lookinf for all the advice i can get....

Joined Feb 26, 2010
[h3]Hello to all my new culinary friends. both to the rookie like myself, and to the vets of our business. i look forward to to hearing all the input from everyone. i have a few questions to start. i am currently a culinary student in Vancouver Washington, and i landed a line cook position at Newport bay and i start on saturday night, i go in for an orientation tomorrow. im super nervous because even though i am  student, i have never worked a line before. i will be on the fryer, but im still a little sketch. i have worked for a catering company for almost a year, but like i said i have never worked the line... any ways if any body has any advice to calm my nerves i thank you much...what should i expect on "the line?" what is the hardest part of working the line, and how do i keep from lettin the tickets pile up... i need all the help i can get, i am confinent in myself, but the line is alil intimidating. ne ways i look forward to your replys /img/vbsmilies/smilies/peace.gif[/h3]
Joined Oct 28, 1999
First off, Welcome to ChefTalk. We are a friendly lot, so feel free to ask away. Be sure to stop by the Culinary Students' forum to check out some of the experiences that fellow students are discussing. 
As for getting over the jitters... well... don't! That nervous energy is wonderful. It can be a motivator and steadfast guide in days when things are a bit more challenging than usual.
Again, welcome aboard and I look forward to learning more of your adventures in the field.
Joined Aug 18, 2007
You'll be fine. They wont be expecting perfection from day 1, So as long as you get yourself organised in plenty of time/ listen hard you should be ok. Might be a good idea to turn up really early to research your station. be prepared for practical jokes advice tho.

Best of luck with the new job and remember you've got a wealth of talent here if ever you need advice. We are all more than willing to help,
Joined Aug 26, 2005
hi mace.
1. focus on what you know,
2. what they want you to know, and
3. what you can learn and bring to the table. ...then pray they have satellite radio and it's tuned into your favorite channel! best of luck!
Joined Feb 28, 2010
Hi Mace,
The line can seem intimidating to start because of the high speed, quick chatter, and everyone else seems to know what others are thinking before they say it. I (fondly) remember my first days on a line - mid summer, super rocking, tickets flying, other cooks slamming out food and feeling a bit like my feet were stuck in mud. BUT the groove comes quickly and it is a blast once the jitters go away.

To do it all over again there are a couple things I would have done better:

First is I would have asked if I could come in for 1 or 2 days (unpaid) and just observe the line - maybe help out by stocking plates, sweeping, restocking the line, whatever. You get to see what the food looks like and get a feel for the vibe of the line without having cooking duties to focus on. Also, you get to know the layout before the real pressure is on.

Second is know the menu and plating inside-out, take notes, whatever is required. Once the line gets busy it can be hard to get a question answered (is this brown enough? how dark to you take your (fries, wings, tempura, fish.. whatever); if you have a chance to observe before your 1st day, this can help also.

Every kitchen stages food differently; calls tickets differently; expedites differently; and when I started some kitchens had really good trainers and structured orientation programs, whereas others left it to the other cooks on the line to train while they were trying to prep and do their own job which isn't ideal. You mention you are a culinary student so your perspective recently in a kitchen is that you are the student, and you look to the chef/instructors to be teachers. In a restaurant the people who will train you are not chef/instructors by trade and so be aware of the different point of view they may have. The other line cooks are there to do their job and cook food, so some may see training others as a real pain, or not.. depends but you should be aware of this and don't take it badly if you have someone be a little frustrated as you learn. It is all part of the journey and so don't take it hard.

Most important, have FUN and don't let the speed and pressure ever make you put out a bad plate.
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