Originally Posted by sapphiremodena
I am being considered as a candidate for a job opening at Earls Restaurant, I think in the next couple days I will know if I'm hired or not. The job is for kitchen work, ie. being a cook, and normally I would not be eligible for this type of job, seeing as how I have zero experience as a cook, or even ever worked in a kitchen. The only jobs I've had before are customer service related. My interviewer tells me that it isn't a problem, that I don't need experience, and they often train people with no kitchen experience.
Now, I'm not worried that I won't be able to handle it, I believe in myself to step up and work hard for this, even despite that everyone tells me that being a cook is hard, stressful, fast-paced work. I'm not the fastest person, but speed is a learned skill, as I've been able to see in my previous and current jobs.
I was just wondering if anyone here has had experience working at Earls, and if so, how is the environment there? Am I going to want to brush up on basic cooking knowledge to be prepared for what I would be taught in training?
Is it really high-stress and fast-paced? Any positive experiences or negative experiences? Any advice from anyone who's ever worked in a kitchen?
Thanks so much. Take care of yourselves fellow Head-Fiers.
I worked there all last summer, and I have to say, it was one of the best summers of my life. I too was in the same boat as you: no kitchen experience what so ever. But, you learn fast and it becomes intuitive.
The people there tend to be awesome. Working in a kitchen is all about the teamwork...especially at Earls, like most family restaurant franchises, where every job is broken down into its atomic components, everyone depends on everyone else. You make friends there that are totally awesome.
That being said, I have to say, working there is not for the lazy. I worked in Earls Westhills in Calgary, which is the top-grossing Earls in Western Canada. When I say that we were busy, we were busy.
I don't know if you're going to be day or night staff. I was day, and being up at 6 am every morning was killer. Add that to working 10 hours a day in June (yep, two hours overtime a day, sometimes without a break because there was so
much to do). The kitchen gets hot fast...the thermometer in the cooler part of the kitchen would log 40 C on a busy day, plus the stress of time. You are always, during the rush, under the gun. Multi-tasking and level-headedness is a must. Good communication (often through yelling and swearing, heh) is also key. YMMV, though, because school is in session now, and people don't go out as much during the week, coupled with it getting colder and darker, means that pars are lower and days are a little slower than the middle of summer. But, you can still get the bad rush where everything piles up, and you have about 30 bills up on the line, and they all have to go out in the next 15 minutes. You need to be able to juggle all of that in your mind at once to avoid burning food, or letting food get cold. Plus, you have to time every item on the bill....it sounds intimidating, and the first couple of times, it is, but everyone makes it, and if you work hard and pay attention, you'll be just fine.
Your first couple of weeks there will suck, depending on how quick you learn. But as soon as you get integrated into the group, everything will just fall into place, and you'll soon be getting "railed on line" in no time
. The learning curve may seem high at times; there is a lot of memorizing to do in the first couple of days: where things are, recipes (even though you can have the recipes in front of you, you'll notice that time is greatly saved by memorizing them), the mechanics of the restaurant, etc....like most jobs, once you learn, you'll wonder how you ever didn't know it.
Oh, and another thing: every stereotype of the macho-infused, testosterone filled kitchen you've ever heard are true. It seems that the restaurant is designed after that...I mean, most of the time, you can only see the server's breasts (most of whom are not hired on their intelligence), through the hot plate window. Also, there is a huge rift between servers and cooks...each faction thinks the others are the dumbest people to grace this earth
Anyways, I've ranted enough I think. If you want more info, feel free to PM me. I always rant whenever people ask me about working in a kitchen...I loved it to death. I wouldn't want to do it for the rest of my life, but as a summer job as a student, it was amazing, and the people there made it all the better. The work itself sucks and is monotonous, and once you get the hang of it, except for cooking on line during the rush, a drunken monkey can do it. The people, however, are one of a kind.
PS: The first time you learn your stations, you'll learn the "Earls" way. I have no idea why they teach it to us like this: it has to be the slowest way to do it, ever. Do it like that, however, when you're getting trained. Then, ask around for tips, and you'll increase your speed dramatically. There are soooo many short cuts to take that the customer has no idea about
. Having said that, knowing the "behind the scenes" of a restaurant will ruin dining out for you forever...you'll know when people screw up and try to cover it, hehe