Blue Plate Special

A discussion of good food from all sorts of sources-- home, restaurants, friends' homes, street festivals and anywhere else that good food can be found.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What Working in a Top Restaurant is REALLY Like

houstonpress.com News Chefs Rule! (Page 5) 2005-07-07

Oh, so true! Every word. When I cut my hand, requiring seven stitches, I was asked two questions: "Do you really NEED stitches?" and, "Did you get any blood on the chicken you were cutting?" The answers were yes and then no. I was told to get a fresh napkin, wrap the wound with pressure, sit on the stairs and wait until a busboy could take me to the urgent care center. This was the most polite and considerate chef in the restaurant, too.

I was in the ninth hour of my ninth consecutive day of work when I slipped and cut my hand. I was lucky because I had the next three days in a row off, a regular vacation by kitchen standards. When I went back, I had to wear a rubber glove over my gauze covered hand, which got very sweaty and certainly wasn't kept dry as the doctor had instructed. I could barely grasp a potato to peel it, and couldn't lift anything heavy enough to require two hands (which is only EVERYTHING in a professional kitchen) and still had the executive chef standing a couple of inches behind my right shoulder yelling, "Faster, faster, FASTER!!!" in my ear as I worked.

About a month later I found that at three o'clock in the morning, my stomach would turn over because I had to be at work in twelve hours. When I found myself driving to work contemplating the merits of wrapping my car around a telephone pole rather than actually going to work, I gave my two-weeks notice.

I went on to a more responsible position in a smaller restaurant, with another jerk chef, and then becoming head chef at a private club. The private club was the best gig I ever had. I miss it tremendously.

1 Comments:

  • At 10:02 AM, December 30, 2005, Blogger JoAnna said…

    yeah... and that's why I only moonlight at restaurants, and do Personal Chef and catering work most of the time.

    You know the line "fast, cheap or good, pick two?"

    Well in those restaurants they want quantity, speed, and quality, for cheap, and you have to do all of them simultaneously.

    of course, I ask the same of the people who work for me, but I pay more than the restaurants do!

     

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