Help and advice!

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by hellotheguy, May 13, 2017.

  1. hellotheguy

    hellotheguy

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    Ok so i'll try to make this short.

    I got offered a job from a 2 michelin starred place and I want to know your professional opinions on whether I should accept it or not .

    It is a 1 hour drive from me ( I would consider moving but at the moment would commute). It is a modern-ish french place, been open 15 years, has a good reputation. However, they could only pay 13 per hour, don't allow music or talking really, were generally rude, unwelcoming and unpleasant when I staged there. The food seems good, although I did not get to try any while staging.the staff had all only been there a short time and consisted of a lot of recent culinary grads. Menu looked hyper seasonal and I got the sense that it changed dramatically and often.

    Currently, I am the lead line cook of an upscale casual place a 7 minutes walk from my house. About to be offered a sous positon this weekend with pay of 17 per hour. The food is decent, but not amazing, I get along well with the staff, work long hours and get overtime. Problem is that the chef owner is never there so I don't learn a huge amout from him. There is a very talented and seasoned pastry chef who teaches me things but otherwise I pick up new things where I can . Not a lot of exciting menu changes, but it is semi-seasonal. I feel that it is a bit of a rut but the chef owner has mentioned multiple times that he wants to open a third restaurant and has implied I would be considered to be the head guy of it. (I know- don't hold my breath. But still... )

    So should I take a pay cut to work in a place that will likely not be very pleasant to work in but may offer prestige, resume building, and new challenges and hopefully teach me a lot, or stick where I am, absorb everything I can from everyone there while working on my management skills?

    (P.s. i am 27, been cooking for 8 years, want have my own restaurant one day, and am trying to become the best cook and chef I can be, if that helps you visualize my position. )

    Sorry for formatting I am on a phone.
     
  2. chefross

    chefross

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    Welcome to ChefTalk HelloThe Guy

    I'm going to be blunt with you here. 

    You come off as too immature to take the job at the other place.

    Firstly no music and talking in the kitchen is part of a Michelin starred restaurant ways of doing things. You gotta be on the ball with every plate you put out and talking or music can defer your attention.

    Seriously!!!!

    Also.....how would YOU feel, if you were working at a a place that allowed staging?

    Every week a new body. 

    Would you welcome them?

    Would you keep a special eye on them as they stage just waiting for them to screw up?

    Put yourself in their place.

    The place you are at now (you don't say how long you've been there) is safe, close to home, is good pay.

    You seem to want to aspire to be better than you are and I respect that.

    Perhaps you need to better yourself first by asking what's important.

    If music, and talking, and getting along are more important than fine tuning your craft and ultimately owning your own restaurant, than I suggest you stay where you are for now.
     
  3. frankie007

    frankie007

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    +1 on that! Michelin places require more sacrifice, but you will learn more. I reckon if I had another chance I would go for it. You have to understand this is premier ligue cooking we are talking about, they don't give those shiny Michelin stars easily. And the way you wrote your post it sounds to me that you have made your mind up already......
     
  4. hellotheguy

    hellotheguy

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    Hey guys thanks for the replys. I think I may have worded my question incorrectly, so here is the ghost in the question. Do all michelin starred (and equivalently awarded and renowned) restaurants  consist mostly of low-paid interns and recent school graduates with a high turnover rate? I understand and respect that there is sacrifice, and perhaps I didn't make it clear that I already sacrifice for my career and will continue to do so regardless of what job I choose. It simply seems a little exploitative to me. But maybe it is simple supply and demand of labor.

    So let me rephrase:

    If you were looking to hire a CDC or executive chef/ invest in a chef-owner/ whatever, would you have more faith in someone with michelin-starred or similar experience as a line cook, or someone without that level of cooking experience but more experience in management?

    Again, I am not looking to open a restaurant immediately by any means, I am simply trying to have gainful experience in the right areas. As we all know, chefs and restaurateurs are more than just good cooks, and though at the very foundation level we must be great cooks, there is more to running a kitchen and owning a restaurant than great cooking skills. As a young and motivated cook, is it better to continue to hone and develop my craft of cooking, or to begin focusing moreso (but not primarily) on the other skills a great chef needs? I will continue to develop my cooking skills my whole life, but are the stars the only way to do it?
     
  5. someday

    someday

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    I say take the Michelin star job. Work there for a year or two, at least. Those type of places can really instill in you how to cook, and that can translate to any type of cuisine you do from now on. 

    You can use high level cooking techniques in the service of any cuisine on the planet (for example, you could use your Michelin training to open up a sandwich shop and probably make the best damn sandwiches in your town). It is much harder to cook above the level of your max training. So the guy who has only worked in a sandwich shop can't put out Michelin style food (that isn't to disparage sandwich makers or to say that they can't learn how to cook that type of food, I'm simply stating that without the training there is a max level you can reach). 

    So your Michelin level cooking will translate to any job and/or any style of cuisine you choose down the road, including opening up your own place someday. 

    They were rude because they see 3 of you guys a week, most don't make it very long, and you have to prove you can do the work before you ingratiate yourself to them. And you may have misinterpreted their "rudeness" as simple focus and drive to get the day's work done before service...i.e. the "push." And you were probably in the way. 

    I can't tell you what a typical staff is composed of at a Michelin place...because there is no typical place. Most likely they are made up of younger, hard working, dedicated staff (of varying skill levels) whose goal is to learn as much as possible to someday operate their own kitchens. 

    If you are trying to be the best cook you can be, then you should work in the best places you can. 
     
  6. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I have worked in a few old school European restaurants where it used to be fairly common for kitchens to be no talking zones. It was like being in a library.

    A library's primary purpose is focused on the books and expansion knowledge. Other activities distract from that purpose and so are discouraged.

    It is hard to be friendly with no talking. It is hard to be rude with no talking. Perhaps your perception of the working environment and the people in it was thrown a bit by the surprise of encountering a no talking kitchen for the first time. Think of it as being in a library with a primary purpose being the food and expansion of knowledge.