well, i have been disturbingly addicted to this blog i happened upon called WAITER RANT. it is FABULOUS. i advise you all to check it out at www.waiterrant.net. anyway, waiter rant has also led me to a few other posts on other blogs about serving and so on, and i find these thing addicting, because as much as there is animosity between cooks and servers,we are all restaurant folk, and its fun to read about and its nice to see people letting the public into the realities of the business. however, there is a reason they keep us guys in teh back, the public is more interested in servers, because those are the people they relate to when they are out dining. also, we are a vulgar, eccentric group of people and we like being the guys behind the scenes. its where we belong, but we are underrepresented in any public forum on restaurants, whether it be a movie like waiting, a blog like waiterrant, or a book. so without further ado, allow this small she cook to outline for you: BACK OF HOUSE- A GLIMPSE INTO WHERE THE REAL MAGIC HAPPENS (AKA THE THUNDERDOME, BITCH)
in restaurants much better than the one i work at, there is usually a chef. some places, like the one i work at have a kitchen manager instead, details on him to follow. the chef is usually a man who has been cooking his whole life. half of the kitchen is trying to become this man, and half of the kitchen is trying NOT to become this man. the half trying NOT to become the man are the ones who probably will. the chef is usually an alcoholic because he is passionate about the art of cooking but now his life is steeped in pointless bureaucracy, meetings, and petty disputes. he gets to plan all of the menus and execute their creation, but he also has to do a lot of other work that is very boring and disillusioning. he also probably makes a fraction of the money his friends from high school are now making, and his wife just left him six months ago because hes at his stupid thankless job 100 hours a week. all of this angst has caused him to become a complete arrogant prick who needs servers to stroke his ego 24 - 7 while his cooks avoid him, begrudgingnly learning quite a lot from him despite themselves.
THE SOUS CHEF
the sous chef holds the kitchen together so the chef has time for all of his fun work involving paperwork and inventory. the sous chef is usually bitter at having to deal with his incompetent underlings, but is likeable nonetheless. usually a good guy to have on your side, but dont piss him off, the chef listens to him and NO ONE ELSE. the sous chef still has plans of somehow becoming a chef without becoming an alcoholic, but he knows deep down thats impossible.
there are several subdivisions of line cooks, but we can make some preliminary generalisations. line cooks tend to define their personalities at work by the music that they listen to. this sets the tone in teh kitchen for the rest of the day. line cooks generally spend their whole day busting their asses, but they still find time to make inappropriate comments to servers, bitch about their jobs, and cuss non stop. there is no such thing as a pleasant customer to a line cook. it doesnt matter WHAT you order, they don't to make it, and they ESPECIALLY dont want to make it for staff. stress is this kind of cook's business, and business is good.
-> THE DAY CREW: line cooks on the day crew tend to be the lazy pot head types. they work the slowest shifts with the easiest to please customers. the chef or kitchen manager just keeps them around becuase his best cooks work weekends and they dont want weekday day shifts, and he has to keep the best cooks happy, especially since theyre line cooks and they hate everything anyway.
-> THE NIGHT CREW: nights are always busier than days, so you get a better caliber of cook on these nights. often students, the night crew cannot party much during the week, since they work teh night shift, but when they get the chance, they party much harder than the day crew to make up for lost time.
-> THE WEEKEND CREW: these shifts are reserved for the strongest cooks. without fail, these cooks are also the angriest, crudest, and most endearing cooks. they have very strong loyalty to each other from working together under stress for so long and they take no guff from any server. most of them are steadfast smokers, whose entire work experience is just a whole lot of "x number of minutes until my next cigarette"
-> THE BREAKFAST CREW: it has always been my experience that no matter where you work, it takes a certain kind of crazy to cook breakfast. whether it be at a resort where the breakfast crew rolls in before 5 am to get pastries in the oven, or at a pub where you sling 300 plates of greasy eggs in an inappropriately equipped kitchen for six hours, breakfast cooks are the kooks of teh kitchen
prep cooks are a lot slower than any line cook, because they are not under any sort of pressure for time. in kitchens with more than one prep cook, they tend to band together since the line cooks are too busy running around and swearing to have a conversation with anyone who is not a line cook. in some kitchens, prep cooks are completely isolated from line cooks, making their kitchen experience entirely other.
these BOH representatives tend to be high school kids who need to make some easy money on teh weekends, or very old men with low IQs. other than dishes, they get given plenty of bitchwork, and are constantly reminded that they are expendable. a few of these kids will climb the kitchen ladder, and dont realise that bitchwork now means real kitchen jobs in teh future. they are often completely useless with tonnes of attitude, but every now and again you meet one with a sense of humour.
she cooks can be in any of the above categories, but i think they deserve a mention here as well.
-> THE FEMININE SHE COOK: this she cook is still trying to retain her feminity because it either has not dawned on her yet that this is a mans trade in a mans world, or she knows that but doesnt care. very few she cooks like this last very long.
-> THE "I AM A BOY" SHE COOK: this she cook has been working it kitchens so long that her boyishness has spread into every aspect of her life. or perhaps her boyishness is what drew her to cooking in teh first place. she forgets shes a girl, her coworkers forget shes a girl, and new servers think shes a dyke. she holds her own among the boys and throws out as much sexism and mouthing off as everyone else
-> THE RAGING MAN HATER SHE COOK: this she cook hes been mistreated by men both in and out of work and feels she has something to prove. she is not one of the boys, she is more of a feminist. an extreme feminist. she thinks anything the boys can do, she can do better, and will not tolerate any of the behaviours that make cooks so endearing. this she cook is hated by all, and either changes her attitude or finds a new job.
SO there you have it folks, my 2 cents on what i do. hope you liked it, now im going to get back to my stupid nucleus paper.