I think my Chef/Instructor has it in for me. Am I paranoid?

Joined Oct 19, 2009
 I am a student at a culinary school in Canada. I am really pleased with the way things have been going at the school. I do however have a couple of concerns. I feel that the Chef pushes me more and critiques me harder than the others in the class. Could this be because he can see that I have previous experience and he/she feels that I should be capable of a greater product.

I feel this way because when we line up for critique we sometimes listen in to hear each others critiques and observe one another's dishes. I'll be the first to admit my mistakes, but some of the praise the others receive is just... it's just frustrating. And I don't know if its favoritism or paranoia. Has anyone else experienced this? Any advice?

Thank you
Joined Feb 18, 2010
For sure... I´m almost sure is required in every school... the teachers probably agree in picking  one student to challenge, most often the one who´ll THEY feel will be the best one with proper training.

We think they´ll teach us recipes, but in truth it´s work techniques we´ll need. How to deal with stress and coworkers, etc.

He really is preparing you for real life. I can tell you, the chef you´ll hate the most, the one who pushes you, dares you and critiques you will be your best teacher at the end.

But then again, that´s just the way I saw it. Hope it helps.
Joined Feb 17, 2010
Ayrin is right.  Chances are your Chef sees you as the most promising student in the class.  Your chef wants you to excel, so he critiques your dishes much more harshly, so you'll work even harder.  Its like that in every branch of school.  The person the professor 'picks on' is usually the one they see as the most talented and therefore expect the most of.  He sees you as worthy of his time.  The ones he blindly praises or criticizes aren't worthy of his time.  Be proud, and take every opportunity to ask for his advice.  The best way to earn respect is by using one phrase.  "How would you do that, Chef?"  It shows that not only do you respect him as a source of knowledge and experience, but you also really want to learn the "best" way of doing something. 
Joined Feb 21, 2009
Only you know the real reason of your Chef/Teacher critic, however if you feel your other classfellows/classmates following the Chef behaviour then it’s not cool.

For a time being try not to be out-spoken or intentionally stand-out and keep a low profile behaviour, try not to lead your group and simply focus on learning and absorbing as much as you can, you can definitely show your efficiency in practical and theories-exams

Some time out-standing behaviour spark out unpleased attention

But again, you know the best what is the real reason of this critic

I have faced the same situation but quickly realised my fault,

Backing-off is a quick-fix remedy, trust me

Good Luck
Joined Feb 1, 2007
I once had a boss from whom I learned many things. But there were two life lessons in particular:

1. The better you are, the more they expect of you.
2. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Romi, I'm really glad it's going well for you at school - keep it up.

The pressure is to make you better and get you to your full potential.  If you are the only one who has let them know you've had previous experience, this would most probably be why they do it.  Come to expect it and learn from it.  If there is the opportunity, ask them at an appropriate time what/how you could improve.  Make the most of it while you are there, squeeze any drop of knowledge you can from them.  You are there to learn, they are there to teach.

Everyone makes mistakes - they happen, but the important thing is to learn from them.  Cliched?  Yes.  True?  Yes /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

Lesson of life - How do you choose someone who will do a good job?
Pick the busiest person you know.

P.S. lol KYH on #2
Joined Oct 28, 1999
As a Chef Instructor, I have shared the following piece with my students, many times. It is from Randy Pausch's Last Lecture.
One thought-provoking moment from early in the lecture is his experience as a high school football player. He had a bad day, and the coach was yelling at him throughout the practice. At the end of practice, an assistant coach sidled up to him and said “Coach was riding you pretty hard today”, and he glumly said “Yeah.” The assistant coach said, “That’s a good thing. When you’re screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you any more, that means they gave up.”
Take it for what it is.

Best wishes for your continued studies.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Nothing comes easy in this business, every instructor I ever had pressured me to be better. The best Chefs I know are the most critical of their work. You either want to be lead dog, or one of the pack. I always liked being lead dog, the view is a heck of a lot nicer......Welcome criticism, but don't beat yourself up over it...................Chef Bill.........P.S.......Paranoia, the greatest sense of awareness.
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Joined Feb 24, 2010

Keep showing up and more will be revealed. All I can say from experience is what mattered is that I did the work and I took the direction and it paid off in ten fold and you keep doing the same.
Alot of this is fear right now what your going through and once you walk through that fear and realize you are a chef doing exactly what your being told and suggested to do, suddenly that fear goes away. Why? Because your doing the work! Not to mention a fantastic job, as I'm sure. This is all preparing you for your life in the kitchen. 
You'll look at this whole experience a year from now and laugh at it. Believe me. More importantly you'll be able to share it with someone else that will be posting on here with the same issue.

Keep rocking your skills, showing up,listening and absorb it all.

Chef Jeny
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