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Kriegs
09-05-2012, 01:37 PM
Hello everyone! I have a bit of a decision to make. I am currently the lead line cook at the restaurant for which i work. It is a reputable restaurant here in Boston and I have learned many things including some of the managerial side (opening/closing responsibilities, ordering, staff management, etc.). That being said, I recently put in my one month notice with the intentions of moving on to a higher caliber restaurant (Michelin quality in a town with no guide) and starting from the bottom again to learn what I can from a kitchen of this level. I am well aware of the increased hours and decreased pay that I am in for, and I am ready for it. However, my Chef and GM have offered me a raise and Jr. Sous title if I were to remain with them through the end of the year. The idea being that I could help them get through the busy season and they would have some wages cleared as soon as January comes and business slows way down. At which point, I would focus on the move to the different restaurant.

My question is this: Do those of you with staffing and hiring experience feel as though having the title on my resume would give a significant boost when being looked at by the elite kitchens? It wouldn't change my desire to start in at the bottom and work my way up again, but if it helps my resume get bumped to the top or gives me even a slight increase in starting pay, it might be worth the 4 months of time that I would be putting off the transition. I have some other thoughts and concerns, but this is probably the most significant one to me. Thanks in advance for any advice!

-Kriegs

Carl
09-05-2012, 01:41 PM
I'm not a chef or cooking professional, so my opinion might be less than helpful, but I'm replying so I can see the other replies, as I'm very interested in the professoinal responses. Best of luck. I'm cheering for you.

tkern
09-05-2012, 02:06 PM
Go with what you feel ready for and what you most want to learn from. Having a title does open some doors in larger scale restaurants i.e. corporate/hotels, etc but this industry is all about contacts. Michelin caliber in Boston is thin so probably Menton, Clio, maybe L'espelier?
Also you said they asked you to stay to the end of the year. Would staying the 4 months hinder the opportunity at this other place?

lumo
09-05-2012, 02:12 PM
What tkern said and also January is when a lot of restaurants slow down and are looking to cut staff hours, put a freeze on hiring and/or lay people off.

Kriegs
09-05-2012, 02:30 PM
Go with what you feel ready for and what you most want to learn from. Having a title does open some doors in larger scale restaurants i.e. corporate/hotels, etc but this industry is all about contacts. Michelin caliber in Boston is thin so probably Menton, Clio, maybe L'espelier?
Also you said they asked you to stay to the end of the year. Would staying the 4 months hinder the opportunity at this other place?

Yeah, I know the pickins are slim..I considered a move to Chicago, but my living situation is pretty perfect for someone about to take on long hours/low pay (i.e. rent is cheap and the location is good). So, I figured I might as well take as much out of Boston as i can before moving on. My short list includes the restaurants you mentioned as well as No. 9 Park, Craigie on Main, and O Ya (I'm really more interested in just a stage at O Ya because it would be interesting to see it given that I have zero Japanese experience).

And as for the 4 months, Lumo said it best. Job market in January is nothing like the job market in September/October. But I am pretty confident in my resume, and my chef and GM are both offering glowing recommendations to wherever I apply. Also, while they slow down in January, I'm not sure these restaurants are affected quite as much as more touristy restaurants or those that rely on their location as a main draw.

Thanks again, and looking forward to hearing more!

-Kriegs

BraisedorStewed
09-05-2012, 02:34 PM
Is your job at the new place lock already? If so then I would just go with it. If not I would stay where you are and take advantage of the raise to sock away as much money as possible so when you decide to make the move you can really focus on getting that great job and not have to take something out of desperation if things don't work out right away. Also, the four months might give you the chance to find a job that is a lock just by contacting some people and lining some stuff up.
I have bitten myself in the ass on one occasion by being too hasty when leaving a job without another lined up, of course I have also done the same by sticking around somewhere I felt as if I had outgrown.

Just my 2cents for what its worth

tkern
09-05-2012, 02:41 PM
Skip Craigie, Tony's too much of a dick. No. 9 has always been good but nothing really exciting. O Ya could be interesting. Tim is a bit dickish as well but its doing things very rare in Boston.

At any rate none of these places are going anywhere so you have time to consider. Figure out what kind of food do you enjoy at heart. If its crisp and beautiful plates, and great flavors then a place like No,9, O Ya, Menton, etc. If its more down to earth simple great cooking then Coppa, Ten Tables, Toro etc. If its just dirty feasting deliciousness then a place like Sweet Cheeks

JohnnyChance
09-05-2012, 02:59 PM
If you don't have anything set already, stick around at the current job and try to set up some stages at all of the places you are interested in.

Zwiefel
09-05-2012, 03:11 PM
Please excuse my ignorance...what is a "stage" in this context?

Salty dog
09-05-2012, 03:23 PM
Working for free to gain experience and network.

As far as the job......... Just my opinion, Leaving behind good relationships with past employers will pay in spades later in your career. You'd be doing the current mangement a favor, getting a title and more scratch.

You may have to call on a favor some day. Karma is a good thing.

wenus2
09-05-2012, 03:25 PM
When it comes down to it you have to prove yourself in the kitchen, but often times it's the title earned at a previous job that gives you that opportunity. As somebody else said, your contacts are your best asset when looking for a job. Since having a champion isn't always possible, prestige helps too - enter the title. You are likely to have a potential employer's ear longer with an intro of sous vs line.

If You have an offer on the table, and you want it, take it. Don't burn bridges.
If you don't, take the title and the money and work on lining out some opportunities to meet some of your potential chefs... perhaps see the kitchens. Tell them you Have aspirations, see if you can pick up some work on your days off.

My $0.02

Eamon Burke
09-05-2012, 04:12 PM
If you like your current job's people and pay, I'd say stick with it until a clear door is opened. The longevity will say volumes more about your quality than the title.

No reason to leave a good job for a different good job, hoping it will somehow lead to better job.

tgraypots
09-05-2012, 06:18 PM
Salty and Eamon make good points. I have not worked in a restaurant, other than flipping burgers in '64, but I have burned some bridges and have also employed a handful of good craftspeople to work for me. I think the people you want to work for down the road will appreciate the respect and appreciation you have for your present employer, who appears to have made a nice offer. Resume's are important, but so is character, and your story.

Crothcipt
09-05-2012, 07:34 PM
Working for free to gain experience and network.

As far as the job......... Just my opinion, Leaving behind good relationships with past employers will pay in spades later in your career. You'd be doing the current mangement a favor, getting a title and more scratch.

You may have to call on a favor some day. Karma is a good thing.

Exp. if you are staying in the same town. Take the move up were you are at, then talk to other places to see if they are even considering a position you could take. The old saying a bird in the hand is worth more than 2 in the bush comes to mind here.

tkern
09-05-2012, 07:41 PM
Boston has an extremely small and incestious culinary scene. Everyone sees each other all the time and has hired, fired, worked with the same people at various restaurants. There are about 4 or 5 restaurant groups that have their teeth in and trade cooks, dishwashers, servers.

jgraeff
09-05-2012, 11:35 PM
I agree with some of the others if you have a job for sure lines up at a better place take it! Money will come from expoetence and later on, right now focus on skills and learning responsibility and becoming a leader. If you push yourself everyday you will only get better.

However if you don't have a for sure lined up job then stay put enjoy the money and start looking definetly don't burn any bridges I'd be honest and tell them your staying but are continuing to look and after season it's a good chance you will have an offer.

I worked at the best places took a lot of **** and worked soo hard for penny's and now it's paying off. Put in the hardwork now and it'll pay off eventually.

Good luck man! Also one thing I learned don't be scared to make mistakes!! Just be wise enough to learn from them! And dont give excuses ever chefs don't care why it's wrong it's just wrong just say yes or ok and you will be good!

hax9215
09-05-2012, 11:59 PM
Stay where you are at for the four months, the goodwill will pay off later.

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

sachem allison
09-06-2012, 12:30 AM
Don't leave them hanging, if they need you. Sounds like they are willing to work with you and think you are important enough to keep. If an offer comes that is amazing they will understand. Be honest with them, let them know you want to try something different and learn new skills. Work hard for them and ask for more creative responsibility in the kitchen, start making specials and start asking the chef more question, you might be surprised at what your chef knows how to do even though you may not see it. We get in a rutt and often times forget that we are chefs. Your questions may cause a creative spark in your chef and you may want to stay. You never know stranger things have happened. stay hungry

Crothcipt
09-06-2012, 12:53 AM
Don't leave them hanging, if they need you. Sounds like they are willing to work with you and think you are important enough to keep. If an offer comes that is amazing they will understand. Be honest with them, let them know you want to try something different and learn new skills. Work hard for them and ask for more creative responsibility in the kitchen, start making specials and start asking the chef more question, you might be surprised at what your chef knows how to do even though you may not see it. We get in a rutt and often times forget that we are chefs. Your questions may cause a creative spark in your chef and you may want to stay. You never know stranger things have happened. stay hungry

+100 when this does happen.

Kriegs
09-06-2012, 01:09 AM
Hard to respond to everything you all wrote (which I appreciate very much), but here it goes. I definitely understand that loyalty and longevity are key. I am grateful to my current employers for all that they have done and I have clearly expressed this to them. They have also stated that they only want me to stay if I feel that it will truly work for me. And i do realize all the ways it will benefit me and am currently leaning towards taking them up on their offer. Boston's incestuous nature, as far as kitchens go, is not lost on me and I have no intentions of burning bridges. I am just very intent on building a knowledge base that will take me forward. One concern that I should have expressed in my original post was that I wanted to avoid being a glorified line cook..I have no issue with working on the line; I LOVE cooking. I just didn;t want a situation where I remained stagnant in education for 4 months for just a bump in pay. However, that issue was addressed in a meeting today and I was happy to hear the response.

I don't currently have a job lined up, but I am confident that the way I hold myself in a kitchen and respect the food and employees (from the chef to the dishwashers) would lead to an offer from a number of the places in which I am interested. That being said, I feel as though you are all correct in saying that I shouldn't leave them hanging. I know my value to them (mostly because they have stated it) and I want to leave them feeling as though I gave them my all. I have not made any decision yet and will likely take a couple stages to see what is out there, but it seems as though the answer is relatively easy. Keep the responses coming though! I like reading the thoughts of any peers or outsiders.

-Kriegs

barramonday
09-06-2012, 01:27 AM
I've found I need to close one door so another can open . It sounds as though you are well regarded by your current place, by giving 4 weeks notice and a very valid reason for leaving you won't have burn't any bridges there. If it is coming up to the busy time of year in your city then you would have a much better choice of jobs than in off season.
Trust your gut.

Rowan...

Kriegs
09-06-2012, 01:30 AM
I've found I need to close one door so another can open . It sounds as though you are well regarded by your current place, by giving 4 weeks notice and a very valid reason for leaving you won't have burn't any bridges there. If it is coming up to the busy time of year in your city then you would have a much better choice of jobs than in off season.
Trust your gut.

Rowan...

Yeah, this is definitely a thought that has been a constant in my mind. I plan on using the couple stages that I am lining up to ask the chefs in various kitchens what the field might look like come January.

Kriegs
09-07-2012, 02:03 PM
Please excuse my ignorance...what is a "stage" in this context?

This might have been answered but missed by me. But I will answer anyway..a stage is a trial work period in a kitchen (could be a day, could be months). Generally un-paid but in some other the longer term situations, room and board may be provided in exchange for the hard work. The idea behind it is to see whether or not a given cook is suited for the available postion, whether or not they like whats going on in the kitchen, and whether or not they jive well with the other people in the kitchen. There are other factors involved, but in a nutshell..it's a try-out

-Kriegs

JohnnyChance
09-07-2012, 02:20 PM
This might have been answered but missed by me. But I will answer anyway..a stage is a trial work period in a kitchen (could be a day, could be months). Generally un-paid but in some other the longer term situations, room and board may be provided in exchange for the hard work. The idea behind it is to see whether or not a given cook is suited for the available postion, whether or not they like whats going on in the kitchen, and whether or not they jive well with the other people in the kitchen. There are other factors involved, but in a nutshell..it's a try-out

-Kriegs

Right, it can be a working interview or it can just be an opportunity for a cook to learn from some new people. I have done stages with no intention of asking for a job, it is always cool to meet new people and see different things. Nothing like working 6 days a week and staging at another restaurant on your day off (which is what I did last week)!

Carl
09-07-2012, 08:18 PM
And "stage" in this instance the "a" is an AH-sound and the "ge" is pronounced like a Z with your molars clenched together, or a very soft J sound (stahj).

Kriegs
10-06-2012, 11:13 PM
So I passed on the offer to remain on at the restaurant and took a position at a great restaurant in Cambridge. I'm excited. After the two stages, it seemed like a good fit. It's going to be hard work, but I'm confident that I will be getting more than enough knowledge and experience to make the work worth while.

-Kriegs

Johnny.B.Good
10-07-2012, 04:14 AM
Congratulations, and good luck!

knyfeknerd
10-07-2012, 08:42 AM
Good Kriegs, hope you enjoy it. Let us know how it is.

mr drinky
10-07-2012, 10:20 AM
Best of luck sir.

k.

keithsaltydog
10-11-2012, 07:41 PM
Great I'm sure your new skills gained at your old job will pay off in your new one.The fundimentals of good kitchen management are a valuable asset.

Apply your own knowledge & keep your eyes open to new idea's,things you can learn.

DeepCSweede
10-11-2012, 09:13 PM
Congrats Kriegs - Keep us updated on how the transition goes and good luck.

Kriegs
10-14-2012, 05:18 PM
Week one down. Sore and tired...never worked this hard in my life. I love it

ams
10-15-2012, 12:18 AM
Boston has an extremely small and incestious culinary scene. Everyone sees each other all the time and has hired, fired, worked with the same people at various restaurants. There are about 4 or 5 restaurant groups that have their teeth in and trade cooks, dishwashers, servers.

Agreed. Work/ed north of Boston and on the outer 'burbs and everyone knows everyone. Every place I've worked/staged/stinted or ate at you'll see a dishwasher, cook, manager or server that you've worked with or heard about through the grapevine. I know this is common to the restaurant industry as a whole but I swear it holds truer in Boston. Very intermingled field.

joex175
10-21-2012, 04:23 AM
are you at craigies? or Salt? only 2 restaurants that come to mind ( as In the only 2 in cambridge I have stage'd at )

if somewhere else id love to hear about it , I make trips to boston more regularly than NYC for food

maybe come up to my restaurant in VT

tkern
10-21-2012, 09:14 AM
are you at craigies? or Salt? only 2 restaurants that come to mind ( as In the only 2 in cambridge I have stage'd at )

if somewhere else id love to hear about it , I make trips to boston more regularly than NYC for food

maybe come up to my restaurant in VT

Where's your restaurant in VT?

Kriegs
10-22-2012, 04:29 PM
Craigie. I staged at Salts a little over a year ago before taking my job at Harvest. Thought about checking it out again, but decided to stick with Craigie. It's pretty brutal but extremely rewarding. I have friends at some great smaller restaurants around Boston (TW Foods, Canary Square,etc.) that you can check out. And yeah. what restaurant in VT? I dont get out of town too often, but you never know when I might have some free time.

joex175
10-25-2012, 02:10 PM
I'm at the Inn at Weathersfield as Chef de Cuisine currently

just did 2 james beard dinners and are going for best chef north east currently for 2013

been getting some pretty nice awards for a little hole in the wall in VT



reason I mention best chef NE is I'd love some help getting some nominations for my boss if anyone felt like doing it
the guy knows his **** and really deserves some recognition

tkern
10-25-2012, 02:17 PM
I'm probably going to be up in NH next month. I'll try and stop by for dinner.