New Line Cook! Recipe Memory Tips

Joined Aug 26, 2016
Hey all, 

I've recently joined a casual fine dining franchise with multiple locations and they've started me as a line cook. Absolutely loving it and I'm catching on surprisingly quick (obviously a handful of mistakes, but they haven't been too hard on me) but one thing that I'm curious about is how does one best remember and memorize recipes and portions?

I look forward to any suggestions or experiences; I did check the forum for a similar question, but couldn't find one this specific.

Joined Jun 23, 2015
Carry a memo book in your pocket and write them down.  I imagine a  franchise will have standard recipe cards.  After a while you will use the memo book   only for new recipes.
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Carry a memo book in your pocket and write them down.
Ditto this.

I was working a new job one time and the executive chef was showing me the ropes at the saute station. I had my pocket note book and was writing things down fast and furious. The chef asked me how long I had been doing this. I answered thirty years. He called a young guy over and said "Layne has been doing this for thirty years. See what he has in hands. What does that tell you? File the lesson away. Now go back to your station."
Joined Oct 31, 2012
I will add another voice for the notebook. I'm surprised it isn't standard issue with the knife kit in culinary schools. You will find, in addition to writing down your station needs, the notebook is handy for recording other tips, ideas, recipes, people's names, observations, and whatever else you think of. I still carry one with me everywhere, at work or not. And as years pass and you move to other jobs, the notebooks are a great reminder of those experiences. 
Joined Jan 15, 2017
Carry a little memo book. write notes as often as possible, Like, how mise en place is set up (make a map if you have to). What drives the chef crazy (so you don't do it), how to set up and break down stations, anything and everything.. write it down.

Also, at the end of your shift, write down what went well and not so well. Reread your notes daily and you will see a pattern of things to work on. I used to go to the chef or other line cooks every night after the shift and asked "what do I need to work on". Other chefs/line cooks respect that. It shows you are trying to be your best.

Best way is notes and repeat, repeat, repeat and repeat. Within a few weeks you will know the system like the back of your hand.... but to stay fresh and not develop bad habits, refer back to your notes every so often. Helps keep you on your toes
Joined Aug 26, 2016
Thanks for the tips, all!

Fortunately I thought of carrying a memo book with me when I started and that really has helped. The ideas of writing down what went well/not so well are great, so I'm going to start doing that.

So far love this new line of work. Better once everything is smoother and I better know what I'm doing, but I was able to contribute to the line during a late night rush, so its working!

Thanks again. 

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