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Greetings All!

Frst off I ant to give a little history of myself, so everyone can understand where I am coming from - I am new to this forum, but not new to egullet - I have merely read it for awhile.

I got into cooking late (by chef standards) as I want into computers in high school and went to college with a compsci intention. I ended up working at 7-11 and eating accross the street at a small local schnitzel house. After awhile I figured I could make a few extra bucks and help out in the kitchen - so I did. I spent a total of 8 months at 'Chasby's and left to go to Pierre Dubrulle Chef School. That was a 6 months intensive course. I then did my 3 year apprenticechip in 2 years as I challenged the last year as I had attended Pierre Dubrulle.

When I finished my apprenticeship at place called "Uli's" I had worked with 2 superb austrian chefs and learnt a great deal. I then moved on a worked in a number of small places, a french restaurant, an italian place, did some catering work, did a Hospitality management course along the way (grad w/honrs) and ended up working for the same chefs I did my apprenticeship a couple of times as their chefs. After about 8 jobs in 12 years I decided the time was right to own my own place - do I bought a british style pub, that almost killed me. I thought I could do "everything" myself - plus be the chef. After 4 years, and complete burnout I sold and am now working (again) for old chefs again as I ponder my next seriious move - I really want to get into a very high end place, and I do have lots of good experience, but alas I digress this message is to pose a moral and ethical question that is bothering me of late.

My boss, and my "chef" are insisting I lie to customers. They have done it all their lives, but they are getting on my nerves now - and YES, I AM LOOKING FOR SOMETHING ELSE - but what I would really like to bounce of everyone here are the following questions.

As a sous-chef how do deal with the following

Telling customers that the pollock is halibut.

Telling customers that the rice is vegetarian when we put chicken stock in it.

Telling customers that it's safron rice when it's 98% tumeric.

Telling customers that all the scallops and prawns are fresh when they aren't.

Telling customers that it's vegetarian soup with their is chicken stock in it.

Telling customers that the pork is veal

Telling customers that the frozen pre-made products are fresh, homemade

Now, when I am in the kitchen I tell the servers the truth about everything. I feel it is not only morally reprehensible behaviour to LIE to the customers. My friends don't see it THAT big a deal, unless it's an allergy or somethig major. But I would like to know how other chef's would react, and what they believe.

There are lots more little examples, but these are the major points.

Cheers

Gregory

Edited by chefgregory (log)
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...My boss, and my "chef" are insisting I lie to customers. They have done it all their lives, but they are getting on my nerves now - and YES, I AM LOOKING FOR SOMETHING ELSE - but what I would really like to bounce of everyone here are the following questions.

As a sous-chef how do deal with the following

  Telling customers that the pollock is halibut.

  Telling customers that the rice is vegetarian when we put chicken stock in it.

  Telling customers that it's safron rice when it's 98% tumeric.

  Telling customers that all the scallops and prawns are fresh when they aren't.

  Telling customers that it's vegetarian soup with their is chicken stock in it.

  Telling customers that the pork is veal

  Telling customers that the frozen pre-made products are fresh, homemade

Now, when I am in the kitchen I tell the servers the truth about everything. I feel it is not only morally reprehensible behaviour to LIE to the customers. My friends don't see it THAT big a deal, unless it's an allergy or somethig major. But I would like to know how other chef's would react, and what they believe.

There are lots more little examples, but these are the major points.

Cheers

  Gregory

:blink::shock:

Wow. That's outrageous. You need to get out of this place as soon as is humanly possible. They'd better hope they don't accidentally give someone an allergy attack. What if someone is vegetarian, not for moral reasons, but because they have an allergy to chicken or can't digest animal proteins or something? What happens then? And passing off frozen prepared products as their own creations?? Are you kidding me? That is just beyond reprehensible.

Get out. Now. And then expose them for the deceptive and unethical shits that they are. An anonymous phone call/email to the restaurant reviewer of your metro newspaper ought to do it. They seriously need to learn a valuable lesson from this.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I personally find it unacceptable to lie to vegetarians in that way. Even though you seem to object, you are complacent in the lie and enable your boss and chef to continue to do so. I would quietly begin looking for another job, find one, then give my 2 weeks. etc.

No offense, but it sounds like you work in a shit place with shit chefs. If your goal is to make it into "very high end" dining, then you need to stop this behavior ASAP.

I try to have the attitude that whatever I put out on the plate represents me as a cook. It's one thing to put out frozen, pre made schlock, but to then misrepresent it as fresh, homemade stuff is unreal.

Now, please don't misunderstand me--I'm sure you have morals and standards as a chef (you wouldn't have made this post otherwise), so my advice would be to get the hell out of there as soon as you can find another job and don't look back.

I would be honest with both your present and future employers. When you're interviewing for a new job, tell them (without "bad mouthing") that you are being asked to lie to customers and you want a new job where you feel good about the food. When your current chef asks why you are leaving, tell him the same thing.

Be professional--don't let these guys take that away. But I'll tell you, every time you put a piece of "veal"/pork on a plate, you will lose a little integrity and take small steps back. Go to a good restaurant where you can lean and grow and be part of an honest kitchen that doesn't have to lie.

Good luck.

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I think you missed a small piece of my message "I don't lie to the front end staff" is somewhere in that post!

When I am there, and in control, I don't allow ANY of that stuff to happen. When they come to me with an order of veal-parmigiano (and I'm supposed to use pork) I just say, I don't have it. Vegetarian plates, don't get the choice of rice or potatoes. When they ask if the prawns are fresh - I saw no. The boss has told the servers to tell the customers that everything is always fresh, homemade - I just tell the servers that they can lie to the customers if they want to, but I won't misrepresent my food.

I have seen other cooks take prawn shells and make "lobster bisque" from them in the past - and they all think this is OK. I don't.

Thanks for the responce - I am looking forward to more!

Cheers

Gregory Bastow

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I think you are pretty much going to hell for the pork/veal thing... The chicken stock thing is pretty bad too.. The other stuff is just in really poor taste and makes me question why you are wasting your time in such a shit hole..

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You shouldn't even need to ask. you're obviously uncomfortable, you should leave as soon as you can, it's weighing on you; and with good reason, the chefs sound like scumbags. leave with your integrity, or stay, and don't say we didn't tell you so...

really though? after so many years in the industry is it that hard of a choice to make? good chefs don't lie to their customers...it's not like it will be impossible to find another kitchen without this nagging attribute...

Edited by Luckylies (log)

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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Obviously leave sooner rather than later, but I think people would be surprised how common these things are. eG member, Verjuice has written quite a bit about her similar experience at her blogspot -ArabianBites. Even in my small town where everyone knows everyone and so you're serving your friends I've seen "organic" thrown on dishes that aren't, "slow food" put on dishes that come out of the Sysco truck, "homemade" on baked goods that came out of a box.

I have no idea how rampant this problem is but there is no control mechanism in place - just the integrity of staff.

What bothers me more than the basic lying is the true harm that could come as a result. That vegetarian who ate the chicken broth may not have been vegetarian for moral reasons. They may have had a true allergy. Allergies are simply not something to be messed with.

Gregory, its easy for all of us to be sideline coaches, so I really empathize with what you situation is. I hope you can find the easiest transition and hopefully leave your parting restaurant a better place without damaging your future. Please let us know how it works out.

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This is actually more common than you think. Pork for veal has been going on forever. One quick call to the dept of AG will take care of all your problems. Call them today. Now don't tell me you have to find a job first. If that's the case you really don't have an ethics problem then. Sorry if that sounds harsh. Ethics don't come, and go. Doing the right thing isn't easy, but it is damn satisfying.

Mike

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This is actually more common than you think. Pork for veal has been going on forever. One quick call to the dept of AG will take care of all your problems. Call them today. Now don't tell me you have to find a job first. If that's the case you really don't have an ethics problem then. Sorry if that sounds harsh. Ethics don't come, and go. Doing the right thing isn't easy, but it is damn satisfying.

Mike

Yep. bottom line is that this is consumer fraud. I'm not sure where you are, but local news television absolutely loves stories like this. Pick up the phone and give 'em a call; odds are you'll have a news truck outside and a microphone in the owner's face in pretty short order.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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And again I say that its easy for us to be sideline coaches. It sure would feel good to stick it to the man by calling the media. And it sure would feel good to say 'take this job and shove it.' And none of us will disagree that something needs to be done to make sure this stops. But HOW IT IS DONE is important.

Make sure you are taken care of.

Make sure you are taking into consideration all of the honest employees who have families that depend on their livelihood.

And be clear on your goal. Mine would not be to put the restaurant out of business, but to get it to stop the deception.

The black and white response to the situation is IMO not good, nor wise. Is there no one else in the business that you can talk to about your concerns? Are there any allies among the employees that could garner a coalition of support?

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Telling customers that the pollock is halibut.

Telling customers that the rice is vegetarian when we put chicken stock in it.

Telling customers that it's safron rice when it's 98% tumeric.

Telling customers that all the scallops and prawns are fresh when they aren't.

Telling customers that it's vegetarian soup with their is chicken stock in it.

Telling customers that the pork is veal

Telling customers that the frozen pre-made products are fresh, homemade

A-ha! You work at Denny's! Dude, you can do better than that. :laugh:

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you really need to get another job, face it you are a bad employee, you are not doing what they ask so they will probably sack you in the end anyway! we all know the answer to the morality issue so don't bother thinking about it spend your time finding another job.

as always the answer to working in a good place is just to ring them up or knock on the door and offer your services.

matt

Matt Christmas.

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also sounds like if the customers believe some of those things then they are idiots, especially the tumeric/saffron thing.

Some people go to restaurants in an effort to educate their palates. If they are being lied to, they really can't help not knowing, can they? I'm lucky, when I wanted to experiement with Indian food I could go snap up a load of saffron. Some people can't. They spend their money on meals a professional makes in the hopes of having a good experience and not mucking up expensive stuff.

To the OP:

Hanging around with liars is a soul suck. The job is hard enough. Get out.

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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Yes, they are one of the same people.

It bugs me, as I've pointed out his lies in a mocking way - and I hear him telling customers things that are simply not true, over and over again. Another problem is he thinks he is such a great chef - but he can't cook worth shit and constantly screws up food that we make before anyone gets there in the morning. Somedays I want to take the box of chicken-base and shove it somewhere! (he wants to put it absolutely everywhere!)

Is the "boss" also the owner? If not, does the owner know about the deceptions?

Margy

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Your first problem was applying for a job with a place that still has veal parmigiano on the menu.  What year is it?

Yeah - the chef's are of 'the old school' - and it's not on the printed menu, it's something that randomly appears on the special board.

I often tell the chef, that we are plating and garnishing food circa 1976! He snickers, but keeps doing it.

Cheers

Gregory Bastow :wub:

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Continuing to work there is being complicit in the lies. The longer you stay the more time it will take to get the stank from work at such a whole off of you. You know food suppliers and other chefs talk. You are burning you time and reputation for bums who won't care if you walk out the door today.

They screw thier customers daily give them a two weeks notice why?

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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During the process of becoming a chef choosing the very best learning environment is important. With each restaurant you work in try to make sure it is better then the last which will help you grow as a chef.

In unprofessional kitchens you will pick up bad habits and the integrity of your work will suffer. Move on! Your not going to change the mind of your employer now and instill any pride at this point. Some things that are broke can't be fixed.

Robert R

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A lot of food professionals read eG, and even if they don't, their friends or loyal customers may. At least one eG member has been fired because of what they've posted online, so it's not in your best interests to post your full name, unless you've already quit and found new employment.

Of course, you've already posted enough to be recognizable, so perhaps it wouldn't matter if you used your full name or not.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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Potential new employers, if they are local and know the place, will want to know why you stayed there more than a week.

I would start looking very fast and have some good reasons to give for moving on, ones that do not focus on the current employers shortcomings. Even if I couldn't get into a high class restaurant straight away I would want to get into one that other chefs would respect for what they do.

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I would start looking very fast and have some good reasons to give for moving on, ones that do not focus on the current employers shortcomings.

Hi,

You should focus on expanding your culinary horizons and working in a kitchen that offers a newer menu and allows for new ideas.

Tim

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