Life after my first year at JWU

Joined Feb 22, 2002
Well I just thought I would follow up my entries about school life with some info on my summer life. I got my grades from the academic trimester--all A's and B's. Shortly after, I got my ServSafe certification in the mail. I passed with an 84 (you need a 75 to pass).
After school got out, I put in an application at Sid Wainer and Son, a well-known produce and speciality food distributor in the town I live in now, New Bedford Massachusetts. I never heard back from them. I finally let it go and went to the shopping mall a couple towns over and applied at Bertucci's (an Italian restaurant like Olive Garden but with a much bigger--and better I think--selection, and lots of pizza options), and Ruby Tuesday's, which is basically like most family restaurants; it has burgers, sandwiches, steak, pasta, salad bar, etc. Ruby Tuesday's asked me to come back later the same day for a second interview, and following that, they asked me to come back Saturday to observe the kitchen. That's when they offered me a job doing basically whatever they need me to do at the time; prep cook, cooking, dishwashing, bussing, etc. I start Tuesday at 4:30, and will probably get 2-4 shifts a week at least to start. I hope to keep it as a weekend job when I go back to school in September.
So that's basically it. I'm looking forward to it! This is my first restaurant job and I'm pretty nervous, but excited.
Joined Jan 21, 2002
Congrats on completing the first year, Kate! Of course we all knew you'd do it handily and with A's & B's too! Good luck at the new job. Many a great chefs began as dishwashers and such. When does school start back up for you? I hope your break was longer than mine (two doggone weeks--- I took summer classes).


K-Dub is the same name I call my tablemate in the bakeshop......
Joined Feb 22, 2002
LOl K-Dub..that's cute. I go back to school in early September, so I've got a typical summer vacation. Two weeks! Wow...I'd be back there already if that were the case.
Joined Nov 21, 2001
dear kate,
best of luck with the new position, hope you learn a lot!! most of all have fun on your vacation!!:)
Joined Dec 8, 1999
Congratulations, Kate! Sounds like it will be a good, well-rounded first experience. Let us know if you need any help with swearing in Spanish!


Founder of
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
Congratulations, let us know how the job goes and the rest of school. How do you like Ruby Tuesday's so far?
Joined Feb 22, 2002
Well, yesterday I went for orientation. There were two other girls there who were both going to be servers. We filled out tax forms and watched videos on serving alcohol, food safety, the history of Ruby Tuesday, and other general information. That took 4 hours and then we went home.
Today I went in at 4 to start training in the kitchen. Mainly I just shadowed the cook there, and helped make a few things. It's really overwhelming. Making the main things isn't so bad, but what gets me is the sides and sauces. Does this come with fries, tomato, lettuce, onions, barbecue sauce, honey mustard, etc. And THEN you have to make sure the customer actually wants what it comes with :D
I got to leave around 8. I'm a clock watcher, but I didn't really obsess too much about it until the end.
Tomorrow I go 5-close. Gahhhh
All I can say is I hope I get into the swing of things. That's my main concern.
Joined Jun 2, 2003
you will, trust me.

my best advise to you is don't expect too much....... or impossible things from yourself. just relax, take it a day at a time, and you'll have it down in no time. i know it seems like a lot right now, but just give it a minute.

and always remember....."it's just food!" every time you're extremely stressed, just think that most of us here are doing the EXACT same thing (getting railed) at that same moment~!

different parts of the country or not....
Joined Feb 22, 2002
Well I'm sorry to see that I've neglected updating this post in so long. I've been updating over at another site that I know some of you read.
Basically, the cooking gig wasn't working out for me. I was crashing (falling behind) every day, not getting into any rhythm. Plus they were only giving me 2-3 days a week.
A couple times, I was given salad bar duty. I enjoyed this, because I like to work on my own and not worry about time so much. Yes you still have to make sure everything is well stocked, but it's not an immediate pressing issue, like getting that food out to the table.
So I've been offered Tuesday and Saturday nights on salad bar which may not work out once I get back to school, but I won't know for a couple more weeks.
I feel kind of ashamed that I've just finished a year at culinary school and the only thing I'm good at is stocking a salad bar. I guess they can't teach you prioritizing and organization skills at a cooking school! (Although I think they should...)
So, I guess maybe this particular atmosphere is not for me...I would still like to pursue cooking of course, and I hope I find something that's more my style.
Joined May 26, 2001
Kate, you probably ARE capable of more than salad bar. But it's hard to develop a rhythm when you're not doing the tasks day in and day out. However, yes, until you get yourself well organized, you will continue to have problems, no matter where you are working. If you don't always have your mise ready on time, that just takes practice. But if you forget items, you should be working from a prep list -- which, if the establishment doesn't routinely do for you (very few will), you should do yourself: every day, check off each part of your mise as you have it ready. That always helped me, yes, even me, the obsessive-compulsive super-organized person!

You mentioned earlier being a clock-watcher. The only good aspect of that is making sure you're on schedule for getting your mise ready. But once you're into service, BE IN THE MOMENT, plus a few "moments" ahead.

One last, sad thing I have to tell you: even after you graduate, and have 5 years of experience, it is still possible that the first offer a place will make to you is for "salad girl." Whereas a guy who just graduated with no experience may be put right on the line. Sad, but true. It's not you. It's the system that we still are working to change.
Joined Feb 22, 2002
I still refuse to believe that this is because I'm a girl. I think they would do the same thing with anyone if they were as incompetent as I am with working on the line. Actually, I'm surprised they kept me on at all--I expected to get fired when they discovered I wasn't up to par with working on the line.
My job has little to do with mise en place--all I am doing is "in the moment" type things, and yes, a few moments ahead. I drop the food into the fryolater, fix salads as the orders come in, throw dips into the microwave and put them on a platter with chips, stuff like that. I also plate the food if there is nobody working with me, but if there is someone with me I usually drop the food and they plate it. I do have to make sure everything I need is properly stocked, but I see almost everyone wait until the last minute sometimes, and yell frantically, "I need such-and-such to sell!" Which means they need something they've ran out of on the line in order to get rid of the plate they're working on. When I'm doing salad bar I'm usually the one who dashes to the walk in to stock them with whatever they shouted for.
The only time I'm doing things ahead of when we need them is when I'm asked to do prep work, which I sometimes am if we are in the weeds with the prep work. Then I can be seen portioning and bagging things such as mashed potatoes, garlic bread, fajita veggies, sirloin tips and basically anything else that is pre-portioned. I enjoy this too, because it is repetition and very hard to screw up :D I was also complimented on my prep work early on because of how quickly I caught on and got things done. I wish there were people who do specifically prep work at this place, but there aren't.
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