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Working in a kitchen for the first time

Hey AshtrayHey Ashtray Registered User regular
edited May 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Yoho, I got hired at a family restaurant franchise working in the kitchen. No details were given on what I'm going to be doing. It's basically a swiss chalet type place.

What can I expect? My boss knows I have no kitchen experience at all, except mcdonalds, so I'm hoping I don't take much flak while I get used to it.

Hey Ashtray on


  • Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Probably lots of food-prep and bitch work, maybe even washing dishes if its a smaller place. Just do what you're told and help everyone out.

    I've worked a few restaurant jobs as a sort of entry level/food prep cook and this is typically what I did:
    Cleaned/chopped/prepared vegetables, peeling garlic, shucking corn, peeling tomatillos, trimming cuts of meat, prepping marinades and preparing basic sauces. This was typically during slow periods. The rest of the time I would help the sous chef/head chef with whatever they needed.

    Forbe! on
  • DemerdarDemerdar Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Don't put the salads under the heat lamp. I made that mistake once... that's all I got for ya.

    Demerdar on
  • CathodeCathode Registered User
    edited May 2011
    As someone who started in a kitchen on no prior experience, the best advice I can offer is this; Be humble. Devour all the knowledge you are offered, keep an open mind, and your superiors will respect you for it. You will probably be the bitch for a while, that's just how it is starting at the bottom of the ladder, so be prepared to deal with a lot of boring, tedious or mundane tasks, for a long time. Suck it up and ask for more :] And don't be afraid to leave if the job makes you hate living, because god knows kitchen work can do that to you, and there's no amount of money that can make up for living in your own special slice of hell. Know that with everything anyone trains you to do in a particular kitchen, you are not only adding value to yourself in the eyes of the particular company, but also to any future employers in the restaurant business, so learn, learn, and learn some more. If you don't have any particular task assigned to you in the moment, find ways to keep busy. I cannot stress this enough. Clean, refill, ask someone higher up the chain for a task. But for the love of god, don't just stand around because you don't know what you ought to be doing, that's the unforgivable sin. And if you make a mistake, own up to it, take it like a man. Everyone makes mistakes, we're all human, and your coworkers will respect you for it.

    The kitchen is the last true meritocracy. Do your job, and do it well, and it will all work out.

    Cathode on
    "There is enough light to enlighten the elect, and enough darkness to humble them."
  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Caaba Beankomy XobthroRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Expect to suck at it. When I was a line cook it was rough for a few weeks. It gets better once you learn all the recepies though.

    Also, drink lots of water. It gets very hot in most kitchens. 100 or so.

    And clean up messes as you go if you can. Nothing worse then a wrecked kitchen at the end of the night.

    JebusUD on
    And I won, so you lose,
    Guess it always comes down to.
  • Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Also: I don't know about your personal hygiene habits, but I've seen a number of chefs flip out at their staff because of their hygiene. IE: Take a shower before work, keep a clean appearance, wear clean clothes.

    Forbe! on
  • Aurora BorealisAurora Borealis Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Anytime you have two minutes, go wash your hands. It is like a little mini-break.
    There is always something that needs cleaning.
    Nobody likes the guy who complains a lot.

    Aurora Borealis on
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Speak up when you pass between someone and a counter. Especially "Behind you, on your right, excuse me" type stuff. People get tunnel vision and don't have time to keep track of who is cutting between them and their workspace. I've seen food hit the floor and a stabbing because someone tried to quietly walk down the isle between a cooking/prep surface and someone when they had their back turned.

    dispatch.o on
  • RoyceSraphimRoyceSraphim Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Working in a kitchen is like doing a lap in a racing game. You are doing the same thing over and over and as you do each lap, you learn from what you did on the last one and will take less time to do it.

    Also, some of the Advice in Ratatouille actually helps.

    RoyceSraphim on
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Working in a kitchen is like doing a lap dance in a racing game.

    Which is how I read it, and think works too. It's messy, you get lots of regulars if good, and you learn tons of new tricks.

    Safety is #1. Learn how to cut properly, wear good no-slip shoes, and clean up spills, even if you didn't do it.

    MichaelLC on
    Nobeard wrote: »
    You can even mount some non-animals...

  • Hey AshtrayHey Ashtray Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Awesome guys. Thanks for the advice! Heading to work right now, I'll let you know how it goes.

    Hey Ashtray on
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