Need some advice

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Chef Billy Jack
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Need some advice - Sun, 10/2/05 8:19 PM
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Maybe some old pros out there can help me with this; my wife is tired of hearing about it...LOL..here's my situation..I have been in the foodservice industry for about 25 years and I currently work as an Exec. Sous Chef--the job is OK, but not much room for advancement. I am going to Culinary School, and I love cooking, but over the years I am finding out that I HATE managing people--especially lazy people. I'm wondering what types of careers there are out there where I can use my speed, dependability, and background (in everything from New Store Opener/Corporate Trainer to Exec. Chef to Catering manager) and not really have to deal with managing people. I thought of a complete career change, but I have SO much experience in what I am doing. Thoughts? Ideas? Thanks for your time.

Scallion1
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RE: Need some advice - Sun, 10/2/05 9:26 PM
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Along the same lines, think about catering. One-man operation. Maybe you need a prep person/dishwasher. I don't know what you'd do about the servers. Or maybe you could come up with a product, like selling baked goods or cookies to retail outlets. Only problem there is that to make enough to earn any money you'd need a few additional bakers.

I started out wanting to be a chef garde-manger. Just wanted to come in every morning and make the most beautiful galantines of duck. Then I found out that to make any (relatively) decent money I'd have to be the Chef. So that's what I did. And it took me about 15 years to learn how to manage people. Hardest aspect: how to be strict without being abusive, how to ask (and then tell) people under me to do things without being passive-aggressive and doing it myself to spite them, and how to be friendly without being friends with the rest of the staff.


zataar
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RE: Need some advice - Sun, 10/2/05 9:38 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Scallion1
Hardest aspect: how to be strict without being abusive, how to ask (and then tell) people under me to do things without being passive-aggressive and doing it myself to spite them, and how to be friendly without being friends with the rest of the staff.


My thoughts exactly.....

Chef Billy Jack
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RE: Need some advice - Mon, 10/3/05 5:11 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Scallion1

Along the same lines, think about catering. One-man operation. Maybe you need a prep person/dishwasher. I don't know what you'd do about the servers. Or maybe you could come up with a product, like selling baked goods or cookies to retail outlets. Only problem there is that to make enough to earn any money you'd need a few additional bakers.

I started out wanting to be a chef garde-manger. Just wanted to come in every morning and make the most beautiful galantines of duck. Then I found out that to make any (relatively) decent money I'd have to be the Chef. So that's what I did. And it took me about 15 years to learn how to manage people. Hardest aspect: how to be strict without being abusive, how to ask (and then tell) people under me to do things without being passive-aggressive and doing it myself to spite them, and how to be friendly without being friends with the rest of the staff.




Thanks for taking the time to reply. What you said is exactly what makes managing people so hard..plus dealing with the way that my boss manages people. I have a crazy work ethic and I expect everybody to be like that. I have a hard time finding the line between helping, and enabling. People tell me that I manage well, but I am very self-critical. I was just curious what other opportunities existed. I use to open new restaurants for a national chain, and that was something that I really liked--training people--we were scheduled 80 hrs. a week, and worked about 95, but I really enjoyed it. Thanks again for your comments.

mayor al
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RE: Need some advice - Mon, 10/3/05 6:22 PM
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Ask Lleechef about her experiences. In my opinion she has one of the best food-service careers a person could want. But that the view frm someone who is not familiar with the whole spectrum of the job.

lleechef
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RE: Need some advice - Tue, 10/4/05 12:21 AM
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Thank you Al for the compliment. I used to work 100 hours a week. The help drove me crazy, I used to pull my bangs up and say, "Do I have BABYSITTER written on my forehead today??" Yep. It was there every day. I taught a couple of Brazilians to speak English, wash dishes, move to the pantry, then to saute, then to the grill and life became easier.

I now do in-flight catering (there's a pic of Al and Janet and us somewhere out there at my catering room.) I have a Mexican guy, Roberto, helping me, we're like an old married couple but we sure do pump out the food when it's time to roll! And tomorrow is gonna be rock and roll because I have 10 flights!

The in-flight catering is nice because I'm my own boss. Another great job I had was GM at Yankee Lobster Fish Market in Boston.

There are so many options in the food industry!


zataar
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RE: Need some advice - Tue, 10/4/05 1:42 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by lleechef

I used to work 100 hours a week. The help drove me crazy, I used to pull my bangs up and say, "Do I have BABYSITTER written on my forehead today??


I can totally relate to that! I once told a troublesome cook that I wasn't his MOTHER and he said "I wish you were." I said "Thomas, you are giving me the creeps." I work for a small catering company now, very seldom ever doing events for more than 275 people. The big plus is instead of 15 people to supervise it's 5. Even during the busiest weeks around Christmas, I never work 100 hours a week, 65 maybe, but only for 3 or 4 weeks.

Copperhedzkettle
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RE: Need some advice - Tue, 10/4/05 2:10 PM
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Chef Billy Jack,
The only management experience I have was in a convenience store/fast food place. The corp. I worked for had a rule that you couldn't be a manager without a high school diploma, no GED accepted.

Since I have and still hold the highest GED score in GA (#1 loser ), the powers that be gave me a break. Bless their stinking hearts.

I was voted in the top 7% of managers the lst year I worked there....I'm not trying to toot my own here. I'm saying that people skills you are born with, or like Scallion1, it takes you 15 years to learn. I never faced a corporate audit or corporate visit alone. It was always a "we" thing. These people worked for minimum wage and made me one of the best store managers in the east, we were a tight bunch. I still miss them to this day.

In the restaurant Biz I never had a problem with my job or the customers (I was not management), just the staff. It was the meanest bunch of folks I have ever dealt with. I think envy, poverty, dysfunctional homelife, and basically getting yer ass kicked everyday everywhere you turn drives them crazy for the most part, I have given you my history so you will know that ordinarily I get along, and do well. I can only surmise the restaurant Biz takes longer to develope relationships and gain respect. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm sayin its TOUGH.

At this point in my life, I have enough to raise. HTH,

Copper

PS Good Luck!