The New Bakers Dozen
rantings of an asst pastry chef

The The Bakers Dozen: rantings of an asst pastry chef
By Peach (Peach) on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 07:21 am: Edit

Hello to all,

I've just begun my training at one of the 'best' austrian/german pastry, bakery shops. The thing is i'm idealistic and have, i think, some illusions about the world of pastry and baking.

1-I had to take up the training for no pay coz the owner claimed that he culdnt afford to pay me while training. (i wonder why, coz he's very popular and his place is always crowded...)
2- since i have no certification/experience at all, i culdnt even negotiate on that
3- i'm supposedly trained...i havent made a new recipe in at least 10 days...i cut a gadzillion cookies, make 500 rum balls, equal sized, exactly round (mind u, i dont know the recipe yet)....
4- this owner, suggests, to the pastry chefs that they shuld ask me to roll out dough , so that it'll save them time..i dont mind..but hey, i was supposed to be trained in the different pastries
5- no time to eat lunch,(and i dont mean sitting down)...major case of acidity, lifting stuff half my weight(and i'm 120 lbs)...perrenial backache.

and of course, i clean tables, wash mammoth mixing bowls etc..
I dont think i'm asking for too much, but does anyone in here think i'm getting a raw deal??? when i decided on going for this 'training' the owner or is this the way the real baking/pastry world functions.?? 8-12 hr days, no eating etc etc (i work a 7-3 day shift)

By Dolphinwaves (Dolphinwaves) on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 12:36 pm: Edit

I get the impression that you are not in the United States. Because the not working for money thing wouldn't fly here. But everything else is right on. As a new person you get stuck with the •••• work, basically until you prove yourself. But once you get past that and it may take time, especially in Europe, I've heard about how they train people there and it does seem alot harder than here, but you will know more and be more skilled. Ask lots of questions. Of course, I think the whole not getting paid is a bit bogus, but I don't know how things work in Europe.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Wednesday, November 05, 2003 - 03:47 pm: Edit

So, learn fast so he pays you!
Learn all you can!

By Peach (Peach) on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 05:41 am: Edit


I am in the United States and yes i'm learning things fast so he pays me giving myself and him another month and then if he refuses to hire me, then its bye bye.

This place has only german chefs,(as in chefs educated with work experience in austria-germany.). But of course, they're paid reaaaaaaaaalllly well..

Thanks much for the advice..

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 07:17 am: Edit

Tell him what he is doing is illegal, mention to him that you are telling him as a courtesy.
Is he from Austria also, sometimes foreigners don't appreciate the consequences of their actions until they are in the big house.
I know, I live in Miami, do you know how many so called doctors they catch operating from their homes here, when they get busted they say, well I have a medical degree from Tim-buk-tu U in S. America........welll then go practice there not in Hialeah!!!!!!!

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 04:56 pm: Edit

Don't tell the guy that training without pay is illegal-it will just get you fired. Just go to the employment security commission (there is one in every town) and ask, innocently, if this is right. The next thing you know, the guy is busted and you get a fat check for back pay. I hope you have been keeping track of your hours.Their practices leave the door wide open to liability issues. For example, what would happen if you were injured on the job? YOU would have to pay the cost of any medical bills because the jerk you work for is not paying workman's compensation for you.

For God's Sake!!!! Do not work for no pay!!! Even as a trainee, you have value to the operation and should and must be paid for it. Chefs and restaurant owners think they can get away with this right and left. There is no, I repeat, NO indentured servitude that is legal in the US!

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 05:28 pm: Edit

I guess you haven't been to the sugar cane fields in FL., or the fields in CA.!!!
They pay the workers minimun wage but, they have to live on property, paying rent of course, they have to buy food and drink from the sugar mill owned market, they have to pay to get the job! By the end of the week they owe the co. money!!!!
Yes right here in the good 'ol USA and it is perfectly legal!

By Chefrev (Chefrev) on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 05:32 pm: Edit

As I always say, "If you think you're getting a raw deal, you most likely ARE getting a raw deal." Well,
sometimes I say that. OK this is the 1st time, but it's true!

You should be able to be trained and paid at the same time. But if you do happen to mention this guy's
no-pay policy to the local authorities don't expect him to say, "Oh thanks for bringing me to
accountability! Here! Let me reimburse you for all your back pay." Instead, he might still fire you.

Of course then you could sue his a** for wrongful termination in addition to violations of labor laws. I'm
not a lawyer but I did stay at a Holiday express once.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 05:54 pm: Edit

Can you be fired, if you don't get paid?????
I thought slaves had to be sold!!!!!!!!!

By Peach (Peach) on Thursday, November 06, 2003 - 06:49 pm: Edit

Hey everyone,

Thanks for the inputs. I'm touched.

Today was the pits...the owner actually, through the pastry chef, sent me the 'feedback' that " If i want to be on the payroll i need to do things faster". The nerve of the guy!!!! He's using me as an extra pair of hands to increase production. for free..

After working like a dog for 8 hours without breaks, no eating, and making like a gadzillion items,for no pay, this is what the guy has to say..

Me thinks i dont have to wait for him to fire me..i might just quit. I'm all gearing up for a confrontation with him tomorrow.

I'm planning to shortlist a couple of bakeries out here and approach them for my apprenticeship.


BTW.--- The owner isn't from Austria.He just recd his degree there. He's Indian. So am I.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 05:57 am: Edit

Turn the guy in!!!!!!!!!!!!You'll be doing the next victim a favor!!!!!

By Peach (Peach) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 11:38 am: Edit

Hey chef manny and everyone

The place where i work is called 'Mozarts cafe'
in Columbus, Ohio. It's very popular. all thanks to the fabulous chefs who work there.

BTW, I found out the server is also getting trained as a pastry chef, but is getting paid...WHat fun!!

Now i'm seriously thinking about turning the guy in...i thought his issues about not having ebough to pay me were just excuses. and i was a fool

Today, i confronted the owner- Mr Anand Saha. he blamed the pastry chef.(how convenient)
to top it, when i said that pastry apprenctices are required to be paid 8$ an hour by law, he was offended...he said that I'm supposed to be very lucky to have to work there at all!!!and that he gets at elast 15-20 calls from collegs/schools all over asking him to take on trainees. but he doesnt coz he had an experience with another trainee who asked to get paid!!!!! he expects people to work for him for free and be grateful for that.. I walked out.

He needed to flush his mouth after all the BS that came outa it...

Now i'm back to square one, and don't know how to go about apprenticing/working...

any suggestions about any good bakeries in columbus, ohio who would take on a sincere, hardworking person??

By Steve9389 (Steve9389) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 01:55 pm: Edit

It goes without saying that this guy is too arrogant to live.

A quick call to the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour division (614-469-5677) or the Wage and Hour Bureau of Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Labor and Worker Safety (614-644-2239) ought to do the trick. Just tell them you just quit a job because the owner expected you to work for free and when you confronted the owner about it he said he expects employees to work for free. They'll drop down on him in pretty short order.

By Chefrev (Chefrev) on Friday, November 07, 2003 - 08:54 pm: Edit

Good for you Peach!

The reaction you got wasn't a surprise, huh? It'd serve him right if you did report him. Bad employers thankfully are few and far between, but they need to be made accountable if possible. Not so much for revenge (although I confess that IS kinda a nice side benefit, hee hee) but as Manny said, to keep this yutz from getting over on someone else in the future. You obviously weren't the first.

Wish I could help in finding a position, best of luck!

By Peach (Peach) on Saturday, November 08, 2003 - 11:29 am: Edit

hey everyone,

thanks so much for the support and suggestions.
Not having a mentor, i had to find my way outa the mess by gutfeel only. the advice surely helped a lot.thanks very much for the contact numbers, steve...i'll keep that in mind.

Right now, i'm just trying to get over the injustice of it all. i'll lick my wounds in peace and then hatch a plan to take revenge(hehehehe)

first, i'm gonna write a letter to the local community college who has an ACF apprenticeship program and notify them of this bakery and suggest that they do not send any students for apprenticeship.

meanwhile,i'm reading a lotta books and experimenting at home.

keep u posted,

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 10:07 pm: Edit

My, my, my............
I go away for just a little while and all hell breaks loose!
first of all, you knew it was a bad deal when you got in there, I don't care where you are from or what you are, everyone in the world knows that NO ONE in America works for free. And no, not even in the fields of CA. and there is no company store. ( Manny, thats from a Jimmy Dean song you ass! HaHaHaHaHa!)
Why turn the guy in?, the college won't care that he does not pay, why should they?
Don't Indian men treat women, and Indian women like crap anyhow?
Why did you think it would be any different for you? Cause you said you would work for free?
I would go back to the place, with a witness, and let him know what he did and is doing is wrong. Then I would sujest that it could/can be corrected by him paying you some back pay and hiring you back with the understanding that you progress at your pace, not his. Also, you take a lunch break, 30 min's, and make sure you punch a card or have someone sign you in and out. Also you work 8 hours and then you go home.
Also you get all the recipes that you have made or had anything to do with.
If he does not comply, you tell him I'm going home for Christmas(Michigan) and if I have to stop off in O-HI-O I'm gunna kick his ass all the way back to that over populated dirty county of his AND slap the crap out of that pastry chef for even making me think of all this.
and don't make me bring Elwood the Dog!
OR tell him if he dosen't go for it, then your gonna turn him in.
goodluck and happy baking.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 07:40 pm: Edit

You tell your story, I'll tell mine damn it!!!!!
If I tell you there's a co. store, JD told me there was a co. store!!!!!

By Peach (Peach) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 03:26 pm: Edit

hi chef spike

many many thanks for the rich albeit late reply.

One- Overpopulated and dirty India might be, but refrain from saying that to an Indian.
Just as i wouldn't say to an american that the U.S. is a superficial and insanely litigious country...oopps

two- indian men dont treat indian women any worse than American men treat american women

three- anyone who hasnt worked in the U.S doesnt know that work=payment.
That i went into free training willingly is, of course, my bad.

But i digress, my rantings have ceased, skills have improved, and humour restored.


By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 07:40 pm: Edit

Amen. I beg your forgiveness.
So right you are, but lets talk about me, baby, before I sue someone.
Doing a little for free is ok sometimes.
As long as they know it's not going to be all the time and that your doing it for YOU, not them.
Everything is a trade off in this world.
Don't let guys push you around in this biz, remember, Spike's Revenge Company is just a call away
My mistake, it was Ernie ah,...ah... something with the company store song NOT Jimmy Dean. He's the sausage guy.

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