Taking a step down

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by garball, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. garball


    Likes Received:
    Professional Chef
    Have you ever had to take a step down in title and pay?  How long were you able to not be the HNIC before you wanted to be in charge again?

    I recently had to take a step down from exec to sous and it only took a month before I stood in my kitchen realizing that not only did I want to be at the top, but I felt I belong there.  It would be one thing if I were leaving an exec job to work for Ducasse, but I stayed on the same playing field.  Any body have similar experience?
  2. chefwriter


    Likes Received:
    Professional Cook
    I think it depends on why you took a step down. Only you know that. Otherwise, don't worry too much about it. Nothing lasts forever. 

    Remember the lack of authority also means you have less responsibility. And you can always shoot your resume around if it doesn't look like things will change soon. 
  3. twyst


    Likes Received:
    Line Cook
    Find a new job.   There are so many issues with taking a step backwards for the same company that its just not worth the headache.    Go be a sous somewhere else.

    There are some really good jobs around austin right now, I hear about something awesome at least once a week.  Just get out there and look and Im sure you will find something.  Its really an exciting time to be a cook here in Austin, get out there and enjoy it!
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  4. michaelga


    Likes Received:
    Retired Chef
    I took a step back but not the same situation.   My wife and I wanted to have a child - after 18 years of marriage the time was right. ?   :) we finally figured out how!!   :)

    I told the bosses that I was going to be moving on... to something a bit slower, told them the reasons why and gave them 3 months notice and offered every chance to help train a new 'chef' to take over.

    What a fucking mistake!

    Seriously everything I did from that day forward they questioned.   Bad produce delivered ... I was being picky where before I was the king of quality control.   Meat that was frozen a day before expiry and delivered to us was now a 'thing I should just get used to..."   The list goes on and on.

    They never brought anyone in for me to work alongside with and then give them opions/advice in private to them.

    They took the 3 months as almost a  'joke' and when I reminded them that my last week was coming they acted like I was being unreasonable.

    Long story short - I had already lined up a job at a nice but successful family run place that was looking for a 'lead cook'.

    I took the job after talking with the Chef over way too many beers.   I was straight up with him about why and my situation.  Told him what hours I was looking for - he laughed as no one gets over 40hrs a week unless there is an emergency or your name is Chef or Maitre de. 

    Sundays its brunch only so you always get some family time. (place closes at 1pm)

    After working there for about a year the Chef started putting me in charge and taking a few more days off.   He started asking me to do schedules / ordering etc. and I asked for a raise... he caught on quick and "promoted me to Sous" and quickly dumped a bunch more tasks on me including training etc.  He and the owners announced it to the staff publicly that I was his Sous-Chef  and he then took 2 weeks off straight, first time ever in 40+ years~!   Took his wife to Hawaii and boy did I ever get a thanks from his wife and the rest of the staff.  

    He's been happy as a clam ever since.  

    We work well together, get things done and I get to enjoy watching my daughter grow while he gets to slack off to a mere 50 hours a week!


    I could never imagine working at the same place as a Sous after being the Chef... unless you were only the chef while they were looking for a replacement... even then it'd be awkward.  

    Time to shop around.

    There is lots of work out there and being a Sous isn't all that bad!
  5. kutozov


    Likes Received:
    Professional Chef
    I have in the past 10 years gone from Exe Chef to Food and Beverage Manager to GM in various Country Clubs, because of my wifes illness we decided to move back into the area we gre up in. After doing the F&B Managers job at a Hotel chain (perhaps the most boring job Ihave even had) I took the Sous Chefs job at the local Country Club. Best thing I have ever done!!!!! The Exe Chef is I hate to say burnt out but has lost alot of the passion for the food. He takes care of the AM shift (ie daily buffets and the rotary club) and does not mind the lions share of the paper work and inventory. I get almost total control of the PM shift and most of the detail work involving the "nice" food. The pay is OK esp. the medical benefits (they pay 3/4 of the family plan top of the line blue cross) good vacation package ect.... Though my official title is Sous Chef I fuction more as a Exe Sous and I get all the fun of "playing" with the food and very very little of the crap. If and when the Exe leaves I am sure I will take the Exe Chef job but untill then I can just kick back and enjoy the ride.