Need REAL opinions from professionals in the industry

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by oechikr, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. oechikr

    oechikr

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    Just Graduated From Culinary School
    Hey I decided to join the forums as this would be the best place to ask for opinions. 

    Just to tell you a little about my background... I'm freshly graduated out of high school, already got my Professional Cook Level 1 from Culinary Arts, and have been working in the industry for about a year now. I love cooking and everything about it. And of coarse I love food too. Being a red seal chef and directing a kitchen has crossed my mind a couple times, but thats a different story...

    Now to get to the point. I live in a town with about 30,000 people and I currently work at one of the best pubs in town. I've worked there for roughly three months as a line cook, doing part-time. We do dishes and prep everyday too. I'm loving this job but recently something happened. 

    About 4 days ago my chef was filtering out the fryers by himself. After he was done he asked me to help him carry a big stock pot of FRESH, BURNING HOT, OIL, that he was going to take out to the oil bin which is about a 30 second walk away. He told me to get some oven mitts and we went on our way. And of coarse this was my first time carrying a stock pot of hot oil on a walk ever. So we get half way there and the hot oil splashes on my forearm!! It hurt like hell. I think he asked me if I was okay and if it hurt, and I said "sure does" and after I said I was fine and we kept walking and we finished the task. He told me to put some water on it when we got back to the kitchen, I told him that it would be hurting all day long if I did. I coped with the pain and went on with my day. A half hour later he gives me a bag of ice wrapped in a cloth. I didn't use it. Later on in the day I ask him if I'm going to have this scar for the rest of my life, he said no. That day he asked me if I could stay 3 hours overtime also, I did.

    So day two and I'm working with my sous-chef and I ask her if chef could of waited for that oil to cool down before we took it out, and she said yeah he could of, but he didn't, and it wasn't right of him. And I let that sit in my mind for a couple days.

    Another two days pass and parts of my oil burn start to blister and pop. So it was that deep... A second degree burn. Yesterday I worked with my chef and I'm just right choked... #1 because he couldn't wait for the oil to cool down before taking it out to the bins and NOW I'm stuck with this ugly scar for the rest of my life. #2 THE MOST OF ALL, he didn't even bother to say sorry after the fact. We've talked before, he's told me a little about his life and he's been through hell and gone through like 4 marriages, whatever. I understand from that, he doesn't like the word sorry, I could imagine it's useless to him and he's not too fond of feelings either. But back to about yesterday when I was at work... I didnt say much to him, he knew I was mad. I finally decided to say to him "so it turns out i'm stuck with this scar for the rest of my life. do you got anything to say to that?" he thought deeply and basically said no after. I was hurt. The one person I gave all my respect to and trusted... it just hurt my soul, he didnt even bother to say sorry. I thought of those two words "i'm sorry" as some sort of consultation to this matter. I could care less about the scar or the pain that went along with it, I think of it as a battle scar from the kitchen otherwise. But I just hate to look at my chef now. It pisses me off so much I wanna cry everytime I look at my scar now, and I thought about quitting too. But i'm not gonna let down my sous-chef and all the servers down. The place needs someone like me, someone that puts 110% every, single, day. What do I do from this point?? I'm litterally starting to hate my chef. Those two words I'm Sorry could of made a HUGE difference. Is it wrong of me to feel this way just because I got my first oil burn EVER that i'm gonna have a scar from AND on top of it he didnt say sorry!! Help me please!
     
  2. westbigballin

    westbigballin

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    So many possible things to say...

    How old are you? 5?

    Grow up. Get over it.

    Don't be clumsy. 

    Better yet, find a new career. 

    I can honestly say I've never burned myself with hot oil after emptying the fryers. Even when I had to transport it through the entire kitchen, down the elevator, down a loading ramp, across the parking lot, and raise it (stock pot of hot oil) to chest height to dump it. Or when I accidentally left the fryer on drain when I started dumping water into it and the water went into the Shortening Shuttle
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  3. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    As you go through life you will encounter people that don't behave as you think they should.

    One option is to accept that fact. You don't have to like their behavior. You don't have to condone their behavior. You just accept the fact that it occurs.

    The second option is to develop a resentment about their behavior.

    Resentments are like rocks. They get heavy after awhile, especially the more you pick up.

    Put them down and walk away. Why let a rock control your life?
     
    fablesable and flipflopgirl like this.
  4. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    It's blistering and peeling?  I'd say this is a workman's comp case.  You should go to urgent care.
     
  5. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    A third option exists: Nothing prompts an apology from your employer like a server slapping a court summons on

    their chest naming them personally in a 50,000 dollar lawsuit for medical damages due to their negligence. But

    by then their "sorry sorry sorry" is too late. lol

    And I personally think negligence is at work here. This same thing happened to my nephew a few years back, he

    finished culinary up north, got a chef gig in a city hotel, and was pretty much ordered to walk that barrel of hot

    oil out. About the third time round he slipped (on oil of course) , the barrel spilled down his leg and gave him

    3rd degree burns over most of it. He needed skin grafts, and he's still in great pain to this day. He looked into

    a lawsuit, had grounds, but I don't know if he followed through on it.

    An employer has an obligation to put employee safety ahead of their own convenience, and if the employee is

    hurt because of it, then they need to make good on it. IMO no restaurant is worth bearing a scar and pain for

    life--especially if its easily avoided.

    I would start by following Kuan's suggestion, file a workman's comp case (or whatever equivalent you have in

    your area) --and do it right now--you're already letting too much time go by. Oh the employer will no doubt gripe

    about how his premiums are gonna go up blah blah, so just point blank ask him what kind of premium he

    puts on your health and safety.

    And the next time you work, you might want to discreetly stick a thermometer in that oil barrel, so you can

    accurately report in your case how hot that oil was that injured your arm.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  6. spoiledbroth

    spoiledbroth

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    An oil burn is barely an injury. Be glad you werent wearing the barrel. That might garner you empathy. Get a plastic cart... about half of the places i worked at we had to change the hot oil. Just the division of labour. The burn will fade. Most likely not bad enough to leave a noticeable scar otherwise youd be in a burn ward being prepped for a graft (noooooot)
     
  7. spoiledbroth

    spoiledbroth

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    Also if you are worried about ugly scars you might as well start thinking about another line of work besides full service restos because guess what! I saw a guy break his arm on the arm of a hobart mixer.... couldnt wait for it to wind down. Youre going to injure yourself again, probably worse, at some point in your career.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  8. grande

    grande

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    There's no negligence here, any medical should be covered by l&i or whatever they have in Canada. Also, it's not like nobody knew the giant barrel of oil was dangerous, EVERYBODY did. Thats why 2 people were carrying it out.
    Is carrying it more dangerous than in a pot in the middle of the kitchen until it cools down, in four hours or so?
    You also didn't ask him to apologize, you basically baited him because you thought he should. So if you feel that strongly about it, be more direct. But you didn't say that he splashed you with oil; so if he didn't personally splash you, why does he need to apologize.
    Keep the burn very clean & don't cover it or it'll get infected. Most of my scars have faded, so give a few years before you start ranting about the rest of your life.
    And listen to cheflayne because most people won't behave the way you think they shoul
     
    spoiledbroth likes this.
  9. kingfarvito

    kingfarvito

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    Let me get this straight...you burned yourself. You told your chef you were fine. Your chef tried to give you an ice pack and you didn't take it. Now you're upset that he did say he was sorry because you burnt yourself? Just so we're clear here generally when I get a burn like that, I keep working. When my co-workers get burns like that, they keep working. When my chef gets a burn like that he keeps working. The kitchen world is rough. we get cuts, we get burns, some of us break arms, its life.

    Why would he tell you that hes sorry because you burnt yourself? Why are you cooking if you're worried about burn scars? Why would you EVER  leave an open stock pot full of hot oil sitting around in the kitchen? That is behavior that is just not safe. 

    If you're going to get this ego bruised over someone not apologizing that something bad happened to you maybe its time to look for a job in a corporate environment, or perhaps and office job.
     
    jim berman and davehriver like this.
  10. chefross

    chefross

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    No one has mentioned anything about that injury the OP.

    How can he be so sure he will be scared?

    When I was 20 years old and going to culinary school my French Chef purposely bumped me while I was carrying several sheet pans with hot chicken grease one each.

    The hot grease splashed down my legs and arms.

    I had 2nd degree burns as well.................BUT they healed and there were no scars.

    Since he never sought help for his injury how can the OP be certain he will be "maimed for life?"
     
  11. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    Get over it, toughen up if you are going to have a career in food service. This may be your first burn, but certainly won't be your last. This isn't like your youth soccer league where even the loosing team gets a trophy.

    I have burn and cut scars from 30 years of abuse, have scar tissue in a bad cut from 20 yrs ago in my left hand that keeps me from being able to place my palm flat on the table, it WILL require surgery to correct.

    Put your big girl or boy pants on, nose to the grindstone and carry on. You are young and have so much to learn.
     
  12. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    The scars last about 5 years.  Wear them with pride.  :)  They pop more after you've been out in the sun and get a tan.  And there will be more.  Just try and be careful.

    As for the actual injury itself, depending on how extensive, you really have to make sure they heal well and don't get infected.  If they're larger than a large sized band aid I suggest you go to urgent care.  This really is a workman's comp case.  No you won't get anything by suing.  So despite all the harsh advice to suck it up you need to make sure you heal up without losing your arm to infection.

    And also, FWIW, the best time to change the oil is when it's hot.  This way you get most of the sludge out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  13. frankie007

    frankie007

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    I agree with the majority of people that replied, our world is rough and in 10 years time you will be telling some young chef about this happening to you. I know it is not easy but if you are not sure about something don't do it...Like someone said already move on, keep you mouth shut and try and avoid it or be more careful next time you do it. One thing we all know this is not going to be your last scar, we all have a few......
     
  14. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I couldn't agree more with the majority of posters here-suck it up.  This is not a job for the faint of heart.  You work with sharp objects.  You work with fire.  You work with boiling hot liquids.  You will get injured more than once.  It's a fact of life, and no matter how careful you are it will happen.  If you can't wear your scars with pride, then you shouldn't be in this business (that's even if it scars up enough to be noticed).

    As Kuan said, it is much easier to clean fryers when the oil is hot. And as stated before, what's more dangerous, 2 people carefully moving that oil, who know that it's hot, or allowing that huge pot of oil to sit around where people can bump into it, spill it, or drop things in it, not knowing how hot it is.  It's not like it will cool off in the next 20-30 minutes.

    Sorry to sound harsh, but the reality of a professional kitchen is it is full of danger at every turn.  Some of the jobs we do are inherently dangerous and there's not much you can do about that other than be careful while handling those tasks.  It sounds like you might want to re-think your choosen career path.
     
  15. youngjedinyc

    youngjedinyc

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    Wow, I wanted to bash you OP but I thought about it and maybe I should approach lightly.

    First, if you b*tching about a little burn, you will not like whats coming. As you get deeper in this profession, you will face many burns, cuts, accidents in general. Every real cook has ugly arms , all marked up. This is because as you get more developed , you will be a bad ass cook and during dinner rush, you will knock out many dishes and you have no time to stop for a simple burn, you just keep going and deal with it later. I myself remember once during a dinner rush, grabbed a saute pan that has been sitting next to a burner that was on , with too much going on, I grabbed it with my bare hands (yes I use towels but as I said, too much going on, you slip up) then the pain rushed in, my whole palm was like melted cheese (mozzarella) I quickly grabbed quart of iced water and kept cooking, occasionally dipping my hand in that water after every 30 sec to numb the pain because it was that unbearable. Same night I also had a grease burn from the fryer, didnt have time to react so the oil set it and burned me like you, following day I had a bubble. The good news is, you just made it, you are tough now, you beat the rush and the scars feel good. Even better news, in few weeks - month , no scars, oil burns don't leave scars as you would think.

    Second, you need to reconsider your career choice. In this line of work, you need very thick skin. This business isn't what you see on foodnetwork, you will get scold from your very nice chef many many time. Doesn't mean he hates you, its just how it is sometimes. You suffer a lot for being underpaid and overworked, so if your passion isn't there, you might as well quit now. 

    Third, I just gotta laugh for a second. "Chef didn't say he's sorry" If you want tender love and care you won't find it working in a kitchen.
     
  16. foodpump

    foodpump

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    My major scar is on my right ankle, about 25 years now.  Not hot oil, caramel.  (deleted) napalm, and having hairy legs and ankles didn't do much for my comfort either.  The only good thing about that one was that the caramel was so hot, the doctor said there was no chance of infection.
     
  17. jim berman

    jim berman

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    I always thought that was called a Kitchen Tattoo?! Badge of honor, brother. Wear it like a purple heart. And don't do it again.
     
  18. alaminute

    alaminute

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    You just need to be ...... better.
     
  19. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    Got to agree with every single post here. Toughen up bucko.

    You'll never survive more than a few months in this industry if you're so hurt over not getting an apology over something that was YOUR fault.

    Be careful. That is the most important advice I can give.

    File a workers comp claim. That is your only recourse and it's an option to you for a reason. Accidents happen and will certainly happen again, especially if you aren't careful.

    Pretty soon they will have you working with sharp knives. Are you going to want an apology from your chef after you cut your finger because he told you to cut up potatoes? Be careful! 

    Besides, what were you planning on being a male model after your cooking career washed up that you are so afraid of a little scar on your arm? You'll have plenty of little scars on your arms and hands by the time you are my age (32) even if you are super careful like I am.  

    Hey, at least your skin didn't peel off your arm like a glove. I have seen that happen to one of my former, clumsy co-workers. 
     
  20. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Then there was one of my co-workers that thought he closed the valve on the fryer, poured hot grease back in and dumped a bunch all over his food.  Luckily the shoe to the brunt of it and he moved very quickly, but he burnt the heck out of it.  One of the few times I actually agreed that a hospital trip was in order (of course, I usually keep those thoughts to myself as I don't want to be seen as the a$$).