I'm so frustrated at work!

Joined Jun 22, 2013
Sorry, I just need a space to vent to people who will understand my frustrations.  I am sick and tired of my work.  I am staffed with people who aren't cooks and don't know certain things or understand that in the kitchen you need to have a sense of urgency.  I am constantly seeing violations of safety and sanitation standards that are easy to adhere to if people just did what they were supposed to do.  I am dealing with Managers who don't know culinary stuff, yet have unrealistic expectations.  At the core of all is is that there is absolutely no accountability!  Even if I say something to point something out to get corrected, by the next shift it is as if I had not said or done anything at all.  I am at a point where I just don't really care anymore, which is sad in my opinion. 

Just to give you guys some examples of the stuff I'm dealing with:

At the direction of our Food Service Director, potatoes are now stored in the walk in vegetable cooler.  This is the same FSD that got upset when he found dirty dishes in the "hand sinks" at all the stations.  He was referring to the prep sinks, not the actual sinks used for hand washing purposes.

All bottles must be stored in the cooler, including vinegars, honey, and cooking wine.

Things left in serving dishes, unlabeled of course!

Raw fish stored under raw poultry.  I have also seen raw poultry stored over vegetables and other ingredients. 
Joined Oct 31, 2012
I don't know what to say except that you have my complete sympathy.

     I'm amazed the FSD would be so concerned as to refrigerate the various bottles but not know to store raw poultry on the bottom. Doesn't he/she have any ServSafe training? Is there no training for new hires so they at least understand the basics? 

 How has the company gotten past Health Dept. inspections? Surely they would catch some of this and require some training. 

My immediate suggestion is to post signs, like one on the walk in door that states "All raw poultry on bottom shelf only". "All foods must be labeled and dated". 

Of course, if there is no corporate support for this and your FSD doesn't know better, it may not help on a permanent basis but at least you tried. Is there any opportunity to explain the situation to anyone above the FSD? Can the employees be disciplined for not following basic food storage procedures? 

Don't give up. Certainly don't lower your standards. Keep venting here. At least you keep some of your sanity. 
Joined May 14, 2014
Run for the hills! Micromanaging but having no f'ing clue? Potatoes in the walk in is actually bad for them. Maybe you can serve him hard potatoes and crystalized honey one day. There are two or three threads about how hard it is to find people right now; I'm sure you can get another job.


Ok rant over.
Joined Jul 28, 2001

  I'm curious. What is the chain of command in the kitchen. Is there a chef between you and the FSD? I'm going to assume that you are not a contract feeder. This must be an in-house


I'm having trouble trying to understand these actions especially when the University has a B.O.S. Degree in Human Nutrition. Where are your Dietetic Interns doing their internship?

Get them in the kitchen ASAP. I would get that whole department involved in what you're talking about. Even if the axe falls on you, at least you might eliminate some food poisoning.
Joined Jun 22, 2013
There is no "chef".  It is basically FSD, location managers (two who have culinary expertise) and then "sous chefs".  The "sous chefs" are basically supervisors, but we have no real authority other than to report back to the managers.  They will then try to address the subject, but more often than not all the means is correct the problem right then and there and bring it up at our pre-shift meetings.  I try to do what I can, but I feel as if I am trying to plug holes in a dam with my fingers.  Like I said, the root of all this is that there is no accountability.  Whenever someone does something wrong it is rare that it goes beyond, "hey, don't do that!"  I have rarely seen anyone written up and even if they are nothing comes of it.  Another problem is that the city health dept. does not have jurisdiction since it is a university and they have their own people to do that (don't remember the last time we were "inspected).  At least that is what I have been told.
Joined Oct 31, 2012
I find it hard to believe the local health department can't inspect. Of course, you are in Texas and not NY but in every state I've lived in the Health Department, usually a County agency, has absolute right to inspect any and all food service places. The next day off you get, take a little trip to the local office and inquire. Sounds like an inspection and some training is long overdue. YOu can most likely find some info online as well but an in person visit may get the ball rolling quicker. 

(And I don't sic the Health Department on anyone lightly but in your case it seems necessary.)
Joined Jun 22, 2013
On the plus side of things it looks as if I am moving on from this place.  I received two job offers today.  Now I just need to weigh my options and give notice!
Joined Jul 28, 2001

I don't want to beat a dead horse but I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around this kitchen situation.

I've visited the UofH many times. One of the top Hotel Restaurant Management in the country is on campus. The Conrad Hilton College. I mean you can

get a Doctorate in Hospitality there. They have food sanitation seminars constantly and one of the top notch food safety labs in the country. I've sat in their amphitheater and viewed different things in the demo kitchen. You can degree in beer brewing.

I know for a fact that local health departments can and will inspect campus kitchens. Houston might have something set up with Hilton where they may be responsible for food safety but that is obviously not working. Take that picture of the fish and poultry and send it to the anonymous report line department and I bet things will change in a hurry. There has to be a report section on the health and welfare of students. Where is this dietician that is supposed to be available to UofH dining students that need help with nutrition? Sorry, just surprised. I know you know food, that's what is bothering to me.

Good luck in whatever you decide, I know it's hard to move mountains. But I would drop a dime on the way out.
Joined Mar 24, 2014
I am feeling the same way at my job. I'm a Sous in a hospital, and It's my first institutional experience. After country clubs and restaurants, it's unbelievable with what goes on, the help are "institutionalized. Always someone taking off, always someone out sick, always someone on vacation, always six supervisors micro-managing everything, people making schedules that never work, different people doing different shifts and jobs all the times, so everyday is different, some know some jobs, some don't. Weekends are the worst, chef is off, help is cut, no deliveries, but the count is the same for meals. A lot of the responsibility falls on me, which is cool, but I am always working a shift, filling in for the above mentioned "off" persons. When your working the window plating and expediting 350 brkfast and lunch, it's tough to keep an eye on whose on break, whose doing what, helping others, etc. I hate going to work.
Joined Sep 22, 2013
I found this job description, but upon examining it, this sounds more like an Executive Chef's duties.  Is this person the Exec Chef?  If he/she is, it's a damned shame that while in school, they didn't pay attention.  From what you describe, this is a case of serious incompetence.  Even a a first semester culinary student knows food storage and sanitation.

Someone I work with told me that the job will always be there, but if you have a stroke or heart attack as a result of said job, YOU WON'T BE.  Take care and maybe you can put your thoughts and concerns in writing and present them.  If things don't change and/or someone gets sick, you should start looking for a more satisfying workplace.
·        Direct the expenditure of the food service budget.

·        Insure that the food service operates within established budgetary guidelines.

·        Assign, direct and supervise food service workers.

·        Assist in the hiring, transfer, promotion, demotion, or dismissal of food service workers.

·        Follow proper receiving, storage, and preparation techniques to insure that all food items are maintained at a high quality until consumed.

·        Plan, implement, and review all breakfast and lunch menus.

·        Maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and safety in the kitchen.

·        Prepare all local and state reports as directed or required.

·        Implement strategies to create an atmosphere that will attract and retain customers.

·        Represent the food service program on district wellness committee.

·        Understand and implement safety procedures as required by the district.

·        Perform other duties as assigned.

Legal Ref:              Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990           

Cross Ref:            Policy 511 (Equal Opportunity Employer)

Adopted:             October 27, 2010 
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