PDA

View Full Version : How do you guys do it?



brianh
08-13-2014, 08:40 PM
The pro chefs, that is. Had a work cookout today, prepped just a couple dishes and sides for about 30+ people. 8 jerk tenderloins with mango serrano salsa, about 12 pounds of dijon potato and green bean salad, simple roasted garlic chipotle mayo as a burger topping etc. Another coworker got burgers and dogs and more sides from a local German butcher. After a couple nights of prep and working a grill this afternoon, I'm shot. How the $&@! do you guys do this all day everyday?

brainsausage
08-13-2014, 08:45 PM
Check out my avatar.

CutFingers
08-13-2014, 08:47 PM
Don't think just do it, when your done enjoy a nice cold beer or glass of iced tea. It's often a thankless job but you will get respect on your day off telling somebody you cook.

brianh
08-13-2014, 08:53 PM
Check out my avatar.

That's the sad part. There was a keg of decent beer and I only could stand one cup. I was too tired and beat to drink.

Chef Andy
08-13-2014, 09:08 PM
I love doing it, I find it fun.

The beer helps tho.

Dardeau
08-13-2014, 09:27 PM
I worked as a pharmacy tech for six months when I was 21. That is a job I don't understand how people do. I ran back to the kitchen and have been there since. You just get up, do it, love it, and then it's done. It will wear you out, but it beats a desk job.

jared08
08-13-2014, 09:46 PM
You just get up, do it, love it, and then it's done. It will wear you out, but it beats a desk job.

+1

Chuckles
08-13-2014, 10:03 PM
It is amazing what you can get used to.

A strong crew sure helps.

samuelpeter
08-13-2014, 10:04 PM
You see what needs to be done, and you make it happen. You get it done. Always. No matter what. As soon as you start wondering if you can do it, you're out of the game. That's when cooks and CDPs walk out.

The answer is always "yes, chef" and find a way. Now that I'm chef, it's my own name. Ultimately, though, we're nuts.

hambone.johnson
08-13-2014, 10:12 PM
In all seriousness; pro cooking, be it exec chef or sautée jockey, is much like being a pro athlete. It takes years of training to become mentally and physically strong to go to work everyday and take care of business. And like a pro athlete when you don't do it for a little while you relapse.

brianh
08-13-2014, 10:21 PM
So much respect for you pros.

erickso1
08-13-2014, 10:41 PM
I work in an office setting where I'm the designated cookout guy. Beats me up to. Typically I dont want to eat after.

But, I also worked on a fishing boat in Alaska processing pollack. Had to look at a candlelight fillet table for 16 hrs a day. Your body gets used to the motion and the angles.

I find it amazing what people in the kitchen endure and the foods they make. Glad to have them around.

Mute-on
08-13-2014, 10:45 PM
So much respect for you pros.

Big plus 1!

Bigdaddyb
08-13-2014, 10:55 PM
I'm with Brianh!! I cook for those I love only.

I appreciate those of you who love it and do it for far less than most would ever believe.


“Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans ... are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.” ― Anthony Bourdain

panda
08-13-2014, 11:02 PM
we're insane.

Bigdaddyb
08-13-2014, 11:33 PM
Yea. That too.

ShaggySean
08-13-2014, 11:37 PM
I'm hyper active and most cod I know are I can think of no other environment that gets me through my day I love it horrible hours and feeding the masses and ask that being said I wouldn't wish this life on my worst enemy

tkern
08-13-2014, 11:59 PM
Its a mixture of loyalty to your coworkers. A desperation about making sure you've produced something good. An arrogance that you actually know what is best. And a belief that all the ********; lost hours of family and friends, self doubting, and just the slightest flame of hope that you've made a positive impact on the world.

ecchef
08-14-2014, 12:12 AM
In all seriousness; pro cooking, be it exec chef or sautée jockey, is much like being a pro athlete. It takes years of training to become mentally and physically strong to go to work everyday and take care of business. And like a pro athlete when you don't do it for a little while you relapse.

Unlike pro athletes, we get paid ****, work injured, don't have a union, and our season is 365 days long.

Salty dog
08-14-2014, 12:17 AM
As in all professions, just because you do something doesn't make you special. What makes you special is what you do with it.

I know a lot of DB cooks.

ecchef
08-14-2014, 12:21 AM
Yup. If your crew is strong enough, they usually weed out the DBs themselves. Now, a union shop...that's its own special playground.

JDA_NC
08-14-2014, 12:36 AM
As in all professions, just because you do something doesn't make you special.
...

I know a lot of DB cooks.

Yeah.

Perspective is always good. I don't pretend that I'm changing the world or having some important impact on the environment. I do it because it's fun to me and gives me joy. There are a lot of other professions that are more physically and mentally grueling.

For example:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpXL_QaK17E

I can work 80+ hours, getting screamed at, treated like garbage & not making all that much money... but you won't ever catch me doing that. Not no way.

ThEoRy
08-14-2014, 12:55 AM
Conditioning, adrenalyn, that zone feeling and when none of that is available, coffee. We got lot's of that stuff on tap.

CoqaVin
08-14-2014, 12:57 AM
Call me whatever you want when we're in the weeds, I'm cool with it, as long as we're cool after service, during it I'm countless names

Zwiefel
08-14-2014, 11:54 AM
The pro chefs, that is. Had a work cookout today, prepped just a couple dishes and sides for about 30+ people. 8 jerk tenderloins with mango serrano salsa, about 12 pounds of dijon potato and green bean salad, simple roasted garlic chipotle mayo as a burger topping etc. Another coworker got burgers and dogs and more sides from a local German butcher. After a couple nights of prep and working a grill this afternoon, I'm shot. How the $&@! do you guys do this all day everyday?

I do the cooking for the State Championships we host at my range...about 150 people in 90 minutes. It's all simple sh1t like grilled hotdogs and potato salad....but it wears me the phuq out. However the amount of happy I have about an hour after I clean up is amazing. Similar experience with the cooking classes I teach. I dread both of these things starting about 48 hours before they begin...nerves, knots in stomach, anxiety over what I'm forgetting, anxiety about screwing something up and ruining the day for a bunch of people....But that 2-ish hours of flow (being in the zone) I get are 100% worth it.

We were just talking about flow in Chuckles thread the other day. In case you missed it:

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/19315-Line-cook-diagnostic-chart

Mrmnms
08-14-2014, 03:33 PM
It helps if you love what you do. It's sad that it's so difficult to make a decent living at it. Cooking continues to be a form of therapy for me, years after I left the line. The more you do production , the easier it gets. Plan ahead and pace yourself.

King_Matt
12-01-2014, 03:47 PM
I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'
Muhammad Ali

cheflarge
12-01-2014, 04:49 PM
I have NEVER cooked for the money, always the passion!

Jgillis86
12-01-2014, 07:00 PM
Coffee, whiskey, cigarettes, passion,and a very, very... Very understanding spouse.

CoqaVin
12-01-2014, 07:10 PM
has to be the passion, b/c sure as hell aint the money, unless youre in corporate

Jgillis86
12-02-2014, 12:40 AM
Agreed.

apicius9
12-28-2014, 06:51 PM
Did not want to open a new thread for this, but I just saw that Mercedes Benz in Germany canceled the contracts with the kitchen service companies (run under the name of a 'celebrity chef')in its museum and customer center. In an audit they found out that sometimes kitchen staff worked over 10h per day - major violation of labor laws and reason for immediate contract cancellation. Certainly not the reality for the small restaurants, but it shows a difference in appreciation compared to what I read here.

Stefan

Geo87
12-29-2014, 05:20 AM
If every kitchen were closed that had staff working over 10 hours there would be nowhere to eat! 10 hours is considered a half day at some restaurants :)

Salty dog
12-29-2014, 07:18 AM
I cook to keep 25 families healthy, happy and employed. The passion left me a few years ago. It's about legacy now. Trying to raise some baddass Chefs.

P.S. You have to remember I started cooking professionally in 1976. I feel I'm allowed.

CoqaVin
12-29-2014, 09:09 AM
Hahaha @ 10 hours

daveb
12-29-2014, 09:21 AM
I'll tread lightly here but from my read it appears that as a result of being "appreciated", the kitchen staff that was working 10 hrs/day is now working 0 hrs/day. I wonder if they appreciate the appreciation.

larrybard
12-29-2014, 09:46 AM
Sounds much like what U.S. companies (e.g., Nike) say they do when they discover that overseas contractors are making their goods under conditions considered oppressive (e.g., so-called "sweat shops" or using child labor). Debate has always been whether nevertheless those laborers are better off voluntarily working and helping provide for their families than being unemployed.

And I won't get into the U.S. minimum wage debate here, and some of the potential adverse consequences often cited by opponents.

TheDispossessed
12-30-2014, 04:48 PM
I've just recently become officially burnt out. I turned 30 in last week and had my first child in november. My career as a cook was relatively short. I started as a line cook at Momofuku Noodle Bar about 3 years ago. I had incredible teachers, we had such a motivated crew and i was just young enough to live the lifestyle a bit (though i was even then the oldest line cook). Spent 15 months there getting brutalized and learning a lot and moved on to Kajitsu, a shoji-ryori kaiseki straight outta kyoto michelin star type of place. that was also amazing, everyone taught me so much, and was patient with my ignorant a$$. Left after a mere 6 months because well, japanese kitchens are for learning very very slowly in a very different way and i had realized my goal was not to become a high class japanese chef. Went to help my buddy turn around a failing restaurant in Brooklyn. He offered to make me the head chef and we tried to open a caribbean restaurant, in a caribbean neighborhood, as two white boys in crown heights. It actually did pretty ok and we had a killer summer. And aside from about a dozen other trails that's it for me.
I got to the point where I didn't even like cooking anymore. I hated the guests, which isn't fair, and I hated cooking at home. I drank way too much, was never home and was miserable all the time. I'd eat cheese and drink during the day on my days off and was just fried. I personally think the business is so wacked out it's unreal in terms of how the labor is treated and how impossible it is to make any money even running a restaurant. I absolutely love the kitchen and a lot of it's culture. I just can't get into not being around for my son for what, 50, 60, 70,000 a year? For me it was unsustainable and I hope the industry can change for the better so that cooks and chefs can have better quality of life and people with talent can actually make money running a place maybe.
I recently trailed at a top chef type restaurant looking for a couple days work and when i walked on the line (which was the filthiest place i'd ever seen) and found myself in the middle of a bunch of enthusiastic 20 somethings working their ass off for $12/hr I was just like, no, I'm done.

brianh
12-30-2014, 05:12 PM
Wow, that's crazy. Sorry to hear :(

JDA_NC
12-30-2014, 05:23 PM
I hated cooking at home. I drank way too much, was never home and was miserable all the time.

I know this will sound familiar to most of us. It does for me.

A lot of respect to you for being honest with yourself. I know that there's no way I could be doing this if I had children.

It is a brutal lifestyle. I have a ton of respect for guys like Salty who have been doing this for 20+ years.

It's funny how your perspective changes. I've only ever had jobs in restaurants. I really don't know what to do otherwise. Saying that, I didn't take cooking seriously until I was 20. And I loved everything about the lifestyle. It was exciting and allowed me to literally travel across the country and see a lot. I've made a lot of great friendships through it. I grew up never thinking I would leave my hometown. So being able to do something that gave me options everywhere was very liberating. But it does wear you down.

I've only been doing this a short while as well. I'm 25 now and funnily enough I still feel like I'm at square one. And what was cool at 20/21 is not looking so attractive anymore. I'm definitely tired of sleeping on floors, getting hammered nightly, and being dead broke. I still enjoy cooking. I'm living in Chicago now and working for a really cool restaurant that does some great food (and is always busy), which is fun. But in the back of my mind, I do start to wonder. I reckon I will give it another good 2-3 years and if I don't see any sort of success (personally & professionally speaking)... well, it's time to find something else to do. The money & stress isn't worth it. I don't want to be that dude who is holding down a station in his 40's with two children. I can't be.

These were things I never gave a second thought to before. Holding down a serious relationship/marriage & raising children, with all the hours & stress, is next to impossible. I've seen it time and time again with people that I've worked with or for. At the end of the day it comes down to priorities. The vast majority of us are not going to be wealthy or successful at this. It is is what it is...

cheflarge
12-30-2014, 05:32 PM
FYI: I have been working in kitchens for almost forty years, while married to the same woman! 😎

JDA_NC
12-30-2014, 05:36 PM
FYI: I have been working in kitchens for almost forty years, while married to the same woman! 😎

Speak to us, Obi-Wan... :biggrin:

cheflarge
12-30-2014, 06:51 PM
Fortunate enough to of married a saint! Believe me I have battled all of the aforementioned tribulations, and some. Pretty sure I'm the luckiest guy on earth. A whole lot of, one sided, understanding. She was raised in the business, "gets it", a little better, I guess.

Salty dog
12-30-2014, 07:13 PM
Just don't let her get into yoga.

Chuckles
12-31-2014, 01:55 AM
If you just had a baby in Nobember your gonna be burnt out. It is hard. Really hard.

It doesn't really get a whole lot easier. But, if you stick with it, you will have the opportunity to get much much better at it. And you will get much much better at it.

cheflarge
12-31-2014, 09:26 AM
Well said, Chuck.

Salty: How about Krav Maga! 😎

CoqaVin
12-31-2014, 09:57 AM
I didn't feel like starting a new thread about this, so sorry about TJ'ing somewhat, anyone hate "HACKS" as much as i do?

Vesteroid
12-31-2014, 10:30 AM
Non cook here, no restaurant experience. Reading this thread, I have a few questions. At what level does a person move from hourly to salary in a kitchen?

For a line cook, assuming that's hourly, what's an average hourly rate? For s sous chef, what's an average yearly salary?

CoqaVin
12-31-2014, 10:39 AM
Tough question vesteroid, like you said when you move on up from just being a typical "line cook" that is when you start becoming salary , or i noticed as well when you work a TON In the summer tthey will out you on salary , I think it also depends on where you are working, like corporate compared to a chef just owning the place and putting out good food, know what I mean

Chuckles
12-31-2014, 12:02 PM
Line cook anywhere from $9/hr for a small fine dining spot to $30/hr for a NYC union gig. Sous Chef anywhere from 28k to 60k depending on the restaurant. Restaurants can be so different. A small fine dining operation might do 1.5 million or less a year in sales while a big busy restaurant could do 25 million or more.

Geo87
12-31-2014, 12:29 PM
Yeah being a cook with kids is hard!
I was still working fine dining when we had our first baby.
70 hrs p/w for peanuts. We actually couldn't afford to live off that bs salary and I had to essentially sell out of fine dining for a higher paying job with less prestige. Basically I went from working with a bunch badass professionals at one of the best places that everybody knows and respects to working with a bunch of muppets somewhere no ones heard off. That to this day kills me ! But I get more time with my family greater flexibility and more money so we can Live! Still a hard move to make .