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Singing the praises of the chefs


FistFullaRoux
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http://blog.al.com/whatgrinds/2007/05/real...ork_nights.html

What makes those who cook your dinner better and more talented than the guy who wakes at 3 a.m. to cook breakfast for those unfortunate enough to rise before the sun. That big stack of flapjacks, eggs, and bacon you had this morning so that you could be worth a shit at work, thats all due to the talent of that morning chef.

Admittedley not the best example of writing I've ever come across, but he does have a point.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Oh hell what about the diner waitress...

that whole breakfast for 2 only cost about 11 dollars, even in the diner dinner would have been 40...do you tip on the bill or your conscience?

T

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

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You tip for quality of service in those instances. And maybe add a little on top because that diner wairess is allways there with a hot pot of coffee, a "how you doin' Hon'" and a sassy snapping of chewing gum that sets you on your way.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Who said real chefs only work at night? Brunch cooks are hardcore. At lest where I work, the craziest service time is brunch. On a busy day, the dinner cooks will have 5-600 meals to make and the brunch cooks will have 6-800 meals to make. Most of these guys love to party too so they will be working with only a couple hours of sleep if any.

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Who said real chefs only work at night? Bunch cooks are hardcore. At lest where I work, the craziest service time is brunch. On a busy day, the dinner cooks will have 5-600 meals to make and the brunch cooks will have 6-800 meals to make. Most of these guys love to party too so they will be working with only a couple hours of sleep if any.

Brunch 5-600? Damn where the hell do you work in Seattle? I used to do those numbers when I worked the Sunday Brunch shift at Cafe Campagne. Brunch was pretty much a 14 hour Hell shift. Eggs...I could never understand why people would pay that much for eggs?

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Who said real chefs only work at night? Bunch cooks are hardcore. At lest where I work, the craziest service time is brunch. On a busy day, the dinner cooks will have 5-600 meals to make and the brunch cooks will have 6-800 meals to make. Most of these guys love to party too so they will be working with only a couple hours of sleep if any.

Brunch 5-600? Damn where the hell do you work in Seattle? I used to do those numbers when I worked the Sunday Brunch shift at Cafe Campagne. Brunch was pretty much a 14 hour Hell shift. Eggs...I could never understand why people would pay that much for eggs?

I work at Palisade. Do you live in the area?

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Yup,

Washington native. I live in Seattle. Nice to meet you. Never been to the Palisade restaurant. How many do you have on your line? We used to rock it out with 3 or 4 on the line. The brunch shift was the most thankless job I've ever had...

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Yup,

Washington native.  I live in Seattle.  Nice to meet you.  Never been to the Palisade restaurant.  How many do you have on your line?  We used to rock it out with 3 or 4 on the line.  The brunch shift was the most thankless job I've ever had...

On a fully staffed line we have 10 people. This is only on busy nights though: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. Normally it's 7.

Where do you work?

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I did most of my time at Cafe Campagne...a short stint at Eva in wallingford. I quit cooking though. I bought a house and all that stuff, needed to make more money...kinda sad about it, but that's life.

Cooking was my 2nd career...and I ended up going back to the first after most of my savings dried up.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Brunch 5-600?  Damn where the hell do you work in Seattle?  I used to do those numbers when I worked the Sunday Brunch shift at Cafe Campagne.  Brunch was pretty much a 14 hour Hell shift.  Eggs...I could never understand why people would pay that much for eggs?

Hehehe, you probably came very close but you did not break 500 because you did not work Mother's Day Brunch in 2006, where we set the cafe kitchen record of breaking 500 for the first time at 515!

Nonetheless, agree about the Hell Shift aspect as well as the sheer volume. People have no idea how tiny the kitchen is, as well as just how few cooks are there to crank out all that food. Made me strong though. And probably a little bit messed up too! :laugh:

Pat

"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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Sorry gang,

But it's Cooks vs. Chefs.

It doesn't matter how hard the egg guy works, nor how hungover he might be, the fact of the matter is: The guy who works nights, the guy who puts the menu together, the guy who is dying for the local review and waiting for that scribbler to notice him is the guy that works nights.

The hardworking guy who makes all the breakfasts is simply the hardworking guy who makes all the breakfasts. To be sure, he's great, and we couldn't make it with out him, but......

A long time ago we had a talented guy that we thought could be our "chef". We offered it to him, but the schedule sucked because he had a girlfriend and he only wanted to work days. The guy we eventually hired as the Chef de Cuisine had the best line ever:

"No lunch cook ever got famous for cuisine"

Lots of Truth in that.

myers

Edited by fatdeko (log)
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Its fairly simple and straight-forward. Theres 2 teams : the A Team and the B Team. The A Team are the All Stars working the dinner shift. These are the guys with the knowledge and experience. Its where the B Team aspires to move to. B Team are the breakfest/lunch crew. Usually new cooks and/or cooks with little experience. The B Team probaly does an incredible job during breakfest/lunch and probably produces some good food. But there is are distinct differences between the 2.

Or think of it as a concert. The lunch crew is the opening act of a lesser known band. Theyre not bad and with a little more time they could easily become a headliner. The dinner crew is the main attraction. The reason you spent the money.

Its just the way it is in the industry.

-Chef Johnny

John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

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Its fairly simple and straight-forward. Theres 2 teams : the A Team and the B Team. The A Team are the All Stars working the dinner shift. These are the guys with the knowledge and experience. Its where the B Team aspires to move to. B Team are the breakfest/lunch crew. Usually new cooks and/or cooks with little experience. The B Team probaly does an incredible job during breakfest/lunch and probably produces some good food. But there is are distinct differences between the 2.

Or think of it as a concert. The lunch crew is the opening act of a lesser known band. Theyre not bad and with a little more time they could easily become a headliner. The dinner crew is the main attraction. The reason you spent the money.

Its just the way it is in the industry.

-Chef Johnny

so what do you call us that work both lunch/ dinner?

Edited by andrewB (log)
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Its fairly simple and straight-forward. Theres 2 teams : the A Team and the B Team. The A Team are the All Stars working the dinner shift. These are the guys with the knowledge and experience. Its where the B Team aspires to move to. B Team are the breakfest/lunch crew. Usually new cooks and/or cooks with little experience. The B Team probaly does an incredible job during breakfest/lunch and probably produces some good food. But there is are distinct differences between the 2.

Or think of it as a concert. The lunch crew is the opening act of a lesser known band. Theyre not bad and with a little more time they could easily become a headliner. The dinner crew is the main attraction. The reason you spent the money.

Its just the way it is in the industry.

-Chef Johnny

so what do you call us that work both lunch/ dinner?

Tired.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Many years ago I was Food and Beverage manager at a large resort hotel. The breakfast cook was an older guy with no formal culinary training. But man he could get breakfast done. He was fantastic and we treated him well.

With no input from me the hotel GM brought in his pal to be executive chef. He had all kinds of awards that he displayed all over the place. This guy told me we needed to increase the culinary talent in the kitchen. I had bad feelings. He either fired or chased away most of the line cooks including the breakfast guy. Replaced them all with culinary school guys who had one problem. They could not get the job done.

I had this crazy idea that we were in business to take care of the guests. He wanted to be running some sort of salon for cooks. We had major fights. He tried to ban me from the kitchen. The labor cost went nuts and the food was no better.

Has damn awards for competition cooking did the guests no good while they were waiting for their eggs.

Since he was the GM's boy I knew I was done. But that breakfast cook was worth more than any of the award guys. Anyone of those culinary guys may have moved on to become a famous chef someplace. But the old guy pumping out the breakfast deserved the respect of everyone for what he did.

In an interesting conclusion after I was gone,within a year the GM and his chef moved on to their next jobs. The new guys hired the breakfast cook back.

Edited by lancastermike (log)
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In an interesting conclusion after I was gone,within a year the GM and his chef moved on to their next jobs. The new guys hired the breakfast cook back.

Guys like that tend to have a sixth sense about those things, knowing that if they just lay low for a while, they will be more than welcome to come back when the storm blows over.

I really like your story, Mike. It reminds me, more than anything else, of a man with whom I work right now. The restaurant where I work has been open since 1978, built from bricks of the theatre where "Gone With The Wind" was first shown, after that theatre burned down. It stands on a busy streetcorner that has changed in myriad ways since its inception, and through that whole time, it has remained one of the busiest restaurants in the entire city. To this day, it is still one of the most profitable pieces of real estate in Atlanta.

And there is one employee who has worked there since opening day. He's our dishwasher.

Over the years, the company has rewarded him in numerous ways for his loyalty. He has received all sorts of gifts on his birthday and company anniversaries, and we've even put his name on the menu. He's our rock star. And I think that the company has their priorities in exactly the right place, because of this.

I am friends with him, of course, and I talk to him every day. And even when he asks me ridiculous favors, I do them, and I never tell him what an annoying, persnickety old man he can be, at times. :raz: It's just a really, really precious thing to know him, I guess.

Edited to bring this back to topic: I meant to say that one cannot forget to value the employees who do the work that the high-profile chefs might consider to be "less worthy." You have to respect all of the people in this line of work who do the jobs that you would not want to do, and take pride in doing it, even if it's banging out a hundred plates of eggs in an hour, every morning, year after year. It's good to see articles that show an appreciation for that.

Edited by TheFoodTutor (log)
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In an interesting conclusion after I was gone,within a year the GM and his chef moved on to their next jobs. The new guys hired the breakfast cook back.

Guys like that tend to have a sixth sense about those things, knowing that if they just lay low for a while, they will be more than welcome to come back when the storm blows over.

I really like your story, Mike. It reminds me, more than anything else, of a man with whom I work right now. The restaurant where I work has been open since 1978, built from bricks of the theatre where "Gone With The Wind" was first shown, after that theatre burned down. It stands on a busy streetcorner that has changed in myriad ways since its inception, and through that whole time, it has remained one of the busiest restaurants in the entire city. To this day, it is still one of the most profitable pieces of real estate in Atlanta.

And there is one employee who has worked there since opening day. He's our dishwasher.

Over the years, the company has rewarded him in numerous ways for his loyalty. He has received all sorts of gifts on his birthday and company anniversaries, and we've even put his name on the menu. He's our rock star. And I think that the company has their priorities in exactly the right place, because of this.

I am friends with him, of course, and I talk to him every day. And even when he asks me ridiculous favors, I do them, and I never tell him what an annoying, persnickety old man he can be, at times. :raz: It's just a really, really precious thing to know him, I guess.

Edited to bring this back to topic: I meant to say that one cannot forget to value the employees who do the work that the high-profile chefs might consider to be "less worthy." You have to respect all of the people in this line of work who do the jobs that you would not want to do, and take pride in doing it, even if it's banging out a hundred plates of eggs in an hour, every morning, year after year. It's good to see articles that show an appreciation for that.

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Well, there's a couple different angles to the whole "respect" thing. There's respect accorded from outside, ie. the adoring dining public and food critics, and respect within the organization itself. The former, I personally don't care about, though our brunch did get routine raves from the foodies. The latter though, let's put it this way:

Brunch pays all of the bills. Dinner would be a heck of a lot less interesting and financially solvent without brunch to help subsidize the whole shindig. Plus you get exercise for the speed and volume muscles, which is easy to translate into slower/more refined dinner services. Not so in the opposite direction. :wink:

It would be a big mistake to think the brunch crew I was once a part of were "B Team", but that's also a tribute to the organization itself. Our brunches were a lot nicer than typical brunches offered at hash slinging joints, and for all that it was an incredibly gruelling experience, I have zero regrets for having been through it.

I don't get to call myself a chef now, not for awhile yet, but if it were me and my own place, I'd pay the brunch cooks more. Fair is fair, reward for the money brought in, vs. reward found in the work itself. Because I'd want the happy eggmeisters to work it every weekend and make repeat customers out of everyone because they can rely on the quality and consistancy, and it staves off issues of turnover at one of the most lucrative spots in the kitchen.

Pat

"I... like... FOOD!" -Red Valkyrie, Gauntlet Legends-

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Its fairly simple and straight-forward. Theres 2 teams : the A Team and the B Team. The A Team are the All Stars working the dinner shift. These are the guys with the knowledge and experience. Its where the B Team aspires to move to. B Team are the breakfest/lunch crew. Usually new cooks and/or cooks with little experience. The B Team probaly does an incredible job during breakfest/lunch and probably produces some good food. But there is are distinct differences between the 2.

Or think of it as a concert. The lunch crew is the opening act of a lesser known band. Theyre not bad and with a little more time they could easily become a headliner. The dinner crew is the main attraction. The reason you spent the money.

Its just the way it is in the industry.

-Chef Johnny

so what do you call us that work both lunch/ dinner?

Tired.

Slaves. :hmmm: I did that once. Hated it. I commend you for your hard work, though. I meant no disrespect to you or anyone else that works both shifts.

-Chef Johnny

John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

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