Yelling in the Kitchen

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by friedparsley, Jan 1, 2002.

  1. friedparsley

    friedparsley

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    I used to think that yelling in the kitchen was a sign that you are in the weeds. Sometimes it is. But now I realize that sometimes you have to do it to prevent yourself from getting in the weeds. I'm not talking about yelling at someone for making a mistake. I think that's wrong. However, If things are going smoothly and people start to get a little to casual, you have to do something to put the focus back on the task at hand. I used to think that yelling would make my co-workers hate me. But it's not about hate it's about respect for the food and the process of getting it to the customers. What do you guys think about yelling in the kitchen?

    BTW does anyone know where the term "in the weeds" came from?
     
  2. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    You would be pleasantly surprised if you watched my line on a busy rush. No yelling (how could I hear my Tom Waits if everybody is making all that superfluous noise?). I have an open kitchen, so all the world can see and hear us flailing away..
    We address each other as "sir" or "m'am", because respect for one another is a priority. If we do happen to fall behind, I find that calm and control of the situation to be the quickest way to right ourselves. Do I yell? No, but I mumble a lot, and have people straining to hear every word that drops from my mouth. That way I know that they are listening.
     
  3. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Yelling is the reason I realised that this profession-kitchen- was not for me.

    Having people yelling at me while I am holding a knife with the temper I have?
    No Sir! Jail is not for me either!

    I think that yelling is the worse way to manage people, is worse than irony sometimes...


    :)
     
  4. friedparsley

    friedparsley

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    I think I should clarify myself before things get out of hand. What I'm talking about is when you've got a bunch of people who don't happen to be busy standing around talking and you and your cooks are trying to think about 100 different things at once. Don't you say: "Hey, I need it to be quiet"? Perhaps yelling is to strong of a word for what I'm talking about. I pride myself on staying calm, cool, and collected, but sometimes I think a well placed strong word or two helps everyone to stay focused. As far as the radio goes, when I'm in the middle of the rush, I don't even really hear it. That's different than hearing a bunch of people talking.
     
  5. irene

    irene

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    A good trick, instead of yelling is to address to those people almost whispering.
    They will have to low their tones , so as to be able to hear to you.

    It always works ;)
     
  6. chrose

    chrose

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    Remember the term "strong silent type"? I have yelled and been yelled at and then I learned. I think the best managed kitchens are from a team with a leader that has respect and silent strength. Usually a charasmatic person though that quality can also be learned. I like the way Peachcreeks kitchen operates. It sounds to me like the type of situation I describe.
     
  7. thebighat

    thebighat

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    I did my share of yelling and sometimes you really have to have it quiet to concentrate. I would just yell out "Quiet please!" I worked in one place where the sections were numbered a, b, c, d, e and the tables ran consecutively, a1, a2 so on. It was pretty tough, under the fan, pans sizzling in your face, head in the oven, and someone is saying "Pick up c-2." I'd come up screaming "is that b-2, c-2, d-2 or e-2?" because I just couldn't hear. And they were so resistant to numbering the tables with just plain old numbers. Those waitresses used to keep miniSnickers in the freezer because they knew a half dozen would calm me down.
     
  8. cape chef

    cape chef

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    some good points here,

    I consider myself pretty intence in my kitchen, And so does my staff.We all understand there is a time and place for everything.

    I do not have time to fool around when my restaurant is full and I have five or six private events all going out at the same time.

    I Very rarely yell, Yet everyone knows my mood. the only time I yell (not like a mad man) Is when the service staff is picking up from the window and there are discussing last nights date, I get right into there face and let them have it. That only takes a second and it works like a charm
    cc
     
  9. momoreg

    momoreg

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    I never raise my voice at work, unless someone leaves a timer going for too long. I can't deal with timers.:mad: :D
     
  10. greg

    greg

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    I can be pretty intense, but seldom raise my voice. I know what friedparsley is talking about, though. It's important to have fun at work, but you've got to stay focused and know when it's time to be all business. Let's just say I use clear, concise and bluntly to-the-point communication with my staff towards that end.
     
  11. jim berman

    jim berman

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    One of the best (only?) techniques I learned when I was in management school was from my first semester instructor. He ALWAYS smiled and spoke extremely quickly and softly. The smile was reassuring, the pace of his voice kept you tuned in and the volume ensured that you were listening. I use the same methodology to this day. When he didn't smile at you, it was baaaaad. It wasn't that he yelled, it was more that he was disappointed. And we all know that we never want to disappoint somebody. I have, on occassion, yelled - really screamed:mad: - and the only person it had an affect on was me. You loose a little respect when you loose your cool. I felt like a big knuckle head after yelling, therefore I try to limit my barking.
     
  12. chrose

    chrose

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    Just remember that no matter where you are working, you will always be expected to do more and work faster. Generally speaking if you ask a person for 100% effort you'll get 75%
    if you ask for 150% you'll get a little closer. Just ignore them, keep your head down and do the best you can and work through it. You will not change them, it's not worth arguing, that just takes up time. Remember "Never try to deach a dog to sing, it will only frustrate you and piss off the dog"
     
  13. fodigger

    fodigger

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    I've yelled exactly once in 26 yrs in the business. About a yr ago we were doing an important party for 300 people and going along fine until about half way through when for the third time the expediter called table 17. When I asked why we were doing that table again he explained the the servers were just grabbing what they needed to finish their tables. They had decided what tables to serve instead of following the plan we had rehearsed. I pulled all the servers together and in a quick 15 second burst I reminded them that indeed 17 did follow 16 and 18 would soon follow 17 and if they needed help my 9 yr old son would help them w/ their counting. Not one problem after that, and while it fixed the problem I didn't like yelling at them.(back to the old we're all adults here and I'm paying you to do a job thing) But now they stick w/ the plan or bring up they're objections to the plan before we start.
     
  14. gam

    gam

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    here in the holy country everything is so intense. If you don't yell then you don't demand respect i.e. yelling = respect. that's the situation in most work places...and kitchens being even more intense than you average work place means more yelling and screaming. That is one of the reasons (though not the only) why I ceased professional day in-day out cooking.
    I only do private functions, just me and 2 others. There's still that rush of adrenaline during service but who needs the yelling. we barely talk. We each know our role. Whilst its me that ultimately pays the wages there's no "boss" role, its a team effort.
    {I wish I could say the same about my waiting staff. Nothing's perfect!}
     
  15. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I tend to do a lot of yelling in the kitchen. It used to be the bad kind of yelling (I studied under many a Frenchman), but have tried to tone that down. I yell to keep my cooks motivated, to keep up that sense of urgency, even as things slow down between the rush. I use it as a motivational tool just as a personal trainer would. I find it works for me and for the type of cooks I work with. They like that type of motivation and pressure. And they sure perform mush better under that constant pressure. I am the first person to point out though, that this type of management style is not for every chef, nor do all cooks respond to this type to leadership. It all depends on you and the kind of cooks you hire.
     
  16. friedparsley

    friedparsley

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    Wow have I changed.  I just read this topic I started 15 years ago!   I take far more pride in the fact that there is never yelling in my kitchen. You get such better results with positive reinforcement and genuinely caring for a cook's well being and helping to grow their career.  The respect comes from the hard work and consistency not from ruling by fear.   For the last 15 years I put my head down and worked, I have been humbled many times. But I find myself repeating many of things I read from these more experienced chef's all of those years ago.  Consciously or Subconsciously this forum shaped my entire career. 
     
  17. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    15 years later......

    In the kitchen these days? I'm nothing if not a fluffy little ball of love.