8 TIPS FOR CHEFS STARTING OUT
1: Learn how to sharpen your knife. A sharp knife does less damage than a blunt one
2: Learn how to finely dice an onion. It’s the most commonly used ingredient in the kitchen and a great way to practise your knife skills
3: Bring a spare pair of socks to work. When you’re working for a couple of hours in hot shoes it can cause health problems.
4: Don’t be afraid to ask question, if you’re not sure of something ask. Chefs would rather see your interest and show you something properly than you mess it up. Even if you do mess it up ask where you went wrong and don’t mess up the second time.
5: Learn how to make soup. It’s more than likely your first job will be on starters. If it is nearly every restaurant has a soup on those menu. If you can learn to do that you’re taking on a full dish by yourself. Also soups have to be seasoned correctly so it is an ideal opportunity to start your seasoning skills and allows you to experiment with flavours.
6: Show interest. If you’re in a busy kitchen and you have nothing to do. Wander over to the sauce section and see how the chef make their peppercorn sauce. No one chef does everything the same way but when you become qualified you can choose what way you like best. You need a base knowledge to start with though.
7. Don’t take it personally. My first night working in kitchen I had never used bean sprouts before. A chef on my section had put gone off bean sprouts on a salad and I didn’t know the difference. I got blamed for serving it and looked like a fool. However I didn’t storm off in a mood. I finished my shift and we were still friends afterwards. People shout get angry it happens. Don’t take it to heart.
8. Start high end and decide where to go from there. If you start in a good restaurant you learn the basics. Saying that not everyone wants to work in fine dining. That’s fine. But it’s hard to move from a low casual dining restaurant to a fine dining restaurant.