When is the last time you were really in the weeds? what caused it, how'd you bounce back?

Joined May 17, 2016
I've been a line cook for 10 years, but only a month at my new employment, impressed a lot from the start, handled mothers day fine solo so you'd think I'd be good right? Well today I fell in the weeds harder than ever before. I've mingled in the weeds but today was dredging. I can't put my finger on why exactly, I've gone through the same things (off the menu banquets at rush etc. Today every ticket had multiple of the same items, each with mods, 8 of em on 1 ticket when I have 4-5 usuable burners, then no starts just blah blah blah.

anyways... Does this happen to you from time to time? I was too emberassed to go on break after closing and just busted my butt cleaning with my head down. It happens right? It's all about how we come back?
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Weeds are going to happen. That cannot be changed. The key is to figure out what part we played in the why and to learn from it. Sometimes we have no part in the why, it is beyond anything that we could possibly exert power and control over. When that happens, then it comes down to how we react.

Weeds are going to happen, but they too shall pass. Meet them head on and do your best...or don't. I know which option I choose.
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
If I am a Good, excellent front line cook the weeds are the fault of someone else. A good front line crew welcomes a good coordinated rush, this is how you know you work well together. A good crew knows how to make things click. A good front line cook will tell you the best person they ever worked with was a person that knew every move they made, things just happened. The front line food should just flow off the line at a steady even controlled pace. That being said, The dining room isn't working well with the kitchen it the kitchen feels their in the weeds. I would blame it on the dining room. When I managed the dining room I would tell my waitstaff to make sure they either get the order in before a large group order. I would also tell a few tables we have a large group being served so it may take a bit for their order to come out. IMHO it's a coordinated effort by both sides. In catering I expect the shit to hit the fan all at ounce. I don't want that in my restaurant.
Joined Oct 31, 2012
I agree with Cheflayne. It happens. t. But either way, when it happens I don't waste time worrying about fault. I focus on how to get  out. 

      Whether I'm working the line alone or as part of a team, the first step for me is recognition that I'm in the weeds and not continue to push on, hoping it will improve. You can't let emotion play a part. 

      Second step when working in a team is to let the rest of the team know I'm losing it, not a mutter but a statement.  If someone can jump in or the chef can reassign  someone, the sooner the better. I may only need help for a minute or two, sometimes longer but if the chef and team don't know, they can't help and continuing to be in the weeds out of pride drags the whole line down.

      Which reminds me of the time I worked broiler in a busy restaurant and in the middle of a particularly busy service I could see the weeds coming up fast. So I hollered, "Chef, I'm going to be in the weeds down here". To which he replied in "We all are. Just deal with it." We all managed to finish the night fine and no recriminations from Chef for backing things up. 

 When alone, I have the benefit of total control. So second step is to literally and completely stop what ever I'm doing. Take a deep breath, calm down, focus myself. Swear a bit. 

 Review the tickets, review my station, assess what's wrong, assess what's right. Identify where the glitch is. Make the necessary corrections and restart the process. This all takes no more than a minute at most. 

    I have found controlling my emotions plays the biggest role in success. Preparations for service are done with proper planning. During service, proper planning and prep prevent being in the weeds much of the time. But in virtually every service, unexpected things happen both small and large. Reacting with action, not emotion allows you to return to normal much faster. 
Joined Apr 11, 2013
The weeds just happen. They shouldn´t be a habit. 

It´s not how you start its how you finish. 

Last week on mothers day, i was in the weeds....

Full house and we were all doing fine, the problem was when our boss, decided "we needed his help cooking". *cough*cough*. We didn´t need his help though with sh*t. 

Anyway dude comes into the kitchen thinking he was helping, but in reality he was screwing me over. Anything he intended to do, be it a dish or a component to a dish he needed help, he didn´t know where anything was, etc... it was almost like working with someone that had no arms, because even to get things as simple as sauce in a squeeze bottle in the fridge we needed to run to get for the dude. Seriously why would the boss want to be in the kitchen, and what gave him the impression we needed him. 

2 weeks ago we did an event of 50 people with exclusive menus, i pulled a double shift and 3 days later we fed 100 people in 3 cooks.... yet on mothers day we were in 4 cooks, and 2 extra people were working this day to help out with petty tasks..... so with 6 people we were fine, and organized, as soon as someone decided to be the 7th wheel and join the party everything just went nuts. 

I´m a really calm line cook, i tend to keep a serious look on my face during a rush. This day i kept a blank expression, but on the inside i was dying... literally having a nuisance in the kitchen is just terrible. 

I just hope i don´t have to deal with this kind of BS again. To me if you arent a cook you shouldnt be entering the kitchen to cook, i don´t know what was going on that day, i just think the owner decided it was gonna be fun, or he wanted to show the crowd in the dinning room and his friends that he could play with the big boys... well i hope he realized you can´t and shouldnt.... 

But yeah as you can tell im still irked just talking about the situation. Aside from that the only other time i remember being in the weeds was a long time ago when i served 150 people just me and my chef, one cook was on vacation and we were 2 cooks down.... we were hustling pretty quickly that day, i got in the weeds because of meat station but i got out pretty quick. 
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Joined Dec 23, 2004
I dunno, most of the time you're weeded because someone dropped the ball.  The FoH seated and rang everything at once, there's an issue with the POS system, you're short a hand, you have insufficient prep, etc.   But it's a kitchen is also a bit like a sports team- even when you have your A-team on the field sometimes you still get run over.  I've had that "off nite" where I missed a temp or two on steaks, missed some modifiers on tickets, etc.  Since a well run kitchen is a finely tuned well oiled machine one little stumble can cascade getting everyone out of rhythm. 

All you can do is get back in and do it again tomorrow.  To stretch the sports analogy a line cook is like a QB.  If he throws an pick he can't get timid, he still has to throw the ball.  You have to let the mistakes go and not let the issues get inside your head.
Joined May 31, 2016
I've found that if I ever have multiple items with small variations, like sides, I'm more apt to graze on the weeds... One special instruction or two per check I can handle, but it also depends on the format and readability of the ticket...
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