I’ve been working in this industry long enough to know how and what rolls downhill when working in a restaurant. An executive chef is to be, respected, to say the least, and followed without question. Their second in command is the sous chef, who is considered the boss and head of the line when a chef isn’t present. What about the lowly line guys who do all the work and never get anything out of it?
At my restaurant I’ve been noticing a troubling trend with the owners. They have a terrible habit of pushing the bounderies between friendly hazing and just hateful insultation. Now, I’ve had my fair share of insults flown at me, ranging on my ethnic bias to the way I looked to being called bubbles as a butcher’s apprentice when I couldn’t work as fast and efficient as the rest. I devoted my life to becoming faster and more skilled than the rest in order to avoid the insults that were, in fact, inevitable. I can dish it out just as well as I can take it, but there is a limit to things, a limit that the owners love to break when it comes to Charlie.
Charlie is my prep cook. He sits at the lowest ring on the totem pole here at Encore. Charlie has something of a mouth and loves to talk himself up, only to be humbly knocked back down to earth by the staff and owners time and time again. He is the subject of frequent hazing attempts and jokes. The only issue I take is that of his work ethic. Charlie is a hard worker, does what I ask, and almost always over performs spectacularly. That’s why when the owners rag on him for being lazy or useless it grinds my gears. I’ve defended him to the owners, argued his case from my behalf, yet nothing ever seems to sway their opinions. Its like being stuck watching a bad rerun on television. No matter what he does he never gets the respect he deserves and is the brunt of each and ever insult and joke. The constant lack of respect towards him really makes me question my loyalties as a head chef. I’m a firm believer that people should be treated equally in a kitchen for everyone is together to form up one team. If your only as good as your weakest link, then how do I fix that link?