My First Chef Gig!

Joined Jan 29, 2017
Hey ya'all,

So, I have been cooking for 19 years, and I have loved every moment of it. I have had some ups and downs, but in the last five years have decided to take it all the way. When I put on that attitude, I found myself owning everything I did to the point of becoming a lead line at a fine diner.

I recently accepted a job as a Chef at a fast casual place, and I am beyond ecstatic. My last day at the current job is the 18th and the first day at the new job is 19th.

I have done a lot of administrative functions along side a few different chefs in the past four years, including inventory , menu costing, and ordering . 

I know the micro is not going to be the hard part. I am a strong cook, and I grind hard and fast. Being the lead, I have really got my communication skills high and have utilized my voice well.

The macro , I think, maybe a bit challenging. I can manage people during a rush, and I can especially manage myself ( not be rude/offensive etc,... ) because I have been a non exec this whole time. I get it, I shouldn't be too concerned about a line cooks feelings, but I also don't want people just quitting on me. 

These last couple years, I have watched about two dozen people come through the grill station. All of them quitting/terminated for various reasons. None was that I was an asshole, but a few of them had said that multiple times. I know I am not a complete dick, there has been a few talented cooks come through and I really enjoyed teaching them and working with them. But the good ones would always do something stupid like go to jail and result in a no-show , or decide to move back home ( some seven states away ) etc,....

Beyond just the interpersonal skills I know I must develop , what wisdom and advice can any of the seasoned chefs here give me? Lay it on me, anything and everything, even if you feel the need to burn me,

Thanks in advance

Joined Aug 21, 2004
Be consistent with your thoughts and actions.

Be friendly with staff, but don't be friends with staff.

Pay attention to your cents (& sense) and the dollars will take care of themselves.

A good chef is like a duck, calm on the surface, paddling like hell down below.

Hone your active listening skills.
Joined Sep 9, 2012
What Cheflayne said ^^

Communicate clearly your expectations to your staff and don't accept less. They will test you.

Discipline in private, never in front of their peers.

Teach, if they don't already know, about waste, food cost, and how it relates to them -- less waste means more business profit -- they'll have a job to continue to go to, holiday bonus, etc

Teach your sous or another capable cook the budgetary and ordering side so that you can have a vacation or get sick.

Handle disputes in a factual way, without emotion, to keep control. This helps to show your staff that you support them.

If the shit hits the fan with the FOH, you take responsibility and quickly act to rectify. When things have calmed, talk with the cook(s) who precipitated the mess and discuss how to avoid in the future.

Don't play favorites but consider rewarding your best workers with more hours while lessening the hours of underperforming staff.

Everyone will have life's drama going on, try to keep it out of the kitchen. It distracts from the mission.

Do what you say you're going to do and always keep your integrity in tact, the moment they feel they can't trust you they won't respect you either.
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Joined Jun 23, 2015
Remember you can learn something from everyone in the kitchen and the dish room.
Joined Jan 29, 2017
Thank you, first week is finished and I know I have the respect of all the members of my staff. This next month is going to be a pain, first inventory and expense, first managers meeting, and a menu change for the spring summer season. I haven't even thought about food or new menu items. Seven twelve hour days has put me in a haze.

I got this, calm on the water and paddling like hell down below.

Thank you all for the tips and reminders
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