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Old 08-25-2006, 05:12 PM   #1
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Couple Questions For Chefs Who Hire Their Own Staff

I had my 1st "interview" today, if you can call it that, at the Yacht Club. One of the first things the guy said was, "Let me guess, you like to cook & decided you want to get into it." Then he told me not to quit my job at the bank. (I wasn't planning to until I have a firm offer - how ever long that takes.)

He went on to tell me that it's not all fun & glamour & it's nothing like what's portrayed on TV. (I don't watch those shows, anyway!) We didn't really talk about what I am capable of or what I might be able to bring to the table, so to speak! I wasn't really interviewed, wasn't asked to fill out an application or anything like that. I'm just supposed to go back there tomorrow at 4 PM to observe. What am I supposed to wear? I don't have any cool chef's clothes! Jeans? Denim skirt? T-shirt? What? Closed-toe shoes are a given. I don't expect that I'll actually be doing anything but I want to be proper. I typically wear skirts & dresses.

Now - for you Chefs out there who interview & hire your own staff, what would it take for you to give me a chance, with no formal experience? Is there something I need to say or do to prove myself enough to get in someone's door? Have you ever hired someone who had no schooling or experience in the business? Did it work out?

Another thing about today: this job was advertised in the newspaper & online. The ad had an incorrect phone number so I had to make an effort to track this person down. It took me a few phone calls but I managed. I mentioned that on my way out. He wasn't aware that the phone # was wrong & was wondering why he didn't get many applicants! He was on his cell phone as I was walking away, getting that taken care of...

Thanks so much - you guys are so great!

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Old 08-25-2006, 06:10 PM   #2
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I would wear something casual, but not jeans. And also, make sure that it is something you don't mind getting dirty.

Some of my BEST hires have been blank slates, you don't have to break them of any bad habbits. Do you have any f&b experience at all? If you have none, the best thing I would recomend is sell yourself. Let him know it is something you are truly interested in, and NOT because of t.v. chef stuff. Be passionate, and be honest.

Sounds like he was a little cocky though.
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Old 08-25-2006, 06:50 PM   #3
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Well I can understand his reasonings really.. Ive had what i call "cowboys" come in to look for jobs and they are all "I want to be the next jamie oliver" I ROLL my eyes and dont usually call them back.

Hes probably been messed about by people who have never cooked who end up after he trains them walk out. Sooooo he wants to make sure you arent just another young pretender!

Tips to show you care

When you go to observe take a note pad with you... talk to the staff find out whats it like to work there... TEll the chef you want to have dinner there... (ive never worked at a place without eating there first generally on the chefs bill as well :) but im cheeky)

I would wear dress shirt.. pants... 4pm near service might have you do some prep. he might lend youa chef coat if you dont have one yourself :)

Anyway hope this helps.

Oh in future for interviews ALWAYS request a trial day :)
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Old 08-25-2006, 07:10 PM   #4
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Whew! I'm so glad I asked you guys what to wear!

I don't want to be the next famous chef - I just want to cook. That's all.

Young? Oh my! I haven't been accused of that in a long time!

Experience - next to none. I worked in a pizza shop with my son for awhile but I wasn't paid. I was there to spend time with my son & for the experience. As far as catering or cooking in large quantities: I've catered a number of things mostly by myself. From 20 people up to 300 - that included coming up with the menu & preparing most, if not all, of the food by myself.

Truthfully, I don't think that I'm a good fit for a Yacht Club. I am so not frou-frou & I don't make pretty food but I'm sure I could learn an awful lot at a place like that. I would just like to explore all my options.

Thank you for your tips. Please keep them coming!
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Old 08-26-2006, 12:13 PM   #5
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Advice on Cooking job

Hello Corrine, I want to tell you something that I think is very important. To be in this business you need to have a true passion for it!!!! it is a job that's hard work, long hours.If you have passion and the love for this industry you will succeed!!. I started in this business over 35 years ago. I was 19 and never in my wildest dream did I ever think I would end up in the culinary business! I started at the bottom, washing dishes, then waiting tables, short order cook, then pantry ( cold station making salads), breakfast cook, then working the "line". I found out that my true passion was being creative, working in the gourmet department, My major in school was Art, so Gourmet was right up my alley. I worked at a Private Club and the Executive Chef there saw something in me and gave me my first big opportunity, he said he wanted me to do a huge Turkey Display for a Food conferance. I was nervous as **** telling him that I didn't have a clue what I was suppose to do!!! he told me to take a deep breath and go to his office and get his photo album and look through it to get some ideas. And the rest they say is history!!! I did such an excellent job that I was photographed and put in the local newspaper in the food section with my display!!!!! I have PREPARED FOOD For Florence Henderson (T.V'S Mrs. Brady of the Brady Bunch), Paul Newman, Michael Spinks( the ex-heavyweight champion) Princess's Di'S UNCLE WHO OWNS FORMULA 1 RACING, the list go's on and on. I was the Gourmet Chef at THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY FOR OVER 9 YEARS until I retired. I know that this reply is long, but I just wanted you to know how rewarding the culinary field can be if you have the passion, hard work ethics, and love for it. Even if you are "green", so was I.
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Old 08-26-2006, 01:22 PM   #6
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A pro kitchen is not a democracy. As Chef (chief) I have hired you to do X, and you will do X my way. You should pay attentional to all that goes on around you because some day I may need you to do Y, and if you can, great for you...you'll move up. You are not here to change my plans, routines, systems, menus recipes etc. nor are you here to make recommendations unless asked. This is not a cooperative venture; this is a brigade system.

I want you to be able to carry out with minimal instruction what you are told to do or shown to do. And as in any job, there is a vocabulary, both formal and slang which you need to know. You should know the basic set up, your meez, and basic knife cuts like brunoise, batton, chiffonade; you should know how to turn vegetables, you should know basic sauces and preparations such as tomato concase, bechamel, etc. Any you should know basic food safety and sanitation practices. All this is why untrained folks often start washing up rather than cooking.

Knives are sharp, pans are hot, working conditions are close. That's the job. The attitudes are formed by the fact that time is short and service is from 4:30 to 9. I have time to explain and be nice after the doors close. and that's the truth.

If you want the job, be ready for it.

I love to cook and work with people like me who love to cook. I enjoy being a private chef, picking and chosing my jobs. I do not enjoy restaraunt work. The conditions, the tension...it's a lot to deal with.
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Old 08-26-2006, 02:32 PM   #7
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Just move to Kansas and come work for me. I don't care what you wear as long as your "decent"....and anyway...I'm going to "work the pants off of you!"...lol. Good luck in your job hunting. I hope you find something you truly love!
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Old 08-26-2006, 03:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo410
A pro kitchen is not a democracy. As Chef (chief) I have hired you to do X, and you will do X my way.
Wow! That was a little harsh to me. I guess if you were the chef I spoke to yesterday, I wouldn't be going back today.

I'm not asking to be coddled - just to be treated as a fellow human & given a fair shot.
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Old 08-26-2006, 03:47 PM   #9
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corrine I see you agree with me about Chef Robo410 comming down on futre employees like a ton of bricks Chefs like him don't have employees long they move on!!!!! They want to be treated like their apart of the human race hope you read my reply. MJohnson
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Old 08-26-2006, 04:01 PM   #10
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Hello Kaylinda just took the tour of the Just us Resteraurant, made me hungry nice menu and deserts!!!!! too bad i'm in indianapolis, Indiana
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