Wanting To Be The Boss So Soon?

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Joined Sep 22, 2013
I think you will need help eating that dinner. I'd be happy to assist you. Have you talked to Corporate about applying for the Chef's job? You are developing the reputation for your food and clearly understand what else needs to be done. What prevents them from making you the Exec. Chef?
I respect that position too much to pose as one.  I'm proud to have 4 months of restaurant experience now.  I graduated from culinary school last May.  However, what I lack in work experience, I make up for in cooking.  I have a certificate in Restaurant Management, certified in Nutrition (an extra exam, conducted by ACF, I took and was the only one to pass it), a certificate in Business Management/Supervision, and I am a member of the NRA.  As you may well know, those credentials look good in my company record and on my resume, but have to pay my dues and earn my stripes.  No worries; I am definitely NOT in a hurry.  I brought in Escoffier, LaRousse, Plate Styling, and Thug Kitchen and none of those guys are interested in improving their skills.  I won't bring them anymore.  I just study them at home.  I even study the Wine Bible.  A friend of mine who is a chef instructor and Exec Chef told me to do my job and watch as the weeds fall away.  Afterall, this place is only 5 months old.

The guy who graduated a semester ahead of me, has little to no cooking skills, yet he feels because he's been doing inventory, and he tries to boss everyone around (not a favorite among the residents or staff, except the two male servers), that he deserves the position.  What gets me is that the Exec Chef whose managing us right now, asked him what he staged to get his cooking position and his response was, "Oh, I didn't need to once he (the former chef) heard where I was coming from."  

For crying out loud, he worked a pasta station!  Also, he claims to have all of this experience, yet, he's only been out of school for 2 years and has been to several restaurants.  He was bragging yesterday how he used to make $40,000 in his last job.  Well, he couldn't have worked there long, since he told me he's worked in several places within the 2 years he's been out of school and he told me his old boss used to yell and throw things at him.  He also claims he was the sous chef within 6 months there, but if his staff made a mistake, he suffered for it.  One thing about the former chef is that he had a big mouth and didn't realize that the person he confided in would tell me was that the cook's former boss was letting him go and would he hire him as a favor to work in our facility.  Since our former chef and the cook's former boss are friends, he agreed to hire him and did not stage him for his position.  If the Exec Chef across the street hired him, he would not have gotten the job.  As a matter of fact, this kid was still sneaking cornstarch on the steam table to try and thicken up his beef stew that was supposed to be braised in red wine sauce.  Geez!  I said nothing.  His mashed potatoes were nothing but hot water and put through a sieve.  His chicken breasts were dry with sliced lemon on them.  He insists on cooking them in liquid for long periods.  He does not want my help.

Fast forward to today:  We are shutting down the kitchen and cleaning it from top to bottom.  We are making boxed lunches for the resident's dinner service.  Breakfast and lunch will be served as usual.  

The Executive Directors and the Culinary Director from the facility across the street did a visual inspection and our kitchen was deemed inoperable.  There is grease on top of grease and that former chef used "corporate's fault" as a excuse for his negligence.  I mean on my first day there 4 months ago, I inspected the electric slicing machine and found old meat, dried pieces of tomato, onion, etc. pasted on it and the wall behind it.  I asked why it was not cleaned and the former cook said they didn't know how to take it apart.  Common sense led me to look it up on the internet and I took it apart, cleaned and sanitized it to its original appearance.  When I came back 3 days later, it was back in a state of disgust.  The former chef blamed corporate for lack of additional manpower.  

Really?  It's called cleaning up after and as you go!
 
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I think you should make a quiet attempt to find out what the salary is for the Exec. Chef position in your kitchen so if the opportunity comes up, you don't get shortchanged in negotiations.

      I'm not  trying to swell your head but from what you have posted I see no reason why you would not be considered for the job. I am painfully aware of the role politics plays in the workforce so I'll say this while putting politics aside for a moment. 

 Executive Chef means different things in different situations. As Exec. Chef in a large hotel, you don't have enough experience. As Exec. Chef at the local chicken wing/pizza joint, you are over qualified. How long you have been out of school is relevant to a point, more so for young people who are developing in many ways in addition to cooking. Maturity should be a major factor in the hiring process for Exec. Chef. Being able to take on responsibility, maintain good interpersonal relations, supervise others and see that the job gets done is a large part of the position. You have all the certifications, you can see what needs to be done in your workplace and you can cook. 

     Now back to politics. As you have related on this forum about your current work experience, others who may have the position are not automatically doing a good job or are capable. They got the job by knowing the right person at the right time or being in the right place at the right time. I have met and worked with too many people like that. 

     Keep focused on doing things the way you have been and you may find yourself in the right place at the right time. If corporate comes to you to gauge your interest or outright ask you if you are interested, don't downplay yourself. If they don't, you are no worse off but in the event they do, be ready to negotiate. 
 
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Thanks for the encouragement.  IMHO, I think I would exceed all expectations, provided I'm given the training necessary to fulfill my new status.  Right now, my problems are the guys.  Yesterday, I scrubbed, wiped, and slipped multiple pairs of gloves off and on, trying to get the kitchen back up to code.  Everyone pitched in prior to the kitchen shut-down.  That former chef should be sued.  It's clear this guy didn't have a clue how to run a kitchen.  He seemed dirty to me, wearing the same uniform for weeks at a time, w/o the benefit of washing it.  He may not have bathed very often, either.

One thing he did before he left was to hire a friend of his.  OMG!  This guy is a terror and a nightmare.  He would be the poster child for negativity and assumed-privilege.  He is a dishwasher, server, and prep cook, but the doesn't want to do the dishes, so he tries to act like he's a line cook.  He is NOT.  He also thinks he can walk behind the line and cook his lunch, go in the walk-in and eat fruits, and call me "honey".  What an effen idiot.

I'm going to start documenting all of these incidents.  I've told the chef and the hr director about this guy's behavior.  Case in point, yesterday while I was preparing the Memory Care meal, he casually walked away from his dishwashing and started rummaging behind the line and I asked him what he was doing and he said he was looking for something to eat and I told him he was warned to not go back on the line and he was so disrespectful to me.  He told me to mind my own business and just do my job.  I still told him to leave the line; he did, but left the large box that held the croissant he took and ate, on the floor on the line.  I told him he's right and said nothing more to him.  I called the culinary director whose temporarily managing us and told him what happened.

I think it may be a good idea to put everything in writing on my computer at home with times, dates, incidences, and the parties involved.  I've also vowed not to say anything to him again, unless it's work-related.  Actually, the only thing I say to him is, "good morning", but I cringe internally, every time I do.  

The kitchen should be spotless when I clock in today.  I'm going to hope for the best.  The kitchen is clean and I hope it stays that way.  I do have my doubts, though.
 
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DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD!!!!!  Our kitchen is bright, shiny, and big!!!!  Everyone is supporting each other, cleaning properly, and best of all THAT HACK IS GONE!!!  

He showed up in the kitchen last week, standing in the kitchen, after we spent 8 hours scrubbing, disconnecting the gas lines, cleaning ovens and sinks, countertops, and getting rid of dishes and equipment we never use(d), hiring a professional company to steam/scrub the grease off of the floors and walls.  He should feel ashamed of the mess he left, but instead was standing there smiling like everyone should run up and hug him.  He makes it a point to greet me, I just glanced up at and muttered a weak "hello".  He had the nerve to ask me, "How's it going?" A THOUGHT TO MYSELF: "How do you think it's going, you Idiot?"   I just said "it's going" and continued on with my work.  He has got to be missing a few mental forks upstairs because he made my work there a living hell, just because I'm female. 

Turns out, the chef, being a former employee, was not supposed to be in the kitchen and the entry code has since been changed.  There is one last person he hired that everyone thinks should leave and that's the guy he announced to everyone is a cook, dishwasher, and server.  The guy is also a hack and has a very nasty disposition and has no credentials or redeeming qualities about him.  

He was cooking in his leather jacket when I came in one morning and when I called him out on it, he told me, "don't worry about it, honey."  He is now a dishwasher and server only.  He doesn't have skills or experience to cook and lacks sanitary practices.  He's still arrogant and tries to come behind the line to give me a food order.  I have to constantly tell him to go to the window.  That idiot chef has filled his head with so much bologna, it's pathetic.  I wish they would just fire him and find someone legit.  He creeps me out.  There's something sinister about him.  I'm keeping my cool and distance from now on.

One of the directors told me she was against corporate hiring him in the first place, but they over-ruled her.  After examining the kitchen on a few secret occasions, and slipping a photographer past everyone to take pics, the director told me the chef knew he was getting fired, which is why he resigned.  I mean the place was never cleaned properly, black mold was creeping out of the seams of the dishwashing station, food behind everything because the dishwasher swept the floor with the mop and pour cups of hot water on it, instead of getting a bucket of clean soapy water to actually clean it.
 
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Isn't it great when life gets better. Glad to hear things are improving. Let's hope they stay that way. 
 
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Joined Sep 22, 2013
I have to use this space for my venting board.  All is still not well because the last hired for our kitchen was the young, cocky guy, who is a friend of the former chef and yesterday, instead of doing the dishes after his duty as server, he manipulated his way back into the kitchen, slicing deli meat, after he bussed tables.  The Executive Director said she didn't want him in our area anymore, but he asked the breakfast cook for that assignment and I told him he was not permitted and that we are running out of clean dishes.  In anger, the cocky guy, kicked over a whole tray of unwashed cups, smashing them to the floor.  He had the audacity to blame me for his outburst.  

I wrote the acting chef and he told me not to confront him again.  I won't, but the guy tried to force me to hug him when he was leaving yesterday and when I refused, he became angry again.  I'm almost 60 and he's about 20-something.  He also refuses to believe in respect and says I don't respect him for not hugging him.  Paheez!  He said we are "family" and should forgive and forget.  I don't like or trust him and I told management that.  Besides, I'm there to work, not be his best bud.  Everyone in the kitchen stated it verbally in our meeting, their disdain for this kid.  I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but he is a refugee from Afghanistan and the former chef, I believe, is Afghan, too, but was raised in England. 

One thing's for sure, they DO NOT RESPECT WOMEN very much.  Case in point, the Exec Director got into a screaming match with the former chef because he lacked respect for the females in the company.  That says a lot about this kid.  He used to follow the former chef from place to place for work, so they are good friends.

I think he is a plant or saboteur, breaking dishes every day.
 
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He needs to suspended at the least.  Who asks someone to hug another employee?  And does that sound like a great idea after he just threw a bunch of glasses?

Where's the management in this place?  Don't they have someone there to make sure people are doing their job?  

I mean, I can tell from your story that this place is going to be a mess forever.  In my experience, you're better off just doing your job and forget about what everyone else is doing. 
 
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Sounds like a "cultural" issue with the disrespect for the women.

This guy sounds like a piece of work.

Etherial, aren't you just a bit concerned that any of your co-workers may be lurking on this site, reading your every word?
 
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Joined Sep 22, 2013
Good question, but they don't have the desire to further themselves.  I mean "cheftalk"?  Really?  Trust me, one guy braggs that he's been in the business for over 30 years.  What he was counting was Wendy's, McDonald's, KFC, etc.  They have no desire when I brought in Escoffier, LaRousse, and Sautnier.  I even brought in a book on plating and design.  They have no desire to learn proper technique, so to answer your question, yes, I do care because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but how great a chance is it they will read this?  0% And, if they are hurting my feelings, how great do they care?  0%.

Those are the odds.  If they do, they do.
 
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Joined Sep 22, 2013
Alas, all is well at the fun factory.  IT'S WORKING!!!!  As a matter of fact, we are slowly, but surely, flowing into a real team.  The prep/cook is prepping my items for Saturday's 6:00 a.m. breakfast and the lunch service.  I prep for him when he's doing dinner service tonight, and the other dinner cook gets prepped, as well.  Ever since that hack left, our kitchen is clean, we work in sync and harmony.  No team is perfect, but we are as close to achieving it.  I've been working 9-hour shifts and 6 days a week for the past few weeks.  I noticed I'm back to 5 days again.  I sure hope that sticks.  Six days is brutal, especially when you have to get up at 4:45 a.m. to start the 6:00 a.m. service for 50 people; alone.  But, I pull it off.  Thank God they all don't come in the dining room at the same time.  I also prepare breakfast and lunch for the memory care floor.  I have help at 10:30 a.m. to pull that one off.

/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gifOur kitchen is remaining spotless because now after a task, one or more of us grabs a broom and dustpan and cleans that mess right up.  We wipe down the salamander, inside the lowboys, switch out a large container that's only half full with a smaller one that properly contains the product.  We're not bickering about why a service isn't properly prepped.  We're all pitching in and, as a result, are creating a system that actually works.  Even the dishwashers are polishing their machine AND putting dishes away without breaking them as was the case almost each night.  I fantasized about a flowing system and the Universe has provided it to us.  Our only task now, is to maintain the atmosphere we've created and I don't think we'll have a problem doing that.

Corporate has hired our new chef.  Everyone hopes it's the last guy that staged.  His persona was incredible, his food spectacular and he (no offense to anyone who did not attend) is a graduate of the CIA.

We've come a long way to achieve a good working environment and I couldn't ask for more.  I've always loved going to work, but now it's even better.  With that said and all the drama played out in these precious pages that have allowed me to vent and collect my thoughts and future actions, I am officially closing this chapter as I continue on a new culinary journey. 

Thank you for listening.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/peace.gif  
 
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Congratulations. Let's hope the new chef sees that his job is easier because of your teamwork. Keep up the good work!
 

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