too much glamour to the exec and not enough respect for guys on the brigade

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by chef torrie, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. chef torrie

    chef torrie

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    I guess this comes with the territory but it has really been bothering me lately.

    I am currently the sous of a very well known, national and international top 10 restaurant. I have had the honor to work with one of the most creative and awesome chefs I have ever worked beside here. But recently, since our restaurant has been gaining all of this recognition and reputation, he has become a totally different person. It seems as though while he is off signing cookbooks, doing interviews with magazines and other media, he has lost all respect for the motor that makes the ship run. And I am in no way talking about myself. I'm talking about the guys in the brigade working 13-14 hour shifts busting @$$. He used to at bare minimum show a tiny bit of gratitude, but I beleive he is loving stardom too much. And quite frankly, there is nothing I can do about it. Just angers me that I can't help these guys out at all.
     
  2. jreid

    jreid

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    I can see both sides of this one. On one hand your chef has probably worked long and hard to get where he finally gets some of the recognition that he deserves. (As we all know, there is not much in the way of good recognition for all of us who kill ourselves for day in and day out.) It would be really hard not to want to enjoy some of the good attention and relax for a bit. But on the other hand, you have to remember who helped make you as successful as you are. No chef can do it by themselves. I am an Exec. chef and I am a firm believer in giving as much credit to my staff as possible. If this is a new development with your chef and the establishment, bear with it. The newness will ware off and things may get back to a reasonable level of normal. You can always take the lesson from it that if this were to happen to you, you remember how it is and will have a better appreciation for your brigade. You won't forget your guys.
     
  3. chef torrie

    chef torrie

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    Yeah, I hear what your saying. Just the fact that these guys are in the trenches, frankly making this restaurant the beast has become today. Unfortunately, I don't think it is going to change. I just never thought I'd be in this situation. I work at a place that I am sure, every single damn person on this site woukd envy, and I actually think it might be time for me to step away. I always told myself I'd never become that person. And if this is my predecessor, and what is going to be asked of me in the future, I can't. All the fame, money, publicity in the world wouldn't make me hang me people on a clothes line.
     
  4. foodpump

    foodpump

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    My crystal ball tells me that your Chef will continue to become a celebrity--backed up by the owners, until the owners figure out that they're paying the guy a salary to run a kitchen, and he isn't.

    Could a year or so, until the milk cow has milked itself dry of P.R. value......
     
  5. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Hey! Being a figurehead is tough work /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rollsmile.gif  
     
  6. chef torrie

    chef torrie

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    Hey FP, long time no chat. How goes it? Anyways, thanks for the input. One would only be lucky enough for this to only last a year, but I see it extending far beyond.

    Anyways, a little personal advice needed. I really am unsure what to do. I have been thinking about leaving this job. It has been wonderful to me, but with all that is going on I don't know how much more it has to offer. I can stay behind the reigns running the ship while this guy reaps all the benefits, or I can say enough is enough and move on. On the other hand I an pretty sure, I will never get the chance to work in a worldwide acclaimed kitchen. Ahh I just don't know. In the meantime I just keep humpin' dinner services I suppose!
     
  7. chef torrie

    chef torrie

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    I know cheflayne! That right wrist must get sore signing all those autographs!
     
  8. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Tough call Chef Torrie. It can be hard laboring away without getting props from the public. I can guarantee you though that your fellow coworkers in the trenches know who truly deserve them. Working at a world acclaimed restaurant, even though at times you feel like you are doing it in obscurity as the Chef gets all the kudos, does have the potential to probably open more doors of opportunity than working at locally acclaimed would. Food for thought.
     
  9. chef torrie

    chef torrie

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    I hear what your saying cheflayne. I could care less about fame or fortune or press from the outside. But you think the one or two times a week Chef pops in, he'd show a little appreciation. So for me, its more of I don't know if I can better myself here right now. I travel almost 2 hours into NYC every day for work. I make a decent salary, but not such which would afford me to move to the city with my wife and 2 kids. Just a tough situation.
     
  10. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I don't know if it is a good example or not but it is the only one that I can think of at the moment. If Anne Burrell hadn't been sous chef fpr Lidia Bastianich, but had instead been sous chef for the absolute best without a doubt acclaimed by chefs and diners alike restaurant in Sacramento, she probably wouldn't be where she is today. Her abilities as a chef wouldn't be any less, however working for Lidia got her the exposure needed to open her present door of opportunity. Still a tough call and i don't know what I would do if I were in your shoes. On the bright side, there are worse problems to have.
     
  11. chef torrie

    chef torrie

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    True. Just always thought I had more integrity and told myself I wouldn't stay in a situation like this. But I havnt left . Owell
     
  12. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    I read and then re-read this thread and having difficulty pulling a question out .
    Are you and the BOH being treated poorly?
    Not bringing home a living wage?
    Just needing to vent?
    Have you spoken to Chef about these feelings?
    Because I can pretty much guarantee that if he sees the laundry being hung out to dry for his peers as well as the rest of the industry to read the already unpleasant working environment will get a lot worse.
    Just sayin'

    mimi
     
  13. chef torrie

    chef torrie

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    Was just a vent. Was never a question even presumed in the title. I make an okay, not great living like most of the people in the field. I have not discussed the situation with the Chef because I know how it will end up. I can assure you that the Chef does not check this board, he has farther more important things to do; And if he did, so be it. I don't regret anything I'm saying. I'm just a guy, that seeing the direction and way in which things have been going in my kitchen, is a little disgusted, worried, and frankly purplexed. I am sorry that you had to dig through my post and try and dig out a question. I also have to apologize for using the board for what it has been used for by many people many times before, a simple rant/vent. I read plenty of stuff on here that I don't feel a need to respond to, so I just don't. So as I sit here on the train at 445 a.m., on my way to work, to start setting up my restaurant for the multiple Christmas parties for over 200 each, that my staff will bang out with perfection, while Chef walks the dining room and reaps swallows of compliments, I will try to refrain from ever posting anything on here that doesn't have a question for you to answer.

    -torrie
     
  14. chef torrie

    chef torrie

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    And I never stated that I was being treated poorly. Working conditions are actually quite swell. Just a guy sick of the glamourization of being a Chef. If one wants to do the celebrity thing, I feel, another "acting chef" as you will should be named. Was talking about this situation with a lad at the pub last night. He said that I would do the same thing if I we're given the opportunity. I can assure that I absolutely would not. And that probably makes me stupid, I just have took much respect for my career, and the industry as a hole.
    There is a world of difference between being a famous, well known chef(Keller, Boloud, Achatz, dufresne, Ripert) and a d-hole sellout (flay, puck, lagasse, etc).

    Cheers,
    Torrie.
     
  15. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    No question was asked so my apologies for assuming there was a piece of advice you needed to make things all better.....

    You are working in a high profile kitchen for well known chef.

    Do you realize how many people would kill for your position?

    Sure "Chef" is walking around the dining room pressing the flesh and autographing his cookbook.

    These actions are what keep him in business plus you and the brigade in shoes.

    You state you cannot bring these issues to him...but have you even tried?

    I can absolutely guarantee that he will not bite you ( in fact he may even appreciate your candor) nor fire you as long as this little chat is conducted using a civil tone (respect) and in a private space (walk in works great for a conference room).

    One more thing and I will shut up.

    Before you seek an appt with this "celebrity chef" sit down in a quiet place and create a list of goals, being sure to include realistic time frames.

    Goal setting not only keeps you on track but shows Chef you are serious about this industry and have a strong desire for advancement.

    mimi
     
  16. mano

    mano

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    Other than him being a prima donna it sounds like great job. NYC probably has more international celebrity chefs than any city in the world. I’m hard pressed to think of more than a few, no matter where they’re from, acknowledging their staff.  Some of their web sites do identify key staff members and it’s pretty common for those folks to parlay that position into something even better.

    It sounds like your guy is walking the talk, putting out excellent food, even though you and the BOH are doing the work. Unless he’s really dicking up the BOH or a tyrant, some people would ride his coat tails for a year or two as he –hopefully- gets even bigger.  With that restaurant on their resume’ they’d have more opportunities than they ever dreamed of. 

    If you can't get beyond him being a prima donna, then that's that. It's a shame that would contaminate your experience there so much you'd have to leave. 

    I'd be interested in the experiences of anyone else who worked for celebrity chefs. The few I know personally tolerate the infrequent times they show up and enjoy the benefits (e.g. flying places to cook their food while the chef gets the credit; people being impressed you work there). 
     
  17. cook 21

    cook 21

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    HY MANO
     
  18. chef torrie

    chef torrie

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    These actions are NOT what keep us in business, and the brigade in shoes. T'was in business long before, and will be long after. 

    I have goals. And one of my goals, was to be exactly where I am right now. And your right, many people absolutely would kill for my position. Have you never had a bad day at work? Sat back, took a look around, and werent quite happy with the way things have been going lately? Thats what I was trying to convey. That working for a celebrity chef, is in many ways, no different than working at a corporatized chain restaurant with really good ingredients. Like I said, there is a difference between a great chef with fame, and  d-bag sell-out. And I'm worried sooner rather than later I will be dealing with the latter. 
     
  19. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Honest opinion time.

    Chef is doing his job. He is giving the dining public what they want. He is doing what is good for the growth of the business.

    As to whether he is enjoying it a little too much or not, I don't care (if I hypothetically worked for him) because it has nothing to do with the way I conduct myself.

    He is not behaving in the same manner that you would if the roles were reversed, but to expect him to do so is sheer folly. This not to say that he should or shouldn't and what I think about his behavior  doesn't matter one iota to the situation, it only matters to me, because If I expect someone else to behave as I want them to, odds are that I am probably going to be sorely disappointed and miserable.

    Now for the difficult part, it is obvious that you are upset because you haven't received the recognition that you feel you deserve and haven't been named "acting chef". Life is not fair. Life isn't not fair. Life just is. Attitude is everything and only you decide what yours is. Carrying around 500# weights only distracts us. Put the rock down.
     
  20. chef torrie

    chef torrie

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    Wow. I totally disagree. And I dont want to be named "acting chef" and never stated as such. Seeing how things are, I would actually politely decline the position.

    "Chef is doing HIS job.".............hmmmmmm. Evidently, we descrive "Chef" completely differently.

    Please, please do not tell me what I want, because you in fact, have little clue do what I desire. I could care less about the recognition. If I gave two hoots I would have posted Chefs name and name of the Establishment. So again, PLEASE do not put words in my mouth, for you have no clue who I am, or what I have done in my career.

    I was simply erked yesterday, wishing that the guys in the f*ing trenches got half the credit the deserved. No wait, even a SLIVER of respect.

    Re read the original post. It was never a pity party for myself. As the sous, I actually get time off, vacation, and half decent hours. I was regarding the brigade, the guys busting ass on the line. So for the last time, stop trying to dig deep and tell me that I'm trying to convey something I'm not.