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Advice for a New Executive Chef Originally posted by Chef Dave-

Originally posted by Chef Dave-

I have recently accepted a position as the exec. chef for an up and coming Inn. The restaurant seats fifty and is open year round with heavy seasonal traffic. I have never been an executive chef before and have had limited sous chef experience. However, I am confident in my abilities to improve upon the current sutitation there. My responsibilities will include all of the menu development, costing, purchasing, wine list, and general management of the restaurant as a whole. I am seeking good advice from anyone who may have been in a similar situation or who can offer some direction on how to get started. The ex-chef was a poor manager of people and money and I don't want to make the same mistakes.

Any suggestions?

Posted by Chef C-

Stick with traditional menu planning and offer seasonal specials created around the best ingredients available at that time. Trust in your abilities to produce the best product but always look for outside input to boost the creative process.

Posted by Andrew-

Talk with the people currently working there. The cooks, prepcooks, dishwashers, waitstaff etc. They can tell you what goes on day to day in your place and where the former chef went wrong. They will also respect you more since you are giving them respect by asking them their opinion

Posted by Chef P -

Asking the current employees their opinion is an absolute must. But beware!!!! Some of the remaining employees are still loyal to their previous boss. And would like to see his replacement fail. Also don't be too critical of the previous chef. There are probably things going on where it may not have been totally in his control.

Posted by Chef Rene

Hi Andrew:
Good advise listen, ask questions but don't trust anyone. Employees will tell you what you want to hear.
Good Luck
Chef Rene

Posted by Chef Dan

Having been a workaholic chef myself I feel uniquely qualified to comment on this dilemma. I have worked 60, 70, 80 hour weeks, gone for weeks and months without a day off, until I burn out and self destruct. Unfortunately as long as chefs permit thenselves to be exploited, they will. Although no one ever forced me to work killer hours, I was often put in a situation where if i was not there, the food would suffer, which to any Professional, was not an option. There is a solution, I have used it, and it works:

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