Tuesday, April 22, 2008
How to Make It in the Kitchen
how to make sous.
"Cooks are made, and chefs are born...so I guess it's too bad you're just an asshole."
-cook shit talk
Be, you know...better than everyone else. First things first, a "sous chef" needs to be a great cook. If you can slug it out with the other kids on the line, and do so with good technique and discipline, you're already halfway there. However, i'm amazed how many so called"chefs" i've seen/worked with that could barely handle a sautee pan. If you dont have "moves"...and can't step in and help out without making a mess of things, you need to go back to the pantry.
Work harder than everyone else. As a line , your days will last between 12 and 14 hours--sometimes more. As a cook trying to make sous, you need to do the same...and be prepared to not get paid to do so. When you go salary, you won't be pulling any overtime anyway. It's simple--come in early, stay late, never complain about your paycheck. Push yourself to your breaking point, then work another four hours.
Never assign blame...but always accept it. Building morale becomes a sous daily responsibility...and there are many roads to take when managing your staff. A cook that can lead, while still knowing his/her place stands out. If you're pushing your staff to the point that you don't feel comfortable having a beer with them after service, you're overdoing it.
Taste everything. No, seriously, everything. Your mirepoix. Raw veg. Cooked veg. Marinades. Spice mixes. That nasty falafel pita the waitress is eating. EVERYTHING.
Take risks. You will fuck up. You will look stupid. But when your risk pays off, and you look like a genius, your confidence will build....and alot of what differentiates a cook from a chef is that confidence.
Know everything...and keep learning. Read the paper, magazines, and blogs. (wink)