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Old 12-28-2015, 09:40 PM   #11
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I understand what you are saying Steve. In the event five years later a new employee came in, then there it was. Exactly as it was written. And that is very important.

When I worked at Wyeth Pharmaceutical my job was to make sure every single adverse event was filed in a timely manner and in the proper order. It was up to the Protocol Manager to read each and every report of each event. To miss one, or not to be able to find any certain report on a patient could mean the loss of lives for other patients in the trials.

A screw up by either one of us in our respected jobs could cost very large amounts of money for your company or a life lost and blamed on the company I was employed by.

But an unfolded towel sounds more like a "control" problem for the head chef. That unfolded towel is not going to cause food poisoning, foreign items in the food, etc. Added up at the end of the day, the times spent folding those towels of the kitchen staff add up lost time on the clock and thus lost money. I would rather, as the customer, have the kitchen staff use that time making sure my food gets to me while it is hot.

You have to know which battles to pick and fight. A folded towel is not worth the battle. Because in the end, you might lose a very good cook and have to hire and train a new one, once again.
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Old 12-28-2015, 10:26 PM   #12
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I Don't Understand Professional Chefs

Steve Kroll, no argument here, yes, I too have worked at jobs were the rules were, sorry, over the top and I didn't last very long either.

If we're talking about codes for launching the next Space Shuttle, yes, that's how it should be, but... we're talking about just food.

Granted, a well run kitchen, both front and back of the house, are key to success, but come on man, a side towel?

Yes, it is his kitchen, as I did make mention in my original post, and yes, one doesn't HAVE to work there... but I'd be willing to wager that his turn over is pretty high.
Think about it for a minute, low pay, long hours, deplorable conditions, an over bearing Executive Chef with a HUGE ego (which many of them have, not all, but a large number of them), over the top standards that have to be met or you will be cast aside like yesterdays fish, and then there's his underlings... over achievers trying desperately to please the boss and get sent up the ladder and eventually run their own kitchen... all a vicious circle with a very small hamster-wheel for far too many, um, people shall we say.

I guess why I brought this magazine article to the forum is that this, um, person grants his "approval" to those in his brigade who fold their side towel the way he dictates... that has NOTHING to do with FOOD, which this publication is about, not a, um, person ... you know what did LIKE to say
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Old 12-28-2015, 10:52 PM   #13
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K-Girl, apparently this is not uncommon in the restaurant business. I read a different article in the December issue of "Cooking Light". Different chef, different victim, but the same theme. The article talks about now-editor Hunter Lewis wanting to kill his chef-mentor Justin Smillie. Article here: Facing My Tormentor: Going Back in the Kitchen with Upland's Justin Smillie.

I think this portion speaks to why some chefs do what they do - some might call it extreme, others view it as a necessary means of separating those who CAN stand the heat in a kitchen vs those who's presence will only slow down the flow of work.
"I didn’t understand how to control heat, much less fold a side towel correctly to clean my station. Smillie taught me these things and much more. He broke me down and built me back up as a professional cook"

I guess highlighting cruel taskmaster chefs is the "thing" in cooking magazines this month. Me, I just happy to be the only one yelling at me when I don't do things the way the "chef de cuisine" wants them done because...I'm, you know, the chef de cuisine.
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Old 12-28-2015, 11:01 PM   #14
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So.. how does he fold the towels?
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Old 12-28-2015, 11:10 PM   #15
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so.. How does he fold the towels?
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:02 AM   #16
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I've been thinking about this and I've reconsidered. It may not seem like this is a big deal, or would directly affect the food, but this kind of training builds muscle memory. When you're busy, you need to do things automatically and efficiently.

I was not taught this in the two months I spent in culinary school (withdrew for medical reasons) and I'll tell you, I never did understand why side towels were used as pot holders. A large stockpot full of simmering stock is not easy to pick up with an unfolded towel

And if you're doing it right, I don't think you have to keep refolding it all day
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:11 AM   #17
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i've been thinking about this and i've reconsidered. It may not seem like this is a big deal, or would directly affect the food, but this kind of training builds muscle memory. When you're busy, you need to do things automatically and efficiently.

I was not taught this in the two months i spent in culinary school (withdrew for medical reasons) and i'll tell you, i never did understand why side towels were used as pot holders. A large stockpot full of simmering stock is not easy to pick up with an unfolded towel

And if you're doing it right, i don't think you have to keep refolding it all day

oh my gosh gg!! Right?!
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:14 AM   #18
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I, myself have never been to any formal culinary training, but with so many friend/chefs that I've cooked with, there's never mention of HOW YOU FOLD YOUR FREAKIN SIDE TOWEL!!!
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Old 12-29-2015, 09:03 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
I've been thinking about this and I've reconsidered. It may not seem like this is a big deal, or would directly affect the food, but this kind of training builds muscle memory. When you're busy, you need to do things automatically and efficiently.

I was not taught this in the two months I spent in culinary school (withdrew for medical reasons) and I'll tell you, I never did understand why side towels were used as pot holders. A large stockpot full of simmering stock is not easy to pick up with an unfolded towel

And if you're doing it right, I don't think you have to keep refolding it all day
I think I agree with you. I feel that this is less about how to fold a towel and more about setting a level of discipline and efficiency. People that follow these strict rules are much less likely to go off and do things "their way"
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Old 12-29-2015, 09:47 AM   #20
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I agree entirely with Steve Kroll.

Jeremy Fox is a pretty big deal chef. He has a Michelin star.

He sets standards for his brigade that he, his employees and his customers benefit from. He expects the people to work for him to do even the little things like properly folding a towel correctly. If his line cooks don't bother to fold their towels right then what other things are they doing wrong?

In return, his brigade has the opportunity to learn from him. Young chefs stage for no pay at restaurants run by well known chefs who will teach and mentor them -- and recommend them to others.

This is how much of the fine dining world works. Chef Fox's viewpoint is not uncommon.
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