How to deal with kitchen a*******

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by rocktrns, May 20, 2012.

  1. rocktrns

    rocktrns

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    Well I'm 19 I started working in at this hotel when I was 17 I was always playfully picked on since I was and still am the youngest.  We just recently got a new guy and they are beginining to treat me as if he is above me.  They always complain that im messy (Which i need to improve on).  They also said to someone that they just dont like me.  They stated that they wanted to train the new guy to be better than me because it would make be look stupid because I am going to school for culinary.  The other day one of the other line cooks told me to work in the pantry while they had the new guy working on the hot line.  I really didnt mind,but if they do this consitantly I am going to start to take it as an insult.  I find that mistakes that I do are magnified and made bigger than they are,but if they make a mistake its no big deal.  I am the only one that really works all over I guess you consider me a "Roundsman"  I would work the night shift ,and then have to work the morning shift the next morning.  I find that I dont get credit for my improvments,but only get called out on my flaws. The Executive chef really doesnt get involved in all of this petty nonsense,but I just want to know how to deal with people like this.  I know this is the industry,but its starting to take a big toll on my emotions becuase I use to like going to work now I am just getting tired of the disrespect.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2012
  2. i walk the line

    i walk the line

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    Stand up for yourself. People in general and especially in this industry will walk all over you if you let them
     
  3. foodpump

    foodpump

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    1) Respect is earned.  You can never demand it, and those who do will always fail.

    2) Who are "They"???????  Who does the scheduling and why?  Why does the Chef trust this person to do the scheduling?

    3) It looks like co-wokers are feeding off of your emotions.  The more emotion you give them, the more they will "get you" just to get a bigger kick watching you get worked up.  Once you can stop this cycle things will  improve.

    4) In any kitchen you go to, you will always be the "New guy".  Some can pass this stage in a day or two and have everyone working with them, and some never get over it. Which one will you be?. 
     
  4. iceman

    iceman

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    Call out the biggest trouble-maker, right there in front of everyone else. Tell him everything you've told us. That should end things. If it continues, push him out the back door and punch the bageebies out of him. That's what I would do at your age. I'm now 50-yo, and because of that, earlier this year I walked out of, and away from, a Michelin* restaurant. I wish I would have gone with the recommendation I gave you instead. Until you have some kitchen/street credibility you are going to get abuse. Now if your culinary skills aren't worth the time it takes to read this post, all bets are off. You get what you get.   
     
  5. ari9

    ari9

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    Sorry kid to put it to you like this, but what you described is called LIFE. It's just taking place in a kitchen with a-holes with jackets that have a lot of buttons on them. People push you around because they can... simple as that. As long as they can they will. If the Chef can't help you or wont tan no one can help you, but you. Iceman was right on all count but one, IMHO. No matter how much "street cred" you have people will still push you around if you let them... wait I just said that!  I'm repeating myself... That's the way the world works.

    As for how to deal with them, it's up to you. I can't really say what you should do. You have to take charge of the situation and 19 is a great age to start.

    Hope this helps.

    Ari
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    ""They always complain that I am messy''and I have to improve on  it.?? How long have they been telling you this?? Think about it.   Have you improved on it?    Or are they sick of claeaning up after you. ?    All questions to ponder.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  7. rocktrns

    rocktrns

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    They have been telling me about it I have improved I learned to have a small bucket under my station and a wet rag in water,but when I did that they said it was stupid that I had that there.   They just dont complain about what I do.  One guy complained about me going to college for culinary telling me theres no point.  One of the line cooks that has been there for a long time would tell me to do one thing,and then when the executive chef gets on the line he would tell me to to another.  So then I ask my self  "Who do I listen to?"  I personally listen to the Executive Chef because hes my boss then when I listen to him about how to make a certain dish they say i'm a suck up.  
     
  8. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Chefedb has given you some excellent food for thought. Sometimes if you are getting the same information from a number of people, as in "they", there may be some credence to what is being said. It may be hard, but take the information they are passing along to you through their words and actions and look only for your part in it. Sometimes there is nothing there that is your part, it is all just them, but If you can find your part in it, look for ways to improve.
    Let me start off by saying that cross training is very important and maybe it was time for the new guy to get his feet wet. That being said, if I am really good at working the hot line, the people that I work the line with are not going to want me off the line (unless they have masochistic tendencies and like to work harder), whether they like me or not. When things are really hopping, I would rather work with an efficient jerk than my best friend who gets in the weeds, needs help, and makes my life harder because of it.

    Why did they want the new guy on the line? If it was cross training, not your part. If it was a personality thing, not your part. Now come the hard questions. How is my work on the line? Do I get in the weeds? Do I need help? Can I keep up? The biggie and most difficult, do I make my co-workers life harder due to my work habits?

    I have been in the industry for a long time now and the last question is still a relevant one that I ask myself all the time. If I am honest with myself, I can still always find areas, in my work habits, that I can  improve upon. The day that I can't find any, is the day that I need to walk away from my career because I no longer have the mindset that I value.
     
  9. foodpump

    foodpump

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    The quote button won't work on Iceman's post, but you should read it again.  A lot of red flags in there.

    1) If you "punch some one out" at work, even if it is at the back door, expect violence to get violence--expect retribution--especially if you feel you are the "odd man out". 

    2) Do not "call some one out in front of everyone" because you feel your feelings are hurt.  Call someone out if they tried to poison someone, yes, if they left the gas on and blew the pilot light out, sure, if they put a steaming bucket of soup in the walk-in, yes.  But your feelings and your percieved treatment by co-workers, NO. 

    Like I said in my first post respect is earned it can not be demanded. It can never be demanded, and if forced, usually ends up very badly for the demander.  You can't fight this, it's kind of like arguing that the law of gravity is wrong.

    3) Iceman is now 50 years old and still working the line, and can not last more than a day a Michelin * kitchen.  Do you really want his advice?
     
  10. chefchrisd

    chefchrisd

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    Alright dude. Here's what's up:

    1. "They always complain that im messy (Which i need to improve on)." Then work cleaner!!! Respect and getting people to like you in this business means stepping up and working just like (or better) than everyone else around you. If you are the weakest link, no one will like you and that's just how it goes. Step it up.

    2. "They also said to someone that they just dont like me." See above.

    3. "The other day one of the other line cooks told me to work in the pantry while they had the new guy working on the hot line.  I really didnt mind,but if they do this consitantly I am going to start to take it as an insult." I'd HOPE you're taking it as an insult! That is YOUR spot on the line. You need to want it. Take ownership. You need to drop a set of balls and say that is your spot and let the new guy work pantry.

    4. "I find that mistakes that I do are magnified and made bigger than they are,but if they make a mistake its no big deal." Don't make mistakes. In this business you need to be perfect.

    5. "I am the only one that really works all over I guess you consider me a "Roundsman"  I would work the night shift ,and then have to work the morning shift the next morning." Tough position you're in, because you have to bond and assimilate with different shifts which makes things even harder. But you need to find a way.

    The bottom line is, don't take it personally. This is just business. Develop things outside your job that you can take pride in, that way you won't feel like a piece of crap when people talk down to you at work. It's just a job man. Treat it like one. If they don't like you, who cares? Put your head down and just work. Eventually they will come around once they see you are putting in 110% to everything you do. Attention to detail, sense of urgency and cleanliness. Work on those three things and everything will come. Good luck and if you're not prepared to give 110%, go work at McDonalds.

    Chris
     
  11. kingfarvito

    kingfarvito

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    You're 19 yes, but how much experience do you have? How is your line work. If you can't hold your station down maybe you need to get back to basics. We have a guy at work that can't do a damned thing right, and I'm sure he feels the same because the kitchen is a place that will let you know when you're messing up. If these people are some to pull you out of the weeds and have to clean your whole station for you first and then restock your mise, then that's the issue. In my experience people wont give you shit for nothing. I caught a lot of shit when I started because I was messing up, now I don't mess up and I don't get yelled at.

    A few tips for you that might help

    Keep EVERYTHING in a decided on place. Everything means even the smallest 1/9 pan full of garnish or your water cup goes in the same spot every day.

    After you get done plating wipe down your board.

    Put everything back in place after you use it.

    Keep 2 dry towels 1 wet towel and a sani bucket in your station.

    Preform well get treated well, thats how life works.

    From now on when people start harping on you look at what you're doing wrong, not why they're being assholes.

    I wish you the best of luck, but it sounds like you're not preforming so you're not getting rewarded. Fix that and I'm sure things will change.
     
  12. thetincook

    thetincook

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    My advice is pretty simple, and mostly reflects what the other guys said.

    1) Toughen up Buttercup. You're 19, still young, self conscious, and insecure. I was, and I bet most everyone else here was too when they were that age. You need to develop the ability to not take the criticisms personally. If the criticisms are legitimate, you should heed them. If they are illegitimate, then who cares. You're a professional, there to work, not waste time doing the 'mean girls' routine. It's important to note that the atmosphere in the professional cooking environment isn't conducive to a nice, pleasant, communication style. So things will sound much ruder and harsher then they are intended to be. You'll learn to filter that out. Also, somethings are just matters of different style. i.e. You learn to make tarter sauce at a restaurant that puts mustard in it. At your next place, they ask you to make tarter sauce, and you do it the way you know, then ride your butt because you put mustard in. Big deal, More then one way to make tarter sauce, and nobody told you this places secret recipe. No need to beat yourself up for it.The worst part about it, is that you're (the rhetorical you) spending so much time thinking about how you messed up, and what the other guys think about your messing up, that it starts to screw with your head, and your work suffers. You're psyching yourself out.

    2) Confidence/balls are important to getting ahead in life, so grow some. This is closely related to 'never let them see you bleed/sweat/cry'

    3) Screw all the interpersonal bullsh*t. Focus on improving your skills and fundamentals. This is important because you will better once your mind is occupied with skill mastery and not what those jerkoffs are saying, and because that kind of stuff will slacken off as your skills get better.
    Seriously? Starting a fight is a good way to get your self fired. Not to mention the legal consequences, and possibility of a felony following you around for the rest of your life. It's a fricking kitchen, not prison.

    Food Pump, I had to go to the full page editor to get quote to work right.
     
  13. duckfat

    duckfat

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      /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif  Where's the like button?/img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

    This thread reminds me of some of the ba** busting blue blood CMC's I've worked under and how challenging it can be when your a young Chef.

    Not every personality fits in with every crew.

    The big kitchen can be a brutal place. Expose a weakness and others will exploit it.

    Learn to suck it up and get along because this is no place for the needy types that are looking for a slap on the back.

    I worked under a CMC for a professional sports team years ago. This was a big kitchen in every sense. Flight kitchens on multiple floors. Multiple dining rooms, multiple banquet rooms, pastry, butcher, hot line, ice carving every day etc.

    The chef would belch out " C L E A N UP!" loud enough to shake the rafters and the entire place would come to a screetching halt with every one scrambling to clean for five minutes. Very intimidating at first but the Chef was truly fantastic. I learned a lot and had much respect for him.

    But there was never an easy day.

    Straighten your toque, toughen up and learn to keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open.

    Never show weakness, never complain and never listen to a 50 year old line cook about getting physical.

    I've seen some good people make some bad choices like that and I have never seen it end well.

    Best of luck now get back to work!

    Dave
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  14. iceman

    iceman

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    LOL. Crack me the love up!!!

    OK. I've been called out myself now by the know-all experts of the food world. Hey rocktrns, it's really good advice to listen to these guys, as long as you are ready to continually take abuse.

    Some of you guys need to come back to Earth and realize that we don't work in any rocket-surgery profession, but the real world of $8-$10/hr jobs. I work in Michelin* restaurants because I CAN.  I chose to walk away from situations because of experience. The real world isn't TV Docudramaland or FoodNetwork.  It's real work. 
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  15. michaelga

    michaelga

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    I like that...might have to figure out a way to fit that in during the 'crazy' shifts.  Thanks.
     
  16. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    A reminder to all, the OP is looking for assistance, if you have some, post it.

    If you disagree with another poster, feel free to offer alternatives, BUT KEEP PERSONAL DIFFERENCES OUT OF THE DISCUSSION!

    If you have a personal problem with a poster, discuss it via PM and resolve it or PM a moderator and we'll resolve it, probably not to the satisfaction of either party to the dispute but certainly to the community.

    In other words, as previously posted with a slightly modified meaning: "CLEAN UP, NOW!"
     
  17. chefedb

    chefedb

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    To solve by violence is not to solve it only festers and reoccurs. Punch them out and you get  sued or hurt yourself So what did that solve? Just hold your head up and ignore them, this makes you a bigger man and more mature then they are. Don't let them drag you down to their levels. Everything will work out in time.
     
  18. rocktrns

    rocktrns

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    I do agree there are allot of things I do need to work on.  I do disagree I am performing good I have signifigantly improved since I first started I'm faster and my products quality is good.  No one has to pull me out of the weeds we work together so if one person gets more tickets than the other one we help them out.  I've tried putting an sani bucket and a  normal bucket under my station,but they think its stupid.  I like putting parchment paper in on my sheet try to make it more cleaner they think thats stupid.  I like listening to what the executive chef says and how he wants the recipes done,but they like doing it there own way so when I do it the execs chef ways I get called out on it like I'm a suck up.  So there is allot more too it.
     
  19. rbandu

    rbandu

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    I'm a grammar nazi. *breathe*

    In New York state, where I am, it's actually a requirement to have a sanitizer bucket on every station.  It's not a bad idea regardless.  It's not a stupid idea, they're stupid.  Listen to your EC.  Do what he says, and do things how he tells you he wants them done.  It's his operation, and he wants things done a certain way for a reason.  Your job is to make every dish look like the EC himself made it, which will make him look good, which makes the kitchen look good, which in turn makes you look good.  Don't sacrifice ethics or morals for peer acceptance.  Do your job and do it well.  Forget everyone else.  Keep your station *clean*.  In between the chaos, be wiping down anything that's got crap on it.  Don't worry about the floor if you're really busy, just get crap off your station. Line sweeps will happen.
     
  20. twyst

    twyst

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    There is a reason he is the chef and they are line cooks.

    Keep your head down, work clean and hard and laugh to yourself as they get passed over for promotions and you eventually become their boss.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2012