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VoodooMajik
07-04-2012, 05:13 AM
Hey guys.

I know there are exec chefs and the like on here. so maybe someone could please shed some light.

Business is slow, but I am working 21-35 hours a week in the busy season(I normally work 70+ a week regardless). Usually I stand apart from the crowd, but I am in the bare min. as far as hours are concerned. Regardless of Quality of work, Seniority in the Union, Experience and reliability, I feel short changed. Social politics and favoritism seems to take favor. There has not been one person who does not enjoy working directly with me. I motivate people about my position and work above it at times as well.

I feel like I have said or have done something wrong, but really don't know what's up. I find the problems remain unstated and unresolved with Hotels, Everyone is left to figure it out themselves. That's life but come on. This property has many issues, Do I need to find a new job?? Is it me? are all hotels like this. I feel like I joined the dark side.

I really just don't know. I've never wanted to leave my chef suddenly without a staff member before... I'm not perfect, but is this ever testing me.

Crothcipt
07-04-2012, 05:50 AM
I have never worked union or for a hotel before. But I have been shorted some hours before. I got along with the management (which sounds like you do too) and just flat out asked if they were trying to get rid of me. My schedule was changed right away. I say take the time off for a few and if it doesn't change start looking.

VoodooMajik
07-04-2012, 06:07 AM
I wish I could afford to take time off but I spent my tax return on Knives and small wares because business picks up 2 months ago and... 3, 7 hours shifts. My plan is to suck it up and return to smaller kitchens after the season is finished. My take is that this particular side of the industry isn't for me because I'm not left with the best taste in my mouth. Maybe I've stepped out of line and can fix it.

tkern
07-04-2012, 12:12 PM
If its a union place then they have to give the hours to the more senior people regardless of how good you are. Hotels are rough.

You should just ask your chef whats going on, if there is a way to have more hours and if something is preventing you from getting more hours. A frank conversation is always a better direction then getting so fed up with the situation that you walk out.

knyfeknerd
07-04-2012, 02:40 PM
Don't overthink or over analyze it. Just do a good job, don't complain to anyone, and keep your head up. Then, when the season is over get as far away from any union-ized kitchen as possible. You will have your pride and a good reference to boot.

brainsausage
07-04-2012, 06:28 PM
I agree with both tkern and knyfeknerd. I've never worked a corporate gig before, but I've always heard about the cog/machine comparison. The right small kitchen can afford to pay you the requisite amount for your skill set. As well as give you opportunities to learn, grow, and express yourself as a chef. I know I could probably make 10-15 grand more a year at a corporate gig, but being able to do the food I want, and work with fun motivated people is more than worth the 'pay cut'. Obviously if you have certain financial concerns(health problems, family needs, school loans, etc.), than my outlook might be a little unrealistic.

VoodooMajik
07-05-2012, 12:40 AM
I completely Agree with all of you. I've been here over a year now, and guys I trained 3 months ago are doubling my hours. Our union is very selective about where it applies itself, and the company jumps through so many loopholes it isn't funny. I'm working on learning some patience and getting through it. I like Hard Work, I think small business is where I fit in better in the industry. The company name on my resume helps offset my not having finished secondary school or gone to Culinary.

This Particular property is pretty FUBAR to begin with, but man. This is definitely one of the bigger challenges so far in my career.

Thanks for the kind words guys! As frustrated as I am, I'm really excited for the page to turn and Kick some @$$ in a good kitchen.

tkern
07-05-2012, 03:12 AM
Its good to know your enemy. Its lets you know what actually works for you.

What is nice about hotel restaurant stuff is there is usually more money floating around so it gives you a chance to play with technology/products that you wouldn't get a chance to use in an independant setting. If having your own place eventually is what you want down the road, having that ability to test and experiment not on your dime gives you a good leg up.

steeley
07-05-2012, 03:17 AM
Not every place you work will you fit in there program . then you have to ask yourself I am learning to be a better chef and will this help and am i making enough to pay the bills. sometimes you have to grin and take it and PLAN your exit.
hotels are big places that can learn about volume and stations . that do help you down the road.
hang in there the road will show it self.

VoodooMajik
07-05-2012, 03:48 AM
Very true, have never seen a rational oven before here. I have alot to take from here leaving, and I'm definitely better for it. Planning is a must, so plot I shall.

brainsausage
07-05-2012, 03:50 AM
Its good to know your enemy. Its lets you know what actually works for you.

What is nice about hotel restaurant stuff is there is usually more money floating around so it gives you a chance to play with technology/products that you wouldn't get a chance to use in an independant setting. If having your own place eventually is what you want down the road, having that ability to test and experiment not on your dime gives you a good leg up.

I agree with this up to a point. The restaurant that I'm a part of now started as a small art gallery across the street, that decided to serve food as an afterthought. 8 years later they moved into a larger venue, and when I started 4 years ago they were serving passable Spanish tapas, and fairly by the book Mediterranean style stuff. A lot of new guys started at the same time and we were given the opportunity to branch out, take some risks, and get creative. Lots of mistakes, but a few successes and we all started learning and developing a flow with eachother. The restaurant just bought a chamber vac, we have two immersion circulators, a huge dehydrator, ph testers, smoking guns, a dedicated curing room, multiple cords of different local woods for smoking, a now 2 year old sister restaurant, and a new place in the works. All because the owners(one a career line cook, the other an insurance guy- both down to earth and not rich by any means), decided to take some risks, foster a creative nurturing environment, and not be constantly looking over everyone's shoulder all the time. Healthy guidance, and critique. None of us are making the kind of money you would at hotel/chain etc. but we are all proud of our food and the restaurant's reputation. And they buy us cool toys like chamber vacs:) My situation isn't the case everywhere obviously, but I'd reccomend doing a couple stages at restaurants that you like. Get a feel for their kitchens, and engender a little good will if you do decide to apply for a job. If you can afford to run on a less hours for a bit- than now would be a good time to try that kind of a game plan. Btw- we're looking for a new grill cook down here in Maine pretty soon.... :D But seriously, I hope everything works out for you.

VoodooMajik
07-05-2012, 04:36 AM
I do plan on working my way south through the states before I go over seas. I have my eye on a few places, I just need to travel to Banff for the stages. Being Proud of what I'm cooking>cushions. I plan on working 2 jobs after here (I don't drive, so hour walk to town now) so I should have a little give as far as my wages go.

Cipcich
07-09-2012, 08:15 AM
Don't overthink or over analyze it. Just do a good job, don't complain to anyone, and keep your head up. Then, when the season is over get as far away from any union-ized kitchen as possible. You will have your pride and a good reference to boot.
:cool2:
I didn't want to respond to this because of the anti-union bias that pervades some circles; plus I kind of like what you're trying to do with knife handles. I just xxd up another one.
However: while I'm sure that in some places a union, and the people representing the union, can be a problem, sometimes joining or starting a union is the only was to protect yourself.
It's kind of a do-it-yourself affair. But if you don't have a contract, and don't have the means to enforce it, you're at the employer's mercy. I am not unaware that this leads to a lot of abuse; slackers wrapping themselves in the flag etc., but there can be times when management rips you off; without a union contract, you have nothing.
Not every restaurant owner is a saint (?). So do you want to kiss his toes or stand up to him? Assuming you do your job, that's no choice at all.

Cipcich
07-09-2012, 09:21 AM
I wish I could leave this alone, as I'm sure it will further alienate members of this forum. But, I can't.
How can any man seriously address another as "boss".
When someone has knowledge to share, and offers it in a halfway respectful manner, that's fine. That's good. We all have a lot to learn.
But when someone tells you what to do because he's the "boss" . . well, that's what knives are really for.

VoodooMajik
07-09-2012, 03:29 PM
Ha Ha, I've got a contract with the union, All that fun stuff. If they sign off for my payroll, Then I'll do whats asked of me. I tend to teach more then I learn here these days. We have had 5 cooks leave so far this season, some didn't even say anything, just stopped showing up. They still manage to keep me under 40 hours, very annoying. Time to start emailing off resume's and making phone calls..

VoodooMajik
07-11-2012, 04:27 PM
So, I basically told one of my Sous's that "I moved from Toronto for this job and 28 hours isn't acceptable. I need to be busy and this is driving me crazy. Can this fixed and be explained to me"

So they added another shift and sent me down to Cavell's our casual dining restaurant for half the day :doublethumbsup: Let them know I was happy to be there and grateful for the extra hours I was given.

Crothcipt
07-11-2012, 04:33 PM
so are you getting 32-34 hrs then? I am glad you worked this out. It sounds like you are also getting some time at different food too.

VoodooMajik
07-11-2012, 04:40 PM
Yeah, I've worked in every outlet of our kitchen but IRD. But it's a new menu and a welcome change. I'm sitting at about 35hrs, plus 6 at the little pub/store in our staff accom. Still not as much as I would like but aleast it will cover the bills and afford me to relocate to a busier place. (I'm thinking Banff because it's pretty busy and staff accom is still available.) I've also considered getting a third job barbacking at one of the clubs in town.

Sometimes just enough has to be enough, but there is no point in complaining especially if you aren't going to fix it..

knyfeknerd
07-11-2012, 04:58 PM
Glad you worked it out and got something accomplished Voodoo. Try to keep with your plan of travelling and get around or out of the country if you can. Use your youth and enthusiasm to your advantage. Soon, age and tyranny will rule everyone's life.