” I was once asked what I could cook and I told them: everything! “

Russ Orford • @ Shelley, most “good Exec Chef” starts just there on the line. We have the burns the cuts to prove it. At 52, I can still give the young ones a run for their money, and not because I am fast but because I get it right and I know. However as A Exec chef the job has taken me elsewhere in the kitchen to oversee the prep the ordering, the following of health codes, OHSA, Inventories, and Training, costing of menus. The endless meeting that management feels I need to be at. The fixing the mixer and fridge door Because there is no money left in the R&M budget, and over a 100 other things that come up every day to keep the kitchen running, and yes I still get time to do the thing I got into this job for TO COOK on the line working one or two meal parts per day like breakfast, lunch and dinner. Really if I took my wage and divided it by the hours I work you would see a Slave wage, after all most cooks are on an hourly rate and when their shift is up it is up and they go home. Unlike a exec chef who stays until the job is done. I am first in and most time last out of my kitchen. I do not have a degree I did my Apprenticeship of 3 years working under hard talking hard drinking 1st and 2nd cooks , being trained my exec chefs who knew how to train cooks and chef and also had no degree , I have had many a “ young Chef “ who has come to my kitchen with a degree and they could not even cook an egg ! Why you may ask well as one young degreed chef told me “we were only shown how to do that one or two times before we moved on to more interesting food items!” I cannot tell you the amount of eggs I cooked before the chef would allow them to be serve to the guest, and until I could do that I was not allowed to “move on to the more interesting food items “and that in a nutshell is why we as chef are paid poorly, as most of these young chefs with degrees cannot do the basis things and so we all get batched in to one happy group. I was once asked what I could cook and I told them: everything! The person asked me how I could cook everything and that was impossible! I told him I had good training from the first day I walked into a kitchen I was taught the basis again and again until I got them right and was not allowed to move on until I got them right. Most line cooks know the food they are cooking the menu they are working on, repetition builds speed not knowledge Take a line cook off the menu he is working on and give him a new menu and he is like a duck out of water. I have seen many a “bull cook” have the wind taken out of his or her sails with a “new menu “

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