What tasks should a stage do?

Joined Jun 21, 2016
As a chef/sous chef, what are some tasks you like to have stages perform? What do you look for? What questions do you ask? I remember most of my own stages, but now that I'm on the other side, I am wondering how to plan for the stages, and what the chefs were looking at specifically.
Joined Jun 20, 2016
As a chef/sous chef, what are some tasks you like to have stages perform? What do you look for? What questions do you ask? I remember most of my own stages, but now that I'm on the other side, I am wondering how to plan for the stages, and what the chefs were looking at specifically.
 I am not a chef, nor have I ever performed a stage of my own, but I did attend culinary school where they were VERY popular. 

I would say the the tasks depend greatly on 1) the type of restaurant you have 2) the position you are trying to fill. 

More times than not I think I would ask the person things "What should the internal temp. be of chicken to know its ready?" "what is the temperature danger zone?" "How often do you have to change your sanitation buckets?"... and depending on the level of your restaurant you can ask things like "what is a brunoise?" "Give me an example dish of entree with protein, starch, veg?"

After that I would throw them into a dinner rush training at whatever station they would be filling.  It may be only one night but if they have any skill at all they will be fine. 
Joined Aug 21, 2004
things I look for...attitude, initiative, ability to follow direction, attitude, work clean, knife skills, attitude... did I mention attitude?
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Yes!! Nothing worse than working with someone with a bad attitude
Yeah, I can teach skills, attitude you bring with you. Some of my strongest people came with little to no experience. Some now own their own restaurants. Experience is nice, but attitude is everything.
Joined Mar 16, 2016
My last stage.... I did not get the job because "I put chives directly on my work station" ..
My work station for the night was a cutting board on a stainless steel table. The chef compared the (clean/sanitized) stainless steel table to the floor.

Don't think you can know everything about a cook/chef after one stage. You can't. Some people like myself don't get comfortable cooking/working around new people until after they have worked a few shifts .
Every restaurant is different and every chef expects different things. A cook can't show a chef his skills in one or two hours. One or two months , sure , but not in one night.

Doesn't mean you can't make a decision about hiring somebody after seeing them in your kitchen for just a very short amount of time; BUT , as others said, attitude is huge and it's much easier to teach somebody with an open mind as opposed to trying to get somebody to be loyal to you when they think they know everything and their pooh doesn't stink ...
Those types will say "adios" the very second they get a more appealing job opportunity; they have no loyalty.
Find somebody with a great attitude that will give their left arm for you...
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Joined Jan 17, 2015
Apart from the attitude which I think is up there with most important qualities for a chef I have worked out specific jobs for different positions I am trying to fill. If I am looking for a Chef de Partie i might give them among other things a soup to make, or mash potatoes or give them a few ingredients and see what they come up with and can they cook. How they work under pressure, on the service would be important too Sous Chef or Junior Sous might get the same or a daily special plus I would have a talk with them about purchasing/Health and Safety or whatever I will be expecting them to do  in the future and see how they respond. Whatever happens I always try and give them as much time as I can. I have gone on trials where it was obvious that they were only after free labour, picking salad, peeling stuff and donkey jobs and I swore I will never do this! I try and engage the people that come keeping in mind that they are in the unfamiliar kitchen, but still expecting them to have some confidence. A lot would depend on the type of place you are recruiting for, in some places you need people that will hit the ground running, in others smaller ones you would have more time to give them to adapt.I am sure you will find your own recipe. I still make a mistake now and again but not as often as in the past.  
Joined Feb 8, 2009
IMHO, a stage is just what it sounds like. I don't want to see people who think we are seeing them as actors prepping the meals they do best. Anyone can shine doing what they do best. I would have my cooks interact with the person and find out what their like, I mean really like when no one is watching. I would set up a stage that's going to tell be how much this person knows. Throw them a whole salmon and have them filet it. Have them make a Hollandaise sauce, have them show basic vegetable cuts. Have them cut steaks off of a Sirloin butt. Watch how they organize their station and work under pressure. Watch their personality and how much confidence they have while doing these assignments. People who can't do something good have a tendency of blaming why they can't do it on someone else. I want a person to be honest and just say they don't know how to do it. I'm looking to hire a person that is open to direction on preparing my menu as I want it cooked. 
Joined Apr 11, 2013
I had a stage last weekend. 

What i did was....

Butchered both pork and beef, cut some stuff, cleaned, grated some stuff, made bechamel, worked on the line on the meat station the entire shift and doubled down on saute when possible. The entire time i tried to keep everything alligned and organized and have nothing out of place. 

I was sick with a stomach virus so after 8 hours i started getting queezy. 

What i also did was talk to everyone that was part of  the kitchen staff. Talked to the GM, laughed an played around with everyone, had good talks, i even helped the people on the dish pit. 

I respected the older ladies that were working, joked around when i thought i could and overall just had a positive attitude. 

I think i went well, i´ll probably know tomorrow or by this weekend. 

I think in a stage  it´s alright to be nervous and all, but you can´t feel out of place mentally. 

You need to connect and talk to everyone really try to be part of the crew, just not during working hours but before and after so they really understand what kind of person you are. 

People with good personalities tend to be better work buddies in my opinions. 

The skills you have will be tested but a cook progresses and learns everyday, what you don´t know can be taught. 

To be nice, well mannered, and positive, as well as have a great personality and know how to talk to people and thats something you can´t really learn in a kitchen. People skills are pretty important in kitchens too. 

P.S. after the end of the shift i said goodbye to everyone in the kitchen, either shaking there hands or with a gentle hug. Gave the chef a high five and shook his hand, was grateful and thanked the GM with a firm handshake too. Since i was queezy though my hands were pretty cold and i a bit pale lol. 

Hope it didn´t have a bad impression at the end. 
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