Working with a New & Difficult Hire

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by msveganchef, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. msveganchef

    msveganchef

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    Line Cook
    I wanted to reach out and get feedback on how to handle a situation with a new hire. I've been working at a restaurant as a line cook for several months now, recently our executive chef/owner hired a new line cook. Currently the new line cook has been working for about 2-3 weeks now and it's the first time she's worked in a restaurant for dinner service. She likes to talk A LOT, especially during prep time and anytime the executive chef comes into the kitchen. During service I work the grill, oven, plating and expediting food. She has sold tickets when I've turned around to pull items out of the oven and the orders where not ready to sell (therefore leading to food coming back to the kitchen and as an expediter I take the blame). I've talked to her and said I have to see all food before it gets sold, etc. Since she is new she isn't pulling meats to start cooking until the ticket is almost up to be sold and/or forgets items on the grill. I've tried to give her tips which I have learned, but she takes it as "talking to me like I'm stupid or I don't know how to cook (her words)." I'm a direct person and I don't raise my voice or anything.  I myself am not a big chatter box during prep work, anyways she has taken my approach as a "I don't like you" type of scenario. Anyways, the other day during prep she got in my face and went on and on about her issues with me. She said some nasty things, blah blah blah. I let her go on and on. Anyways, she said some very negative and untruthful stories. Other employees where in the kitchen and were shocked by her actions. I spoke to my boss about it just to let him know what happened as a record. It has come to my attention by the new line cook that she has a extremely rocky past which has included physical violence, multi-million dollar theft ring with several years of incarceration and other issues. In addition she has begun spreading lies throughout the workplace with the foh staff and boh staff about me. I'm not there to make friends, for me it's a place to do what I love, grow and learn. Any advice on how to handle/deal with this? Greatly appreciated. 
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    How does she have the authority to sell a ticket?  That's the expo or line expo's job.
     
  3. msveganchef

    msveganchef

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    She doesn't, that's my job. However, she has done it behind my back and takes issues when I've talked to her about it. 
     
  4. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot of times people who have a poor employment history will continue that way.  Do your best and never respond to rumors.  
     
  5. lagom

    lagom

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    You should probly start documenting everything. Two reasons, you may need to defend youself against false accuasations, and to have a case for her dismissal if necessary. Remain professional at all times. If there are witnesesses to events then note that. If you have the power to issuse writen warnings, do so. Even in the case of verbal warnings they should be documented in writing. I've had to fire very few people in my professional life but learned in the early 80's that documenting everything makes it much eaiser. Good luck
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  6. msveganchef

    msveganchef

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    Thanks for the advice and will do! 
     
  7. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    Oh i have dealt with one of those. 

    Once she was even chatting away, and i started mocking her, and mimicing her and she caught me /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif. 

    But at that point i didnt even care, because i basically had enough.

    Well she would love to start fights in the kitchen, tell one cook that another talked sh*t about him or her, and tell another the same story just to start fights and bickering. We the cooks were very united and found out quite quickly.

    I feel thinks like this need to be cut at the root, so we simply excluded her, only talked when necessary, and ignored her completely.

    People like this need to talk and express themselves to spread their poison, ignore it, record it, and dont try to be friends with her.

    Liars choke themselves, and you having a certain authority shouldnt even worry.

    If someone chooses to believe her so be it, im sure other cooks who have seen how she is, wont even give her any credit or trust her at all.

    If she wants to run her mouth let her, if its affecting the cooks negatively tell her what my chef would tell me (i used to be a talker) "talk but work just as much".

    If her talking isnt affecting others i guess it doesnt matter. If it is tell her to talk less...

    That or slap her silly until she faints....  
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  8. chefross

    chefross

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    Our profession takes in all kinds of people.

    It is a timely topic though in any workplace, not just a kitchen.

    I am from a time when the cooks would work these things out amongst themselves.

    I know that these actions today would land a cook in trouble with personnel, but I would simply follow her into the walk-in, grab her by the collar and lift her off the floor and threaten her life, put her down and walk out of the cooler with a smile and then deny everything.

    They won't believe her anyway
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  9. mano

    mano

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    As a mental health professional and occasional intern prep cook intern, my concern is these actions today might land a cook on the floor with a knife in his/her gut. Or at least false allegations of who knows what that will make your life miserable, even if no one believes them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  10. everydaygourmet

    everydaygourmet

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    I knew I liked you @Chefross!, lol. Would be my approach as well albeit maybe sans walk-in as the reason (in this case) She confronted @msveganchef  infront of others was to call attention to her actions and self. Ms V I like that you're a direct person, a busy kitchen doesn't allow for long explanations / corrections. Think you may have answered your own question. Imo&e, just address her directly and matter of factly with (some) of your own words
    work, and since we're both in the same place why don't we just do what we're "ALL" being paid to do, and do it the best we can. For that to happen "WE" have a system in place that that the Chef/Owner put in place, this is how he wants it done, and "WE" need to follow the Chef's system. If you're not familiar with it "ALL" of "US" on this shift will be happy to walk you through it, because it will help ALL of US, that includes you to do OUR job. Period.

    Obviously you should have a talk with the rest of the staff and respond en mass the next time, and there will be a next time, she acts up.

    I use what my "guys" and friends call "Ric-isms" (we all have them) "I'm paying you, that makes you a professional, let's act like it" "I don't want you to walk my dog, paint my house or wash my car, just do what you said you would do",and/or "what you're being paid for" "There is no I in team, but I am the one who signs your pay check, so let's do (it) this way" "since we are all being paid to be here, let's do this as effectively as possible because I don't want to work any harder than I have to or make it any harder than it already is"

    Cheers!

    edg
     
  11. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Do your job to the best of your ability. The next time she sells a ticket without your knowledge tell her in no uncertain terms that is your job and this behavior cannot continue. Go on to say that you are going to ask for a sit down with the chef, yourself, and her in order to work this out. Go back to doing your job to the best of your ability.

    Odds are that chef is not oblivious to the situation. Given enough rope she will take care of her own termination.
    that coupled with
    and I would imagine she is halfway out the door already.

    Give chef time to do his job, all the while, watching his back.
     
  12. grande

    grande

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    @chefross you remind me a lady I worked for who said when she started cooking (70s/80s), they would take cooks who couldn't keep up out behind the restaurant and beat them up. Then she told me that when they caught dishwashers stealing tips, they'd slam their fingers in the dumpster lid. Then she said, "Can't do that anymore, too many people carry guns," with an air of sadness...
     
  13. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    Love it, i would do the same....

    Of course this would depend on what happened and my mood of course. 

    I always liked you chefross xD
     
  14. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Ah the good old days, except as far as I know they didn't really exist and I started in the 70's.

    Although I will admit that many moons ago I pulled aside a particularly obnoxious coworker. Put my arm around them and very quietly had a "discussion with promises attached" about my future actions if their behavior didn't change. I then turned smiling with my arm still around them and looked at everyone else in the kitchen and quietly told the obnoxious person to smile as well so that our coworkers would know that we having a friendly conversation. Patted them on the shoulder and went back to work.
     
  15. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Nobody has acknowledged the fact that the new hire has been in jail and has a history of physical violence.  Surviving prison isn't a girl guide cookie drive....

    In any case, I'd refrain from "conversations" in the walk -in or anywhere private, or she'll (new hire) will flash back to her prison days and react accordingly.

    She's pretty easy to understand: No restaurant experience, she screws up, and then the O.P has to point out her mistakes.  What's a girl to do?  She can't get physical and pull a knife or a punch, not with all those other people around, so she can only hurt the other way--tell a crock of B.S. about the O.P. and what a horrible person she is.  I'm not saying I like this situation or agree with it, but it is pretty easy to figure out.

    What do you do? 

    Sit her down with the Chef and H.R. (if you have them) and ask her what can we do to help her become a better line cook.  Ask her what you can do.   A question.  She can't fight a question like she can a command or a statement.  But you got to do this with at least 2 other people in the room.

    O.T.O.H  maybe the Chef will can her azz if he gets any more complaints about her.  Hey, there's always wishfull thinking!
     
    msveganchef and sfgray like this.
  16. chefross

    chefross

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    FoodPump you always have a way of taking the fun out of all of this. (Tongue in cheek)
     
  17. panini

    panini

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    The good old days. When I was cheffing I installed 1 way glass in the chefs office. I would have to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with cooks. Closed the door and when done we would

    walk out and I would always say "was that thunder I heard"? Cooks would always say "it's going to rain today" when there was trouble. LOL

    Had a huge rat trap painted red on the wall loaded with a dollar bill and tips painted on it. If servers an plounges would steal I would just call them in and make them stare at it while I went

    about my work.

    sorry, off topic.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  18. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    LOL Panini
     
  19. sandsquid

    sandsquid

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    As a "Senior Enlisted" military member, I have received and later given a few "fan room counselings", it was expedient and effective, but in todays litigious society... ill advised.
    In the corporate world It was document, document, document, witnesses, witnesses, witnesses, written warning #1 (with witnesses), written warning #2 (with witnesses), suspension #1 (with witnesses) ...  The crap (petty bickering, in-fighting, back-stabbing) that I see going on over on the hot side of the kitchen dismays me, and makes me very grateful to be in the pastry area, where I can keep my head down, mouth shut, and creative juices flowing.  
     
  20. msveganchef

    msveganchef

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    Thanks for all the feedback, greatly appreciated.