Founded in 1978, BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse is an award-winning company with an "of service" culture, anchored by solid hospitality and guided by a compass of quality. The BJ's experience offers high-quality...
The Life of a Line Cook: Traits for Success
For many people, becoming a Line Cook is a dream. The idea of being able to practice cooking in an environment where they can get paid is very appealing to many people. However, this career path is often demanding, requiring long hours and a great deal of mental and physical fortitude. But for those who are determined to try to make it through to becoming a line cook, a little introspection is warranted: thinking about your own traits can help you to figure out if you have all of the necessary characteristics to succeed. Here are some commonly important traits for success in the life of a line cook.
This one sounds easy but too often employees, and especially cooks, just ditch out on their shift or no call no show. This type of attitude and lack of effort will prevent you from succeeding in both the short and long term. Just showing up to work and being a reliable teammate can make all the difference in not only your life but how management sees you. Afterall, as long as you show up to work and have a good attitude, you’ll beat out just about everyone else for that promotion!
Managing the Lifestyle
As previously mentioned, even though being a line cook can be very fulfilling, it has its fair share of difficulties. For some people, the long hours or physically draining quality of the work can prevent them from succeeding. After all, if you have a family, you probably want to be able to take time off from work to see them, too. And many cooks realize that the salary is not what they want. But for those who truly want to be a line cook, these issues often become immaterial.
Loving to Cook
This is a little self-explanatory but certainly worth reiterating: because you are working with food each day and preparing many different dishes, loving to cook is a must for any line cook. And further, having a working knowledge of different foods, techniques and technologies in the kitchen is important to succeeding as a line cook — and loving to cook is a good way to make learning about all of this easier.
Ability to Succeed in a Fast-Paced Environment
Working in a kitchen, especially at busy times of the day, can be hectic. Different customers have different requests for all of the different orders, there are many things going on at once and people are moving all over. Being able to succeed in this kind of environment is essential to succeeding in the life of a line cook. Similarly, being able to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously or multitask is important, too — it would be bad to forget a part of an order during a busy shift.
But beyond just being able to succeed in a fast-paced environment, the life of a line cook is just as much about thriving in that environment. After all, the best line cooks do not just make the food on time — they make it well so that customers are satisfied and return later for more. And in life beyond cooking, too, being able to thrive in a dynamic environment is good, because many different professions require this skill.
Attention to Detail
This is particularly important for line cooks. To make a good-tasting dish, there is a necessary recipe that must be followed. Deviating from this recipe can be disastrous, so being able to pick out the individual details and follow them is a necessary trait for a successful line chef. But being able to modify things while still paying attention to detail is important too: many customers want their dishes created in a certain way, and being able to accommodate that while still producing a good final product is very important.
Of course, there are other important qualities for line cooks to have, but these are a couple of the especially important ones that are necessary to finding success as a line cook. For some people, these requirements are onerous, but for many, love of food and cooking brings in enough gratification that whatever sacrifices come with the job are worthwhile. It takes a certain mentality to succeed as a line cook, but the work is satisfying when all is said and done.
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