Chefs?
#11
Why is working in a restaurant harder on Catholics than other lines of work?

Why are chefs nastier than other people?

I'm not debating, because I've known lots of cooks in restaurants, but only one you could really call a "chef," and he was not an arrogant jerk. He was a sweetheart ... but then again, he was infatuated with me and I did not work with him.

One thing that's annoying about people who cook for a living, though, is that they're super critical about other people's cooking, and usually not in a constructive way. In my experience.
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#12
I know some people who are chefs but not head chefs - they are allowed to cook and stuff, but they still get yelled at.   They always like going to obscure little restaurants, you know the ones you have to know a code word, or walk single file over a log bridge spanning a crocodile-infested swamp in the middle of the night?  They think it makes the food taste better.  They snap pictures of their meals and send them to each other on their phones just to drive each other crazy.  They fight over things like lemongrass.
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#13
The restaraunt biz is brutal, no doubt. Most culinary grads go into management and get to boss around a bunch of hedonists. I have plenty of cooking experience, from pub and grub to fine dining. I have never had a cooking course, though. Just worked in the biz as a server, bartender, sous/salad chef, and bouncer. The flexibility and money is good, if you don't have a family and aren't Catholic. My wife(who is ethnically French) and I have considered and even did planning on opening a continental(European) restaraunt or a Southern motif high volume restaurant. We definitely have the skills, but after a year, if you are not making a consistent margin, you're tanked. It may all be a Romantic dream. Yes, I consider myself a chef. Do you have any questions about certain dishes?
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#14
Satori Wrote:Why is working in a restaurant harder on Catholics than other lines of work?

Why are chefs nastier than other people?

I'm not debating, because I've known lots of cooks in restaurants, but only one you could really call a "chef," and he was not an arrogant jerk. He was a sweetheart ... but then again, he was infatuated with me and I did not work with him.

One thing that's annoying about people who cook for a living, though, is that they're super critical about other people's cooking, and usually not in a constructive way. In my experience.

I'm not really sure. About 75% of chefs or cooks I've worked with have been very secular minded people. I've worked with athiests, agnostics, a wiccan, etc. Maybe it's just my expiriences. Most country clubs seem to be pretty good places to work.
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#15
Satori Wrote:Why is working in a restaurant harder on Catholics than other lines of work?

Why are chefs nastier than other people?

I'm not debating, because I've known lots of cooks in restaurants, but only one you could really call a "chef," and he was not an arrogant jerk. He was a sweetheart ... but then again, he was infatuated with me and I did not work with him.

One thing that's annoying about people who cook for a living, though, is that they're super critical about other people's cooking, and usually not in a constructive way. In my experience.

It should be noted that a Chef is a person who has graduated from a Culinary school or otherwise carries the certificate (like from an apprenticeship).  It is a title, not a hobby.  And when I speak about chefs categorically, I don't refer to pastry chefs whose temprament (from my experiences) is more of a quiet perfectionist.  Pastry chefs are artists whose medium is sugar.  Bless them, I love pastry chefs.  But they are the minority in the culinary world.

In my experience, Gordon Ramsey is a good example of a pretty typical chef.  Obnoxious foul blowhards who have a false understanding of their own importance.  There are several positions in a kitchen, in typical French style of making everything complicated: a sous chef is an under-chef who is basically the schmuck who cooks your asparagus.  Poor guy has a culinary degree and doesn't get to culinate anything (no, culinate isn't a word).  Then you've got your chef du cuisine, who in Applebee's parlance might be an expo or even a kitchen manager.  They're in charge of several of the sous chefs and probably direct the creation of the menu.  Everyone thinks that the exeuctive chef is the head chef, but that's really more like the chef du cuisine.  The executive chef runs many kitchens (like in a hotel setting) or many restaurants (someone like Wolfgang Puck) and sets a style or vision of a restaurant-- but probably doesn't do much more than approve the menu choices of the chef du cuisine or intimidate the sous chefs.

I have deduced that most people get into the restaurant business because of its accessability: any moron can get hired in a restaurant.  And because the turnover is the nature of that beast-- if you don't get fired for long enough, you end up in management or culinary school.  As a result, a lot of chefs are just overgrown stoners and dropouts who have sought to justify their failed life's work as a history professor or whatnot.  And once they've decided to make a life of cooking, they turn around and project to the world their gold-guilded elitism.

Hooey.

Most chefs are not like Emirl.  Most of them are like Anthony Bourdain... sly wretches that you wouldn't ever invite into your home for fear that they'd leave a little bit of their slime on your couch cushions.  *shudder*

Is that mean or unfair?  Meh.

I've met a single decent human culinary chef in my whole life.  One.  He was a father of 5 who donated half his liver to save his dying child.  I've known dozens who are closer to my previous description than this solitary soul.

But God bless those pastry chefs.  They've got to work with the rest of that mangy lot, and share space in the refrigerator with them.  Have mercy.
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#16
WRC,

Now I know why you don't like Bourdain.  :laughing:

The one thing I like about Bourdain is that he doesn't pretend to be something he isn't.  He seems pretty self-abasing for a chef.  Maybe it is just an act.  Though he lost lots of brownie points with me for ditching his wife of 20+ years for some young, snobby Italian broad.

It's just the nature of the business to tear apart the work of other chefs.  It definitely isn't a business that's built on being nice.

I actually find chefs incredibly (unintentionally) hilarious.  The yelling and cursing and dish throwing is all part of the territory.  When i worked in fine dining, I worked for this French chef/owner that I considered a buffoon.  One thing I hated about fine dining was the customers.  They all pretended to be best friends with the chef as if they would be treated like royalty because they shook hands with him and said 'hello.'  Anyway, Chef sat down with these customers for lunch one day and ordered food right along with them.  He ordered some expensive stuff so I rang it up on a separate ticket so he could do whatever he wanted with it later.  At the end of the meal, he logs into my computer terminal and transfers his check to their check and tells me to drop it on the table.  I grimaced but did it anyway, thinking, maybe these people wanted to pay for it.  WRONG.  They called me over to the table and said "Hell no.  What kind of owner sits down at his customers' table to talk and then makes them pay for his meal????"  I said, "I don't know, but let me fix it for you."  I told Chef and he looked stunned/offended as if he couldn't believe that he graced these customers with his presence for almost 2 hours (right smack in the middle of a rush) and they had the audacity to not pay for his meal and booze...in his own restaurant.  THE NERVE.  I had to tell every server there what happened, I was so amused.

So anyway, my experience with chefs has always been one of total shock and curiosity.  It was usually the maître d' that got me riled up.  They were the ones that were overly puffed up with self-importance when they were really just glorified hosts.
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#17
Okay, I've never known a real "chef." I've known lots of professional "cooks," including one really good one who had worked in a couple of rather good restaurants and knew some fancy-pancy tricks. I also have no idea who these people are you all are talking about -- Bourdain? I guess I just don't watch enough TV.

It all sounds terribly disheartening. People should go into the restaurant business because they love good food and want to share a good thing with others; that's why I'd do it. Then again, Gwalberg, you'll be happy to know that my choice would be to be a pastry chef because my life's goal is to make people happy with sugar.

But why would there be more jerks in the restaurant business than in other businesses? Unless it's because, as Gwalberg says, anybody can get a job in a restaurant and get raised to a high position if they go long enough without being fired. Although I should think that would be a strength of the business, being able to get in on the bottom and not having to jump through a lot of arbitrary hoops first.
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#18
I really like Gordon Ramsay; where you see obnoxious I see passion and excellence.  Of course he may be the exception because he does have the bona fides to back up his brashness.
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#19
WhollyRoaminCatholic Wrote:It should be noted that a Chef is a person who has graduated from a Culinary school or otherwise carries the certificate (like from an apprenticeship).  It is a title, not a hobby.  And when I speak about chefs categorically, I don't refer to pastry chefs whose temprament (from my experiences) is more of a quiet perfectionist.  Pastry chefs are artists whose medium is sugar.  Bless them, I love pastry chefs.  But they are the minority in the culinary world.


You a partially right. Going to culinary school doesn't necessarily make a person a chef though. There are many great chefs that never went to culinary school. When it comes to culinary arts, experience is all that truly matters. I have seen many people come and go from restaurants. Kids fresh out of culinary school who can't handle the pressure of restaurant work. I personally do not have a degree in culinary arts, but I graduated from a culinary arts vocational school and have 4 different certifications plus the years of experience I've cooked in various restaurant settings. Just about every chef I have worked for has told me experience is the most important thing when it comes to becoming a chef. But like I said, I am about to start a new chapter in my life as soon as I get my degree. I am pretty much fed up with the restaurant biz. It's kind of funny. I'm going from Culinary arts to Computer Information Technology. Go figure.
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#20
Satori Wrote:Okay, I've never known a real "chef." I've known lots of professional "cooks," including one really good one who had worked in a couple of rather good restaurants and knew some fancy-pancy tricks. I also have no idea who these people are you all are talking about -- Bourdain? I guess I just don't watch enough TV.

It all sounds terribly disheartening. People should go into the restaurant business because they love good food and want to share a good thing with others; that's why I'd do it. Then again, Gwalberg, you'll be happy to know that my choice would be to be a pastry chef because my life's goal is to make people happy with sugar.

But why would there be more jerks in the restaurant business than in other businesses? Unless it's because, as Gwalberg says, anybody can get a job in a restaurant and get raised to a high position if they go long enough without being fired. Although I should think that would be a strength of the business, being able to get in on the bottom and not having to jump through a lot of arbitrary hoops first.

I think there is some truth in the fact that anybody can get a job in a restaurant. BUT...not everyone survives in a restaurant. It's fast paced and emotions/tensions run high. It's usually the nice ones that get weeded out because they can't cut it. It's a high stress job. Seriously. You don't always have the time (or patience) to say "Excuse me," or "Good try, but let me take over so I can show you." Both those situations usually end up in a "Get the :censored: out of the way!" I've made many a hostess cry and my boss told me that 1/2 the cooks were terrified of me. But it made me one of the best employees in the whole company and it probably explains why I lasted so long. A lot of it was walking a fine line between being respected and feared but not hated.

If you just love cooking...you need to treat it as a hobby. Restaurant work is one of those jobs where only the aggressive survive. Those that take it personally or those that are too nice either decide it's not for them or get shoved out.

I actually miss it.
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