You know those little piss ant prep cooks?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by prepcook, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. prepcook

    prepcook

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    The following is a plea to managers far and wide;

    I am really trying my hardest I am. I feel so terrible when I disappoint chef. Im late to work but it isnt because I like to sleep in its because of a sleep schedule that develops when unemployed. Imagine if you had to flip your sleep schedule all of a sudden.

    Im sorry I cant do my job right but it would be appreciated if you would do something more than just get mad and take the time to teach me something as opposed to condescending to me? Im really smart I am, I can learn this I just need to be show how to do stuff. Because alot of the things you need me to do arent as familiar to me. I dont have the muscle memory to french a rack of lamb as fast as you or your other workers im sorry but it takes time. Didnt you need time when you started out?

    NOT EVERYONE HAS CHEF HANDS AND CAN GRAB A PAN RIGHT OUT OF A STEAMTABLE/hotbox/line

    Ok well now that that is over tell me back what I do that upsets you the most. I want it all. But explain why this upsets you, and why it would be so terrible to take some time and talk with the prep cook one on one about it after shift over a cigarette or something.
     
  2. squirrelrj

    squirrelrj Banned

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    Your excuse for being late is poor, regardless of your former situation, you show up on time, it's that simple.
     
  3. chefzone

    chefzone

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    First of all, never be late!  Set your alarm one hour earlier, show respect.  If you want to learn and stay in this profession, keep your eyes open, come in early, watch the others perform, learn.  If you don't think this is worth it, work at a McDonald's.  This new career is very demanding, especially in today's tough market.  A few years ago it was okay to have extra staff on, today's market is very competitive and you will have to make sacrifices.  Culinary Arts is always changing, but the basics will remain the same as it has been for centuries, learn those first, then you can hone up on different cuisines.  If you don't want to take the time to study the art, find a simple job, like teaching or brain surgery.  Being an artist is something that comes naturally or learned but either way, it is a discipline of love.  I don't mean to sound negative, it is a choice, for many it is a long struggle to achieve your goal (setting one is a must) and for some it comes quicker.  Remember, respect is the most important issue in a kitchen if you want to survive, it comes in handy to know, as for one day, you may become a Chef and you will have known what is expected of an apprentice.  Endure, it is worth it.
     
  4. cookers

    cookers

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    I would explain to him that a job is a job. It is a privilege to work for you and not a right, however he does have the right to quit at any given time. I have extremely bad sleeping problems that allow me anywhere from 3-5 hours of sleep on average. I am still at work on time every day. There's nothing stopping him from doing that. Tell him to cut the bull, step his game up and show you what he's made of, and if he assures you he's a good worker, you will show him the way to getting those chef hands. However if he fails, you'll find a replacement who can DO THE JOB. 
     
  5. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Had a prep guy once, complained he was always late 'cause the bus was always late.  I liked the guy, so I looked him square in the eye and told him to take an earlier bus, get here earlier, sit in the staff room with a coffee, and start work on time.  He was smart and did just that.

    Then again, I had a waitress who complained her bus was always late.  I didn't like her, so I told her to come to work 30 minutes later, but with the same quitting time.  Two days later it's the same complaint, "No problem", I tell her, "start work a half hour later, but the same quitting time".  This shite went on until she was only working 4 hours/day.  She freaked when she saw her paycheck that month and left.  I didn't like her......
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Ever gone to a baseball game?? 1 then 2 then 3 strikes and your OUT   And stop with the ecxuses do something about it and stop blaming society.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012
  7. chefhow

    chefhow

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    We fired a guy who had a doctorate in Food Science because he couldnt make it to work on time, ALWAYS 18 minutes late.  No kids to drop off, no 2nd job, no reason other than he was ALWAYS late.  Boss asked him repeatedly to come in ontime like everyone else and finally one day had enough and at 8:18 when the guy walked in like he did everyday he was handed a 2 week severance check and his paycheck with a box and told to clean out his desk and go some place that started at 8:30 to accomodate his schedule. 

    BEING LATE IS A SIGN OF LAZINESS!!

    Pot is too hot, CARRY A TOWEL ON YOUR APRON, IN YOUR BACK POCKET AND OVER YOUR SHOULDER!!

    Dont french racks fast enough?  Offer to come in early or on your day off and do it for free to work on your speed and show the Chef you are committed to him and the craft.

    Nobody cares if youre smart at this point, they care if you can perform.
     
  8. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    You should schedule them late and then work the heck out of them.  Then when they complain tell them to come in a half hour early.
     
  9. foodpump

    foodpump

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    So much fo the pity-wallow, eh?....................... 
     
  10. just jim

    just jim

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    Like others, you lost me immediately with your weak excuse for arriving late for work.

    So, you start your day on a negative note, and then wonder why you are looked at negatively about everything else you do?

    You are unreliable.

    As a Chef, why would I want to put more effort into improving your skills than you do?
     
  11. ez13

    ez13 Banned

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    This guy cant be serious, if he is its not even worthy of replying to
     
  12. foodnfoto

    foodnfoto

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    Although the reason this fellow offers for being late is obviously lame an he comes across as a bit whiney, the responses that follow from "professional" chefs are indicative of a pervasive kitchen culture that I can only describe as bullying. Like the chef he works for, instead of offering the constructive advice he asks for, the "pros" here choose to berate him further.

    This kind of behavior is so familiar, so pervasive in this industry. So few understand how expensive and counter-productive it is. It takes 3 months of full time work to properly train someone in just about any kind of production job.

    If you as a chef, owner, or manager commit to hiring someone, why on earth would you choose to make that training period take longer and cost you more than it already does?

    Teaching by intimidation does not work. This is not the army where you must break down a recruit's individuality so he can become part of an organized fighting unit. It's a kitchen where fine motor skills are taught and learned through repetitive practice. 

    Now, Damnprepcook, here's some useful advice-

    Like Woody Allen once said, "Half of success is just showing up". Show up on time. My Dad, an Air Force Colonel, drilled into us-"If you give a damn about anything, show up 15 minutes early." A lot about your dedication and commitment to the job is communicated by when and how you arrive at the job site. If you walk in, put on an apron and get to work-that's good. If you show up, get a coffee, socialize with a wait or two, then stand around waiting to be told what to do, no pro will take that as anything but lack of interest and drive.

    One thing you can do that will indicate your dedication to learning is to bring a small notebook with you and make notes about how the chef does things. Ask questions and make note of the answers. If you show you can repeat tomorrow what you were shown today. No, you might not have the muscle memory yet, but do what you can on your own to develop it-practice on celery at home. Watch YouTube videos on frenching lamb racks, quartering chickens and cleaning the silver skin off tenderloins.

    Don't offer opinions, just do the work how it's done in the shop you're working for. Stand up straight, show up ready to go, keep your work place tidy and organized, clean up after others without being told to. Go above and beyond to make others' work easier and the same will eventually be afforded to you. 

    In your defense, you may be working for one big jerk of a chef-there are lots of them out there. Sometimes places, for whatever reason, have such high turnover that the chef just has to fill a job with a warm body to get through the day meanwhile, he's doing the majority of the work himself. You don't know what kind of pressure the guy may be under. Or, he might just be a mean ass drunk too. You just don't know.

    Whatever it is, if you want to do kitchen work, develop as many skills on your own as you can. Develop as much of a photographic memory as you can (but notebooks help.) Keep your head down and apply yourself. Think of it as boot camp and do all you can to help the other members of your team.
     
  13. twyst

    twyst

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    I have to disagree there.  Its not necessary to teach that way as there are other methods that work, but for a long time guys that were complete and total terrors in the kitchen produced some excellent cooks.   Just look at all the great chefs trained by guys like Marco Pierre White and Joel Robuchon.  Those guys were notorious tyrants in the kitchen.
     
  14. ez13

    ez13 Banned

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    Hey lady, before you make statements about being professional and bullying this guy, read the thread about how to deal with kitchen a******* and you will see many people sticking up for and giving advice to a young cook and chastising those who were picking on him. This fellow on the other hand is joking with his post or his reasons for complaining are pathetic.
     
  15. foodnfoto

    foodnfoto

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    That may be true ez. But it's clear that this guy (or girl) is young and inexperienced, but interested. 

    He asked for advice.

    Why not give him something useful?

    Continuing to bully him serves little purpose other than to further the negative stereotype of the a$$---e chef?

    Chefs I learned most from were the skilled, efficient workers-not the blowhards.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012
  16. just jim

    just jim

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    I re-read my post.

    I saw nothing bullying.

    I asked questions that should cause a person to use some insight to find their own answers.

    Not every chef has time to give an employee the time the OP is requesting.

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

    I'm supposed to devote my entire attention after a 17 hour day to explain why showing up late is a problem in a kitchen?

    Maybe if the OP showed up early I could find that time.

    Kudos to the food editor for taking the time to lay some things out for the OP.

    To chastise me or others for not doing the same seems, well, rather bullying.
     
  17. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    The "late to work" bothers me.

    Why would I go out of my way when someone doesn't go out of their way to be on time?

    For me, there are very few valid reasons to be late to work, and virtually all of the valid reasons revolve around a one time emergency, usually involving medical assistance.

    On time, or early, gives me hope that there might be some potential worth nurturing. Otherwise....
     
  18. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Everyone who responded to the O.P. picked up on the late-for-work business.

    And as with others, I have re-read my post and could find no bullying or negativeness.

    There is a lot of advice in the above posts.  But I also must say that any Chef who is not obliged with an apprenticeship contract, is also not obliged--by any law or covenant--to show his employees techniques or offer advice, insight or explanations. 

    And not to put too fine a point on it, but I know of many Japanese cooks who, if ever late, must apologize and bow to EVERY member of the kitchen before putting on an apron.
     
  19. chefedb

    chefedb

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    You stated ""I am really smart""  How smart can you be if you are late all the time??
     
  20. chefhow

    chefhow

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    Show me where I bullied this poor young man/lady in my post that I have quoted.  He's lucky he didnt get what I got from one of those "bullies" that I spent years training under and fine tuning my skills, building a thick enough skin to be able to handle the critisisms that come with being a chef and having the pressure's of a full production kitchen that does business.

    Please, tell me...
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012