The Great Hall
Burning Bridges The Great Hall: Burning Bridges
By Linecook82 (Linecook82) on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 01:43 pm: Edit

I just wanted to throw this out there as I have noticed there are a lot of young/older people attending culinary schools or just getting into the trade. I haven't seen this warning on here yet, but i'm sure the other cooks/chefs will agree, Don't burn bridges!!! Though this is true for most professions, in the culinary field word travels quickly, especially if you intend to pick up another job in the same area. It also looks horrible on your resume when attempting to get hired. As a cook, one of the finest professions in the world (Don't let anyone tell you otherwise), your resume, at least in the US, is your passport to any kitchen who is looking for cooks. Why put a few months, or god forbid years into a place you hate just to leave without notice? All that time wasted and another period of time on your resume that your possible future chef will see as "time not working." (Unless you have the balls to still put it on your resume, hoping the chef won't call your previous employer.) Take your job seriously and try not to be intimidated by these egotistical chefs. Most of them worked their asses off to get where they are and have a respect for their cooks since they're doing the 300 or so covers a night while the chef expedites.Tell them how you feel, most of them were where you are at one point in their career. If it comes down to you wanting to leave, don't be afraid to say so instead of just not showing up. Some places suck, especially your first few choices since you're not quite sure how to tell if the place is a $&#* hole or not. (I reccomend Kitchen Confidential to absorb those tell tale signs of an unsuccesful restaurant) I can't stress this more and i'm sure the vets in the business will agree. I just joined this site so we'll see if anyone even responds to this haha. Late

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 05:54 am: Edit

I find almost every time I'm preaching something, its something I'm not practicing and I'm just projecting.

I burned many bridges and sank the boats too, but until I figgered out to stop cracking my head against the wall, the last thing I'd listen to was preaching because I knew hypocracy if little else. Of course I didn't recognize MY hypocracy, just others.

I consider it fruitless to try protect anyone from the consequences of their own actions, its only through the priveledge of self inflicted pain that anyone grows.

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 07:19 pm: Edit

In my class, I have a student who told me yesterday that she thinks she is responsible in an adult way, although she failed to show for school because she went camping. She ended up walking off and I hope she doesn't return because she is just one more example of not only a lack of respect, but the inablility to identify irresponsible behavior.

I don't know if it is a generational thing because my friends and I are usually too responsible and find younger kids mostly irresponsible. Part of that is just growing up. I think the way companies have been treating long term employees, they are earning less dedication from their employees. When you feel the need to be responsible, then see people around you being laid off or fired for minor things, it makes you wonder just when your number will come up.

Would I ever walk off the job, or quit without notice? NO!!! I have worked too hard to get where I am. I have, however, given notice and then take two weeks vaction that was owed me (it was not under duress or bad feelings of any kind.) That's about as close as I would care to come as I find Linecook's comment about resumes to be too true.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 10:21 am: Edit

We all have burned bridges, I know I have, when I was younger and more inexperienced!
I think most don't think about it when they are young, it a part of "growing up kitchen".
I remember the first (and only) time I walked off a job, I was working at Victoria Station, my first day and the KM tells me to clean the kitchen tile from the roof down, after 10-12 minutes I went out the back door and left my denim apron and hat hanging on the door knob, I figured they would figure it out!

By Tamsin (Tamsin) on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 08:50 pm: Edit

I have to agree with chefmanny, we all burn bridges and it is part of growing up. I have walked from 2 jobs within the 3 month probation period, which means no referenece or anything. One of them I put down in my resume as working at the other I don't, and I haven't found any problems with that at all when I have gone for other positions, I even have a six month break in an area of my working career, and have never been asked about it once.
I think if you walk from a job that you have been at for many years and don't get a reference then you could be in trouble. Always make sure that when you are training that you go to a good establishment and stay there for a bit, tough it out, get a good reference, and then once qualified you can move around a bit. If the job isn't right, the chef is a total ass then leave, you can always find other work.
Yes the industry is a small one and if you want to work in the same part of town most people will know other people, however if you are a good chef people will still give you a chance.
If you have burnt your bridges really badly and you have done this a few times, then maybe the industry isn't for you. The culinary industry is one that if you aren't "up for it" you won't stay in it for very long.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 11:02 am: Edit

Competition for the better jobs is getting tougher and tougher.

There is satisfaction and instant gratification that comes from just walking, leaving stunned faces in your wake but the damage you do to yourself can be a set back that may take years to over come.

Sometimes more than a certain skill set chefs are looking for stability. A history of jumping from job to job for someone starting out can be expected but walking out on a place can mark you as not being able to handle the pressure this profession can apply.

As Tasmin says there are plenty of position out there but the better ones won't take a chance on someone that has a history of being unstable. A "Walk Out" in you past can relegate you to second rate positions in second rate establishments.

That satisfaction and instant gratification I talked about earlier can become addictive. Walking out on one unfair, unjust, lousy working situation will make it easier to walk in the next situation that may momentarily over stress your already stressful life.

By Chefoncall (Chefoncall) on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 02:50 pm: Edit

Look! There is one thing about cooking we all need to accept. I have never left a job without a notice. But, be reasonable about it. Sometimes a job you thought was going to work just doesn't. I do not think their is any harm to say. I am not cut out for this restaurant. I will be alot happier when people start to say to themselves I am not cut out for this career at all.

I have said this many many times and enjoy saying it over and over again. Hopefully, people will read this and understand why I say this. Cooking is not for the dumbest guy in school that made the lowest grades and just appears to be a fuddy dud, or is just plain lazy. One, you have to be artistic.Two, a people person. Three a damn near genius that works literally 60 hours a week.
Four, dedicated to learning.

We can all solve our little problems by actually hiring the most qualified people for the jobs and stop bitching about how bad our staffs are.Maybe some owners are reading this and will give there hard working under paid QUALIFIED CHEFS a break and stop worrying about labor.

In the culinary world, in a fast paced restaurant, there are not many culinary student apprentices looking for minimum wage jobs to start and finish school cut there teeth on some hardcor linework while working to learn the trade. No! These students are drinking as many bottles of beer while the underprivledged are arguing about who is going close the restaurant by 2:00am and worrying about the cut or being fired. I promise anyone who posts on this website about there money problems GROW UP. I HAVE TRAINED MANY APPRENTICES THIS YEAR. THE NUMBER OF LINECOOKS ALOT MORE REASONABLE THAN SCHOOLS GRADS IS 5 TO 1 AND THAT IS THE TRUTH. I would challenge any culinary student to work under these conditions. I promise you. If students were required to undergo the real part of the jobs while in school. We would see huge decreases in applications and more dropouts to some of the finest cooking schools in the world, and more applications to the "better" Universities of today. Thanks thats all.

By Grwall (Grwall) on Thursday, June 23, 2005 - 03:23 pm: Edit

ChefonCall: A fairly recent and valuable addition to our program has been the student practicum. The students take 2 months in the industry working at approved establishments. They are required to write weekly journals regarding their learning experiences, a final report on the operation and what they learned there and a thank you letter to the employer.

I teach both full-time cooking students and apprentices. While there is significant difference in the outlook of both groups, I can't say I've found one to be more responsable that the other - we have "coasters" in both groups.

Ladycakes: While it is true IMHO that these issues tend to be more prevalent with the younger students, I have seen my share and then some of older students who don't seem to understand that there are expectations of them that must be met - we all need to manage our lives effectively.

To the topic at hand, yeah we've pretty much all of us done something we know we shouldn't have (even if we think the employer had it coming. Over the long run walking is more likely to bite the walker in the ass than the employer.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 01:03 am: Edit

"I consider it fruitless to try protect anyone from the consequences of their own actions, its only through the priveledge of self inflicted pain that anyone grows."

this is one of the best things I've read in a long time. Thank you for this.
Its right on. I should tatoo this on my forhead and walk around with a mirror

Unstable...I've done what I've wanted and when, when it comes down to money and time and the owner spending a few more bucks, those are the only reasons I woulkd walk. I don't now, nor have I in the past cared what people think about me leaving or staying. When I'm there and working for someone, I work for him. No bad mouth, no sh*t. Just work.
But if I leave 'cause I've had enough of this or that, I very rarely go back and keep any kind of relationship. theres really no point.
I have very few bridges left to the past.
I'm more concerned about the ones I need to build for the future. Those are the strong ones that will last forever.

By George (George) on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 11:31 am: Edit


I have very few bridges left to the past.
I'm more concerned about the ones I need to build for the future. Those are the strong ones that will last forever.

Why should the ones to the future last and be strong when the old ones are gone. Isn't that a contradiction?


By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 08:47 pm: Edit

Because those are the ones I take care of.
They are the ones that will take me to new places and to new people.
Because those are the ones that I have to take care of better than the ones in my past.
Because after a bridge is burned or lost, I always learn how not to let it happen to the new ones.
This is not confusing to me, is it to you?
We don't build bridges just for our own advancement. We are not the only ones on them.
We take others with us, all the time.
When you meet someone and get to know them, don't you introduce them to other friends of yours? Is that not sharing a bridge?
Or am I crazy?

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 08:49 pm: Edit

"Or am I crazy?"

Ok, ok...that might be a given.
you know what i mean.

By Chefoncall (Chefoncall) on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 02:12 am: Edit

My country tis of the. Sweet land of liberty,of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died land where my farthers died again land of the pilgrims pride oh heck..........

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 - 03:32 pm: Edit

You have to cross those bridges on the way back dude!!!....they better be intact or the walk back is a bi*ch!!!

By Chefoncall (Chefoncall) on Thursday, June 30, 2005 - 11:49 am: Edit

I worked for a Chef that I had alot of respect for. At the time he was in a bad spot from his own actions. This caused a great deal of reflux in the kitchen. However, when he was on he was good.

Finally, doen the road the Chef and I parted ways on equal terms I would say. I was not upset with him nor was he to upset with I. I eventually left town for a brief two year period to travel up north.

I eventualy called this particular chef back. He said water under the bridge man. That is what I would like to add.

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