Is this reasonable?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by redbeerd cantu, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. redbeerd cantu

    redbeerd cantu

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    St. Philip's College Culinary Arts (AAS, Cum Laude), International Kitchens
    We have a two-man line. We can take care of 35 covers in an hour and a half with minimal mistakes and in reasonable time. 25-35 is pretty normal from Wednesday thru Friday. It's NOT easy, but we fight through it.

    Tomorrow we have a party of 60 AND regular walk-in service. My chef refuses to put a third body on the line. I, from an outsider's perspective, do not believe this to be reasonable. From an insider's perspective, this is utter [email protected]!^.

    What say you?

    RedBeerd
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Will the chef spend all day preparing the buffet for the party of 60 or is the two man line doing it all a la carte?
    I'm guessing the chef has reasons for thinking this is ok? Any idea what those reasons are?
     
  3. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    60 off the menu? That's crazy. Your line cannot be set up for that. The 60 will have to be told to be patient or pre order or use a limited menu.
     
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  4. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

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    It depends on how your kitchen is set up.

    I've been through a similar situation. Twice a year, there were events that would bring twice the customers. The line would still remain a 3-man line as per usual (it wouldn't comfortably fit more cooks), but then instead of having just 1 person in the back prepping, we would have 3 people in the prep area to assist the line cooks in anyway possible.
     
  5. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    Rookie move if it's all off menu. This should be limited menu pre order.
    Whoever booked it should also be shot.
    What type of food?
     
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  6. someday

    someday

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    Uuuuggghhh. I feel for you brotha. I work in a boutique hotel kind of place where 2 of us do about the same covers in about the same time frame. Things go really smooth for us 99.99% of the time...we do great food and work well together. Kind of have it down to a science. But I couldn't imagine doing a 60 cover party in addition to the regular stuff.

    Yeah man, total BS. Not cool, I agree.

    Is your chef part of the 2 man line or will he/she be MIA for service and just expect you two to handle it?
     
  7. redbeerd cantu

    redbeerd cantu

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    My chef does not work the line. He comes in, makes sure the work's being done, criticizes something or someone then leaves. Twice a week, he arrives with groceries and has us go out and bring it in. When it's super-slow, he leaves the restaurant. When it's super-busy, he comes in to yell. For my first few months on the line, he would come to my station to help for a couple of minutes, tell me how terrible I was, then leave. I got a handle on the station now, so he doesn't step in any longer. The only time he gets on the line is to demonstrate a new recipe that he wants on the menu.

    The guy in the station next to me and I do all our own prep.

    He's tired of cooking. Been doing it for over 30 years.
     
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  8. redbeerd cantu

    redbeerd cantu

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    It was limited menu items that we regularly serve, thank the Lawd! AND he had one of the cooks come in from his other location to work the line with us. That helped TONS!! I could not have gotten through that service without her.
     
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  9. redbeerd cantu

    redbeerd cantu

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    French Vietnamese fusion. The title is misleading, but it's the general idea.
     
  10. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Hi redbeerd,

    Is this reasonable? No. Is it common? Yes.

    All too often, good kitchens are led by chefs who have lost their passion for what they do. But, use and old age has literally trapped them into something they no longer love. Its a self reinforcing hell where the chef not only does not like what he is doing, but, its made worse by the fact that he no longer loves that which he has spent a lifetime doing. In that way, its not unlike a long term love affair that has gone sour.

    Ok....enough of the poetry and tragedy.

    You have two choices here, my friend and I think you already know what they are.

    1) you can deal with it until you find something better;
    or
    2) you can try and do something about it.

    My recommendation? Go with choice #1. Unless you have some vested financial interest in the establishment, which I don't think you do, choice #1 is the only viable option. Choice #2 is only viable if you intend to oust the chef and take his place, in which case, you have your work cut out for you.

    You deserve to work under a chef that still loves what (s)he does and wants to teach others to be better. Let's be real here. Employee turnover in the food industry is huge. So, you are not committing any mortal sin by looking for better work. But, you have to be proactive about it. Something that is truly better doesn't typically just fall in your lap.

    I don't know if you are a gambler, but, I like to use this analogy. I like to play blackjack. When I go to a casino to play, I always spend at least an hour scouting out the right table. I want to make sure the people that are sitting at that table know how to play and are not going to pick up and leave 5 minutes after I sit down. I also want to make sure the dealer does not allow mid-shoe entries to come in or allows players to sit in for a hand and then leave thereby wrecking the flow of the cards.

    You should adopt a similar philosophy when deciding where you want to work. Spend the time doing the research. Is the chef any good? How long have the line cooks been there (if they've been there for a long time, why haven't they moved up?)? Is the kitchen adequately staffed? Are the cooks learning? Over the years, I have found that if I really want to know how well a kitchen runs, I talk to the line cooks.

    Granted, you are unlikely to find the perfect place where all of these questions are answered to your liking, but, at least you will have a game plan that allows you to properly gauge your choices of where to work. .

    I hope this helps. Good luck! :)
     
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