are ten of them... just forget about it.  I just need to go back to read the damn thing million times. I love the job, and I'm desperate to improve in regard to this. 

Thank you
Joined Jan 17, 2015
Don't worry you will get used to it, I remember worrying about it good 20 years ago but comes naturally in the end even with all the weed I use to smoke.....
Joined Oct 31, 2012
There's nothing wrong with reading the tickets multiple times. That's why the orders are written. 

One of the tricks I use on the line is to set aside something for each order so I have a visual cue. 

     For example, the ticket says two fish, one chicken and a steak, I immediately pull those items out where I can see them, even if I am not ready to cook them yet. If the order is to be presented on a particular style of plate, I put that plate where it will remind me. You can also use small food items, placing them aside from the regular prep so they are noticeable. 

    You will develop your own techniques over time. As Frankie says, you will eventually get used to it. 
Joined Jan 4, 2011
Read the ticket as many times as you need. In the end it takes less time than sending out a wrong/bad order and having it come back for a re-fire and an ass-kicking. There is enough time to do things right, not so much time to do things over.
Joined Mar 3, 2016
It's a skill.
You will learn with time and experience.

I'm totally front of house, always have been.
I know from experience how to read the room, who needs what, when, and how to prioritise.
I can tell if a guest isn't happy before they call me over.
I know how many minutes I have before I need to make sure a wine glass is topped up.
I know when a table has been waiting too long on their entrée, even if it's not my table.

It's the reason I'm a manager.
Time and experience.
Joined Jun 20, 2014
Thank you guys. There are not that many items on the menu, and that's what's bothering me as I think whether I'm really cut out for it. This is the job I've dreamed for years to get, and now am a little nervous because I guess this (or I) adds to the pressure. 

I've trained 6 days, and I was asked if I would be ready. I said that I need 1 more day, but I think I am not ready. Still, I felt that I can't prolong my "training". Besides tickets I have other difficulties. Well, I have not much professional experience, for instance the flat grill is totally new for me, and I screw things up (like braking over easy) and am generally slow.

I was told that in a day or two they want me to work independently and that scares me a bit.

Coming back to reading tickets - I thought that I may take the used ones home, and learn to better understand the way they are written, for as it is I don't. For instance I don't get a few things, as for example why sometimes there are 2 pancakes in the order and sometimes 3? I asked and somehow didn't get it.

I also wear hearing aids, and that don't help. And I need glasses too. Sound like a joke, I know. I've been through some rough time jobwise recently, and don't have much funds, is all.  

Wow - I've listed my difficulties, and it may sound like I think I suck and I need a Mommy. Maybe/img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif Still for some reason I really love this job. I would say almost can't wait to go there again. I don't really know what it is. I guess the high you get when it gets crazy. A bit like playing sports - performance under stress, teamwork, excitement, camaraderie. 

I need to focus and not let myself get flustered. I believe that I could do this job, and eventually become real good at it.

Thanks again folks
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Joined Jan 19, 2014
Speed comes with comfort, and comfort comes with experience. No be so hard on yourself. Just try to grow with each and every shift. If you're breaking yolks on the flat top, maybe you're flipping them too early. Make sure the white has started to set before the flip. Also, the grill has to be clean at all times. We use an oil based spray to help prevent sticking. What are you using? Is doing eggs in a pan instead of the flat top an option? I personally prefer the results more by pan cooking.

Pancakes are usually ordered as a "full stack" (with 3 to an order) or short stack (only 2). Your ticket should indicate which one the customer ordered.
Joined Jun 20, 2014
Thank you.

We're using oil, just dipping a spatula and spreading it. No a pan is not an option. 

I've been training for 6 days, and today will be the last day. I feel I am not ready to work on my own, but don't have really an option. So I want to make the best of it. I hope there will be still someone to help (there are some take outs guys that I guess can do a little cooking, although usually we do that), but I will have to, I think, be able to somehow pull it off. I just want to improve my chances. 
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Joined Aug 2, 2015
Take it easy and breathe always breathe!!! My current chefs don't skip a beat or loose their smile and we do 700 covers a day in full season.
I'm still chef du partie but have run the hot before and can feel your stress. Yet! Breathe, breathe, breathe and enjoy what your doing, that's what I've always been told when I start to freak out.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Management obviously has confidence in you or they would never let you get near the hot line.

Just like the theater....when you flub something just take a deep breath and keep going.

There is plenty of time to beat yourself up and wallow in self pity (my pity parties always star pints of expensive ice cream ;-) after service lol.

Joined Feb 8, 2009
Everything I ever worried about in life and business got better in time. When you worry about something means you care about it. You will look back at this in 4 weeks and wonder why you worried about it. .........The best.........Chef Bill
Joined Mar 3, 2016
If, on your first day or two, you feel like you are in the weeds, don't hesitate to ask for help.
Even your front of house workers can (and will) help. Front of housers can lineup plates, help garnish, probably even toast bread (but don't expect wonders).
Everyone is there to make sure things go smoothly.
Remember at all times - the guests are all that matters.

Good luck and let us know how you go!
Joined Apr 11, 2013
I think reading the tickets isn´t a problem especially since this enviroment is still new to you. Read it as many times as you want and find necessary. 

Of course though i also feel that after sometime things have to (and will) just click and you will be memorizing many orders at a time. 

In the beginning of my career i started working as a waiter, then i got a chance to work prep and salads. 

Eventually after salads a line cook left and i being very willing got thrown into the line on garnish and hot apps. 

I was in the weeds for a week before i started getting a hang of it. 

My piece of advice is, "give it your best effort". If you need help ask for it. If you didn´t memorize it look at the order again. 

The most important thing is for the customer to get their food, and for you to cook the food maintaining standards. 

Communication is also important in the kitchen. Communicate with the brigade and make sure the orders are all getting sent out on time, together. Because its terrible for you to be holding the meal of a table and have food, especially meat and fish dying on the pass.

So communicate, if your not timed with the cooks, ask for help, and be honest. Don´t try to send out something in 5 minutes that you know will take 10.

As time goes by and you gain more experience you will gain the speed. Speed comes with experience and constant practice. 

I agree with ice man. I rather take my time and effort to have the food done to perfection, then to send it out and have to refire. Aside from getting the chef p*ssed, you gonna get your brigade pissed, the client is gonna be angry and your just gonna put yourslef in the weeds if you don´t refire quickly.

So yeah take your time, re-read the orders, keep your ears open, ask for help and just cook. Be confident in yourself and don´t give up. 
Joined Mar 9, 2016
Your memory will improve with practice. About 30  years ago when I was a line cook, I used to group tickets in groups of 4 for memorizing. I could usually recite the entire ticket for 20 tickets. But start by grouping the tickets (in your head, not physically)
Joined Jun 27, 2012
One last thing.

You can develop a photographic memory of sorts with practice.

Do it everywhere you go.... look at something....really look.

Turn away look up at a blank area (I learned in school so I used the area above the chalkboard or wall behind the prof) and SEE whatever you focused on.

Then look back and correct whatever didn't stick.

I am not a big reader learner but still graduated with a 3.6 GPA.

Not bad for someone who never cracked a book nor took notes.

Just paid attention in class and "photographed" the visuals.


Didn't just help in school .... I could pour more than $2 K of drinks in 3-4 hours (in 1970-1980's prices).

With a barback of course lol.

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Joined Jun 20, 2014
Wow - so much advice and encouragement. Thank you guys. I've realized I was kind a detached from reality thinking that those guys don't know where I'm at. It was just a manager that asked whther I was getting it, and I couldn't just say, well, I thing I need two more weeks of training (meaning just mostly trailing). I see that they will most likely let me take my time, providing I will work hard. I really love the energy though. It's fantastic when it gets busy. Comparing to other jogs I've had where the mgmt emphasized teamwork, this is the real McCoy. Real teamwork. That's what makes it so great to me. Non verbal (and verbal, although it is my weak point considering my hearing difficulties and their accents) communication, it's something like being in the combat (not that I ever been, just movies) or having a partner as a cop (movies) or playing sports. All getting stressed out and bit nasty, but then it's finished. Great energy, at least for me. I may have a temperament for this. I guess not everybody would like it. 

I took a stash of used tickets, and I'm reading them at home. It's easier (at least it feels like it) than I thought. 

I can't wait to go back and do ti again /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif

Joined Feb 17, 2010
You will get to the point someday when you can see EVERYTHING that is and isn't working. If you work with the same guys everyday, each will know where the other is on tickets, what's ready to sell and what's lagging. He has steaks cooking, you need xxx to follow but only takes 4 min, you will know when to fire your portion of the order so it comes up at the same time. Make sense?
Joined Jun 20, 2014
Thanks again guys. So, I'm still there. It's not easy, but I love it. That's the best job I ever had/img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif. Not easy to be sure, and I am still in the weeds, in many ways - I make mistakes, I sweat like a pig,and my skills suck. But... I slowly start to appreciate the work tranquillo that is becoming my daily mantra. I'm gonna be the best line cook they ever seen/img/vbsmilies/smilies/peace.gif. Yeah baby!
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