Question for all you sous and executive chefs ...

Joined Oct 3, 2010
Hey guys, im just curious about the "egos" and "temper tantrums" in the kitchen that all you sous and execs have... Ive been rounds cook for awhile and just now the "ego" thing is getting to me, even as a great rounds i have a huge ego but i do know the limit. Or else i get torn by my exec. I understand that all of us chefs/cooks deserve our egos and we earn them on a daily basis, but my chef thrives on being an a**, in the most unessecery times. just to prove a simple point... Is this something im going to run into all my life in this career? I just dont know or learned what the reasonable limit is, and where fear vs. respect comes into play.... Just lookin for your input guys :)
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
Careful, don't run into the fallacy of thinking we all have egos. Some of us are just proud of the food we serve and won't tolerate someone screwing it up in our kitchen, others do have egos either deserved or otherwise and some have very large egos...or are just small people.
Joined Apr 3, 2011
Honestly, you single out execs and sous, but I've seen plenty of "line" cooks who act the same way.  It comes with the territory.  If you don't have some kind of chip on your shoulder you're somewhat limited.  As effed up as that sounds, I think it's the truth.  Also, you have yourself labeled as a 'sous' so if you're really down, you understand the pressures of food cost, labor cost, proper mise, keeping on eye on EVERYTHING in the kitchen and being responsible for stuff you might not even know you're responsible for. That's enough to make me high strung and "act like an ***hole at unnecessary times."
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
I kinda look at it in this way I'm an average guy in an average place in an average world. That takes care of the ego trip.  Also since I have grown older I have mellowed, Maybe I rememeber how it was for me..ALSO realizing you are only as good as your crew !
Joined May 22, 2010


here's my thoughts, regarding my opinion of myself in my industry.

I pride myself in serving properly cooked food, with good ingredients.

I am a cook.

A cook.

A cook.

One of those members of a trade that requires a grade 8 education. I don't save lives. I don't employ 1000s. I'm a blue collar work-a-day shmoe. I do the best i can at my job, but I have no illusions about what I do.

To be honest, I've had more cooks work for me that think the sun shines outta their butts than I have had egotistical chefs and sous chefs.
Joined Mar 31, 2011
Chefs are territorial Alfa Dogs/Bitches.. :D

so the Ego as peeps call is when things that are supposed to go and be done according to their EDICT are not followed they bring down fire and brimstone and a lot of grief to the lesser mortals ....


well guys jokes apart, what I've written above is true to a great extent and I am also prone to it..... 

One thing I would like to add is YES WE CAN LEARN TO BE A BIT MORE UNDERSTANDING , I am trying but its not always possible... :D

the other thing is @ PrairieChef. the part where you say "One of those members of a trade that requires a grade 8 education. I don't save lives. I don't employ 1000s. I'm a blue collar work-a-day shmoe."

I dont agree with you there... being a chef and a cook who does it as a profession is not something any tom, dick, or harry can do with panache and success.


you need to understand , physics, chemistry, balance of flavors, colors, textures, be path breaking in creating new products and so much more.

ITs an art and a skill that is inborn/learnt and not taken lightly. One thing people forget is that We create/cook food WHICH IS SOMETHING EVERY ONE HAS AN OPINION / or MANNER they prefer to impose upon..... to cook for another person is tougher than building a skyscraper/Surgery, cause every one thinks and knows what they like... and every one can dabble in food... but not all who dabble are CHEFS... like all can put paint on a canvas but not all are "Picasso & Michelangelo".

there in I rest my rabble /img/vbsmilies/smilies/talker.gif

Bust Chops and Make great Food Guys
Joined Feb 8, 2009
I remember this"Leggo my Eggo" or Ego in this case. The problem with a big ego in a kitchen is, the Chef, Sous may always think their right. I always tell my cooks, prove me wrong, then will talk. I'm in charge of the kitchen, until I have  a cook, I can trust to have a good head and ability to make good decisions, it gets done my way. I don't call this Ego, I call it confidence, that being said, a Chef should be open to all suggestions to better the food operation....................ChefBillyB
Joined May 22, 2010
You want ego?

try working with a 21 year old kid that just spent a year "working overseas".
Joined Nov 20, 2000
I always tell my cooks, prove me wrong, then will talk. I'm in charge of the kitchen, until I have  a cook, I can trust to have a good head and ability to make good decisions, it gets done my way. I don't call this Ego, I call it confidence,....................ChefBillyB
Well said! My sister used to tease me endlessly about the day I uttered "If you don't like it, then get the 'F' out of my kitchen! (I too have mellowed somewhat over the years) but down below it remains.
Joined Dec 8, 2010
Not all chefs act like egomaniacs, but every good chef is acutely aware of who is in charge, who is responsible. Chef might not always be right, but chef is never wrong.
Joined Mar 27, 2011
I totally agree with that, some "cooks" dont understand that it is your name on the menu and your reputation in their hands, if there not completly with you they dont care its just a job for them.
Joined Sep 28, 2009
There's a line on my resume-"devoid of ego."

Pretty much true. Or i'm really deluded.

My priority is creating awesome food that i'm proud to serve & keeping the customer satisfied. Both are closely interelated.

Not really too concerned with geting my name on stationary or things such as that.

My head guys still has some ego. It's pretty tolerable, though. It manifests itself in an inability for him to leave total control

to me. I understand why someone that was in a certain position of power would be loathe to let someone beneath them on the

food chain/pecking order(who makes less $$$$ & could be viewed as being more financially viable to employers...) but it's still

really annoying to have one's decisions constantly second guessed.


Anyways, yes. You'll probably face some sort of it forever.

Unless you go & work in a hippy kitchen. Then there will be incense & lots of hugs. ;)
Joined Oct 10, 2005

I don't have an ego, but I have a food cost to keep up and a reputation to keep up with.

I'll let holy sh*t fly when it doesn't get done the way I instructed it to be.  This is not ego, if the customer had it prepared that way a month ago and orders it again, that is what he is paying for and what he is getting.

I'll let holy sh*t fly if you leave the walk in door open.  This isn't ego, it's the possibility of a thousand bucks of inventory and labour getting tossed out.

For the kid who worked "overseas" for a year, I have a special treat:

Get a hunk of puff pastry margerine, shape it into a cutlet, bread it twice, and tell the dude to pan fry it golden brown , "just like they do it in Europe"....

Should keep you grinning for a few days. 

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