Hold steady

  1. And now for a new workplace
  2. Hold steady

I thought it would take longer to sour on this new job I posted about last time but no, it is happening much faster than I thought. There are a few reasons why but at the end of it it boils down to me being able to figure out the things that will frustrate me the most, and then being unable to do anything to resolve them.

And therein lies the problem. I am currently only a junior member of the staff and as such I get no say in anything. I can advise all I want on our current set of recipes given the equipment we have but it doesn’t mean anyone will actually implement them- I am not allowed to just go off and do things.

That is the Kitchen Manager’s job, who just happens to be out in the alley smoking and drinking. He does that at least once an hour, leaving you to run the kitchen by yourself even during weekend rushes.

Look, I get it, running a kitchen is hard work, but you cannot make it any easier on yourself if you’re reeking of cigarettes so you cannot smell or taste anything, and tipsy so you cannot handle using a knife at speed for prep work.

From my angle the best part is the ownership will never let the KM go because “he’s a longtime employee” and “part of the family”. At least for now the kitchen is breaking even. What happens when it isn’t? We are getting more competition every month! We are not getting better equipment (read: a proper kitchen with fire in it and a working smoke extraction system) and ownership still seems uninterested in actually making it happen. This is how the idea of the name of this specific post series as we are an abridged kitchen. Abridged as in “incomplete”.

But for now we are holding steady. For now I will keep my mouth shut about things at work and I’ll post them about here. It’s nice to have an outlet.

For now I can only hope that the next Covid-19 wave is small but I do not think that will be the case.

And now for a new workplace

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Pexels.com
  1. And now for a new workplace
  2. Hold steady

It would seem I finally have something to write about! I started working in the kitchen of a popular spot in the downtown area when you’re going to baseball games. It’s been going pretty swell except for a few things

  • After being here for a bit it seems the Ownership don’t want to admit they are running a full restaurant. This lack of admittance leads to stupid decisions based on what the front of house wants, instead of what the entirety of the business needs. The kitchen is completely shut out.
  • There is ongoing drama with the KM and the sous not being responsible over what is happening in their kitchen. They also don not seem to be training greenstick cooks at all.
  • Due to the above I now have to come in on days off to work.
  • A coworker had a full-on mental crisis and blew up on the Ownership bypassing the GM and the KM entirely. They apparently had no inkling anything was amiss. This does not seem to have caused any changes to be made. I’m left wondering about this one coworker just going MIA one of these days.
  • They seriously want to pay people $16/h when businesses around us are starting people at $18. The minimum wage here in town is $15/h.

My fear is everything will come to a head at the worst time. The front of house is getting an entire new bar installed while the kitchen keeps dragging along with a couple of induction burners and a couple of steam food wells. Then there’s a big red flag we had the other day that I need to find out more about.

All of these things I’m sure will give me enough material for more posts, in time. But for now I get to enjoy two shifties at the end of the workday. I usually look like the featured image while I’m drinking them.

Here’s to everyone being safe out there. And fuck the Supreme Court.

A lot of jobs are like that. A lot of *life* is like that.

They get hired and they come in with stars in their eyes. Everything they know about “being a chef” they learned from TV. And the instructors at the community college sure aren’t going to say anything to break the news to them. So they come in on their first day ready to help the chef plan out the next menu together. And the sous sends them into a corner to chop 5 gallons of onions. Every day is more scut work, and people yelling and cursing, and there are no breaks and they can’t work fast enough and no one will tell them where anything is. Before long, you can see the bitter disillusionment set in.

Then they think, it must just be this kitchen; I landed in a terrible kitchen, that’s all. I just need to find a normal kitchen where they will appreciate me for being me team task management. So they start looking around and asking around, and discover they had completely unrealistic expectations about cooking as a career, and that they made a huge mistake. Maybe they should move back home before their bedroom gets turned into an office…

This was written over at Reddit a couple of weeks ago.

“Yo nada mas vengo al busy”

That’s Spanish for “I only come here for the busy time”

As a fellow cook it’s not something I can say I’m glad to hear. While working during the busy hours makes the time go by that much faster, it also means that you consider anything else beneath your attention, including cleaning up, restocking your station, and letting people know what else should be prepped so there aren’t any nasty surprises for someone else to find.

Cooking in a kitchen is a team effort; you come in, you do your thing, you do it well. But it also means that a certain standard is kept up by everyone in there. If they’re weeded, you help; if you’re weeded, they help you project management team.

When a cook is leaving the kitchen it is a manager’s responsibility to make sure that the cook has stayed up to the standards in that kitchen. Maybe it takes more work, maybe it takes less work, but it’s not just announcing that you’re leaving and then just… leaving, no matter what station’s condition is. The cook has to be held responsible for it.

For myself it is also a question of personal pride. Not just that nobody else will find fault with my work, but also knowing for myself that I did a good job and I can look someone in the eye when I talk about my job.

It’s slow at work

You know what you do when it’s slow?

You clean.

Then you clean some more.

Then you clean the little crevices with a toothpick to get all the gunk out.

Then you wipe everything down with a clean towel and sanitizer and spray the stainless with polish to make it look all nice and pretty.

This is a time where the real cooks prove their mettle. Cooking is not just about how good your food tastes or how delicious it looks. It is also about how clean you keep your station.

Don’t forget to cook those tickets that do come in though.