When do you tell the chef.....

Joined Dec 1, 2015
I started a stage at a local restaurant.  Small, solid, been there for years.  They tragically lost their chef/owner a few months ago and now the sous is in charge.  He has been fantastic to me, really welcoming and the staff great.

I have been on desserts with a woman who does not speak much English, she has been doing it for a couple of years.  We made a lot of base for one of the desserts with a certain liqueur in it's listing on the menu.  However, she didn't put it in the base and we did not add it at any stage finishing the product.  Should I tell the chef?  Maybe the dessert woman just lost something in translation?  I don't want to be the nosy outsider but he may not know (even though as sous he was the pastry/dessert guy).  How would the topic be broached?



Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
I think you are making a bigger issue out of this then not. Simply speak up and ask the woman. Do it in a kind and considerate manner and just point out that you did not add the ingredient. If she doesn't understand speak with the chef and explain. The problem is you, let it go instead of asserting yourself about something you knew was not right. Be assertive in the kitchen but be kind and decent. People have a lot on their minds and sometimes they just space out an ingredient. Lastly any chef worth his salt would of been able to taste that and notice right away the liqueur was not there. 
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Get the recipe, point to the liqueur in the recipe and on the dessert menu. Then look her in the eye and ask ? "NO LIKE" >>>>>> Bring it up to her first.
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Attempt to rectify the problem at the source. The further away from the root you get longer the longer it takes for solution and the greater the possibility of creating ill feelings among co-workers.

Put yourself in the woman's shoes for a moment, how would you feel if you made a mistake and a co-worker went running to Chef. Not only that but Chef has enough on his plate already and I don't need to pile more on unless I can't solve an issue that I encounter.
Joined May 27, 2013
Maneuvering through the politics of a kitchen, as with anything else, requires tact and diplomacy. I would simply ask the woman if it’s “important” to adhere to the ingredient list in this particular situation; you didn’t see the liqueur go into the base. If she doesn’t understand, I’d ask someone else that has a good report with her or is her friend to communicate the error. 

I most definitely wouldn’t go to the sous or her superior. Although, the general attitude in the kitchen might be informative. Causal and open minded or arrogant and run by a nazi? Either way, as a stage you are there to learn and do as you are told. You won't be there after your time is up, so there is no reason to upset someone else's work place. 
Joined Oct 10, 2005

Every place I worked we had an old menu or a photocopy of the menu taped up on the wall. In cases like the o.p.'s, I would go down the menu description with the other cook, and verbally check off the description.

"so, we have chocolate mousse, check. We got the chocolate wall, check, creme anglaise, yup. Wait a minute, it says creme anglaise with Drambui, have we got that?"

No ruffled feathers, no hurt egos, just lets get the menu items done according to the menu description.
Menu is boss. Its what the customer reads and bases their choice on.
Joined Dec 1, 2015
I asked her but the language barrier still left me unclear.

So, I decided to play a card as the "new guy" who doesn't speak any Spanish.  I said "Hey, when I helped (her) make the (item) yesterday, I think I may have missed something she told me to do.  I don't think I put in any (liqueur)."  He said "No problem, it's in the sauce we prepped the day before."  So we were adding it with the finishing sauce, I just didn't realize it because I wasn't there when it was made and it was hard for her to communicate that to me.

All ends well.  Thanks for everyone's thoughts.
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top Bottom