View Full Version : Trial in a fancy restaurant on Tuesday. Any tips?

10-30-2011, 02:12 PM
Basically I have applied for a job in a very fancy restaurant near where I live and pretty unexpectedly the head chef of the place rang me today and said I have a trial on Tuesday. Despite working for about 7 years, I have never really worked anywhere but my current job so I am unfamiliar with these trials. Anyone have any tips? I've been told to bring my chefs clothes and knives so that's one thing I have sorted anyways :knife:

I have never had a trial anywhere else so basically, what should I do? Is there anything in particular that they will be looking for? How long do they normally last?

10-30-2011, 02:26 PM
For what is worth = be who you are and don't change a thing. Always worked for me ...

10-30-2011, 02:27 PM
Depending on the joint, your trial will last anywhere from 30 minutes to a full shift, so I can't be much help there. My first "trial" at a breakfast joint in Portland consisted of me showing up, them asking for a demonstration of my ability to cook and flip eggs, and then getting suckered into a 10 hour shift on the egg station. Another restaurant had me create a few different dishes based off the ingredients on their line, then excused me after about an hour and didn't call back for a week or so. Be prepared for everything though and remember--you're trying them out too, so spend some time in the kitchen checking things out, and deciding if it's a place you want to work in the first place.

Eamon Burke
10-30-2011, 03:09 PM
My advice:
Keep in mind that you are not begging them for approval--you are being you, and both of you should be checking for a good match. You have basically one day to see if the boss is a :censored: or if the workspace is dirty or whatever.

Make sure your knives have great edges! My knife got me my current job.

10-30-2011, 04:51 PM
+1 to everything said already. Also really if you don't think its a good fit and you don't absolutely need the job just do what they ask and move or you can say I don't think this is for me.

Also I'd say I don't know if this is an issue for you but try no to be intimidated. Just approach it as another day at work.

10-31-2011, 12:25 AM
Very good advice by Vertigo and Eamon.

Like they said, you are seeing what they are like as well. Some things just arent good fits. I have turned down jobs I was already offered after working a trial shift there. There are plenty of clowns out there in poorly run kitchens, no matter how great the restaurant appears to be from the outside. If you get a bad feeling about something in just one shift, listen to it, that usually doesnt go away.

And Peco is right as well. But if you know you have some bad habits (most people do, it's fine), try to avoid them while you are there. You might have some that you dont even know you have, but most places that hire people "moving up" understand that.

10-31-2011, 01:21 AM
If you have to work during a service period, try to form a relationship with the cooks. They can help you find stuff, give you tips about the equipment at hand, help you get ready for plate up. If you just get in their way, they can bury you.

+1 to what everyone else has said as well. Good Luck.

10-31-2011, 03:12 AM
Show up with everything you need to go, this includes a sharpie, small notebook, pen, peeler, proper clothes including footware, shaved face etc.
In my experience there are three ways that it usually goes; first is the aforementioned demonstration of cooking ability, second is the follow someone around and help them or do things for them to check you out, or the here is a task do it now. The first situation is self explanatory; cook your best. In the second situation just pay attention to what is going on with the person you are trailing and how that is playing into the rest of the kitchen, you may be asked to go help someone else out of the blue. Also, don't correct or criticize the way things are done, if its a deal breaker its a deal breaker and don't take a job there. When asked to do something do so with precision and in a timely manner, but don't rush. In the third situation just get whatever it is that needs doing done, properly, cleanly and quickly, in that order.
At the end of the day like others said be yourself and don't forget you should be evaluating them as critically as they are evaluating you.


11-01-2011, 01:56 AM
They might throw you a mixed bag of ingredients and have you create a few dishes from them or give you an hour or so and have you present a few dishes.
The last guy we hired at the place I work; we had him prep and help out the line for a few hours then asked him to present us with 3 dishes. We gave him 2 or so hours to do this. We weren't looking for anything thats going to blow us away, just that the guy understands clean plating, how flavors balance, proper seasoning and cooking of proteins to proper temps.
If you've been cooking for 7 yrs, you know all this and you know what kind of food makes you happy. stick to your instincts. If you made food you like and they don't than it probably wasn't a good fit anyway.

El Pescador
11-01-2011, 02:06 AM
Chances are they're not looking to hire a star, so just be as solid as you can. "Yes Chef","No Chef"...you know the routine.

The hekler
11-01-2011, 06:03 AM

NO ChoP!
11-01-2011, 11:45 PM
The key to a stage (pronounced staj), is to ask questions and be alert. Be ready to handle any task given to you. Usually only chef positions should be expected to produce a meal. Line cooks should be given prep tasks, and maybe work a position side by side with another cook. Be confident but not cocky.

I always provide a meal at the end of the shift (usually two to three hours).

Eamon Burke
11-02-2011, 12:47 AM
How did it go?

11-14-2011, 01:49 PM
Sorry for not updating everyone on this, was sorta waiting on someone getting back to me so didn't wanna say much. The trial went pretty well, didn't really have to do a whole lot to be honest but I liked the place and got on well with everyone. Managed to cut myself which was rather dumb after sharpening all my knives the night before but nobody really said anything. Got offered the job, but when it came to talk about money it just didn't happen. After numerous attempts at contacting the Chef to talk to him about it, I have given up. I was willing to take a pretty big pay cut but it wasn't to be. Would have been a great career move but I'll just try somewhere else, least I already have a job so there isn't such a hurry

11-14-2011, 01:58 PM
So he just kept blowing you off, or the offers you kept getting were way too low?

11-14-2011, 02:02 PM
I rang him 4 times to talk specifics about pay and every time he said he was too busy and he'd get back to me. Said he'd ring me in half an hour 2 weeks ago. I think they were looking for a few new people so maybe they just liked someone better?

11-14-2011, 02:10 PM
Well it could either be a cheap blow off d!ck move, or he is really just busy. I know my chef forgets stuff that isnt the utmost importance, and I know I did when I was in charge.

The thing is, if you are short people, you usually want to get them in right away. And why offer you the job if you are planning on just avoiding the topic of pay? It does seem weird.

Have you tried going there in person? Just let them know you are still available if they are still in need.

11-14-2011, 02:43 PM
One thing that might be the reason is that I said I would probably have to work a month's notice in my current job so maybe that put them off? I'm kinda over the whole thing, if someone can't get back to you after 4 times then they aren't worth the hassle. I was probably gonna be taking a sizeable paycut and working more hours anyway so I shall leave it as it is

11-14-2011, 03:57 PM
Very true. Your month's notice would be more than half over by now if they had just hired you immediately!

Bad juju. Move on to the next place. When I was unemployed at the beginning of the year, I trailed at a place, was offered the job, had a bad feeling about it, declined, and now I am at the best place I have ever worked. So just keep at it.

And try to work it so you don't have to give a months notice. Kitchens usually need someone asap.

11-14-2011, 04:26 PM
I think there's a chance I wouldn't have to work the notice because the place I work keeps saying they need to pay someone off. I've also been there for nearly 8 years so I think they might not be that strict about it. But saying that, technically they could make me work it and I can't really ask because they'll get a bit suspicious if you get me and when I go to jobs I sorta have to tell them. I'm sorta over it and I'll just look for somewhere else, I guess it sorta helped my confidence a little and it was nice to see somewhere else for a change

What was it about the place you trialled at that gave you a bad feeling Johnny?

11-15-2011, 04:35 AM
Well, it was a bunch of stuff. Very weird vibe in the kitchen, bad atmosphere. Turns out I used to work with people who worked with one of the executive chefs and the head chef. Neither were given glowing reviews by the people I talked to. The schedule wasn't ideal, pay was not enough to make me overlook things. The executive chef had offered me the job in the interview, and then I stuck around to work the line, and I am glad I did.

About a month later I applied for an anonymous job on craigslist, turns out it was the same place again. This time the head chef called me, and said, apparently you are still looking for a job. I said I was. He asked if I was interested coming aboard now. I asked if the schedule or pay would be any different. He said "If you can do everything you claim you can do, we can work something out." This was just a line cook job, and I had never claimed or bragged I could do anything, I don't know why he had so much animosity. I was in the middle of something at the time and asked if I would be able to call him back in a minute. He responded with "If you have to think about it, I already have my answer." I literally laughed into the phone and told him I don't have to think about it at all, and my answer is no. I am supposed to commit to a job over the phone without knowing the hours, schedule or pay?