Respect in The Kitchen

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by bill paulk, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. bill paulk

    bill paulk

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    I have been away from Chef Talk for a minute. In April of 2012  was hired as a sous chef for a Fench restaurant. Before hand I stated I had no French cuisine experience, but was motivated to learn. Honestly I needed a job. Securing a restaurant position that will help you pay the bills is a challenge.  The owner was very understanding or it seemed at first he would be a good person to work for. At first things were going well.  Before you knew it he was sreaming through the window.  Before anyone starts to say stop whining. Put it on the back burner.  I'm also a 10 year Army veteran. I can handle the demands. It has to come with respect though.  I firmly believe in great respect in the kitchen. I'm a 43 year old man that has been through the ringer when it comes to this business. When the rudeness and cursing starts thats where I draw the line. I believe that you need to nip it as soon as it starts. I politely said one day that screaming at me would not get his food any faster. Demanding a 2 minute ticket time for something that takes 10 minutes. Let's be realistic. Well unfortunately I was laid off.  I wonder if it was because I stood up for myself. Anyways it was a bittersweet situation. I started to wonder if cooking was my calling. He would not be the first screamer I would have to work for.  It started to get nerve racking. I was getting tired of seeing hard workers being treated like a burnt omelette. Why Is it so hard to treat people with respect.  I think culinary schools should teach a class on respect. I refused to let an angry man ruin what I love doing. I secured another leadership role for a concert venue. The sad part is my supervisor has a some what angry side. I'm starting to guess that these people really hate their job. The only reason i'm staying put is because I'm being prepped for the executive position. If you are a chef that tries to put fear in a cook. Think of the results if you served up old fashion respect.

    P.S.- Thers only one Chef Ramsey.
     
  2. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I certainly don't condone nor endorse angry abusive behavior however, to play devil's advocate, how would you react to allowing someone else to write checks on your checking account? Would you always be benevolent and understanding?

    In a lot of ways having employees is similar to the checking account scenario because basically you are granting permission to another person to have some control over your financial destiny.

    Owning a restaurant is an emotional high wire act, not everyone is good at it.

    The same sentiments and statements can basically be said for supervision and or management as well because it comes down to someone's job being based on the performance of others, which can be a scary prospect..
     
  3. bill paulk

    bill paulk

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    I can respect him for wanting to protect his investment. I said this to other employees as they were caught in the cross hairs. If your uncertain of this investment, do you blame others because of your uncertainty. As I mentioned in the beginning, it's nothing more than than old fashion respect. I worked for a company for 6 years ( Restaurant Partners Inc.) that has built their foundation on respect. Thank you Chef for your reply.
     
  4. foodpump

    foodpump

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    I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

    It's not the culinary schools that need to teach respect, it's the kindergartens, the grade schools, the highschools, the colleges, the universities, and the media--especially the media need to teach respect.

    The owner is just a conduit for the public, and the public--for the most part--don't care a  rat's hindquarters about the restaurant, the owner, or the employees.  Most figure if they scream loud enough they will get it, and if they scream even louder, they will get if for free.

    Q:  Why does a restaurant take your visa # to book a table?

    A: So they can charge a no-show if you don't show.  Many people would do this, and the restaurant has to staff and prep accordingly, and  then, the owner is faced with full staff and  few diners.  No respect, we decided to go to another place, screw you.  Charge me a cancellation fee, and I'll change my mind quickly.

    The public generally has no respect for for restaurants or staff.  The  public generally has no respect for any commercial enterprise, really.  If they don't see what they want, they leave; vote with their feet.  Screw you, you don't have what I want, or at the price I want.

    Few owners have respect for staff, for in most instances staff are a liability.  Customers are a liability too.

    And the whole mess is called consumerism.
     
  5. just jim

    just jim

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    Culinary schools teaching respect would make sense if culinary schools made Chefs.
     
  6. bill paulk

    bill paulk

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    Thank you FoodPump for your reply. Correct me if i'm wrong. From what I have read your saying because you feel that customers don't care about your investment. That gives the owner or any supervisor to treat his or her staff with an aggressive attitude. Almost attempting to put fear in them to get results.

    I truly understand the stressors of the hospitality business. I have came across many of them. To see your staff as a liability questions me. Why are you in the business of serving guest. Sir I wish you the best.
     
  7. bill paulk

    bill paulk

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    Thank you Just Jim for your reply. You are absolutely correct. As mentioned before I can respect an owner and operator wanting to protect their investment. When you have a yeller or even someone that curses at their staff should not be in the business. As it may seem I have ruffled some aprons. The question is what has happened to old fashion respect?  Treating your staff as valuable investment will get you alot further with a quality product being presented. I truly believe you can be firm with respect. I truly believe that the culinary schools have  taken advantage of the demand of wanting to be a professional chef. Avoiding the important areas towards becoming a knowledgeable chef.
     
    layjo likes this.
  8. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I don't really read any ruffled aprons in the replies, but could be, also could not be.

    As to an owner or supervisory person who yells and berates staff, numbers will determine if they should be business or not; not a politically correct morale review board.

    I am definitely an advocate of a free enterprise system, but it does come with it's downsides, mainly not everyone (owners and supervisors) will behave as I think they should! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif Go figure!
    Free enterprise system at work again.

    Whenever I look for a potential new candidate to join our team, I always look first and foremost for attitude. I can teach culinary skills, life skills (or lack thereof) are already long ago established way before they hit my doorstep or culinary school.
     
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Beecause some people have no class ,does not mean none of us should.
     
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  10. rekonball

    rekonball

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    Believe it or not I have just had the very same experience but not with an owner but the chef, The problem is that some people don't hire you to do a job but to be the whipping boy. There is a reason for getting hired and some people don't want to relinquish the responsability for the reward. Even four star resorts hire monkeys. this guy used to threaten the waiters with knives and somehow nothing ever happened to him. You've got to believe in kharma. 
     
  11. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Dear Bill,

    I understand where you are coming from.

    However, I come from a land that wants to mimic California, to adopt it's views and practices. Just this spring "Worksafe" (the worker's comp board) delivered an edict making ALL employers responsible for any domestic violence an employee endures at home.  No B.S. here, with both the labour board and worksafe, the mandate is "The onus is on the employer" which is truly the most racist method of dealing with situations.

    So, after 10 years of fighting bogus claims filed by employees, I sold my previous business (catering for 2-800) and opened up a Mom & Pop chocolate shop and pastry business.  No employees,a nd when I do need seasonal help it is under contract--that is, the worker is hired as a company and the worker assumes all responsibility.

    I serve the good customers and the bad, the good keep coming back, and the bad are still looking for a better deal.

    I don't deem an employee a liability, the gov't and it's ministries do...................
     
  12. theages

    theages

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    I'm fortunate to work at a place where all my peers (6 sous chefs), the exec chef, and F&B managers all believe (and expect) that we should respect each other.  We are all held accountable for our duties, expected to complete our tasks and run our restaurants in a profitable manner, teach our staff to be team players, and hold both our staff and each other accountable to a professional ethic. 

    Yes, we do get angry, sometimes say or do something inappropriate.  And our camaraderie is filled with course language and gestures, but the rule is always "do no harm".  Because of this, morale is high (with management and the crew), productivity and consistency is good, turnover is very low...people like to work here and our customers feel it.  Even unruly customers are tolerated only to a point.  If they cross the line too far they are politely and professionally confronted.

    I've worked for a few screamers... good for you Bill for not putting up with it.  That kind of person is a worthless leader and will often ruin their own career or their own business if they are the owner.  Turnover is high, morale is low, he ends up with a crew that hates their job and hates him.  Customers can feel that too.
     
  13. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    One can never demand respect, one may only earn it.

    One can most certainly demand humane treatment, but even that can be denied in exceptional cases.
     
  14. bill paulk

    bill paulk

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    I have been away for a while. I have been so busy with my new position. I truly appreciate everyones input.  I have learned that the way someone acts or reacts to someone could be caused by outside sources. Some have the capability of controlling their temper and some not. In the end what matters is how I react. I tell myself every day that I must concentrate on my own success in the kitchen. Once again I feel honored to  get feed back from so many professional chefs  that are veterans of the culinary arts.
     
  15. coup-de-feu

    coup-de-feu

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    There is a difference between good leadership where someone already has their strengths developed, and training where one is being pushed to reach new heights.  Weather or not respect comes into the situation depends on what's going on and the agreement between the parties.  I'm betting that no one has ever become a master chef with their mentors saying please and thank you to them with a cute smile all day.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
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  16. patrick spriggs

    patrick spriggs

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    shows like hells kitchen and gordon ramsay are unfortunately why this continues to happen. Luckily in more and more kitchens collaboration and respect are showing to be far better ways to run kitchens than yelling at people and demeaning them.
     
  17. smork

    smork

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    i like to yell at my gm.
     
  18. chefboyarg

    chefboyarg

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    I am huge on respect in the kitchen. I am generally a very easygoing person, bordering on nice. That being said I HATE it when a newbie comes in and disrepectful from the get-go (criticizing plating, knife cuts, gabbing with cooks, CUTTING ME OFF WHEN I AM EXPLAINING THINGS or finishing my sentences for me when I am trying to explain things). In my opinion a new cook should shut the f***k up for the first couple of weeks and pay very close attention to what is going on around them and absorb everything that is said to them. It's when stuff like this happens that I start getting a little edgy and let them crash and burn. If the person is able to show me a modicum of interest and respect I will in turn give them pointers on the station they are working, give them tips on EXACTLY how the chef likes things done so they don't get yelled at, etc. Like I said, I can be a pretty nice person.
     
  19. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    The hubs finally got enough signed counseling vouchers to fire a FNG that would take out his phone and start texting when he (hubs) would be talking to him.

    Kinda left the rest of us speechless.

    HOW can you even think of something like that?

    mimi
     
  20. michaelga

    michaelga

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    The sad/funny part is how influential TV is.

    The TV personality is way different from the actual person.  

    Sit back and think about it... do you really think someone could get away with that TV behaviour and still earn multiple michelin stars?

    Remember he had several stars before he became famous for screaming.

    I hope TV makes a change soon...