Hi all, am here to seek some advise from some of you veterans so here it goes.
I am 24 this year and am working for 5 years in the kitchen now. At my current place, I am the unspoken No.2, my post is just a CDP, however due to high staff turnover my place never got a proper Sous Chef, the previous ones that came were either too lazy or incompetent. No staff in the kitchen now from the opening team are left except for myself and my head chef. We're currently a 10-staff strong kitchen. He places a lot of trust in me and tries from time to time to nurture me into officially becoming his Sous Chef. He has empowered and told me to discipline, guide and teach the rest of the team.
Basically I do everything from ordering to food costing/food cost control, organizing functions, attending budget meetings etc. All these have taken time out from my working hours instead of standing in the kitchen prepping away but I'm overwhelmed with the paperwork involved. I feel that instead of doing paperwork I could spend more time with the team with Mise-en-place and be on the line and most importantly be more hands on. I feel that I could hone my skills further and thus am feeling dejected. The times that I'm involved in service is only while I am at the pass and it make me feel left out as I'm not actually doing much cooking anymore.
I try my best to turn up for work 2 hours earlier to see if I could help bang out some prep for the team, but slowly, now I'm getting physically and mentally tired working here. Working 70hrs (rostered) shifts and my pay is not far off from my fellow colleagues. Why do I say i get mentally tired working? It's a bittersweet thing working with my head chef. I've got to say that he is a awesome chef, his creativity, flair, capability, speed of working amazes me. But in the recent few months he has slackened and he's starting to lose his flair. Half the time he's not here, he would take off early or come in late.
There are times that he would spur me on and say I'm doing a hell out of a great job, but then again there are times that he would put me down and make me feel that I'm worthless. He could one moment be all nice and cool and when something happens between he and his missus he would just go bonkers and yell randomly at anyone. I understand that at any other place there is surely a chef that is like that and that's why I'm willing to accept it.
Being the unspoken No.2, Every single time a mistake is committed by a fellow colleague, I would directly/indirectly have to go under fire. So now I feel obligated to shield my team I have bitten the bullet many times for my colleagues for the mistakes they have committed. My head chef is a 110% ******* at times so I'd rather take on the ranting on behalf of them. He will tell me every now and then and says that I am too soft on the team and why am I not taking control. My personal feel that there is already one ******* in the kitchen, and I feel in such a small kitchen, there is no need for 2 ******** to be around. It's not as if I do not reprimand people when they commit mistakes, I do but it's just that he feels that is its not adequate. I do it in my sarcastic talks and try to liven up the atmosphere at work. Over a period of 15months we had 16 staff in the kitchen come and go due to my head chef or themselves.
Truth be told, the thought of resignation has come across my mind many times, but I chose to stay as I was part of the opening team and feel very bonded and obliged to try to hold this place together.
What I really want to do is still to prep, cook etc. at this point of my career, yes sure it is a good opportunity to learn how to manage a kitchen but is it the right time for me yet? Is what I'm doing now a career-limiting move? Also I feel that I am getting too comfortable here as I call the shots for everything when my head chef is not around, somehow I feel it makes me big-headed and I do not want that. So I am here to seek advise from you guys here. Should I stay or should I move on and find another place?
Thank you for reading this rant/post.