Professionalism Part: How Devoted Are You?

This post goes out to all the industry people that read this little blog of ours. I don’t really want replies but I’m just pondering an issue I’ve recently come across… How devoted are you to your kitchen?… We all (well most of us) chose to work in our specific kitchens due to a respect for either the food or the chef. However if that image is tainted one way or another, do we stay or do we go? Does our personal progression through the industry suffer because of this issue?

Working in a professional kitchen means that unfortunately you get to see some of the shortcuts and shortcomings of chefs that the happy consumer will never see. In an ideal world this would never happen, but for the rest of us we tend to learn by example or look the other way. Chef drops a piece of meat on the floor? Oh well, there’s always the five second rule! The dishwasher forgot to put his beardnet on so there’s a strange hair in the plate you’ve finished?  No problem, you pick it up with your kitchen (generally quite unsanitary) fingers and pretend nothing happened. But these are minor details, issues you’ll easily overlook in order to absorb as much knowledge from your superiors as possible… But when do you stop? How do you decide if your chef is cutting corners or just simply doesn’t care?

One piece of advice I can give to those who care to listen, is watch your kitchen at it’s busiest or most stressful time. Do you have 35 orders coming in at once or is the owner breathing down your neck because of costs, well that’s the best time to watch the chef… The corners he cuts are generally a good indication of his abilities and his passion… A true foodie will cause serious harm to oneself (burning, cutting, etc) if it means that each of those 35 simultaneous orders will go out perfect!…. but unfortunately, real foodies are hard to come by!

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4 comments

  • I actually did write a long reply to your blog but then re-read your second sentence that you actually didn’t want a reply. Sometimes it’s difficult to sit on my hands after working in the industry for so long and not being able to discuss your oh-so-many ponderings :)

  • It is a very interesting question that you bring up. Many little details can be brought in consideration. You always get caught when you cheat.

  • Feel free to comment if you’d like… I would love to hear about your experiences in the industry!

  • Kitchen Devotion, an ever changing and evolving issue in the industry, is an issue at the core of the business and the individual. It can either strengthen or deteriorate a relationship between the chef and his brigade. When that moment does come, when you see corners being cut and standards do slip, or less love is being shown towards the food, what do you do? Does that moment define the you and the chef equally, or one more than the other? When that moment has past and either something was done about it or not, can you then stand behind the food (and chef) you are sending out to paying guests?
    Only your ethics, morals, and conscious can lead you in a direction, hopefully that direction is the right one. One where you don’t feel guilt, disgust, and conflicting emotions.

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