Struggling cook

Joined Dec 13, 2016
Hello all. I hope this isn't a redundant post, but I need some sound advice from the veterans of BOH. Quick back story - About a year ago I left a casual fine dining restaurant where I was the lead line cook after the head chef left. I choose to take a break from fine dining and stepped behind the line of a family owned restaurant to "get the love back". I recently got back into the fine dining scene after being offered a position at an amazing establishment, aaaaaand it has become so blatantly obvious that I have lost :my touch:. It is BEYOND frustrating to walk out of the kitchen every shift feeling like the worst cook in the world, knowing I'm not anywhere near the caliber I was a year ago and feeling like I'm letting the rest of the line and my Head Chef down tremendously. There have definitely been nights I wonder if I'll ever get my groove back or if I'm really cut out for this career. My Head Chef and Sous Chef have been more than supportive, I just hate the feeling that I'm not preforming up to the standards they need.
I spend every free moment studying, reviewing notes, studying menus... ANYTHING to step my game back up. I would definitely consider myself a bit on the obsessive side. So, am I just over-thinking all of this, being to hard on myself? Is this just a learning curve? Do you guys have any advise to offer, cause my frustration with myself is pretty off-the-charts.
Thank you guys in advance, it is really so appreciated.
Joined Jan 17, 2015
Yes you are overthinking it.....If you had the groove it will come back or the place is not right for you, now man up and back to work!
Joined May 14, 2014
How long have you been back?
Has the chef or the other cooks said anything or are you just roughing yourself up?
Do you feel like the jobs' expectations are realistic?
Final question: How did you lose your touch when you were cooking the whole time? The basis are all the same; if you understand/are good at one type of kitchen,it should translate in some way
Joined Jul 3, 2008
I'd like to know the last five dishes you cooked at home that represented a stretch for you or that you needed to learn a new skill/technique or refine what you thought might be a weak skill.

If you aren't cooking kick-ass food at home, you're not perfecting your craft.  Period. 

If you can't cook one plate of perfect food rest assured you'll never cook 30 plates of perfect food. 

You have to do your homework.  And this literally means cooking at home, and cooking high-end, cooking hard, and cooking with passion even if you're the only one sitting down at the table to eat.
Joined Mar 3, 2016
It seems to me that you are overthinking this.
But trends can bypass you very quickly if you're out of the game for long.
Fine Dining?
Who remembers foams nowadays?
Joined Feb 8, 2017
Talk to your chef. Ask them if they 1) have noticed your food lacking in quality, and 2) have any suggestions/advice for stepping up your game. The bottom line is that they hired you for a reason, and unless they're calling you out, you're doing just fine (that or they're absurdly meek and would rather let their reputation/business suffer than confront you). It sounds like you take your work seriously, and that's important, but it's also important to be fair to yourself, and not abuse yourself into the ground for what is actually very acceptable work.

tl;dr: talk to your chef about it.

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