Chefs Don’t Just Chef

I was the first cook to arrive today -the only others in the kitchen were Chef, Morning Prep Cook, and Morning Dishwasher. As the other guys slowly trickled in, we all noticed that Chef was trying to fix the washing machine in the dish pit, growing increasingly frustrated as it refused to cooperate and made him run late to an appointment. He threw his hands up and called me over to our list of emergency contacts taped to the Pastry Room wall.

He asked me to call the repair company and have them send out a technician to take a look. This is usually a job for one of the sous chefs but, looking around, it seemed that I had somehow ended up as next-in-command. Not gonna lie, I patted myself on the back. (Better to have me handle it than one of the Pantry Boys, I suppose.)

It reminded me of a quote from an article I had read months ago: “Chefs don’t just chef, they’re also carpenters, electricians, coaches, plumbers, managers, and therapists.”

It also made me realize that I am not at all worried about the management side of being a sous chef. Organizing orders, tracking food costs and revenue on spreadsheets, coordinating vendors and service providers, managing employee schedules and payroll… all responsibilities familiar to my previous life in the office. What I am concerned about is learning the many techniques and recipes for the stations on the Hot Line, all completely new to me. But, one step at a time, right?

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