The 30 second rule – Jonathon Z.

5 11 2008

The biggest thing that I’ve learned in cafe is to mind my own business.  I really wasn’t aware that the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen” could apply so literally.  I am a big fan of taking initiative.  I am also a big fan of making and taking suggestions between co workers.  There is a line that can be crossed though.  If you are “helping out” and it causes you to perform your job less than perfect, you’ve crossed the line.  If you take time out of your routine to show someone a “better way” to do what they’re doing and you don’t get your job done, you’ve crossed the line.
Kitchens are brigaded for a good reason. You have a job to do, and it is your duty to perform that job perfectly every time. Don’t worry about everyone else. You can’t do it alone. In fact, there are people in the kitchen who’s job it is to overlook everyone else’s job. You might have seen them, they wear the tall hats.
If you spread yourself too thin you start making mistakes and end up doing yourself a great diservice. It’s the “little things” that start slipping first. Yes, you’ve got Johnny on dessert station set strait with the proper way to do his job but, meanwhile, your protien has been off of ice for an hour and you are in danger of killing an elderly person during service.
Cook, love thyself. Take pride in everything you do and have the courage to trust your commrades to do the same. That is how this all works. We are each an organ in a living breathing animal that produces food.
In conclusion, next time you get the urge to wander, stay put an evaluate your mise and your station. Next time you find the urge to give orders check how tall your hat is. If it’s not so tall, zip the lip and maybe just do it yourself. The choice is yours. You can live your life in the kitchen as the most zen little bee in the hive, or you can start letting the “small things” slip.
Strive for perfection in yourself because there is no 30 second rule.




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