Working behind the scenes in a kitchen is not the easiest job in the world, actually, its quite the oppostite, its one of the hardest jobs I have come across. It involves excruciating physical labour and ridiculous hours!
One would ask, so why do it then? It is a question every chef gets asked. Personally in my eyes, its probably one of the most rewarding jobs, not only does it teach you a hundred and one things, but theres also a pay off after each plate hits the table! It teaches you valuable life lessons, you learn to become your own person and gain some real balls!
- One thing you have to remember, it’s not about you, the kitchen only functions when you understand your role, and work as part of a team!
- Making stuff is important yes! There are many avenues of choice you can take, but there is something special about someone’s individual sense of accomplishment, when they are able to make something amazing and enjoyed by many!
- There is no room for errors, you have to be prepared in advanced and very organised!!
- Its very important that you take care of yourself, mentally, emotionally and physically. Don’t bring your crap to work, leave it at home!! If you don’t get on with a person on your team, discuss your differences, come to a reasoning, cause it depends on you and your team to produce the best, customers are paying top dollar after all!
- Be dependable, get to work early, leave 15 minutes late, not only does it show dedication in your role, it also shows initiative. You need to have flexibility.
- Always think before you speak, you can get caught up in the whole kitchen banter and say something absurdely rude, or inappropiate. It’s a good common practise to keep. In the UK, english is to be spoken in all kitchens!
- Equality is a natural thing, there are no barriers in any work life, personal life etc. Its all about helping others, team work!
- Please take care of your tools, ok so in an office you have a set of drawers, which you can lock, so no one steals your stuff! In a kitchen, nahhhduhh!!! You will own your own tools and take care of them like they are your babies. It provides you with the basis of everything you need to make that certain dish, so do learn to take care of them!! My tools are my pride and joy, when I clean them, I forever take my time. They are then stored in their own knife kit to keep them safe, also out of harms way, and padlocked!
- If you are assigned to a task, it must of course be done to a standard of excellence, that goes without saying! This also follows in all professions!
- Always be true to yourself – you can tell the difference from when someone has worked in a kitchen for 2-3 years, there is a philosophical match. When the match doesnt exist, then the chef is looking for their next opening.
- Appreciate the small things – dirty washed plates, dry towels vs wet towels, mise-en-place, cleanliness, hygiene, organisation, hot plates, cold plates, dessert plates, finely chopped fruit.
It is like any other job, you want to excel, succeed, and reach your highest potential. You learn many things being in a kitchen.
The debate about women being executive chefs, I will leave that to another day. More and more women are now taking over the profressional kitchens in a well respected manor and I couldn’t be more happier.