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My job as a chef / manager

  • #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 5,831 ✭✭✭ themadchef

    Occupation: Chef / manager
    Qualifications held: H dip in business, specailising in catering management.
    Previous Jobs: Insane as it may souns i asked for my first job age 10 :o. The little old lady who ran the establishment thought it was a joke so told me to come for the breakfast shift at 8am. I turned up and she felt bad so asked me to stay. I washed a few cups and got paid that summer with a bottle of Club orange and a packet of crisps :D. By age 12 i really was working. I know it sounds mad but they were different times. I stayed there until i was 17 and by then i knew this was my career.

    Worked through college, grant was a pittance and i was a long way from home. Chrsitmas parties, silver service any work we could get through the college. I studied in Cathal Brugha Street DIT.

    After college my first decent job was a canteen chef manager in Dunnes in Cornellscourt. 2 of my sisters were working in Intel in Lexlip so when a night shift CM post came up i ran at it. Got the job, loved the job. To be honest though, i missed the country. I'm a culchie at heart so after 2 years when my local pub was reopening at home i was offered the job and that was that. I've been here since May 1998.

    Daily/weekly/yearly routine:

    If you fance the 7- 3.30 job then contract catering is for you. To be a chef manager you need the cooking skills of a chef but the cut throat personality of a manager. Freindly but firm. You need a good business head for the accounts end of it, targets, GP's, budgets etc. This life can be very rewarding but can be monotonous. Same customers day in day out and some times the first thing they will whinge about is the food even though it may not be the reason for their discontent, just a symptom of a company problem. So thick skn is essential along with an ability to stand your ground on certain issues. Also, you need to be able to listen, adapt and move quickly. Team work is not just a phrase. Without your team you are nothing.

    When i moved to a countryside pub restaurant i knew my structured shifts were over. Things are much different in a seasonal business. Here's how my year breaks down:

    May to end of August i work 7 days a week (yes, 7) mostly 12 hr shifts. To get a day off you need a death cert (for yourself :pac:) From Sept to Dec i work Sat and Sun, any bank hol, some firdays and any party that comes up (there's not many). I work through Christmas to new year apart from Christmas day. So in essence maybe 15hrs a week apart from holiday times. Jan to April is similar to Winter. Easter, Paddys etc i work.

    Some people think it sounds like hard work BUT for the most part of 8 months a year im working weekends only and get paid a monthly salary so how many hours i work is irrelevant.

    Age bracket: (optional) I'm 35

    General comments: Being a chef is not a job. It's a passion. I run out the door to work. I love my job more than any other person i know. Passion doesn't go away, you can make the same dish 500 times and still try to make it better. work is what you make it. I try to make it fun. I do not own the business i work in but i run it as if i do. The owner leaves me to it. The other manager in the pub is a gentelman. it helps if the main person you work with on a daily basis is not a .... well you know what i mean ;). Finding a balance in personality is essential. He is calm and relaxed, i'm a panic button person... we keep each other in check. My team in the kitchen is a mix of male and female, young and old. Yes, it's tough starting at the bottom, but if you prove your skill you will climb that ladder faster than Fireman Sam! :D

    Day In The Life: Try August. No early breakfast shift so work generally betewwn 9 /10 depending on prep list. Then it's cooking all day, mixed in with orders, rotas, and all the business end. Dinner service is mental. everyone in this country has to eat at 8pm for some reason. Being able to delegate, foresight (seeing the storm coming and being ready for it) is important. Keeping a cool head under pressure, being able to switch into top gear and push your staff to do the same while making it all "fun" is no easy task but it can be done. Bad days? sure. We all have them, except when i have one it affects everyone else. Do not bring your personal life to work. Shelve it before you leave and carry on as normal OR b1tch about it all day (that really helps some times LOL) 10pm i generally go home to rest. When i was in my twenties i was more likely to head to the bar :o rarley drink now.

    Any questions, fire away. Will try my best to answer them.

    One last thing, if you want to make huge money in your career avoid this one :D your reward is job satisfaction and believe me, my young lads and lasses that is priceless!