New Job Dilemma

Joined Aug 7, 2013
6 months ago, I put my resume online to explore new kitchens. Nothing.

Last week, I got a call from an Executive Chef who is replacing one who has been let go due to his bad management. The chef told me that he's rebooting the whole deal: equipment, staff, menu, etc. At the end of that call, we agreed that I'd go in today to put in a couple of hours. I did.

I went in, did some simple prep so he could evaluate my knife skills, made a sauce, washed some dishes, and tasted some of his menu items. We briefly spoke about my schedule availability, which is sketchy, due to my being employed in another kitchen and my upcoming fall semester of school. He told me that he's willing to work with me. I appreciate that.

Now, this kitchen is a kitchen I WANT to be working in. The chef is on fire. The kitchen is about to be brand new. He's open to input and ideas. He's experienced, the kitchen is well-equipped already and the menu is unique. This is exactly what I want. After I filled out an application, he walked me out and told me that he'd love to have me on board. When I got home, he called and told me that he'd like for me to come in tomorrow night to interview with the hiring manager and to hang out for a bit. He told me he'd like to have me on schedule next week. I am stoked. I want to start working there immediately, but...what about the kitchen I'm working in right now?

I've been there almost two years. When I started there, there wasn't much traffic. At all. I was there while it grew. The traffic and demand grew so much that the owners expanded the restaurant; they added space, seats, and expanded the menu. I saw this happen and like to feel that I was a part of it. I am the only cook-other than Chef-who has been there since I've been hired. I've trained about 5 cooks, I think, none of whom is currently employed there. I'm currently training a new cook and I know that he won't last. Our kitchen has been a high-strung house of demand for the entire time I've been there. Even with a two-week notice, I feel like I'd be letting them down. Is that just my ego, perhaps? Am I obligated to them just because they've been tolerant of my school schedule and the occasional emergency involving my children? If I were to just tell them this Friday that I won't be in on Tuesday, am I hurting anyone? Am I hurting the restaurant? Should I even care?

I take pride in my work ethic. Even when things get rough, I just tighten my belt and push on through. I like to think that I'm a good cook. I want to be a great cook. I like my kitchen. I want to be in the new kitchen. Why is this a difficult decision for me?

Anyone? Anyone...Bueller?

Joined Feb 17, 2010
Give them two weeks, thank them for the opportunity but it is time to hone your skills elsewhere. You will either be the devil's spawn or encouraged to go learn, they know that you are a culinary student and should not expect you to be a lifer at their place.
Joined Oct 11, 2014
If you honestly feel this is a great kitchen to learn and expand on your skills and career then you need to be thinking about number That being said, it wouldn't hurt to stand your ground with the new kitchen and say that you have been with your kitchen currently for two years and you feel you owe them at least two weeks notice. This shows the new and old kitchen that you have integrity and you will not buckle nor cave when under pressure for sound decision making. It also makes it fair all around and this will shine through to both sides. If the new kitchen demands you to be there in one week, I would question the integrity of the chef and managing partners. In the end, it could really turn out to be a very bad decision to move to that kitchen. 

The rate that this new kitchen and chef is after you somewhat screams desperation. It gives me a bit of a red flag. I like to be an optimist and think that they are just super excited to get the new kitchen and menu up and running and are happy to have found someone like yourself so they don't want to lose you. However, excitement aside, I am sure if the shoe was on the other foot they would appreciate two weeks notice themselves. So you can say to the new kitchen that you want to be fair and a person with integrity and give your old kitchen two weeks notice. This way you will achieve a good reference from the old kitchen and a solid reputation with how you stand (that you are not a pushover) with the new kitchen. 

I am rambling now but you get the picture. You don't ever owe anyone but yourself......that is called self respect. I wish you all the best and hope everything works out smoothly for you. Let us know how you get on and congrats on the new job offer! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif  
Joined Oct 31, 2012
Fablesable beat me to it. Two weeks notice is respect given all around. 

I'll only add that you don't "owe" anyone anything but respect. At some point in your career you will get fired from somewhere. They will not hesitate to fire you, fairly or unfairly. So no matter what your history with a place, you owe yourself the respect you show in two weeks notice. 
Joined Oct 23, 2013
I concur, two weeks. Work both jobs if you have to. Soooo many people have left my kitchen, without two weeks, and when they come back a year later looking for work........
Joined Feb 23, 2015
I'm in line with all the four previous chef's advice.

Kudos to Chefbuba, Fablesable, Chefwriter and ChefboyOG. I hope I'll be lucky enough to be inspired by you as well when needed!

Your reputation and self respect will be the key to your success in life. So heed every word from these fine and experienced people  and learn from them.

Give your two weeks notice with the explanation that although you cherish your time with this restaurant, and am saddened by the departure, you hope that your employer will understand that you have to grow.

Leaving on good terms is not only good for everyone involved, it also keeps doors open for you should things go to shit with the new place. This has happened to me many times over the years when employees left to move on only to return later for reasons ranging from" the new chef 'turned' on me", to "I had a good thing going and I blew it".

Good Luck Redbeerd.
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Joined Aug 7, 2013
So then, the update:

I was sleepless last night. The only thing occupying my mind was the new job and everything that came with it. At the end of it all, I can't take the job.

Between school (going back at end of August) and my kids, the commute (40mins to get there and 40 back, WITHOUT traffic), and the fact that I know getting off at 11pm means leaving the kitchen at around 130am, I had to decline. However...

The Chef gave me NO beef whatsoever. He supported my decision, admired my reasoning, and, best of all, told me that I was a badass and that there would always be a spot for me in his kitchen. Any time, any day, no questions asked.

Not only was I relieved, but my self-confidence received a well-timed boost.

I think I may have won.

I'd like to thank you all once again for your candor and valuable perspectives.

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