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Is Your Job Actually Important to Your Restaurant?

Chef Steven Howard| Chef's Blade

Line or Station Cook/Chef de Partie

This is the place most cooks/chefs stagnate and lose focus or drive to succeed. It may be due to lack of training or even talent, but most probably its due to lack of commitment. You get good at prep, basically understand the kitchen, have a helpful spirit, and feel comfortable in your station. You get praise from your colleagues; maybe a customer loved your sauce or thought your meat preparation was fabulous. Let’s face it: You’re good at what you do!

And that’s the problem.

Every great kitchen needs 3 of these guys and gals. Great grill masters. Spectacular sauciers. Sauté sorcerers. Plate planners par excellence! You know your job and do it without fail, efficiently enough, skilled enough, and artfully enough. You prepare and tear down your station with the best of them. You work within the all the portioning parameters, which keeps your food cost on target. Plus, your special suggestions add real flavor to the cuisine, save time, cuts food waste, and boost yield, all crucial to the ongoing financial success of the restaurant.

So how do you move up the ladder if you’re good at your job and they don’t want to move you up? The number one way as in all of these sections is to come in on your own time and bug the sous to train you on the other stations. This will make you a true “partie” or utility guy or gal out of you, invaluable to every kitchen when someone calls in sick or goes on vacation. Great managers know this and value it beyond belief. Often though, you need to take a second job, part time to work another station. This way when you feel its time to say “promote me or lose me,” you can offer sautee, saucier, soup, and salad on your resume and you may get hired as an assistant sous, boosting your earning potential.

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