Sous chef?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by mjcookin, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. mjcookin

    mjcookin

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    Hi there,

    I am a recent promotee to this position :) I was curious if anyone has any input or suggestions on what is expected at least in a broad term from you as a chef from your sous chef. I just want to make this acclimation a good one, I have never been on a line where there was a Chef or Sous Chef, I'm mostly familiar with diners and truck stop cooking so this is a big oppertunity and I don't want to blow it!

    Any help, advice, so on would be much appreciated.

    Thank you! :smokin
     
  2. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Umm, first we gotta go back to what a cook is. Simple really, a cook is someone who cooks or works with food. A Chef is a manager, and a Sous Chef, (Sous = French for "under" or "lower") is someone who should be the Chef's right-hand man.

    Couple of words most abused in the English language: Dude, sweet, and Chef. Most people you talk to day are confused as to what a Chef really is, just a dude in a floppy white hat with a sweet job making food. Think of it as a "Double-plus-good Newspeak word for "Cook".

    Now we get to Sous Chef: If the majority of John Q. Public is confused as what "Chef" means, then they're totally lost as to what "Sous Chef" is. In the broadest sense of the word, it still means the Chef's right hand man, and also an entry level postion in managament, which means the ol' Sous gets paid a monthly salary and gets worked to the maximum.
     
  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I could sit here and write page upon page of what a Sous Chef should do and know, but I think I can simpifiy it pretty easily. As foodpump said, you are the Chef's right hand man. That means taking care of the day to day BS so that the Chef can focus on the big picture. It's your responsibility to make sure the kitchen is running properly. That may mean you are dishdogging it one minute, cooking on the line the next, and then running over to prep to help him out of the weeds. You must know every aspect of your kitchen and be able to work an area at a moments notice, and do it better than anyone else in the kitchen. You must also be able to train and coach your cooks. In other words, you must be able to run that kitchen as effectively as the Chef so that he doesn't have to worry about the day to day stuff.
     
  4. chefroy

    chefroy

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    After hiring,firing and seeing sous-chef's move up the ladder to bigger and better things it is my opinion that I could not function without the drive and intellegence that a good sous-chef provides.being second banana in this ego driven business is not easy.
     
  5. andrew563

    andrew563

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    My sous is me when I am not there, which is very rare. He is my eyes and ears. He sees and hears everything. Since he is closer in age to the crew than I am, he can interact with them better than I can. They all view me as , hmmm. More of an authority figure, him, he is more of there buddy.
     
  6. mjcookin

    mjcookin

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    Thanks everyone :) Your input is wonderful, thank you again. I started with this company and was transfered to our new restaraunt that is much more 'upscale' than the last one so it's a rather large jump... I'm just nervous so it's great to read what others expect.
     
  7. cyanide

    cyanide

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    As mentioned above, you are the chef's right hand man.
    You are his eyes and ears when he is not there, not to mention any job duties.

    A sous chef is relied heavily by the exec. chef.
    My advise to you, is to be the best student possible, don't hesitate to ask lots of questions.

    Good Luck!
     
  8. drekington

    drekington

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    As said above the sous is the chef when the chef is not around, he runs the kitchen, runs his/her *** of etc, etc, etc.

    The only thing I would like to add is that a sous chef position is one in which you should be guided by the chef so you can eventually take the mantle of chef on your own someday and somewhere.

    Personally I have worked with some of the best chefs in this regard. They leave me the kitchen during busy hours and prep during lulls. I oversee and work at both.
    During the other lull times I am at the Chef's side learning the operation side of things.

    It is hard and long work, but if it wasn't what would be the point of working in a kitchen. I'd find a desk job somewhere instead.
     
  9. natividad

    natividad

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    the most important thing, especially when going to a new place, is to earn the kitchen crews respect. you better be able to outwork the crew, be everybody's pal and still demand the professional respect the job needs, in other words you better have the goods or the crew can turn on you. The chef is expecting you to be a strong leader but his devout follower, lol. good luck.
     
  10. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    On every front line I have worked, there was always two people that worked so well together they didn't even have to speak to eachother. They knew exactly what the other one was thinking. Be that kind of person with your Chef...........Bill
     
  11. cstanford

    cstanford

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    As many different notions are there are stars in the sky. It would be entirely possible to have Sous experience at a pretty good restaurant and walk into a place like The French Laundry and be totally lost just trying to handle the prep station, at least for a while.

    I think everything depends on the cuisine that's being offered to the customer and whether or not you can cook it. It might be time to hit the books.