I think I'm done...

Joined Jul 31, 2000
2 years and 7+ kitchens? Thats about 4 jobs a year (or 3 months per stage).

Your young, give it some thought. A thick skin is really a prerequisite to success in the biz.If you feel your "loosing your mind" well maybe it's not for you.
Joined Jul 23, 2004
Self awareness is a good trait.
Never do something that's dragging you down.
Thats the advice of an older guy to a younger one.

The only possibility is that it restaurant kitchens that are doing a number on you. You couild try catering, or institutional cooking.

The other possibility is that because you are young and eager, Chefs and Kitchen managers saw fit to work you like a dog to make up for various shortcomings of the kitchen or other staff.

There's an old saying:
"If you want to ruin a fine race horse, make him plow the firld when the mule is down".

But 7 kitchens in 2 years leads me to beleive than you never were at one long enough to get out from under kitchen newbie treatment.

But I'm no expert on when to get out of a particular situation. I.E. my recent debacle.
Joined Apr 3, 2005
Where in Canada are you?
That sounds very discouraging (i'm thinking of going into pastry cheffery after 5 years in University, heh.) But these other folks did bring up some good points to consider. I don't have any experienced advice because i'm not a cook, although i have worked in kitchens before. i can only imagine how hectic it gets being the chef/cook in a place with such high standards.
I'm sure there are other, less crazy environments you could work in, but if you are used to working in top restaurants, maybe its hard fo you to take a step down...
I'd say don't give up, unless you have other things you'd like to do in life as a job/career. If you do decide to get out of it, don't worry, you're still young, and you can always come back to it. But if there isn't anything else you're considering, maybe just take these guys' advice and find a slower paced atmosphere.
Joined Mar 23, 2005
What were the reasons that you left your other jobs?

To me its simple -- do you wake up every morning wanting to cook? Does it haunt your dreams? If so, then you are meant to be in this particular vocation -- you just have to figure out the venue! I loved the stress, but I could only handle it short time -- I recognized my limitations (even though now I miss it ;-) How's this -- cut the crap, look in the mirror, and ask yourself what you really want. If you throw up, swish your mouth out with water and ask yourself again. You have youth -- work with it!

What part of cooking brought you into it in the first place?
Joined Jul 23, 2004
The sad fact is, that as far as I can tell, most labor in most kitchen's is totally incompetant, and or lazy.

If you are good, and a hard worker, you are at times going to get stuck. Until you find the right chef. The right chef won't tolerate that. Because a good chef can see that having fewer, better paid employees with better conditions is better than an army of hacks and slackers.

This week, I start in just such a place.
The place was on it's rear end.
A new chef was hired, a guy I have known for a couple of years now.
First off, he fire 15 cooks and the sous chef in 90 days, and brought in people who wanted to work. Who like to work.

Everyone pulls their own weght so nobody burns out or quits. That's the understanding.
He's no slave driver, he treats his crew royally and they perform. Or they are out. He keeps fewer cooks but the pay is higher now. Morale is high, and the kitchen is efficient and successful cost wise.

God, I'm looking forward to this.

I'll tell you what though, I'd use those credentials to drive up my compensation. Mobility is the best aspect of this profession. Use it to your advantage, Enjoy it, revel in it.

If i'm provably doing the work of two or more, I have no intention of being shy about demanding more money in the future.
Joined Mar 28, 2005
I too am a young one I am turning 19 getting out of the military to go and back into the industry I love. At age 16 I was the head cook in a brand new restaurant that I helped build due to just grasping the system and running with it. I can tell you that I loved it there and am hoping the magic comes back to me. I ended up leaving due to the owner being an *** wanting his head cook to work for minimum wage and get treated like crap but I still kept the food quality awesome.

Anyway has anyone have any family in the business? My uncle is a pretty good chef from what I know, he worked for Four Seasons and ended up opening his own place about a year and a half ago. I was supposed to go work with him after high school but then went to the military but now that I'm realizing my errors I'm going to go work for him first and gain some skills before going to school. Has anybody have any advice on working with family?
Joined Jul 28, 2001
Mikie, Mikie, Mikie...
Take those sneakers off and get into some work shoes!!!! I personally think the key to being a sucessful and great cook/chef is timing.
If your stressed, confused, doing the job of others, you can't be preforming your own job decription without flaw.
It appears that you don't have enough experience to carry yourself with confidence. Not a slam, just human nature when you walk into a beehive. It's probably not your job to make sure that the kitchen is running fast enough, right?
Act like a chef/cook, talk likea cook/chef, carry yourself like a cook/chef and you will eliminate the "KID" identity eventually. This may take another job change. Like CC says, you've only done drive-bys. Research your next job and make sure there is movement within the ranks, etc. Make sure you have exact job description and goals. A chef has to make a decision when he gets a ball of energy into his kitchen. " Do I let this guy run and put out fires and eventuall he'll tire, or do I train him?" Help the chef to make this decision.
Last.. I'm absolutely not talking down to you, it's just that I was there 30 yrs. ago. :D
BTW Rivit is right,Baking/Pastry is so much harder ;)
Joined Mar 23, 2005
I think that the advice you have been given here is amazing. I have to say that I woke up this morning, put on the coffee, logged on and read the responses... and thought, "wow, these are great people." On a selfish note, thank you for letting me take part in your discussion.

Now, back to the task.... I worked with a young bloke, about 21, tall, metabolic rate sky high, ate when he worked (which you know is okay by me, as long as the hand to mouth is covered ;-), and he WORKED!!! I was always so impressed by him. I remember talking to the chef about him, and he stated "I love ***, he works fast and hard, so I keep him, but he's unpredictable timewise!" The chef took me under his wing instead of him, (until I quit the industry) -- I may not have been as good at prep, but I showed up on time every morning early and learned my lessons and did my work. Plus, I was cuter than he was ha ha ha. Now, why am I boring you with this? Because, there are so many types in cooking -- you may be willing to prep the onions, but you show up an hour late and the dice is wacked. If you have it going on, which it sounds like you do, you can really swing it out there! REV yourself up and get the groove on dude! Follow the advice of the chef's before me on this post, find yourself a Chef (it may take a while) and mentor. It makes all the difference in the world.

But, what do I know, I was only a cook.... :rolleyes:
Joined Jun 29, 2004
Some good advice in here. I think I'm just gonna have to put up with the BS... Learn to be more cynical (ie. not assume people know what they're doing), and just put up with it for a few years until I can ditch this city and go overseas... I'll just keep telling myself that the low wages are worth it since I don't have to pay for full-time school...
Joined Mar 23, 2005
Is it just finances that is keeping you from your dream of going overseas? Germany, France, Italy... it is awesome! You can "Take the plunge!" dude! What is your dream?
Joined Jun 29, 2004
My dream is to own a restaurant and work for myself.

Of course that dream is quite far off, so recent goals are to finish my apprenticeship, then travel abroad for awhile.

Anyhow, thanks for the replies everyone, the situation has been corrected, everythings going a bit better now...
Joined Apr 9, 2005
I think that you have had a tiresome 2 years. My first twoyears wer tough as well and it was difficult to get out of that puppy image that everyone has set out fo you.
As far as pay goes, the bucks are here, you just have to demand them. But yes, going to Europe will improve your situation. Although I have worked for enough European chefs to know that it is **** compared to here. 15 hours/day, 6 days a week. You have to have the passion. And if you do they might show you something after 10 years. Just joking, have fun regardless and let the passion rule.
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