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Loosecanon Dolph

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Everything posted by Loosecanon Dolph

  1. It's an ego thing. People think the moniker chef is cool. Which is why you have tons of people who refer to themselves as chefs when they don't deserve the title or even have a restaurant. If you work for someone and they want to be called chef then you do it. I worked for a long time in yes chef kitchens and now I work for a chef who just wants to be called by his first name. It's much better, in a kitchen with good cooks eliminating a divide between the cooks and chefs makes the food better. My opinion if you don't have a restaurant then you're not a chef, if you are a sous chef you're not a chef, and even if your a chef you're a cook first. Here in Portland Oregon there is a movement in a lot of new restaurants for everyone to wear T-shirts and be more casual (less ego maybe) about cooking. I don't know how I feel about cooking in a thin cotton t-shirt, but the image does make me feel like those kitchens are taking themselves less seriously. I think that if you want to take yourself seriously you should become a doctor and cure cancer, if you are a cook you feed people who have money for your profit, there's more to it than that but when you boil it down it's only food.
  2. The progression of every dedicated cook is oddly linked. We all start out scared and ambitious at the same time. Then I think there is a period of realization that you are excelling and that is a turning point, We all develop ego's at that point. "I am better than the pack, my food is better" etc. At this point we either run with this (mistake I think) or we move on to a harder challenge. Progressing and getting better at your trade is something that gives us meaning in life, something in the distance to strive for. Some of us stay in the ponds eating the smaller fish and loving it. Some of us flop to the seas to see how we fare against the sharks and whales. It is those people who will become the best. I never want to work in a kitchen where I am the best, I always want to be surrounded by people who are better than me. With time as I have learned I will pick up and adapt their good qualities notice and shake off their weaknesses and become better than them. I stay away from the money because I want to be a better cook. This is what we love, this is why we love and live. Money is comfort and ease, that is not part of a cooks way of life. We do well in difficult situations, we solve problems. The easy way out is always the wrong path to take, because it makes you weaK. If you push yourself to your limits and let your chefs push you past them, you will become a great chef. Money is something to live with, reputation is something to die with.
  3. On that basis, you'd have to include Emeril's. I'm sorry but I'm throwing up in my mouth a little. I don't think either is influential to their peers or the industry, perhaps to home cooks. But Mesa Grill? Really? Bobby Flay? Really?
  4. Maybe off topic, but this could be social anxiety, which, if it interferes with your life to a significant degree, may be suitable for medical treatment. I took some anxiety meds for about a year and they really helped - unfortunately made me slightly nauseated all the time, which didn't go so well with kitchen work...just saying that if serious shyness or anxiety around people is causing you to not function as well in your daily life as you'd like to, it may be worth a chat with your doctor. It's OK to be quiet, but you should also be getting as much out of life as you want to be getting and not be afraid of your co-workers. I am someone who has had social anxiety in the past, the best thing for me actually was working in kitchens and being thrown to the wolves as it were. Facing your fears is the best way to overcome them, and if you are socially anxious kitchens, especially faced-paced ones, can be the scariest places. If you are a young cook or even just a new one in a kitchen no one will pay you any mind, but even the most green cooks will develop a relationship with other cooks over time. They will pay you mind and respect you if you respect them. Then you will move on to another kitchen, where it is the same thing, social anxiety no one notices you or cares etc. and then the next kitchen until you start to learn how to cope with these feelings and get better at it. I am also just sort of against meds as a principle, I think they are good for some people but a lot of the time an easy way out. Working in kitchens had taught me so many things just by the nature of it being hard work, and myself wanting to excel at it. From social skills to confidence to ego control, its all a learning process, and a beautiful thing at that.
  5. You're badass just for jumping into it. I think the trepidation you have is something anyone would have, you should just keep doing what you're doing, seems like hard work is a universal language in kitchens, I think you will learn to communicate even if you never end up learning the language. And don't be afraid to be on the bottom of the totem pole, humiliation can be good, if you use it to push you not to make the same mistakes.
  6. You are preachin' to the choir. ← Serving doesn't require a whole lot of skill, c'mon people. Good service requires a whole lot of skill. Easy to learn hard to master. I am surprised that so many people seem to be so kneejerk in their assessment of this quandry. 20% is a lot for a tacked on gratuity. But I think you put the server in a weird position not willing to cough up the 80 odd cents, the charge is probably in the servers till and she/he probably has to drop the 145.80 odd cents no matter what you give him/her so its not necessarily that you are shorting them the 80 cents but actually 1.60, I think that makes sense. Also serving is something that most people don't take seriously there is so much bad service in this country that I see from BOH. It makes me really angry that A.) generally people are jerks to their servers but also that B.) servers are treated like f***ing victims, they can get other jobs and they normally make more/do less than the BOH. No more Boo hoos for servers and American diners: learn how to treat people.
  7. Okay, NOW I get what you're saying. Yeah, I've worked with people that are "all hat no cowboy", you betcha. I can relate. ← all hat and no cowboy, i rather like that
  8. Wow, I've never met one of those people. Usually the incompetent people I've worked with really hated their jobs. I've never met someone that has said, "Boy I really suck at this, but I sure am passionate about it!" Maybe I don't get what you're saying. I guess you don't. I think its pretty obvious that the people who hype up their passion and enthusiasm and skill level are the most insecure and often incompetent cooks. I can tell a lot by a cook on his or her first day in the kitchen. Invariably they are nervous, but the ones who talk about what they have done in the past, that question the methods and techniques, that act like "veterans" are always always ALWAYS weak cooks. The guys or girls who put their heads down, work, don't question things, take everything seriously are the people I think you want to keep around. Maybe this is just something that sticks out to me because I work in a town (PORTLAND OR) inundated with mediocre (unfortunately its true) culinary students, but I have noticed this in every kitchen I've worked. If you really are skilled you don't need to talk about how much passion you have or who you've worked for in the past it just comes out. Okay I wanted to clarify that.
  9. totally, im a professional cook and I would love to see some youtube videos of busy lines i love watching other kitchens work its fascinating, someone should start a thread and people should start posting videos from their friday sat nights. Am i right or am i wrong ? :-) [Good luck with that pal. Most kitchens are very efficient because they're behind those doors. There's a reason for this, cooks and chefs alike are very territorial, piratical, and foul mouthed. That's OUR home. Intruders are rarely welcome. Even new hires are chastised or ignored until they have somehow proven themselves to be accepted. Servers will NEVER by any form be tolerated on the line. The thought of a customer or a film crew on the line is not only not gonna happen because of pride and space, but also because it's a dangerous place to be if you don't know what you're doing. ] Film crew, c'mon you're getting ahead of yourself, I'm talking about one camera set on the pass.
  10. I agree 100% not to mention that clogs and heavy footwear also can protect against spills of hot oil/water etc. I think wearing sneakers makes a cook look really sloppy and unprofessional.
  11. I am having trouble finding a comprehensive list of James Beard award winners past and present, if anyone has a URL that is comprehensive I would greatly appreciate it. At last check the foundations websites list was imcomplete
  12. I worked in Eugene for 3 years, there are very few good restaurants. Marche is okay, not pushing any boundries, Red Agave is okay, just changed owners, in a good way. And my favorite by far, purely for ambience and fresh ingredients Chef's Kitchen on Amazon, Bruno's the man. Cafe zenon is complete garbage however you will find a lot of locals telling you its great, don't trust them I know know know that place is garbage from the inside out. Also I forgot but Bel Ami is a really nice place for a drink and casual dining, unpretentious, and some of the best bartenders in the industry.
  13. There have been studies that show that cursing does indeed relieve tension and is a good tool in stressful environs. People will always curse and say dirty stuff in kitchens, always, it will never decline. Also people who say this is a guy thing are way off base, its a cook thing, female cooks are and will always be dirtier than the guys, IME. Cursing can be unproffessional though and people who use curse words without thought come off sounding dumb.
  14. C'mon, are you serious hippie? Stage's are for you, your pay is the experience you get, you should feel lucky to have secured something at Primo, don't ask for money it will make you look like a total douche. No one wants to hire a temporary cook, wait there is no such thing, the only thing I could recommend is to get an easy job at some middle end restaurant and then quit after two weeks taking the money and running so to speak, however, this bad karma will bite you in the ass sometime, guaranteed. What you should do is just find the bridges and underpasses where the mexicans hang out and get some day labor, good luck wavy gravy
  15. Constant communication, experience, and a good expediter
  16. According to Marco White, he kept Harveys afloat during the recession of the 80's by raising his prices, instead of lowering them or changing portion sizes (something he claims all his competitors were quickly doing) because he said rich people are still rich in a recession, and they can afford price increases, and they are going to NOW be ones target market. By lowering prices or changing portion size, in a way you are trying to deceive the customer/devalue your food, and anyone with half a brain will see right through that, but if you raise the prices people will see that as an honest response to a tough economy, especially coupled with a rising food crisis. Anyway he coasted successfully through those years, and as most chefs know Marco White is something of a restaurant genius.
  17. I think there are different types of burnouts. There are people who burn out because they have pushed themselves too hard, and there are people who burn out because they haven't pushed themselves enough. As for the former, you can only work 80 hour work weeks for so long before something breaks. I know a few people who work themselves stupid, are very successful, but have a worthless personal life, no balance. No matter how much you love cooking (or anything for that matter) spending every waking hour doing it isn't a healthy lifestyle choice. As for the latter, there are people in this industry who think they are meant to be cooks, chefs whatever, who have convinced themselves that they were destined to be in kitchens etc. etc. but are just fooling themselves. we all know cooks who are way too demonstrative about how "passionate" they are about food. Well are you passionate about food, or cooking? I think that sometimes people fall into careers for the wrong reasons, just because something seems like a good idea when you're 20 doesn't mean it will still be a good idea when your 40 right? Anyway I see people like this in kitchens all the time, and they flail, normally because they don't want to admit to themselves that they have made a career mistake and fall into jobs that are cush and pay well but don't challenge. I think one of the only things that makes life interesting (besides sex and eating) is progress, growth, watching yourself evolve, and when your not challenged thats when things start to fall apart, standards fall, and suddenly you're set into a host of new shortcutting bad habits, as cooks until we have our own kitchens the key is to keep moving along, keep challenging yourself, if your burnt out quit your job, take two weeks off, travel or skydive or take time to get your house in order or whatever and get into a new more challenging kitchen, its saved me from meltdown countless times. When your comfortable at your job it's time to change things up.
  18. As for whoever asked if Alinea(Grant Achatz) would be involved in this Top Chef I was wondering that as soon as I heard it was Chicago, as well as Charlie Trotter, I really hope we see both of them this season. Manuel was just a weak competitor. I think (despite the fact that Spike obviously sucked at the elimination challenge) the judges take into account both peoples past history on the show and Spike was ahead of Manuel in the pack, as for both of them and their resumes I think they are pretty weak, Ryan as well obviously. I don't think andrew is as bad as everyone else does (despite the aioli/mayo thing which I think was really weird) but I think he'll mess up one challenge and go down. What's all this about him being on meth? Does anyone have an extrapolation on that rumor? It's gonna be Dale and Richard in the end, its gotta be, I think they are both more talented and experienced than anyone else. Unfortunately I don't think that any female contestant besides Stephanie has any chops, I haven't really seen Zoi's partners food but she's gonna get in trouble always sticking up for Zoi's weakness. Nikki? Is she still on the show, c'mon? Velveta Mac and Cheese? She said Mac and cheese was one of her signature dishes(which is a really odd statement), wouldn't she know well enough to PUT DOWN THE VELVEETA. And make something that would taste good and fresh. Gross, this years chef's are lacking. Ilan: Yeah there are some videos of him on youtube getting interviewed after winning top chef and he is really cocky about the whole thing, he's a nobody, but I do wonder if he ever got his restaurant off the ground, Tiffany too.
  19. Actually I think Andrews close-to exact words were, "mayo is oil and egg yolks, I didn't know that, so he gave me a recipe" are you serious? this guy is supposed to be a sous at Le Cirque by the way..Amazing, AND he wins the next challenge. I have never worked in any restaurant that hasn't had some form of house aioli in the food.
  20. Anybody know anything about this Portland restaurant set to pop in may or june, I've heard Pascal Chureau of Fenouil is vying to create a 5 start dining experience in Portland. Also any comments on the newly developed south waterfront area, my antennae are telling me these ritzy condos and restaurants are gonna be hung out to dry while the economy continues to falter. I've already heard a lot of the condos are going to rental because they aren't selling.
  21. Yeah, I ate at Ten 01 and Clark lewis and had pretty lackluster meals. At Ten 01 I had some plates that were under seasoned and seemed un-thought-out. And at Clark Lewis we had great appetizers but all the main courses we got were really not good, over cooked fish, boring veg entree, terrible service, etc. The best meal I've had was at Le Pigeon, has anyone heard anything about Gabriel Rucker opening up another (perhaps larger place) it seems they fill up all night every night, and the space he has, although really homey and nice, seems better suited sizewise to be a check cashing store or a mini-mart, I think there's like 36 seats and everyone is crammed in. But yeah the food at Le Pigeon was pretty fantastic, I'm pretty sure everything we ordered was phenomenal, it'll be interesting to see what that guy can do when he gets into his thirties, sheesh, plus I think with his popularity a larger place has got to be in the works.
  22. I just moved to Portland and I'm wondering if there are any cooks out there with the whats what for Portland's restaurant scene? Who's cutting edge? Who's pushing the limits? Who's over rated? etc. Any townies out there with the scoop?
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