Okay, I need serious help.

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by luckyslevin, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. luckyslevin

    luckyslevin

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    Hey everyone.

    So today a waitress blew up at me, saying that I was giving her attitude. Everyone, the line, other servers kinda stopped and looked at her like "omg" as she went off on me. I let it roll saying "I didn't mean any attitude" and I went right back to my work. She then goes over a few feet away from me and starts complaining about me to other waitresses and one of our bussers she was talking to said I had a bad attitude. I've never even talked to this other girl, but they went on bashing me right in front of me for a good five minutes before I said "I can hear you" and they responded that they meant for me to. So then I figured okay, I'm gonna explain myself, what happened from my point of view and apologize. I told her that the first time she asked me for something and I was like "huh?" (but really is ready and behind my back) I was just kidding, and the second time when she was complaining to a person a few feet away about how we don't wear gloves, (I was a little irritated but really don't think it was in my tone and I tried to be nice) I told her I had actually been asking for gloves all night but our restaurant has become very stingy with towels and gloves, gone from getting 4 or 5 towels a night to 1 that you have to hunt down yourself. Also said that I personally don't like to wear gloves they make your hands dry and crack, they burn and melt to your skin. and it just doesn't seem natural or right, I like to connect with the food feel it, half the time my hand is wrapped in a towel with a pair of tongues in the other hand anyways. So then she blew up on my about my attitude when I explained this to her.

    Question, do I apologize tomorrow when she's hopefully calmed down (not trying to air personal junk but I heard she's going through a very hard time right now) or do I also try and explain why I may in fact give her attitude sometimes? She talks a lot... she's only 18 and acts like she knows everything which I guess a lot of people that age do (maybe I do myself). She'll come back with a veal chop and say this isn't medium when in fact its a shining example of what medium should be, so I'll take it from her, look at it let her know that it is in fact medium but that I'll cook it more. She'll then be like "well yea the customer wants it cooked more" and thats fine, the customers an idiot, or didn't know what they were ordering, I get it cool. but for you to go and tell me its not something when in fact you have no knowledge of food is very insulting. or a dish that literally has to come to a boil before its done will be served, left in the window and she'll come back blaming us for it being cold. its like look I have absolutely no problem making more, redoing it, doing it a different way whatever. but please just don't come back here telling me how to do my job or that I'm not doing it right. We have some of the best seafood in the nation, I try to cook our fresh wild salmon medium to medium well figuring it should be med-rare to medium but customers arn't generally the most sophisticated or knowledgeable folk so lets meet half way. If someone complains about it she comes back saying its completely rare when in fact cooking that salmon anymore would be a crime.... but they want it cooked more, fine just say so. sorry I'm mostly venting but seriously do I apologize or do I also try to nicely state that I know how to do my job have lots of expensive training and a few years of experience and get very frustrated when she acts like she knows more. The glove thing did tick me off its like I'm right here you can ask me about the gloves instead of making insinuating remarks 3 feet away to another person.

    P.S.

    I really am a big enough person to admit when I've made a mistake. I just really need all this drama to go away. I'm a shy person who avoids people for the most part which I think also lead to this. people think, I think I'm special or something when really I'm just terrified of people, especially attractive women like both of the two people in question were. A few people came up to me like I can't belie what she did, I could never work with her everyday, don't worry about her she's just going through xxx she didn't mean it.. a few people went up to her like don't you think your overreacting a little? I mean I admit this chick has reasons to believe I've given her attitude. I have in the past. when she basically tells me something that is right is wrong I guickly start fixing it to the customers new requests but I also try and let her know that it was indeed how it was supposed to be.

    Perhaps she is just coming back telling me what the customer said that its "raw" or not done right and I should just let her know that I take great pride in my work and I do take it personally when something comes back and I feel like its our job to not only feed, but educate our guests. If they want it cooked more gladly, but politely inform them that veal is a pink cut of meat, and that a medium vealchop is gonna be pinker than a medium steak. or they want their salmon cooked more, awesome but let them know that this is real fresh wild salmon, they're paying big bucks for it and its perfectly fine, in fact preferred to eat it still "raw" in the middle.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  2. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    OK, question: What is your position on the line or in the kitchen, EC, SC, HLC, LC? What I'm getting at is who is your boss/superior and who is her boss/superior?

    Now, in my limited experience, I find it highly unusual that a FOH wait person would have ANY reason to tell any BOH personnel what or how to do their job.
     
  3. luckyslevin

    luckyslevin

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    Line is basically divided into 2 sides with the chef in the middle (tonight our sous who was not on the line at the moment) I work right next to the chef and am responsible for my side of the line (mine plus 3 others.) Not really sure whose boss is hers but I do believe its the chef. She's an expediter and works a few feet away from me on the other side of the line. pretty sure she has to deal with the chef as well as foh management.

    I'm definitely not a fan of contact with the servers, we have several expediters who just get in eachothers way, talking with each other and not really doing much, then servers come around the line to talk to BOH for special requests, thankfully our chef is finally getting that nobody needs to talk to the line but him and his right/left hand men and yelling at our servers when he sees this.

    For the time being I need to be the bigger man and get this behind me so it doesn't affect work or performance.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  4. bazza

    bazza

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    Woah slow down and relax. We all know how you feel and it has happened to all of us before, the simple answer is 'deal with it'. The fact that a customer likes it cooked this way or that way is none of your concern, you are there to cook it exactly how the customers like it. Just because you think it should be eaten rare does not mean that the customer wants it that way. And your only link to the customer is through your waiting staff, so look after them and they will look after you. At the end of the day you are there to do a job, not give your opinions on every customer and how they want their food cooked. Is it mandatory to wear gloves??? If yes, then wear them and stop complaining, if not then ignore the stupid comments from front of house.
     
     
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    She obviously has a crush on you.  The best thing to do is be nice and not snipe back.  Change the subject.  Look at her and tell her something like

    OK I'm going to start working on this ticket

    Table 2 is mid rare?

    .

    .

    .

    etc.

    Make it abundantly clear to her that you are not going to listen nor get into an argument over this.  People shut up when they figure nobody's listening.

    OR

    you can just put all her food up three tables at once.  :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  6. cookbambi

    cookbambi

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    You went out of your way to accommodate this rude, well, I'll hardly call her a woman, GIRL'S, problem with you. You are a line cook. She is a 18 year old waitress trying to tell you how to work. Unless your food isn't coming out on time, or your putting out bad food, she has no right to reprimand you. Don't apologize. You already tried that. She's looking for a fight, not a mature solution. Keep doing your job. If she confronts you again, get a manager, your chef, or some one else involved. Tell them that she is keeping you from doing your work, and acting unprofessionally. Ultimately, if your putting up good food, your far more valuable that a trouble causing waitress. Every one will know that. Don't engage her any more, you'll just give her fuel. Let her dig her own hole. If she can't provoke a reaction with you, she'll try some one else. Eventually every one will get sick of her. 
     
  7. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    You can just maybe have some fun with it if you want to and in the process you can develop some very good people skills!

    When food comes back from a customer and your little angel decides to verbally berate you and your skills you can let her rant while you keep working and maybe half paying attention to her and when she is done blowing attitude you can just smile and say something like " so do you want more fire or a new plate?"

    Showing a person like this that there treatment of you will get them no where is one of the best ways to stop it. Some of the beautiful people on the outside can be the most ugly on the inside. Just dont have anything to do with her (including explanations) and kind of  follow what they taught us in the military the 3 Ps, be Polite, be Professional and be Prepared to defend your self from every person you deal with. 
     
  8. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Totally ignore  her, don't acknowledge  her .Do not say a word. This will p     her off more then anything, and she will bury herself.
     
  9. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    First off, we try to keep this a "family" friendly website, and even though you are in the professionals forum we have people of all age reading these posts so please refrain from the use of foul language.  Think of this forum as the FOH.  No matter how rude a kitchen you work in, once  you walk through those doors and into the dining room you are in "civilized" mode.

    Now to the issue at hand.  I definitely would not apologize to her.  If she ever throws attitude your way, let her know if she has a problem with you she can talk to the chef, then keep quiet.  That will tick her off.  Chances are, unless you really are a problem or your chef has no backbone, your chef will back you 100%.  I've been known to throw servers out of the kitchen for going off on my cooks.  Let him know what went on and let him handle it.  That keeps you as far from the drama as possible.  I know this server type and the minute you confront her, or go off on her she will go straight to the FOH manager with it and then you will have to answer for it.  By then it won't matter who started the whole thing, you'll end up looking like the bad guy, because let's face it, all cooks and chefs are "pyscho egomanics with short tempers."  Best to put your chef on alert so that he can watch your back.
     
  10. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I think all of us who have been in the kitchen deal with that at one point in our career. It is never enjoyable and can be so incredibly frustrating when you are already dealing with an incredible amount of stress from the kitchen. I think the best course of action when this happens is to recognize the situation apologize and move on. The fact may be that the other person doesn't want to move on simply because they won't feel like a simple apology is enough to make up for your wrong. Apologize and consider the case closed. I think the important piece of the puzzle is not to try and explain your perspective. The reality is the other person is so upset at this point they are really not interested in your view point it will only give them more reason to continue on giving you a hard time. It is easier said then done but apologize (sincerely not with sarcasm or disgust) and move on. You are not responsible for the other person no matter how poorly they choose to act but you are responsible with how you act. Be professional and courteous and it will go a long way. Hope that helps man I know how tough these situations can be.
     
  11. jrock645

    jrock645

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    I really don't see you as needing to do anything in this situation. Just keep your head down and do your job. IMO, the Chef needs to go into a closed door meeting with her and make her feel like shes about an inch tall to remind her of who works for who,  and who runs the show.
     
  12. headless chicken

    headless chicken

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    Remember who is the chef, if you weren't doing your job right then the chef would have you booted.  Ignore her rants and raves about how your doing your job and you do not need to explain, let the chef deal with that.  But if your food is coming back for a refire, just deal with it because that is your customer who your satisfying and not her.  Whatever her personal problems are, she has to leave it at the door like the rest of us.  Just because your boyfriend dumped you, your BBF called you a fat s***, or you just simply woke up like someone p***ed in your Corn Flakes, that has no place in the kitchen and people like that won't last long. 
     
  13. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    One response that comes to mind: "Just what is your major malfunction?". /img/vbsmilies/smilies/laser.gif
     
  14. luckyslevin

    luckyslevin

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    just an update, I pretty much went with the whole just ignore her completely thing which worked out great. every now and again she'd ask me for something on the line with a bit of an attitude but i'd just quickly get it done and over with just saying "yep."It was kinda hard because this girls family has been working there since we opened so they are friends with everyone, her and her sister would talk junk right in front of me, but I do think the chef got what was going on because he'd walk over and just listen to their conversation. He's been firmer with the expediters/servers in general which has been nice.This girl eventually worked her way into a hole though and now she's down from fulltime to 6 hours in about a week... I never said a word. :)
     
  15. gunnar

    gunnar

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    perfect
     
  16. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Just as I said above, She will bury herself.
     
  17. caseymcclure

    caseymcclure

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    WHat you have faced is a people management 101 question.  In your career you will find that people will always misunderstand your purpose attitude and actions.  In most situations these people will look actions and reactions the longer they have had the opportunity to know who you are and what you are about.  With that said the situation is exacerbated further by  her reaction and fueling the debate in a disrespectful and childish reaction.  Your next step in this situation is two levels framed by your role.

    As a member of management, you would take the individual in question with another manager and have a private, and the emphasis here is private conversation.  Begin this conversation by talking about one of her positives (everyone has one, even servers.  Eventhough that is hard to believe).  At this point you will need to get to the point.  The conversation is about respect and maturity and not about your attitude.  No matter what her interpretaion of your actions or attitude, it is her disrespect and immaturity that will curdle the milk in your kitchen.  Conclude with how valued she is, (another difficult moment) and have her depart.  You can further cover your butt by having her sign a document stating you have talked. 

    Most importaintly this conversation is NOT A DEBATE. Her opinon of your actions or her discussion is not to be allowed. Her only words in this conversation should Thank you or I'm sorry thats it.  You control the conversation.  Make it short quick, expressive and let her know how you felt and how it is disruptive in your kitchen.

    If you are an hourly.  Find your Chef and have them have this same conversation with them.  Hopefully, they haven't had their head in the pot and will already be aware of the situation to begin with.  You will not and shouldn't be invited to this conversation.

    Hope this helps.
     
  18. chagal

    chagal

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    It's really simple.  First of all by taking time to talk with this bimbo about how you responded you are taking time not paying attention to your job.  The only response that is appropriate is  "Talk to the chef" period.  I never allowed service personnel to interact with my people, and if they gave any attitude to my cooks they were banned from the kitchen.  Whoever is in charge of the line on any given night is the go to person.  Period.  This eliminates giving her an opening to harass you.  Also, in my kitchens any non essential talk and the person was put on notice.  Three strikes and you're out.  We are not playing games.  We have a job to do, it's serious and it's important, stop the nonsense.

    Chagal
     
  19. cstanford

    cstanford

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    You could have just said she's eighteen years old and stopped there.  That pretty much explains it all.
     
  20. leeniek

    leeniek

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     I think we have all had this happen and it is definitely not fun.  I personally would not apologize either.. and I would go the do not talk to her route.  From your update though it sounds like she buried herself.