4.18.2008

How to make sous chef.


how to make sous chef.

"Cooks are made, and chefs are born...so I guess it's too bad you're just an asshole."
-cook shit talk


  • Be, you know...better than everyone else. First things first, a "chef" needs to be a great cook. If you can slug it out with the other kids on the line, and do so with good technique and discipline, you're already halfway there. However, i'm amazed how many so called"chefs" i've seen/worked with that could barely handle a sautee pan. If you dont have "moves"...and can't step in and help out without making a mess of things, you need to go back to the pantry.
  • Work harder than everyone else. As a sous, your days will last between 12 and 14 hours--sometimes more. As a cook trying to make sous, you need to do the same...and be prepared to not get paid to do so. When you go salary, you won't be pulling any overtime anyway. It's simple--come in early, stay late, never complain about your paycheck. Push yourself to your breaking point, then work another four hours.
  • Never assign blame...but always accept it. Building morale becomes a sous daily responsibility...and there are many roads to take when managing your staff. A cook that can lead, while still knowing his/her place stands out. If you're pushing your staff to the point that you don't feel comfortable having a beer with them after service, you're overdoing it.
  • Taste everything. No, seriously, everything. Your mirepoix. Raw veg. Cooked veg. Marinades. Spice mixes. That nasty falafel pita the waitress is eating. EVERYTHING.
  • Take risks. You will fuck up. You will look stupid. But when your risk pays off, and you look like a genius, your confidence will build....and alot of what differentiates a cook from a chef is that confidence.
  • Know everything...and keep learning. Read the paper, magazines, and blogs. (wink)




notes.


  1. 403 covers. It's alot.
  2. Top Chef. Really? Skin on sous vide salmon? Padma's voice overs make me want to stab my eyes out.
  3. A sustainable kitchen is a happy kitchen.
  4. I own a bunny now. Yes it would be delicious fricasee'd with gnocchi and spring veg...but she's just too cute.
  5. Nopa 2 year anniversary = fun but windy party + 2 leftover kegs making their way back to my place




Ryan Scott's picatta. I thought it looked nice.


Late night.


Kozy the bunny.


7 comments:

jnp43 said...

this latest blog was really inspiring to read. thanks.

Chunk said...

I think you're right on. I have done some of these things well, and some of them poorly. You left one thing out though: Make sure you like the restaurant well enough to work that hard. It is probably better to be a line cook in a place you're passionate about, than sous chef in a place that you don't believe in. Be wary of restaurants that are just good enough not to quit. Being sous chef probably won't make things much better.

jondis said...

A favorite pirate themed t-shirt of mine reads:

"The beatings will continue until morale improves."

You should read the chapter by Marco Pierre White in that book I gave you.

Joseph Bayot said...

I really enjoyed this post. Every point you give about becoming a sous really rings true for every sous chef that I've ever worked with.

I had unerring confidence in the fact that they could take over my station and cook better, faster, and cleaner but moreso they instilled in me a compulsion to be perfect in everything I did at work, from arrival to breaking down, because they showed me what it takes to get to that level.

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