Is you chef or sous-chef driving you crazy?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by laprise, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. laprise

    laprise

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    I work for myself now, so I no longer have to deal with chef or sous-chef, but I remember years ago, there was days when I really wanted to hurt my boss:):)

    He was one of those chef who would drive you crazy with the way he ran his kitchen. I finally got promoted to sous-chef, and still he would not let me or anyone else take ANY decisions without asking him first. I mean no decisions at all! After a cook would cut one his finger pretty badly, I couldn't send a cook home without asking the chef, I couldn't put a prigg of parsley on a plate without asking the chef, well I couldn't do anything at all without asking him. It drove me nuts, I was a finally a sous-chef and had zero more power than a dishwasher:mad:

    Eventual, I left this crazy chef to go to another kitchen, and this time I was empower to take any decisions I wanted as long as I did not burn the kitchen down. I learned a lot from both chefs, from the first chef one - never to become like that, and from the second one - to copy his way of managing.

    Cooks and Chefs trive in an environment where they can make a difference.

    Don't be stuck, move on!

    Martin
    Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
    www.thechefinstead.ca/beachef.html
     
  2. anneke

    anneke

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    A sous-chef with power? Ha! Good one!

    The sous-chef's job is pretty simple: all the work, all the blame, none of the glory.

    Ok, I'm a little bitter. I'm stuck here writing a training manual while my chef is at home wathing TV. Forget that I've been here for less than a year while he has twenty years of service and could do this with his eyes closed.


    grumble-grumble.....:p
     
  3. laprise

    laprise

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    Sounds great, you have responsability:):)

    Cooks dream of the day where the chef will ask them to do something else then grunt work:)

    I was a sous-chef for many years, and I hear you... Chefs get most of the glory and sous get most of the work. BUT, it is the chef's neck on the line afterall not the SOUS!

    Do you have to make all positions? or just one?

    Martin
    Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
    www.thechefinstead.ca/beachef.html
     
  4. anneke

    anneke

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    I have to do all the positions. We're a huge company with many outlets so I have to write descriptions, opening and closing duties, forms, checklists, presentation guidelines etc for X number of different brigades according to which area they are working in, including stewarding. I've been at it all week.

    It's a good exercise, I admit. It gives me a chance to work in all my observations during the year into systems improvements. The truth is, the chef can't sit still for more than 15 seconds at a time and there's just no way he could crank this out. He's still looking for the 'on' switch on his computer.
     
  5. laprise

    laprise

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    I had to do something similar, and it took forever...

    I never liked office work, because the team looks at you like you are on holiday! Cooks can't concept that you can actually work in the office!

    ciao,

    Martin
    Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
    www.thechefinstead.ca/beachef.html
     
  6. anneke

    anneke

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  7. laprise

    laprise

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    Yes, that too sometimes:)

    Are you in Vancouver?
     
  8. anneke

    anneke

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    Nope. T.O.
     
  9. laprise

    laprise

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    I am in BC, originaly from Montreal, but BC for the last 13 years:)

    wine country.

    I work as a personal chef now... cooking classes in people's home and private dinner parties. I love it. NO boss, well aside from my wife:crazy:
     
  10. anneke

    anneke

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    I knew you were from Mtl: you have a charming accent when you write! ;)
     
  11. laprise

    laprise

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    I speak franglish:):)

    My wife speak English, so I had to learn.
     
  12. jaimeg

    jaimeg

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    Sticking it out as a sous chef can get you very far. I was a sous forever, alot of times with a chef that i didn't agree with. i was at a big steakhouse for three and a half years when my chef cut index and pinky off his right hand with a table saw. Difficult times and i had to learn how to run his kitchen from his point of view with his rules, as every sous should in the first place. He came back and tongs flew out of his hand for months. He has since retired.
     
  13. retrevr

    retrevr

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    Management style depends on the crew. If you inherit a crew and/or sous that is incapable of making consistently good choices, you must make the decisions for them. If you have a good experienced crew, you can lengthen the leash.
    One thing I learned from an owner a long time ago is this: Take advantage of a good crew. In context, what he meant was that you won't always have a good crew. When you have a good crew, use it. Don't work as many hours. Develop your cuisine.
    Hiring and training your crew has a lot to do with how you will manage. Many hire low tallent level grunts. Then they don't train or develop them properly. In this case, the chef has to make every decision.
    You can develop a grunt into a pretty sharp cook that is capable of being consistent with your wishes.
    Another aproach is hiring aces. You must still break them so they do things your way. I always have a position available for a chef that is inbetwene gigs. They can be poison, or they can be great.
    Very few people like going home at the end of the day knowing that they only did what they were told, when they were told. Young cooks should strive for this, but good veterans will not thrive in this environment.
    A good worker that takes ownership of their position is valuable, and they must not be undermined. They will be corrected or over-ruled from time to time, but not undermined.
     
  14. bruklor

    bruklor

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    I'm in the same boat, so I know how you feel.

    Job of the sous-chef? IF the Chef burns the kitchen down? Sous did it.
     
  15. panonthefire

    panonthefire

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    A sous chef position is essentiel when you want to reach a chef position but it is a very ungratfull position. You have to be the oger, the police man, maintain discipline, usualy the cooks dont respect you because you are not the chef, you are there to represent him. so as you are doing the police man in the kitchen and distribute the bad news, the chef walks around and distribute the good news... sound familiar???