More Head Chef Troubles

9
2
Joined Oct 10, 2017
Hey there guys, I'm new to the forum and came to ask for some advice, as I'm in a strange situation.

So I recently took a job that promised opportunity of movement, the restaurant is new and has been open less than a year, very few employees, it's not what I consider a functioning kitchen and I want to make it otherwise. The owner is there everyday. Besides the crass "banter" he's a good dude and a very reasonable boss.

Second in command is a "dev chef", middle aged, experienced in cooking and seemingly incompetent in many areas of his job (sorting out the check/ticket system, ordering sock, scheduling, pay, organisation, management) although not a detestable fellow.

Then we have the head chef (he started one month prior to me with no experience higher than line cook), again, good dude but I believe he's suited to being a line chef, definitely not the head chef.

No skill in leadership, organisational skills, multi-tasking, even the basic H&S (I've been there two months and I'm yet to see him wash his hands), he consciously sends out burnt food, leaves food containers (with prep in, mid service) on the floor, doesn't put lids on them when closing, doesn't tag them, I often find moldy food when cleaning HIS sections, doesn't keep anything in any form of order and his bad skills affect my performance during service.
New staff assume I'm the HC.
Despite all that, I like the guy and don't want him fired but improved and subservient to basic systems.

Now I'm supposed to be the sous chef and the dynamics are, I do 90% of the work, keeping in mind most of what a HC does is being temporarily done by the dev chef (that won't be the case for much longer), and HC can barely make it through a service (maybe he's better working solo but that's irrelevant). So his job is the same as mine really. We're both in our 20's, him early, me late.

I'm a strong leader and have already implemented the basics of kitchen organisation, I've whipped the Kps into shape and things have improved drastically... Well until he comes back into the kitchen and fucks it all up.

I want his title & authority, I need it to turn this stuttering restaurant into success. He (I believe), along with the dev chef are running it into the ground.

That's not to say I am the best of the best but I know I've got the skills, ability/want to learn and drive to do it with ease.

I'm becoming frustrated and am close to leaving, however, I like this place, I like the boss and want to see the place succeed. Being a sous chef (or head chef maybe) in a new restaurant is an incredible opportunity and I do not want to waste it.

I would highly value any input and thank you kindly,

Apologies for the length,
TL;DR; I sous chef, HC suck real bad, I do his job better, wat du now?.
 

Cdp

97
19
Joined Aug 31, 2017
You have drive you have passion you have a goal.

This shows you want the gig.

2 options go to the big boss and say your on leave 2 weeks they ask why all you say is time will tell,


Other option is just got to your head chef and say in positive manner...you can cook but this is not you and send it back to him and say do it again.

Fight or flight mate
 
3,317
738
Joined May 5, 2010
Tulsa299 welcome to Cheftalk.
You're not in a unique situation. So you have more knowledge, and experience then your peers in this place.I understand your predicament. In 20-20 hindsight perhaps it would have been best to check the place out before you interviewed. Ask for a tour of the kitchen with your eyes open. Did you talk to both the Chef and dev Chef (by the way...what is a Dev Chef?)

Now, you are at a cross road. You have to decide what is best for your career. If these Chefs are holding you back, you will go nowhere in this job.
If you choose to change the place, you'll have to take what comes along with it.
You might lose both Chefs in the process.
From the way you make it sound they are derelict in their job, and/or either don't care or have never been shown the right way.

That's where you come in. It's up to you to work this through, while still keeping respect for the others you work with.
If you keep your cool and keep on them each and every day, they will show their true colors in no time at all,
Either they will respect you for your knowledge and turn around or they will fight you and end up leaving.
Please let us know what happens.
 
658
276
Joined Sep 26, 2017
First of all, a new restaurant that hired the kind of chef you described shows that the owner/manager has no clue about running a restaurant. It will be hard for them to realize on their own that you are doing a better job than the chef.

All that aside. your situation is pretty common. Sous chef is supposed to do all the work anyway. When I was a sous chef, at one place, I had a chef that would come in late, watch porn all day, leave early, and only cook when the owner is around. At another place, the chef would screw up pretty much everything he made and I had to be the one fixing his mistakes. But these kinda stuff usually happens in a run-down restaurant, not a brand new one.

If you are wondering what I did back then, I just kept working and doing my best without any resentment. Luckily, at the first place, the owner finally caught on to the chef's behavior and replaced him with a harder working one. At the second place, I was later offered the chef job but I turned it down cuz I didn't plan on staying there that much longer anyway.
 
27
20
Joined Jun 25, 2017
I've been there two months and I'm yet to see him wash his hands), he consciously sends out burnt food, leaves food containers (with prep in, mid service) on the floor, doesn't put lids on them when closing, doesn't tag them, I often find moldy food when cleaning HIS sections

I like the guy and don't want him fired

What if the situation was reversed, and you were the head chef and had a line cook doing these things? You need to inform the owner of your concerns, and if he can not make the change, you should look for a different location to practice your craft.
 
2,529
809
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Ok, lets keep it simple. The "Cream will always rise to the top" but, in your case it may not be seen by the powers to be. In your case you need to bring the jug of milk to the owner and explain how the process works. You, "the cream" can't show this by just working in the kitchen under the incompetent management. If this were me I would ask to meet with the owner and explain how you can run the kitchen with less labor, better quality and lower food cost. Money talks! I've done this is 50% of the places I worked in. It's up to be to promote myself not, wait for someone to happen by and see my worth.....Good luck and remember, you go to work to achieve your goals and make a living. Not to make friends........ChefBillyB
 
9
2
Joined Oct 10, 2017
Tulsa299 welcome to Cheftalk.
You're not in a unique situation. So you have more knowledge, and experience then your peers in this place.I understand your predicament. In 20-20 hindsight perhaps it would have been best to check the place out before you interviewed. Ask for a tour of the kitchen with your eyes open. Did you talk to both the Chef and dev Chef (by the way...what is a Dev Chef?)

I did check the place out, trial shift and so on, however necessity drove me, not choice.
Dev = Development Chef
I should mention prior to this job I've only worked in the lower chef roles, I'm not by any means superior as a "cook" to these guys, they know more about culinary matters, my skills lie in management and running a smooth service.
But the best cook can be a terrible chef, if you understand my meaning.

Now, you are at a cross road. You have to decide what is best for your career. If these Chefs are holding you back, you will go nowhere in this job.
If you choose to change the place, you'll have to take what comes along with it.
You might lose both Chefs in the process.
From the way you make it sound they are derelict in their job, and/or either don't care or have never been shown the right way.

I think it's a case of; the dev chef not being hungry enough anymore (he's middle aged, drinks on shift, and speaks of working on cruises and so on) and the head chef not yet being at the age of fully understanding the effects of his actions or his opportunistic circumstance.

That's where you come in. It's up to you to work this through, while still keeping respect for the others you work with.
If you keep your cool and keep on them each and every day, they will show their true colors in no time at all,
Either they will respect you for your knowledge and turn around or they will fight you and end up leaving.
Please let us know what happens.

I do apologies for the late reply, I'm very exhausted. Things are still the same, my systems are being wrecked, my efforts ignored, I'm feeling walked on, however my mentality has changed. Keep on doing my best and ignore the others.
Difficult.
 
9
2
Joined Oct 10, 2017
First of all, a new restaurant that hired the kind of chef you described shows that the owner/manager has no clue about running a restaurant. It will be hard for them to realize on their own that you are doing a better job than the chef.

All that aside. your situation is pretty common. Sous chef is supposed to do all the work anyway. When I was a sous chef, at one place, I had a chef that would come in late, watch porn all day, leave early, and only cook when the owner is around. At another place, the chef would screw up pretty much everything he made and I had to be the one fixing his mistakes. But these kinda stuff usually happens in a run-down restaurant, not a brand new one.

If you are wondering what I did back then, I just kept working and doing my best without any resentment. Luckily, at the first place, the owner finally caught on to the chef's behavior and replaced him with a harder working one. At the second place, I was later offered the chef job but I turned it down cuz I didn't plan on staying there that much longer anyway.

How so many layabouts get into such a position is beyond me... Then again my HC is a kiss ass.. Go it.

I hope I get as lucky, thanks for the input :)
 
9
2
Joined Oct 10, 2017
What if the situation was reversed, and you were the head chef and had a line cook doing these things? You need to inform the owner of your concerns, and if he can not make the change, you should look for a different location to practice your craft.

I'd kick his ass into shape and make his life hell if he didn't do what is reasonable.

I really want to but the social aspect deters me, yesterday I tore into some jumped up FoH that was trying to sass my KPs and nobody spoke to me all day, I fear if I mention it I may loose my job or be laughed at as they don't see what goes on in kitchen :(

The HC already has a good friend in FoH upper management and is far better at socializing than I.
 
9
2
Joined Oct 10, 2017
Ok, lets keep it simple. The "Cream will always rise to the top" but, in your case it may not be seen by the powers to be. In your case you need to bring the jug of milk to the owner and explain how the process works. You, "the cream" can't show this by just working in the kitchen under the incompetent management. If this were me I would ask to meet with the owner and explain how you can run the kitchen with less labor, better quality and lower food cost. Money talks! I've done this is 50% of the places I worked in. It's up to be to promote myself not, wait for someone to happen by and see my worth.....Good luck and remember, you go to work to achieve your goals and make a living. Not to make friends........ChefBillyB

I've taken your advice well and I've begun compiling a lot of data.
Thank you :)
 

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