Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How do I like the sound of being "Chef the Partie?"

Although today was my day off I still had to do the five minute drive to work in order to attend a 3 pm staff meeting. Within the first ten minutes of this so called meeting I learned that only the people presently at the table had been asked to attend -- meaning the people not in attendance hadn't been invited, not that they were late or haven't bothered showing (as I first thought).

I've attended my share of corporate meetings in the years spent working in the insurance industry so I was prepared to get this over with quietly. I was going to sit there, listen attentively, nod every now and then but have no hope that anything will actually change as a result of this meeting. Most of you know what I am talking about and the rest of you, well, maybe one day you will.

The Sous-Chef talked about cleaning; specifically, that she'd like to see more of it being done and to see us taking initiative instead of her having to tell us to sweep under and behind the stove. Essentially she's trying to treat us like the grown-ups that we supposedly are. Chef also wondered why everything was stocked up and cleaned perfectly each time he was opening for breakfast, yet he was getting complaints that it was less so when the breakfast cook was opening. Some grievances were brought forth when we went around the table. I had none. Well, let's just say there were no comments that I cared to voice because I think there are certain things you just don't say to your boss no matter how trusting he would like to make you feel. That, coupled with knowing my place in the chain of command, makes me a rather quiet meeting participant.

What the meeting boiled down to was that Chef is building his team for next season already. He sees a lot of potential in the people present and would hope that we return. Four of us will be going to school in the winter and he wanted to make it clear that although he would like us to give him another year in return, out of loyalty, we are not bound to him and free to leave if we choose. "People helped me along the way too so I am not going to give with one hand and hold on to you with another." Sounds like a nice guy, eh? In truth, I really like him and if I have any issues with the kitchen, the issues are not with Chef. I wish he spent more time in the bistro so that I learn from him a little more but aside from that, there's not a whole lot I can complain about when it comes to the Executive Chef.

Oh, the most exciting thing? He's decided that he will train one of the girls also starting Basic Skills this winter, K, into a full fledged banquet Chef and that he would like it if either myself or this other girl, will step up and be his new Chef de Partie as he does not want to hire it from outside. Pretty cool, huh?

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