Normal to feel discouraged?

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Joined May 13, 2017
started a new job on tuesday and the chef asks me what station i feel more comfortable at and i told him prep since i took like a 3-4 month hiatus from the field and knew i had to readjust to my setting. then he throws me on the pizza station and after my first shift asks me if i am okay on their and i tell him yea as my first day didn't seem to bad.

2nd day yesterday and it goes down hill. one of my orders comes back with a complaint that the pizza was too oily so i apologize and he tells me put less cheese so from their on out thats what i did. then another order gets sent back before it even goes out because the pizza was too small. after that one they had to bring in the sous chef to come over and help me and i already had 1-2 helpers to teach me. all of this going on during the rush.

to top it off as well i feel pressured because i went to culinary school and graduated and have prior experience ( not with making pizza's or the fryer; some but i mostly worked the flat top ).

at this point i just feel extremely discouraged. they also had a new hire who has 1 day experience over me on another station but he seems to have his things down where im basically struggling. not so much with the appetizers but the pizza's. i know it was only my 2nd day but that is how pressured i feel that i should be doing a lot better then i am actually doing.

Does anyone have any experience like this and or tips? im sure they don't expect me to be amazing on my 2nd day but honestly i have higher expectations of myself. i come in slightly early to maybe make a few orders on my own, leave later to help with clean up, offer to do things. i simply just don't want to rely on others all the time especially not my partners. can't relly prep ahead of time either as the dough dries out usually before we even get 1 order but everything else is usually done as usual such as plating when i have down time inbetween cooking or cooking things that might be low for other stations.
 
2,238
516
Joined Feb 17, 2010
You can't learn pizza in one shift, they know that. Do your best and continue to learn. Keeping you in ther and teaching is the only way to do that. It will all become muscle memory tho more you do it.
 
53
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Joined May 13, 2017
thanks, it's just anxiety i guess as the pace can sometimes be hectic from what im actually used to since i used to only make main courses not both appetizers and main course. also not used to working with brick ovens. usually close it and forget theirs something inside so sometimes it looks burnt.

i mean i try to do it but sometimes i guess my mentor is bored so he just tells me he got it. maybe i'll talk to him today since it isn't going to be busy as the weekend to let me do as much orders on my own as possible so i learn the pace and everything.
 
23
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Joined Jun 22, 2018
started a new job on tuesday and the chef asks me what station i feel more comfortable at and i told him prep since i took like a 3-4 month hiatus from the field and knew i had to readjust to my setting. then he throws me on the pizza station and after my first shift asks me if i am okay on their and i tell him yea as my first day didn't seem to bad.

2nd day yesterday and it goes down hill. one of my orders comes back with a complaint that the pizza was too oily so i apologize and he tells me put less cheese so from their on out thats what i did. then another order gets sent back before it even goes out because the pizza was too small. after that one they had to bring in the sous chef to come over and help me and i already had 1-2 helpers to teach me. all of this going on during the rush.

to top it off as well i feel pressured because i went to culinary school and graduated and have prior experience ( not with making pizza's or the fryer; some but i mostly worked the flat top ).

at this point i just feel extremely discouraged. they also had a new hire who has 1 day experience over me on another station but he seems to have his things down where im basically struggling. not so much with the appetizers but the pizza's. i know it was only my 2nd day but that is how pressured i feel that i should be doing a lot better then i am actually doing.

Does anyone have any experience like this and or tips? im sure they don't expect me to be amazing on my 2nd day but honestly i have higher expectations of myself. i come in slightly early to maybe make a few orders on my own, leave later to help with clean up, offer to do things. i simply just don't want to rely on others all the time especially not my partners. can't relly prep ahead of time either as the dough dries out usually before we even get 1 order but everything else is usually done as usual such as plating when i have down time inbetween cooking or cooking things that might be low for other stations.
 
23
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Joined Jun 22, 2018
Dont give up !! Keep practicing. Learning a new skill in the kitchen, like anywhere else in life has a learning curve . You will get it..
 
1,841
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Joined Aug 15, 2003
I agree, your chef knows (or at least should know) that you can't learn a new skill like that in 1 or 2 days and hopefully he/she is willing to work with you and train you. Sounds like that is the case. The only, real way to learn in a kitchen is repetition and you won't get that in a couple shifts.

I would just be open and honest with the chef...let them know that you know you can get it eventually but you need more training to get to that level. If they know you are committed to working there and doing a good job that is like 70% of the game. Attitude over ability.

Try your best to not make the same mistake twice is the only other thing I'll add.
 
2,238
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Joined Feb 17, 2010
Someone should standing over your shoulder all shift, letting you do the work at their direction until you get too far in the weeds, step in, get the ship righted then hand it back to you. Making pizza is fun when you get it down. I worked in a very busy Italian joint back in the 80's. Never made a pizza before that, had a blast for two years.
 
658
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
Happened to me before. No big deal. Just keep trying and learning. Fast.

If you really can't cut it, the chef will definitely let you know.

As long as you are not yet fired, just keep working hard and not worry too much.
 
3,267
1,157
Joined Jul 13, 2012
I agree with what everyone's saying. I made pizza for years back in the day and once you get it the way the place wants it you should be fine. Are you doing wood fired, or regular oven? screens, or free hand? The trick with pizza (any dish really ) is consistency it has to be as close to the same no matter who there is making it. It takes a minute to get on board you just got to stick with it.
 
53
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Joined May 13, 2017
I agree with what everyone's saying. I made pizza for years back in the day and once you get it the way the place wants it you should be fine. Are you doing wood fired, or regular oven? screens, or free hand? The trick with pizza (any dish really ) is consistency it has to be as close to the same no matter who there is making it. It takes a minute to get on board you just got to stick with it.

they do like a clay oven kinda looks like a mix between regular ovens but with a clay bottom basically so we have to use screens. i pretty much got the recipes down as far as making them on my 3rd day and my 4th day i didn't get much time to practice as they have a new manager who has to basically train in the kitchen for 2 weeks i think to actually get promoted so they know how things are made and what goes in the dishes.

my 3rd day went smooth though like my partner let me do majority of the work and if i have to ask for help i do people are always more then willing to help regardless when i don't need it but i don't complain the people their are extremely nice. my 4th day i mostly was doing prep/refilling stuff because the manager was on my station for the day but i think i sent them in a timely manner we did get lost though because the tickets were either not being stabbed after finished or people were just placing it on the bored so we had maybe a few orders where i had too much maybe 2 only as we sold off 1. so it wasn't too bad. i know they did get slammed with pizza's while i was prepping though.

i mean major issue i have right now is stretching the dough as i am too slow and when i started i was faster but the shape was all messed up so i think once i get the stretching part down then i will be good. i take maybe just 2-3 minutes to stretch the dough too concerned about the shape as the sous chef on thursday was very anal about it being mis shapened.

im getting better every day though. thanks for all the advice and encouragement and yea i did talk to the chef told him hey i don't feel comfortable yet as i feel very slow but i know eventually once i get it down i will be just as fast as the other guys.
 
3,267
1,157
Joined Jul 13, 2012
Stretching takes practice - funny after all these decades I can still slap it around and give it a spin - LOL. But back to you - It comes down to the age and elasticity of the dough. Are you using it right out of the cooler? Are you making it on the peel with corn meal, or flour as a "lube"?
 
53
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Joined May 13, 2017
Stretching takes practice - funny after all these decades I can still slap it around and give it a spin - LOL. But back to you - It comes down to the age and elasticity of the dough. Are you using it right out of the cooler? Are you making it on the peel with corn meal, or flour as a "lube"?

im not sure what kind of flour they use for their dough as they use the same dough to make like a pita bread appetizer with hummus. but if anything it usually isn't out the fridge unless we run out. it will be on the bottom in the drawers like a chiller type drawer basically for your cold foods but it isn't too cold compared to the walk in fridges. even if it did come out of the fridge though it still is easily stretched. i was surprised because the other restaurant i worked at they had a sourdough based pizza dough and it wasn't elastic unless it just came out the mixer so it would always be hard to stretch.

we basically stretch it on the table to size then they showed me how to use my knuckles to pick it up and kind of stretch it out but other then that it just goes from the table to the pizza rack ( you know the little circle racks that have holes in them ) then into the oven.

i believe they use AP flour but yea they kept complaining my pizza's were not circular or too big or too small. i mean i understand why too but yea when orders start comming in we can get fked up with maybe 3-6 pizza's on a single order and thus how i get backed up. at most i can make 2 in a timely manner for now. cooking it is straight forward to me just the whole stretching out part i have issues with. we only use the paddle to take it out and put it in and turn the pizza's but other then that nothing else as they don't lay the pizza's directly on the clay bottom they put it on those pizza trays they put it in. think it's because the bottom is too hot so the bottom burns before the top is fully cooked.
 
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