Why do kitchen managers no care about your previous restaurant management experience?

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by christina rigby, Dec 25, 2016.

  1. christina rigby

    christina rigby

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    Currently, I am in my final semester of Culinary School. However, I have limited fine dining kitchen experience outside of the lab. My prior work experience consisted of working my way up the ladder to general store manager of a pizza restaurant. I joined the military after 9-11 and then went back to the pizza industry to market new items and help with logistics in delivering the product faster. After my associate degree and half-way through my bachelors the opportunity to attend was presented. I jumped on it. After completing my internship as a personal chef I worked in a fine dining kitchen as a dishwasher and the only thing I learned was what dishes not to buy and how much food was not being eaten. I only got the job because a classmate worked there and didn't want to work there anymore. All the jobs I apply for never call back or say they are looking for a chef. What am I doing wrong. I walk in they tell me to go online. I walk in they don't want a resume they want a reference. I apply and it ends in false hope. Any advice would be appreciated. I graduate in May and have an unlimited supply of time for work. 
     
  2. sarcasticone

    sarcasticone

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    My advice to you would be to get a CV (resume) made.  Highlight your experience in catering and play down the areas which you feel are letting you down .

    If you want work in the fine dining sector, I suggest that  experience in a pizza shop probably doesn't help.

    Be truthful but be creative.
     
  3. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    How far from your school are these kitchens located?

    Could be that these guys are seeing a dozen students a week and are tired of training someone only to have them graduate and move home.

    What happened with the dish pit?

    At least you had your foot in the door.

    mimi
     
  4. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Christina Rigby, Welcome to Cheftak, Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday's and Thank you for your service to our country. I hate the fact that everything is on-line resume and application. In many cases in my business I hired people with less experience because of their appearance and personality. It's real hard to get that over in a resume. The other thing is I got most of my own Chef call backs after people met me in person. All that being said and in todays world I may not have gotten a lot of the positions I did get doing it on-line. Just think of how many resumes come into employers with people hyping up their qualifications. I figured 75% of what I was reading in a resume was a bunch of baloney. When a person has experience and references it saves time when screening. It's like hiring someone to build your house. Would you hire someone who never build a house or didn't have other houses to show you their building skills. If everything else failed, I would go for a late lunch at a restaurant your interested in and hand the waitstaff a note after you eat. In the note tell the chef how wonderful the food was and now much you enjoyed everything. The menu had a great selection and the specials sounded creative. You could see there was a lot of passion displayed in the quality and presentation. You are a recent graduate of Homer Simpson's Culinary School. I am having a hard time getting an in person interview for a kitchen position in the restaurants in town. I would love to introduce myself to you if you have a second. I wouldn't blow to much smoke up their butt, but, you get my drift. If I got this note from a customer I would at least come out and say hello. By doing this it will also keep your name in the back of their mind for future reference. 

       The first job I got in the restaurant business was me knocking on the back door asking to speak to the manager. I told the guy if he hired me I would be managing the place in 6 months. He took me up to the general manager laughing and telling him what I said. With a smile on the GM's face he said I'll hire you just so I could watch you fail. In 6 Months I was managing a new restaurant the company was opening in a Museum. Both managers are now long time friends. I had never worked in a restaurant when I applied for that job.
     
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  5. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    I  will need a bit more clarification. Your post is a bit meandering. You're finishing culinary, but also mention an associate's and a bachelors' degree. Military experience and GM of pizza place. 

    You jumped on the opportunity to attend what?  

    You were a dishwasher in a fine dining restaurant but didn't learn much. 

    What job or position are you applying for? How did you hear about the job? 

         The only advice I can offer from the information so far is that applying and getting rejected online doesn't mean anything. 

         When I was last looking for work, I applied for two different jobs at the same company.  I knew I was qualified for both jobs. Got rejected by the computer for both jobs. Finally able to contact an acquaintance who worked for the company and she hand delivered it to the right person. Two days later I had an interview and within a week I had a job. Every job I've ever gotten has been in person. All this online business is, in my humble opinion, an enormous waste of time and effort. 
     
  6. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Not true.

    Every tiny bit of life experience (be it culinary or not) shapes the sort of employee (and person) you will be.

    Good work ethics like honesty and punctuality and cleanliness are important and hard if not impossible to fake it till you make it.

    Whether it be developing recipe combos in a pizza joint or washing china in a fancy kitchen... every situation at every work station has something useful to file away for later.

    Even if it is nothing more than how to recognize when a dish is going to shatter in the washer and take you another 30 min to get back online while you pick up the pieces and rerun the load to get the splinters off.

    mimi
     
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  7. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    It is hard to tell from your post what type of position you are applying for so I am going to assume a cook's position. Also, is it jobs that you have heard about or seen advertised?

    My suggestion would be to walk into the establishment between shifts. Be nicely dressed (not over, not under) and ask to speak to the chef. Have a copy of your resume and references (contact numbers) with you. Don't take no for an answer, if chef is busy, ask when would be a good time to come in to talk in person with chef. If they won't set up a time, leave your resume and references with them. Go back in the next day and repeat the process if you haven't heard from them. Do it a third time if necessary. If still not successful, let it drop.

    If you get to talk to the chef but he is not hiring, ask him if he has any leads for you of who might be hiring at the moment. Thank him for his time. Check back in person with him in a week to see if he has any openings on his staff. If not ask once again about leads. Thank him once again. Repeat process in a week. If sill not successful, let it drop.
     
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  8. christina rigby

    christina rigby

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    The position was over an hour away from home and the originally agreed hours were not upheld. The restaurant manager and ownerknew we were still in school and could not make it those hours without skipping out on culinary classes. Also, the sanitation practices were not up to par and speaking up did nothing. 
     
  9. christina rigby

    christina rigby

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    For the past 4 years, I have applied in person and online to over 100 positions. I have received interviews, sometimes two or three at one company. In the past, I had no problem walking in and finding a position. However, over the past 4 years, this has not been the case. I needed advice as to what I can do to land a position in a fine dining establishment. I understand I have no fine dining experience except for the culinary lab. But, I have to start somewhere. Asking for advice is my method. 
     
  10. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Off hand it is hard to say but something might be amiss in your sales pitch. If you are still in school, do they have a director of career placement that would be willing to do mock interviews with you? Same thing with chef instructors. Mock interviews will allow you to fine tune your interview skills with a culinary bent. Your interview skills may be fine overall, but perhaps you are coming across as a ? mark to chefs as to why you are applying for the position that you are and being viewed as someone not really looking for a foot in the door type job.

    Could also be that you just haven't knocked on the right door yet. Hard to say without a face to face. Are you in Northern California by any chance?
     
  11. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    I see a lot of threads asking how to get into a fine dining kitchen.

    First off the really great kitchens with the awesome top chefs rarely have openings.

    When they do...they almost always hire from within a select circle of kitchens owned or run by other top chefs.

    The rest of humanity has to work their way up.

    You have a bit of experience to add to a CV.

    It will get you in a door somewhere.

    Then it is up to you to work hard and fast and clean until someone who counts notices you.

    mimi

    Smart. I forget smart.

    Work hard and fast and clean and SMART.

    m.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
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  12. christina rigby

    christina rigby

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    No, North Carolina. 
     
  13. christina rigby

    christina rigby

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    I had my Chef instructor look over my functional resume and give critiques. The changes were made and he approved. Mock interviews seem to be the thing. Most are computer based and have no merit when face to face with an interviewer. When classes start back I will try again at our career services department. Thank you for the advice. 

    My weakness is I have not had a job in the industry in over 7 years while completing my education. There was my internship, but, it was for an individual as a personal chef to a dialysis patient. This was not in an industrial kitchen setting.

    While in culinary school I have helped the chef create a sanitation and safety program for the new incoming class. Sanitation and safety are my top priority when working in a kitchen. After that, my focus is nutritious foods.

    For fun, I like to see how many vitamins I can cram into a plate with the least sodium and unhealthy lipids. 
     
  14. jimyra

    jimyra

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    Use the career services department all you can. I found them to be overbearing.  The director had worked at the university for decades so had no experience in the real world.  One of my professors said he used a head hunter and found promotions that way.  I would suggest to get into fine dinning you contact the James Beard Foundation and ACF in your area.
     
  15. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Is there such a thing as a video resume ? Just think of what a cook/ Chef could show if they were to make one. It could prove skills, prep and presentation. It would show appearance and personality and how they carry themselves. If I were in the position to hire a Cook or Chef, this would be a great tool for me to decide on who I wished to talk with in person. 
     
  16. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Reading through this, my first question is why fine dining and why not nutrtional/dietary, assisted living? Is this is where you naturaly find yourself comfortable, its probably the best scenerio.

    I myself find fine dining too stressfull and not conducive to a functioning marriage.

    Something to consider, no?
     
  17. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Foodpump has brought up the same thought I had. A hospital or nursing home or other environment where your interests can be best put to use would seem to be a better fit for you. They generally offer better hours and benefits, etc. as well. So you can still cook but put out food with high nutritional value that is also tasteful and attractively presented. And all while enjoying the benefits. 

          It may be that the chefs you have interviewed with saw this and did not bother to tell you. You've interviewed many but no offers. Obviously I don't know you or the places you've interviewed or the chefs you've interviewed with. But I have worked in plenty of fine dining places.  So If you are not interested in nutritional foodservice and you really wish to continue to try and get in to fine dining, I have a suggestion.

          The most important thing a fine dining chef wants is for someone to show up punctually, work hard at their responsibilities, do what they are told in the way they are told and be willing to do any job that needs doing, from mopping to plating to prep to cleaning the grease trap. That is the essence of interviewing with a fine dining chef; getting across to him or her that you are a hard worker who can follow orders without complaint. How much you may know about food preparation, sanitation and nutrition is a second or third concern.  Whatever you prepare will be done according to the chef, down to the smallest detail. It really doesn't matter if you notice dirt no one else seems to, can figure out the nutritional value of the creme brûlée or have six better ways to manage things. . 

         You posted that your top priority is safety and sanitation and after that it's making nutritious foods. While those are laudable goals, in a fine dining interview you need to get across that your top priority is listening and following the chef's orders. Period. 

    As Flipflopgirl said, "work hard and fast and clean and smart." You show your concern about sanitation by the way you work. 

          While working for the fine dining chef, you pay attention to how to keep on top of your mise-en-place, how to get along with others, how to work fast and clean and hard under tremendous pressure. You pick piles of thyme leaves until there is not a single stem left, you french lamb racks endlessly, filet lots of slimy fish, clean fatty, bloody tenderloins and learn how to cut them into precise weights. You learn how to cut vegetables in precisely measured shapes and sizes, very quickly with very sharp knives without cutting your fingers off.  You peel shrimp and potatoes and asparagus for hours and hours, over and over, without destroying the product or creating excessive waste. You do what is required of the station you are assigned to. You do it well and you do it well every day. You keep your mise-en-place clean, organized, wrapped and fresh.  You work until your arm feels like it will fall off. You get burned and scraped repeatedly. 

      When service is over, you clean your station, help others, put things away you did not get out. You then go home. You do not offer ideas and opinions and suggestions about how the menu, the kitchen or the nutritional value of the food can be improved. Your back, feet and hands will hurt. You will be very tired, feel very greasy, sweaty and disgusting. Your thighs will be chafed and sore. You will be very upset and depressed because you screwed up in the middle of service and caused a table to be late and the chef was not at all nice about it. In fact you're quite certain the chef hates you, especially because he or she rarely speaks to you and when they do, it's more direct and blunt and doesn't seem very sympathetic. You can't remember the last time you got a compliment.  

         In the middle of all of this, you will realize how little you are getting paid for all the intense, hard pressure you put up with, the unreasonable demands of the jerk of a chef, the frighteningly fast abilities of your coworkers, and the terrifying need to keep your head together despite wanting desperately to cry and scream at everyone.

    You will not complain about any of it to anyone you work with, ever. The next day, despite knowing how inadequate your abilities are and how aggravatingly stupid the day will be, you will show up for work, put on a big smile, say "Yes, Chef." and do the whole insane activity all over again.