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Turkeybone
Dec 9, 2006



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThhfLvR4Wo8


Every time WroughtIrony gets a new job, an angel gets a new thread.


Welcome to the Goons With Spoons Industry Thread!

This thread is for those of us who work in the restaurant industry to talk shop and discuss industry related topics, and also for newbies who are seeking advice on how to start a culinary career. Front of house, back of house, big chain or level seven vegan brasserie, all are welcome so long as it's interesting.

Anyone is welcome to post, as long as the thread rules are followed.


Thread Rules

*Keep it civil. Bluntness is fine, personal attacks are not.
*Please read the OP before posting for the first time, it contains a useful FAQ
*Front of House vs. Back of House mudslinging, dick-measuring and hostility is prohibited in this thread. It's not cute and it helps no one.
*This is a newbie-friendly thread. That means only that nobody will be ridiculed for not knowing something. Willful ignorance is not protected under this rule.

Touchy Subjects
*Tipping. Tipping discussion must be fact-based and industry-related. For example; “Is it normal for me to have to tip out 5% of my sales to the owner?” would be an appropriate discussion topic. We DO NOT discuss opinions about tipping. This is to prevent tipping derails which are always a pointless waste of time. Anything that skates even remotely close to perpetuating stereotypes about how different populations tip is completely unacceptable and will be brought to the immediate attention of the mods.

*Kitchen Confidential This book is not a career guide. We've all read it, most of us liked it and virtually none of us behave that way. The professionalism issue is discussed in more detail in the FAQ. Check yourself before you post “facts” that come from this book.

*Help, help! I'm being oppressed! We all have to start somewhere. There's nothing wrong with being super green and posting here. A lot of our regulars came here asking how to get a dishwashing gig. That said, a little humility goes a long way when you're starting out. Ranting about how your sous chef is a moron won't get you much sympathy, regardless of whether or not it's true. She's obviously doing something you're not, seeing as you're hauling trash until 2AM for min wage and she has a set schedule, benefits and a comma in her bank balance. The traditional kitchen is structured like a military unit. Dishwashing or low end prep is like boot camp. You have to kill your ego and learn to take orders or else you're useless. Unlike the military, a restaurant has no obligation or incentive to hold on to a willful, entitled private. Righteous indignation won't help your career. At best its a distraction, and at worse it will get you fired. What will help your career is to ask lots of questions and to keep an eye out for ways to do your job better, even if that job is peeling rutabagas or cleaning the grease trap.


FAQ:


I've never had a job in my life and I think I want to be a chef. What do I do?


Well, the first thing you do is take a good hard look at your motivations for wanting to work in this industry. Is it because you like to watch Top Chef? Did you read Kitchen Confidential and think Bourdain's life sounded badass? Does everyone rave about your potato salad? If your reason is solely the result of media exposure and an enjoyment of cooking dinner for your family and friends, you might want to reevaluate. A lot of professional cooking is mindless assembly line work at an insane pace. Have you ever stood up for nine hours without sitting down once? Do you need your hands to get up from your knees? How's your work ethic? Bullshit tolerance? Ability to handle heat? The make-or-break qualities that separate those who make it from those who wash out rarely have to do with what we think of as the "culinary arts."

We recommend one year as an entry-level cook/dishwasher/porter before anyone makes a hard decision about starting a career in this industry. You may be a hardass, but statistically, you'll wash out in weeks. And you know what? Deciding that you value free time, family, regular work hours, the respect of your peers, money, job security and benefits is a completely sane thing to do. A lot of us who have been ruined for anything other than restaurants probably wish we could go back in a time machine and finish college with a degree in finance.


I've been working fifteen years as marketing director of Adidas. I'm ready for a change. How do I transition my skills to the restaurant industry?

See above.


Should I go to Culinary School?

Well, personally I think it bought me about three to five years of basic experience in a kitchen. At no point will culinary school prevent you from having to prove yourself; there are just as many fuckups that come from school as do David Changs. If you need a quick jump on some experience, then maybe you should consider it. But seriously look into the program and the financing! Many, MANY schools are going to gently caress you over, are for-profit, etc. Community college is a cheap and great way to get some experience, especially if the school is respected. Most Le Cordon Bleu's are going to gently caress you over. Please don't go into serious debt for culinary school.


I'm already a sucker who works in a restaurant.. when should I look for another job?

When you don't feel challenged anymore.
When you get panic attacks before service.
When your paycheck bounces! NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS!

Have at it.

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Turkeybone
Dec 9, 2006



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yvLEKQSBHc


I'll start off with some kitchen antics. This was us having fun with chef testing some pizza crusts. I'm neither of these people.

Naelyan
Jul 21, 2007
Far from perfect, but better than you...

HOORAY NEW THREAD! And congrats Wrought, hope the new digs work out for you. Are you having to move for it, or staying in the same area?

Black August
Sep 28, 2003

HOLY SHIT


help

why is it 95 degrees in Boston today and for the next 5+ days

why am I walking around for hours at a time in nice looking attire as I shotgun my resume around

Seriously though why do I or anyone else live in Massachusetts, and which front of the house manager can I scream at about it? I wasn't surprised to see some Fabio walking around shirtless in the park with nothing but pants and a waiter's apron on while he was on break. It must be a nuclear nightmare in the less ventilated kitchens.

Congrats on a new job Wrought.

Turkeybone
Dec 9, 2006



My kitchen in Baltimore was "amazing." In hot weather it would be 20 degrees hotter than outside, and in the cold, 20 degrees colder! It felt like the walk-ins were broken in the winter, because they'd be warmer than the kitchen.

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


It was a chilly 75 in the kitchen all day today. I think I broke out in a sweat at some point, probably when I put away the meat order.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004

Congratulations on not getting fit in 2011!

Congrats, Wrought! Hope this one works out better than the last!

Chef De Cuisinart posted:

It was a chilly 75 in the kitchen all day today. I think I broke out in a sweat at some point, probably when I put away the meat order.

I may murder you. It was at least 115 in the bakery again last night (that's as high as my wall thermometer goes), and my AC is out at home. Of course, my roomies all work in nice AC'd offices all day, so it doesn't matter to -them- that it's 95 loving degrees outside all day.

My life hates me, but I get to help Chef do a ~45 person meal out in the middle of a strawberry patch at our local berry farm in a couple weeks, which will be worth it.


Also, on that article about NYC having a hard time finding cooks : No poo poo? People don't stick around when you pay them less than McDonalds' will in a place where the cost of living is triple what it is in most of the country? Shock and dismay.

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


We have a pastry position open. Clearly you should move to Austin, work 5a-1p, have insurance, PTO, etc, etc. and make ~12bux/hr.

Did I mention Austin?


Also, literally everyone at work is quitting. We have 6 positions open. Out of 20. Chef just told me to be prepared to be destroyed if we don't have anyone hired by the time we get back into the busy season, which is about 2 weeks away.

I am going to be destroyed.

Wroughtirony
May 14, 2007



Thanks for the congrats, guys.


I am joining the ranks of the enemy. My new job is FOH floor manager at a greek-style 24h diner. So I get air conditioning, wardrobe autonomy (thank god for highly motivated commissioned salescritters) and the responsibility for keeping our customers happy and keeping the waiters from fighting with the cooks. Whee!

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


It really is nice to have a back of house person running front of house. Because most front of house people don't care about things dying in the window, and they'll blame everything on the cooks, etc.

Grats on the new job Wrought!(should have come work in my banquet sweatshop!)

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004

Congratulations on not getting fit in 2011!

Chef De Cuisinart posted:

We have a pastry position open. Clearly you should move to Austin, work 5a-1p, have insurance, PTO, etc, etc. and make ~12bux/hr.

Did I mention Austin?


Also, literally everyone at work is quitting. We have 6 positions open. Out of 20. Chef just told me to be prepared to be destroyed if we don't have anyone hired by the time we get back into the busy season, which is about 2 weeks away.

I am going to be destroyed.

Man, I just turned down moving to Texas for IT work because I couldn't afford the move, or I'd talk to you about it.

Sympathies on your pending destruction. That sounds like it's going to be an asskicking.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003

HOLY SHIT


Liquid Communism posted:

People don't stick around when you pay them less than McDonalds' will in a place where the cost of living is triple what it is in most of the country? Shock and dismay.

I don't know how anyone lives in NYC anymore or wants to. I entertained the idea once before I realized I'd be homeless inside of a week. Even Boston is only going to be a short stay, year at best, because it just costs too drat much to live anywhere on any sort of working wage.

Turkeybone
Dec 9, 2006



My buddy lives in Astoria (a suburb of NYC, basically Queens) for like $850 a month (with roommate). Granted, he makes $100,000 as a server...

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004

Congratulations on not getting fit in 2011!

Black August posted:

I don't know how anyone lives in NYC anymore or wants to. I entertained the idea once before I realized I'd be homeless inside of a week. Even Boston is only going to be a short stay, year at best, because it just costs too drat much to live anywhere on any sort of working wage.

Honestly, it's one of those things like culinary school, I figure. People who don't really do the math get enchanted by the idea of working in a Michelin-starred place, and don't really think about how bloody expensive living there is.

That said :

http://www.indeed.com/salary/q-Line...w-York,-NY.html

Average salary $24k in a city where a 1-bedroom in the outskirts is going for $1500+? No way in hell.

Black August
Sep 28, 2003

HOLY SHIT


Liquid Communism posted:

Average salary $24k in a city where a 1-bedroom in the outskirts is going for $1500+? No way in hell.

Admittedly, me, my best friend, and her fiancee did come up with a way to live in NYC if we decide to pursue a music career there! It consists of a short bus we converted into a super tiny mobile home with vegetable oil capabilities. That is how we would live cheap in NYC.

Since then we decided that cross country travel would be more fun and profitable. We can become rockstars some other way.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004

Congratulations on not getting fit in 2011!

Cooking in NYC : Ask me about living in a van, down by the river.

dino.
Mar 28, 2010


Liquid Communism posted:

Honestly, it's one of those things like culinary school, I figure. People who don't really do the math get enchanted by the idea of working in a Michelin-starred place, and don't really think about how bloody expensive living there is.

That said :

http://www.indeed.com/salary/q-Line...w-York,-NY.html

Average salary $24k in a city where a 1-bedroom in the outskirts is going for $1500+? No way in hell.

Our rent is 1,300~ish a month, and is rent stabilised. Size is about 1,000 square feet. It's a 1 bedroom with living room, dining room, kitchen, and full bathroom. Neighbourhood is safe, and I've got the subway pretty much across the street, and two short blocks down. There's at least two liquor stores that deliver good quality wine and gin. And I'm in Manhattan. I don't know who in their right mind would spend $1,500+ to live in the outskirts.

In other news, the kitchen is cooler than my apartment. Because it's in the basement, it feels like 10 - 20 degrees cooler (in Summer) and 10 - 20 degrees warmer (in Winter). That being said, having the ovens running will heat the place up pretty drat quick. We basically knock out the heavy oven stuff early in the day. Also, because it's summer, we're switching to cold soups, cold sides, and cold pretty much anything else we can find. Also bought one of those attic fans for the prep area to suck air outside. It seriously drops the temperature down.

I got home, and had to run straight to the bedroom, because that's the only room I keep cold (because I can't get sleep if it's too hot). That said, I am pretty thankful to have an a/c that does cool down the place even when it is bloody hot out.

Dr. Garbanzo
Sep 14, 2010

Pogo sticks are awesome!


Did my first day of class for cooking yesterday and I think it could be a little interesting to say the least. I'm not so much worried about my ability to get through the class but for some of the others. It's a class called ala carte so we will be doing service in a few weeks to customers based on menus created by the teacher. Most of the people in the class have never worked in the industry before and are simply doing their qualifications full time. I have a feeling once services start in a few weeks there's at least 3 people in the class who won't handle the pressures of service seeing as they struggled to get just one dish prepared over the 4 hours we had to do it in.
I know I shouldn't worry about them because I'm there to prove how well I can cook but it's going to be a very long 18 weeks stuck with a bunch of numpties.

In other news my pay didn't show up in my account yesterday like usual and it still hasn't appeared today. It's kinda making GBS threads me up the wall really

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






wrought are you at a new company altogether, or a new position within the same company?

mindphlux
Jan 8, 2004

ich esse keine suppe - nein
ich esse meine suppe nicht
nein, meine suppe ess' ich nicht






also please detail plans to subvert and or destroy the existing establishment within/without your newfound organization. tia.

bowmore
Oct 6, 2008

i can't stop this feeling
deep inside of me


I just realized I work in the industry.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004

Congratulations on not getting fit in 2011!

bowmore posted:

I just realized I work in the industry.

My condolences.

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


bowmore posted:

I just realized I work in the industry.

How's that alcoholism coming along?

Go with Christ
Jan 14, 2006

"Teacher,which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" She replied, "Clean your stove with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

Sup all. I'm back in the business. (Major chain pizza delivery, franchise store, rhymes with All The Hoes, assistant manager, used to drive so I know both sides.)

The stores aren't too bad, everyone else inside likes to whine like a bitch but seriously, its a pizza shop, there's a huge loving oven in the middle of the store, its only like 80 degrees. Drink some water and take a break in the walk-in.

One thing I really like about this frannie is how he lets us handle complaints. Someone complains, we apologize and remake and let them keep the pizza and send something free along with it. I don't have to act like a loving interrogator, I cater to the 99% who aren't trying to scam free food, and if there's a scammy motherfucker I keep notes in their file and send it to the DM so he can do the "sorry, we aren't able to meet your expectations, no hard feelings, go away" shtick.

Although I do work with a godawful idiot of another AM and a bubblehead loser of an insider, at least the other inside crew is cool.

Also, given up on alcohol for a while.

feelz good man
Jan 21, 2007

deal with it


bowmore posted:

I just realized I work in the industry.
Good luck. I just got out. I hung up my apron this week to become a blowhole in a shirt and tie all day.

I am going to miss commercial cooking.

Wroughtirony
May 14, 2007



mindphlux posted:

wrought are you at a new company altogether, or a new position within the same company?

New company entirely. I could have stayed with the previous company and found a new contract, but the one I had my eye on was in Bethesda, and that would be a brutal commute. Plus this place seems like a great place to cut my teeth as a manager, and they didn't gently caress around with "oh we'll start you as a server..."

They are pretty old school, though. Take a look at the menu:



That's a Thermapen for reference and no, I do not work at the Cheesecake Factory.

having fun so far. Tomorrow I learn how to deal with the big, scary BOH. LOL

Cercies
Dec 3, 2010

Living the dream


Wroughtirony posted:

having fun so far. Tomorrow I learn how to deal with the big, scary BOH. LOL

So how do you plan to present yourself to the kitchen? Are they the type of crew who will give you backlash for jumping over to FOH?

Willie Tomg
Feb 2, 2006

Do Randroids Dream of Objective Sheep?

Chef De Cuisinart posted:

We have a pastry position open. Clearly you should move to Austin, work 5a-1p, have insurance, PTO, etc, etc. and make ~12bux/hr.

Did I mention Austin?


Also, literally everyone at work is quitting. We have 6 positions open. Out of 20. Chef just told me to be prepared to be destroyed if we don't have anyone hired by the time we get back into the busy season, which is about 2 weeks away.

I am going to be destroyed.

Just think about the OT just think about the OT just think about the OT just think about the OT...

I've been running through my lil' rolodex of people on the east side who would be a good fit/could maybe probably pass the background check and most of whose left get real real interested looking when I mention the compensation and bennies and then its like "oh btw you might have to wake up in the morning" and the look of horror and disgust on their faces my god

I don't wanna get into High Politics Mode but it's seriously making me reevaluate some poo poo I thought I knew about my contemporaries. C'mon guys, sack up! Opportunity knocks! Greet The Sun! (jk you'll be on before it rises)

Willie Tomg
Feb 2, 2006

Do Randroids Dream of Objective Sheep?

Go with Christ posted:

The stores aren't too bad, everyone else inside likes to whine like a bitch but seriously, its a pizza shop, there's a huge loving oven in the middle of the store, its only like 80 degrees. Drink some water and take a break in the walk-in.

At my last job the owner insisted on an open door to the outside next to the kitchen entrance because why not? The lack of fans and airflow in the space does not make the kitchen any cooler while simultaneously allowing flies and other insects into our area where we're prepping and serving raw seafood. It's a win win!

Anyway every so often a wasp, hornet or bee would fly in attracted to some sweet thing we had on the line. And they'd buzz and be angry and scary and confused for a bit. But then the circles would get slower, the orbits would get lower, and they'd descend in a helical pattern onto one of the prep tables or the floor. And they'd hit the ground and stop for a bit, and just... roll over. And they'd kick their little legs around for about ten minutes and stop.

Turns out hornets and wasps die from temperatures north of ~120 degrees Fahrenheit. I worked six days a week in that heat. lol

bowmore
Oct 6, 2008

i can't stop this feeling
deep inside of me


Chef De Cuisinart posted:

How's that alcoholism coming along?
haha, great.

Liquid Communism posted:

My condolences.
Thanks.


feelz good man posted:

Good luck. I just got out. I hung up my apron this week to become a blowhole in a shirt and tie all day.

I am going to miss commercial cooking.
It's not bad when I'm there except I know the owner has lost the passion so I feel like I'm on a bit of a shinking ship, at least I'm still getting paid. I do what I can to change things while I'm there.

Chef De Cuisinart
Oct 31, 2010


Willie Tomg posted:

I've been running through my lil' rolodex of people on the east side who would be a good fit/could maybe probably pass the background check and most of whose left get real real interested looking when I mention the compensation and bennies and then its like "oh btw you might have to wake up in the morning" and the look of horror and disgust on their faces my god

Mornings aren't even that bad. I've done plenty of holiday shifts where you work 7a to 8p, go out for drinks immediately after, stay out way too late, and be back at work at 6a the next day, still kinda drunk, or really hungover.

This is where it helps to know where room service keep the Red Bulls stashed.

Wroughtirony
May 14, 2007



Cercies posted:

So how do you plan to present yourself to the kitchen? Are they the type of crew who will give you backlash for jumping over to FOH?


The restaurant I'm training at is not the restaurant I will be working at, but if the crew is similar, they'll be more mercenary than frat boy, which suits me fine. As far as presenting myself, I'll introduce myself and then demonstrate the rest, since I have no authority over the kitchen- I just communicate with them. Hopefully the BOH will catch on that I'm an asset, but if I have refuse to send obviously sub-par plates out, they can figure out that I know my rear end from my elbow that way too.

I doubt anyone will give a poo poo that I can work both sides of the swinging doors. If they do, that's their problem, because I was born this way, baby. ;-)

Go with Christ
Jan 14, 2006

"Teacher,which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" She replied, "Clean your stove with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

Willie Tomg posted:

At my last job the owner insisted on an open door to the outside next to the kitchen entrance because why not? The lack of fans and airflow in the space does not make the kitchen any cooler while simultaneously allowing flies and other insects into our area where we're prepping and serving raw seafood. It's a win win!

Ahhahahahahah

My aforementioned idiot of a co-assistant manager decided to lodge the front door open one day "to cool the store down."

No, there was no screen door. Or other way for air to escape. Yes, bugs were getting in. To top it off, it was just as hot, and more humid, outside than in.

And then she got pissy at ME for pulling rank on her as MOD and shutting the door.

cods
Nov 13, 2005

Oh snap-kins!

Liquid Communism posted:

Honestly, it's one of those things like culinary school, I figure. People who don't really do the math get enchanted by the idea of working in a Michelin-starred place, and don't really think about how bloody expensive living there is.

That said :

http://www.indeed.com/salary/q-Line...w-York,-NY.html

Average salary $24k in a city where a 1-bedroom in the outskirts is going for $1500+? No way in hell.

Tell me about it, I moved to new York to work in a Michelin star restaurant, and granted new York is the most amazing city I've ever lived in, and what I learn on a daily basis is amazing, but...

I've never been so poor in my life, and I just found out we are closing for a month and we were all told get unemployment. I can't pay rent on unemployment. So gently caress that, I'm quitting. I mean I could try and find something for just one month, but the idea of coming back and still to not making poo poo isn't that appealing.

If you have a decent resume here you can make really decent money, just not in ultra fine dining. I'm looking at Jr./sous jobs and hotels right know for much more than I am making now.

rayray00
Mar 27, 2003

Capturing the moment from hair-loopies to big bellies.

We've been surprisingly busy this entire year. No winter lull and I usually have most of July off, but have been doing so much OT. It's nice to finally have money to spend.

Naelyan
Jul 21, 2007
Far from perfect, but better than you...

Wroughtirony posted:

I doubt anyone will give a poo poo that I can work both sides of the swinging doors. If they do, that's their problem, because I was born this way, baby. ;-)

I've never worked in a place where BOH would get pissy if they knew a FOH manager had worked BOH somewhere else. If you made the switch in the restaurant, then maybe, but I always love having FOH managers with BOH experience because they're the ones that more often than not will back you up when they know you're getting poo poo on, but not take any excuses if there's no reason for delays/whatever.

rndmnmbr
Jul 3, 2012


I don't know how anyone can read Kitchen Confidential and wind up wanting to live that kind of life.

"A backbreaking physical labor job in terrible conditions with piss poor pay, benefits, and job security, plus a terrible cocaine/heroin habit, and occasionally getting to score with waitresses? I have an erection already!"

Ugh, no. I seriously appreciate what you all do for your customers, but I like good pay and benefits and weekends off.

Kenning
Jan 10, 2009

I really want to post goatse. I wish I had 10bux


I just started working FOH at a new gig and I met a cook who was talking up Kitchen Confidential and how that was totally the life everyone lived and it was pretty hard to not laugh out loud while I was doing roll-ups.

Liquid Communism
Mar 9, 2004

Congratulations on not getting fit in 2011!

Kenning posted:

I just started working FOH at a new gig and I met a cook who was talking up Kitchen Confidential and how that was totally the life everyone lived and it was pretty hard to not laugh out loud while I was doing roll-ups.

poo poo, if I had the money he talks about blowing on drugs in KC, I'd be set. Too bad kitchen wages have been pretty much stagnant since the days Bourdain was writing KC.

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Bro Nerd Alpha
Aug 27, 2012

going on pussy patrol

I've spent the last two nights filling in for a dishwasher who up and quit. The Executive chef has been more than appreciative, the GM has thanked me with a $25 visa gift card yet I don't think it is that big of a deal.

I am still getting paid either way, work is work to me. It's hot as hell and my back is loving killing me. I keep a smile and just stay pleasant. They are promising me a job/training to get on the line (I work at a country club at the halfway house at the moment) and love my work ethic.

I'm definitely doing this to get my experience, to see if I really want to go this route. They throw me hours when there are banquets or big events, I told them I'd just sweep and cut veggies to get in the kitchen. I just hope they aren't blowing smoke and will let me go soon (I am rather cynical and jaded after 5 years in the military)

My only gripe so far is when I was getting slammed with dishes yet the line was dead, nobody lifted a finger to help put away the clean stuff.

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