Saturday, December 1, 2007

the accidental sous-chef

sous chef: from the french, meaning 'under'. second in command, answers to the chef, runs the kitchen in the chef's absence, assists station chefs /line cooks as necessary. hopefully knows more about what's going on than the people she's responsible for.

we're working toward a new way of managing errands, one that will enable Chef to spend more time in the kitchen with us, training us, being a chef. in the sense of 'boss cook'. He runs most errands himself, he said that i'm more valuable in the kitchen. i said that his presence is needed, that i don't know everything, i just know less of nothing than the people i'm directing. and Chef said "yes, and I've been depending on you for everything". i'm glad he recognizes that. and that he recognizes part of his job is to train us. because i'm a bit overwhelmed right now. this is my first holiday season with both a store and a website. some major orders are in process. 3360 truffles for one order alone. 1000 for another. we're on the verge of becoming the official chocolatier of the Slovenian Ambassador . it's a lot.

and i feel slow, and inefficient, and overwhelmed. completely left out of all the baking. and somehow, without ever wanting to, i'm largely responsible for running the show. we don't have titles, but Ron said it. "Chef's gone, you're telling people what to do and how to do it - you're the sous-chef." a position people work years to achieve, and i'm in it one year after graduation. supervising people with more education and experience. it's uncomfortable. and unavoidable. i'm having the uneasy feeling that astrology and numerology may be right, and leadership is my destiny. i'll have to develop a better style of management than i had at ddfl - you suck, stop it- really is not an effective strategy.

i wanted to be a pastry cook. maybe some far-off day a pastry chef. yet here i am combining entry level skill with a supervisory position. suddenly, it seems rather familiar. i think i've done this before.

1 comment:

Ginger said...

Well, you seem to have a good line of communication with Chef. He seems to take care of you like no boss ever has before.
Things are still in the uncomfortable growing phase and there's a lot of learning to be done with all the headaches.
I'm glad you have this hiding place to go to and get it all out. At the risk of sounding platitudinous, it will all work out.