Loving the Job, Hating your fellow Chef.

Joined May 6, 2017
Just a heads up mi gonna be complaining this whole time so don't blame me for you reading this whole thing. So I've been working at this micro brewery for the past 3 or 4 years (can't even remember), i started as a line cook then eventually became Head chef due to my work ethic and attitude. Anyway I needed someone to help me with menu creation, ordering, scheduling, inventory blah blah bah blah. I had one guy in mind, he knew his food and was awesome to work with... turns out that was a mistake. This guy  is constantly complaining about something or someone, my cooks literally tell me word for word what he's complaining about and that he complains about me all the time, not one shift goes by with out me getting blamed for something. whenever he works and i come in after him the kitchen is a disaster, sauces in the wrong place, milk is on top of the fish, garbage all over the floor, gloves and towels everywhere. IT DRIVES ME CRAZY! I'm the only one that organizes the walk in the dry storage and tries to keep everything organized. I'd like to say that I'm not one to usually be organized in my personal life, but when it comes to the kitchen i need to know where everything is without having to look for it. We split the responsibilities, i'm in charge of watching orders (meat, produce, dry goods, bread, etc.), managing and training, making sure these guys are doing everything right and everyone is doing their jobs properly. The other guy, is in charge of scheduling.........that's it. still doesn't do it, i end up doing it because my cooks need to know when they fucking work. last week i printed out a new schedule because we got new employees and they need to have schedule, the old one was about 2 weeks old... i told him "dude you need to make a new schedule like yesterday." he says "i know, i'll get on that after prep"..........he sits at the chefs table for 2 hours drinking beers instead of doing that shit. I've gotten to the point where i can't do this anymore, the only thing keeping me here is the health coverage for my son and the fact that my bosses are awesome and have given me so much they're practically family now.

Anyway my whole thing is that this chef was given an opportunity and is taking it for granted. Every time i try to confront him about it he goes off on this tantrum and i cant get a single word out of my mouth. so i don't even try anymore. i just ignore him do my job and talk to him when i HAVE to. I love being a chef, making food and running a kitchen and i don't want to do anything else, this is the easiest thing for me.

I just need advise on working on this. Someone just help me out.

may i add that he did come up with the menu, i give him that. it IS a great menu no doubt about it. but that doesn't entitle you to be lazy. there is some much more but do you really want me list it out? didn't think so
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Joined May 5, 2010
Welcome to ChefTalk.

I hope you were able to feel a little better after venting here.

Many of us now exactly how you feel as we have been there before. It sounds like you know what needs to be done, but your are waiting for someone to give you a kind pat on the shoulder and tell you so.

Here it is:  You hired him, you can fire him.

If he won't allow you to speak and is always defending himself....if he is talking smack behind your back, that doesn't bode well for respect.

Why have you hesitated so long?.
Joined May 2, 2017
Firing people is difficult, but this situation seems like a no-brainer. Get rid of him.. Unless something is stopping that?

I had a chef working with me who sounds exactly the same, I even lived with the guy. In the end the only way it got any better was severing ties.

Just in the way you have written this, I can tell the frustration you would have.

One thing i always remember my beautiful mother telling me when I was an adolescent, "Where is your 50% in a bad situation" maybe you could take something from that?

All the best in resolving the situation!
Joined Jan 17, 2015
+ 1 on that. Sit him down talk to him, give him an official warning for not doing what you told him to do (you might need a witness for that) and set things in motion for his departure. Life is too short especialy if he is disrupting the whole team. For his position you NEED someone to watch your back not someone to stab you in the back. If I was you I would get rid of him, as I did in the past get rid of people like him. Also try and be more confident about things, sometimes you have to fake it too......I personally don't like talking about my weaknesses with other people, especially subordinates. Good luck


Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
How this chef responds is NOT your responsibility how you as the chef respond is. One bad team member will spoil the team so cut him loose.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Just a heads up I'm gonna be complaining this whole time so don't blame me for you reading this whole thing.........Fire Him !!!!!!! See how easy that was. If you hire someone to help and they aren't a help then they're a hinder...... If you need to be nice do it this way. Tell him " One of us isn't working out, and it's not me" Here's your last check.....Good Luck......ChefBillyB


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
I'm glad to see that everyone had the very same thought that I did.  Half way through the OP is just kept thinking, "fire the guy."  It's that simple.  You are the chef.  You hired the guy.  Now, fire him.  If he wants to undermine your authority he needs to go.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
2 hours sitting around drinking beers? In uniform? On duty? Where were you?

Like everyone else said, You hired him, its your mess, now clean it up and fire him.

If you do, you:
Get to keep your job
Earn the respect of your other employees who have tolerated the dude's messes and mistakes
And probably see your labour cost go down a few %

If you don't, you:
Will get asked by your bosees to fire him
Will get fired yourself for not bring responsible
Experience some kind of mutiny by the others
Joined May 6, 2017
Thank you everyone, this is definitely put some perspective on the situation. I did need to vent and i appreciate everyone's honestly. y'all is dope. Thanks again.
Joined May 10, 2017
I completely agree that he should be fired but it could also be difficult finding a replacement in a short period of time. How about taking away some of his tasks and reassigning them to others who are more capable? I'm not sure if talking to him would bring anything, but sometimes actions speak louder than words. ;-)

For the last two and half years, I have been working as a part-time (untrained) pastry chef in a restaurant in Northern Germany (I'm also a mom to 3 school-aged boys). In the time that I have been there, I have seen my boss only fire one person. When a certain task doesn't work out with someone, then he assigns it to someone else. Some of my colleagues are 'interesting' to work with but I have a great boss, and it's the only reason why I'm still there.

I hope this helps. :)
Joined Dec 21, 2012
" How about taking away some of his tasks and reassigning them to others"

That's what he's wanting you to do.
Joined Aug 25, 2016
How do you deal with a young chef that I feel his only motivation is to be complimented all the time.. if I don't compliment like he wants he goes looking for it from others. His work is inconsistent and needs to be spoon fed all the time, I compliment where it's due, but this is driving me up the wall? Why???
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Why is it driving you up the wall? Or why is he behaving that way?

I just ask because even though I have all the answers, I am stingy about doling them out because I don't want to run out. :~)
Joined Aug 25, 2016
Why is it driving you up the wall? Or why is he behaving that way?

I just ask because even though I have all the answers, I am stingy about doling them out because I don't want to run out. :~)

Haha I'm not sure why he's behaving this way, but he does something good once he thinks he's good enough for the head chef role over night, he's a young guy been cheffing for 3 years with a very basic knowledge of skills and food. Someone said it's his back ground and what's happened in his life, nice enough guy but I need the job done and done successfully. I'm trying to get the best and most out of him but finding it draining and unsupportive in the kitchen......
Joined May 5, 2010
The guy is immature and unsure of himself, hence the constant need for positive re-enforcement.
Either decide that his behavior can be lived with because of his work, or get rid of him.
Joined Jul 12, 2017
Cut the cord, get rid of him! If you're in a state that's "right to work" like Texas or Florida, you can just fire him.

He's saying those things to other employees, he's already done a significant amount of damage by planting that negative seed. Get rid of him before he makes it all fall apart.

Joined Jul 12, 2017
Also, I'd like to add - as someone else pointed out, one bad apple quickly spoils the whole barrel, but there's nothing that wakes the rest of the barrel up like seeing that apple fired.

Honestly, if there's any way around it, I wouldn't bother with re-assigning his duties. I'd just fire him and make do if you can until you find a replacement. If others notice you re-assigning duties, it can sometimes give them the impression that *whenever* you do that, someone is about to get fired, when in reality, you're always moving duties around a bit to be more efficient.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
You had to have had confidence in his work in order to hire in the first place.
Sometimes a pvt meeting and a written warning will straighten things up.
Plus it never hurts to have a paper trail if the situation goes south and you end up having to defend yourself in a Labor Board hearing.

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