Few line cooks want to be cooking on the line for the rest of their culinary careers. Most dream of becoming head chef or even opening their own restaurants somewhere down the road. That is why most line cooks do it, to learn the ropes of the restaurant industry, get valuable hands-on experience in a kitchen and rise up the ranks. So what can you do to make yourself a better line cook and stand out in a crowded field? Let’s find out!
Show up on time
The importance of punctuality in the restaurant industry cannot be understated. Why? Because the meal service will start on time regardless of whether or not you are ready.
If you show up late or miss a prep, then somebody else have to cover your work and their own, delaying the entire kitchen’s flow. This will also send a negative message to the higher-ups. All in all, no one will be happy with you.
The importance of punctuality in the restaurant industry cannot be understated.
This is not the kind of attention you want to draw. The very first step in being a great line cook is simply showing up on time for the shifts you are scheduled. Not too hard right?
Prep your mis en place
Preparation goes a long way in making your life easier when the restaurant gets busy and you have numerous tickets to fill. When the tickets start coming in, you want to be able to focus on the food without worrying about chopping up your mis en place or making stock.
When you’re not fully prepared with your mis en place, you’ll end up distracting yourself from the incoming orders to chop more vegetables or make more stock and usually the overall quality of the dish suffers when you can’t give it your complete focus.
If you want to prove to head chefs that you have what it takes to move up in the industry, prepare your mis en place and be on top of your tickets.
Ready your station before service begins
Sure, you might not be busy right at five o’clock when service starts, but that does not mean your station should not be ready for a full on dinner rush.
Once again preparation is key to being a great line cook.
Once again preparation is key to being a great line cook. Those who prepare stand out to head chefs and other industry professionals, so make sure that you have enough clean dishes at your station, all your pots, pans, tongs, and other utensils are clean and ready to go, and of course make sure your mis en place is already prepared.
The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling around to get clean dishes in the middle of a dinner rush because that is your time to shine and do your best cooking.
Give every dish your all
Some nights will be harder than others to find the motivation and inspiration to give your best performance, but that is no excuse not to give everything you have every night.
It’s key to remember that for the customers, this is their night out or their special dinner. They came out and are spending good money for the food you are making.
Don’t let them down because they may never come back to your restaurant if they had a bad time, and that is very bad for business.
Clean, clean, clean
When your shift is over, clean your station and the kitchen thoroughly. If you see other stations that haven’t been cleaned properly, take it upon yourself to make sure it’s done right. After all, there is nothing worse than working in a dirty kitchen.
After all, there is nothing worse than working in a dirty kitchen.
In addition to cleaning, be sure to organize your area. This will not only help you when starting your next shift, but show your superiors that you know what it takes to lead, and someday run, a restaurant kitchen.
Working hard and going above and beyond to make sure the job is done right is a great way to stick out to a head chef. If you want to be a great line cook and move up the ladder of the restaurant industry, you have to be willing to do more than is required and always have a positive attitude.
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