I don't belong in this position

427
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Joined Jan 21, 2002
I went out yesterday and applied for a sous chef position at a hotel. I was told by the Exec. Chef that I was his top choice for the position. Why? Why me? Not that I don't want it but I feel underqualified. Two years total cooking experience (of which one was unpaid) and an AAS in Food and Beverage Management (working on one in Culinary Arts). I thought it took several years to become even a master cook let alone a sous chef. Should I take the position if formally offered or should I pass and get on as a prep or line cook? PLease help me out here.....


:confused:
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
If this is a good chef, he maybe wanting to hire a person and not a position. If I had someone come along and had a thirst for knowledge, level head, enthusiasm, possible longevity, maybe not so schooled in short cutting things, it's a no brainer.
I personally would ask the same questions of him though. If you are both on the same page and you get it CONGRATULATIONS!
 
232
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Joined Jul 2, 2001
My current sous had about the same amount of experiance as you, and he has worked out great. Maybe the Exec. she something in you that you maybe don't see in yourself yet. If you are offered the job I'd take it. On the job training I guess. Is this guy good? Maybe he's giving you the leg up someone gave him yrs ago.
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
Jeff,

First of all BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!!

Could you tell me more about the hotel?

Size
F&B activities
What role you would play as a Sous (I have worked in hotels with over 14 Sous Chefs for all the various outlets.

There must be some reason for the Exec chef feeling positive about you.

I'm not sure what a "master Cook" is, but a sous chef is the person who keeps the ball rolling. he/she is the most important eliment to the Chef.

If you have worked in high quality places for the past 2 years and have worked the various stations and have an understanding of personal managment you may be ready.

Tell us a little more about the Hotel.

Remeber to look at the donut not the hole
 
11
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Joined Sep 3, 2002
As to your problem, my last job was working for an exec chef who was , in fact, very good. But he wanted people working for him that knew only what he taught them, that way they never questioned anything.they were simply programed robots who knew only their small part of the line and didnt want to learn anything else.If you truly are passionate about cooking, I suggest you take the job and learn all you can. Just dont let yourself stagnate and constantly keep you eyes and ears open.Speaking for myself, i have never worked for anyone that I didnt learn something from. I've been cooking for 20 + years and i still consider myself a student. Employers will use you for their benifit, thats why you are hired, but use them for your benifit too. Even if it is learning.
 
427
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Joined Jan 21, 2002
Cape Chef the hotel is on the strip in Las Vegas. High-volume, of course. My duties would be as a banquet sous chef. A master cook here is the same as a saucier. I applied on a personal dare. I didn't tell anyone I applied. How do you handle a dream when the reality of it stands before you? We shall soon find out. And working as a sous will help me with ACF certification as a CSC or CCC. I'm VERY nervous. Other than knowing the name of the property and its location, I know nothing about their F&B department. I am learning. I'm 27 so I am not too young. I just love everything about what I do.
 
3,853
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Joined May 26, 2001
Okay, Jeff, deep breath. And again. And again. Good. Keep breathing.

CC is right: think about what your responsibilities would be. The exec believes that you would be able to handle them. So that means that even if your skills are not quite there, he trusts that you can LEARN what you need to do the job right. I've heard it said that it's best to take a job that's just beyond your skill level, so that you are forced to learn.

It's a long process from applying for a job to having to decide whether or not to take it. When you talk with the exec again, ask lots of questions about the job -- so that you have a clear idea of what you might be getting into. Trail as many times as they'll let you, so that you'll see how the operation really runs.

I agree with the others: if you think this chef can teach you what you need to know, take it! I've worked under sous chefs with far more "experience" who can't compare to what I've seen of you and your commitment! :D
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
Jeff,

Toyman made some key points, the most important being every step you take in your Culinary career will be an oppurtunity to learn and grow.
Be a sponge and a filter at the same time.

Take in everything and filter out what doesn't benifit your growth (with out being disrespectful)

Take the job.

Banquet chefs are another breed in large volume outlets,if you get with a quality house you can learn great timing and production skills.
 
1,586
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
Culinarian,

Beware!

Sorry to be a contrarian here. Sous-chefs have it real difficult. On one hand you must be confident enough to be able to excercise authority on a bunch of difficult-to-manage people, and on the other, you are given little room to manoeuvre. Sous are usually the scapegoats when the place becomes stale, when it doesn't come in within its costs, when staff becomes unmanageable, when the exec chef fails to take his/her responsibilities, etc, etc. Ever noticed how there's so often a very high rotation of sous-chefs? In my neck of the woods, it's never an enviable position, and sous chefs get the axe all the time.

You are right to be suspicious, given your level of experience. On the other hand, maybe there's a big demand in your area for qualified managerial potential, in which case I would shop around and see how other hotels feel about you, and how you fit in with them. It'll give you a basis of comparison, and you'll be better equipped to make a decision.

That said, CC is right: banquets are a completely different animal. Your race-to-the-finish attitude will pay off, and the qualifications in terms of personal cooking style and finesse are less important than your ability to deliver on time.

I haven't met many banquet sous chefs that really felt gratified and experienced much job satisfaction. However, this would be a huge step up for you and all the folks above who told what a great learning experience it would be are correct. Ask them if you could do a banquet with them before you make your decision. See how they work, if they make sense, how open they are to your ideas, etc. Get to know the banquet chef REALLY well because you will be his "b-tch" for the duration of your career there.

This advice comes from my own experience in hotel banquets. Whatever the outcome, do believe in yourself and good luck to you!
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
WOW!
well good experiences-bad experiences they are all experiences.
sometimes we learn more from the bad ones.
 
1,244
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Joined Sep 21, 2001
My thought. Were you honest in your interview as to what your capabilities are? If so, and the chef wants to hire you, he may see the potential in you. The great jobs are the ones that you grow into, that stretch your talents and make you work. You might not know the job yet, but at least someone who IS familiar with its' duties is interested in having you do it. As an employer I can honestly say that rarely does the "perfect person for the job" ever apply for the job, and when they DO they don't stay. It seems that once they become proficient enough they want more of a challenge! I think it is kind of a natural progression to grow into and then out of a job. This industry runs on the up-and-comers like you. Take the job and quit doubting yourself!
 
427
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Joined Jan 21, 2002
kuan.

I've read that book at least once a month. It's fantastic! I guess my main concern is a position of authority. I thought to myself, "how do I go about directing someone to do something knowing they have more experience than I?" Then I realized if they're more experienced then I wouldn't HAVE to ask them to do something they should already be doing. If offered the job I'm taking it!!!!! I asked a guy that ws in my basic skills class how it is (he's a sous too). He said "the hardest part is costing and purchasing. Most of the time you're like a foreman on a construction job". That means I don't get to use the "tools". I'd love to be a working chef. I'm definately taking it if offered. besides, "Sous Chef Jeff" sounds too cool!


:bounce: :roll: :smiles: :cool: :crazy: :cool: :D :chef:
 
1,065
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Joined Dec 8, 1999
I'll go through this point by point:

Actually, more experienced or not, you'll find that the cooks working for you will need direction, training and supervision, and it has to come from you. If it doesn't, you will have a difficult time earning their respect. Respect doesn't come automatically w/ the title; you've got to prove yourself worthy of it. Lifer line cooks being a generally cynical lot can make this a challenge. As with many things in a kitchen, common sense will see you through on this.

Costing is easy. Mostly, it's simple math, with knowledge of what your market will bear (your price points) figured in, as well.

Purchasing can be difficult, at times. I've a feeling that you won't have to worry too much about it in this particular position; most larger operations have someone whose specific duty is to take care of this. You will, more than likely, need to requisition items, though. If you brush up on your banquet yields, you should do fine.

Lastly, a sous chef in any department is almost by definition a working chef, so don't worry about that.

I want to emphasize that none of the above is meant to discourage you from taking this position; I personally am of the opinion that you should. The intrinsic learning oppurtunities are too good to pass up. So, good luck and remember that if you ever need help, we are just a post away.
 
69
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Joined Jul 27, 2002
I would think of what I have to loose by taking this job, then figure out how to deal with it, then go for it! Even if you only work there for a month or two you will with out a doubt learn SOMETHING!

Go for it!
 
2,518
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Joined Nov 20, 2000
You're about to head down the path of one of the absolute worst jobs in the world! You will work harder, longer and more like a dog than ever in your life. You will be undepaid and under appreciated. Everything you will do is likely to be questioned.
You better have steel underwear and a very thick skin.
And if you can survive this and learn how to delegate!!!!!!!even people with years more experience need to be led sometimes. There are leaders and followers and many that are followers do so simply because they don't want to be leaders and expect and follow without question those that do lead regardless of the age.
If you do this and survive you will be able to handle anything and be in a position to get the big bucks. The big buck chefs are the ones that do the big work!
Good luck, do it now while you're young and gung ho!
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
524
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Why so negative you!?!? :) LOL... three words make it easy.

Mise

en

Place

Kuan :)
 

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