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(Food & Wine)   Chef Eddie Huang on disciplining his kitchen staff: "Dude, you just freebased off a Mountain Dew can. You gotta go"   (foodandwine.com) divider line 33
    More: Amusing, Mountain Dew, Eddie Huang, culinary school, Ghostface Killah, chefs  
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13017 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Jan 2013 at 5:07 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-01-30 07:06:07 PM
5 votes:

udhq: FTA:  "Once we got rid of all the culinary school kids and the lifelong line cooks, it's been a lot better. Those guys come, and they're very judgmental, very entitled. Half my cooks are from Red Lobster. And you know what? They listen. And they do what I tell them to do, when I tell them to do it."

Translation:  "I don't know how to put together a competent staff that I can trust to know what they're doing, so instead I prefer "yes men" I can push around, knowing they lack the knowledge or experience to push back.


It's his restaurant, his vision. He doesn't want or need some culinary grad who thinks he knows everything because he learned it in school. That's not the same as wanting "yes men." Perhaps you could try other ways of thinking.

So much hate in this thread against a guy succeeding at his passion. Typical.
2013-01-30 05:16:28 PM
3 votes:
So this guy, Eddie Huang , is famous?

No clue who he is even after RTFA.
2013-01-30 05:13:56 PM
3 votes:

vernonFL: That could be any restaurant in any major city.


Yep. Restaurant Kitchens run on cocaine.
2013-01-30 08:14:54 PM
2 votes:

FuryOfFirestorm: FTA:  "4. Style is important. "If we like your style, you're probably going to be hired. Because you're going to be representing the restaurant. There are always people who come in with a suit on during the interview, and it's just like, you clearly did not look at the restaurant website beforehand; we're definitely not going to hire you." Beyond style, understanding the restaurant's culture is equally as crucial. "Once this girl came in and said, 'Is it hip-hop all the time here? Because I find it offensive.' And I was just like, 'Well, I'm not hiring you. Why are you here?'"  "

[www.foodandwine.com image 550x550]

Seriously? You and your crew are dressed like a Beastie Boys cover band and you're judging hires based on style? Dude, worry less about what your chefs are wearing and more on whether they can cook worth a damn. The damn Food Network attitude of style over substance is starting to infect restaurant chefs now, unfortunately.


s3-media1.ak.yelpcdn.com

Here's a photo off of yelp from inside, it's not le bernardin it's a glorified sandwich shop, if you wore a suit to an interview at a sandwich shop I would look at you funny also.
2013-01-30 07:51:37 PM
2 votes:

Elegy: FTFA: We've had some people smoke weed while on the line

I've worked in a lot of resturaunts and I've seen this on every kitchen line I've worked with - the cooks just blow it into the vent hood. The cooks that don't smoke on line smoke in the walk in cooler. The cooks that don't smoke in the walk in cooler have a little powwow out by the dumpster just before shift.

What I'm saying is, if you're eating out, there a good probability your cook was high when he cooked your meal.


  Used to do wedding catering. One night at a rental facility, watched a shiny new manager fire a dishwasher on the spot for smoking dope out by the dumpster. Then decided drug tests were a good idea for the rest of his kitchen staff. Everyone with food service experience kept telling him it was a REALLY bad idea and to just let it go. Not him. Word got around that he lost every single kitchen staff member within the week, even -BEFORE- the individual drug tests were scheduled. Literally a totally empty kitchen, they just went elsewhere. He spent a panicked two weeks watching exactly -zero- line cooks accept a job with pre-employment drug screening. Finally gave up and hired a lot of them back, no questions asked.
  Never test the kitchen staff for drugs.
2013-01-30 07:49:19 PM
2 votes:

Tumunga: StrangeQ: Hip-hop fans make great employees

Ah, so he's going for the "brain the size of potato" demographic. Got it.

Yeah, he's going for the typical, TMZ watchin', Democrat voter.



So here's a question:  do you really believe that you just made a point about the intelligence of democrats?
2013-01-30 07:31:03 PM
2 votes:

udhq: FTA:  "Once we got rid of all the culinary school kids and the lifelong line cooks, it's been a lot better. Those guys come, and they're very judgmental, very entitled. Half my cooks are from Red Lobster. And you know what? They listen. And they do what I tell them to do, when I tell them to do it."

Translation:  "I don't know how to put together a competent staff that I can trust to know what they're doing, so instead I prefer "yes men" I can push around, knowing they lack the knowledge or experience to push back.


Actually, I've heard Anthony Bourdain and other chefs say the same thing.    They hate hiring culinary students because too many of them are bourgeois suburban kids with an overinflated opinion of themselves and will fark up your food because they believe they're all undiscovered geniuses because they paid someone $40k to teach them how to make a Bechamel Sauce.  They'd rather hire Manuel with the questionable citizenship because he's just going to make the dish the way you taught him to make it every single time.
2013-01-30 06:50:16 PM
2 votes:

fusillade762: freebased off a Mountain Dew can

What does that even mean? How do you smoke cocaine off a can? Maybe he means "through" a MD can? Like someone made a pipe out of it? I'm confused.


www.oogaboogastore.com
2013-01-30 06:42:05 PM
2 votes:

udhq: FTA:  "Once we got rid of all the culinary school kids and the lifelong line cooks, it's been a lot better. Those guys come, and they're very judgmental, very entitled. Half my cooks are from Red Lobster. And you know what? They listen. And they do what I tell them to do, when I tell them to do it."

Translation:  "I don't know how to put together a competent staff that I can trust to know what they're doing, so instead I prefer "yes men" I can push around, knowing they lack the knowledge or experience to push back.


Yea. I'm hoping that someday I might need to hire a person to take 5 minutes to chop the perfect onion at 7pm on Friday night. Until then the culinary students can go work in a hotel. It's what they're trained for
2013-01-30 06:32:07 PM
2 votes:
FTA:  "Once we got rid of all the culinary school kids and the lifelong line cooks, it's been a lot better. Those guys come, and they're very judgmental, very entitled. Half my cooks are from Red Lobster. And you know what? They listen. And they do what I tell them to do, when I tell them to do it."

Translation:  "I don't know how to put together a competent staff that I can trust to know what they're doing, so instead I prefer "yes men" I can push around, knowing they lack the knowledge or experience to push back.
2013-01-30 05:32:41 PM
2 votes:

StrangeQ: Hip-hop fans make great employees

Ah, so he's going for the "brain the size of potato" demographic. Got it.


Yeah, because ANYONE who likes hip hop has a potato-sized brain.

/likes hip-hop
//has a college education
2013-01-30 05:27:54 PM
2 votes:
FTFA: We've had some people smoke weed while on the line

I've worked in a lot of resturaunts and I've seen this on every kitchen line I've worked with - the cooks just blow it into the vent hood. The cooks that don't smoke on line smoke in the walk in cooler. The cooks that don't smoke in the walk in cooler have a little powwow out by the dumpster just before shift.

What I'm saying is, if you're eating out, there a good probability your cook was high when he cooked your meal.
2013-01-30 05:16:14 PM
2 votes:
ROR
2013-01-31 09:34:11 AM
1 votes:

Twizang: Every cook I've ever worked with who has a culinary degree has been a primadonna prone to whining freak-outs when they can't find their hard-boiled egg peeler. Your education only makes you qualified to work in a lab kitchen, not in the real world. If your resume states you went to NECI or J and W or the like, you go to the bottom of the pile. I'll take a high-school drop-out with 10years experience before I hire a culinary school graduate. Sadly, most culinary schools are being sued right now because their grads were promised high paying jobs, but nobody wants to hire the little princesses.


I will respectfully disagree with NECI. J&W certainly--they make great cruise line and resort chefs, but not so much lines with more...oomph. Give those J&W grads a little time, and experience out in the real world, they shake down OK, but they're not my favorites. NECI on the other hand, puts folks in better practical situations--like say the Portsmouth Brewer--which means that they get an education about how to deal with adversity and grace under pressure.

In the end, it boils down to experience. I prefer to see folks who were cooking before they went to school. It gives them perspective on why they're in a program, and what they will be really doing. NECI likes to give their grads real world experience, and understands that not every place is going to have a full brigade system in place, and doesn't pretend that every joint is going to be top rated in the Michelin Guide. J&W...not so much.

CIA puts out amazing grads, over all. Unfortunately, most of them who apply usually feel that they're applying for my job, and that puts them sometimes out of the running.

Comes down to experience. On a line, you want someone who won't buckle under pressure, who understands the trade as well as the art. Some of the best cooks I've worked with were self taught by working on lines, with good chefs. Some of the best chefs I've worked with came up the same way, but it doesn't matter how they get that Chef 2 cert, it boils down to being able to handle the line, handle every job, and treating the business as exactly that, a business, and still understanding that our trade is equal parts business and art. It's an odd balance.

What I long for, is that the Food Network and other channels would stop trying to dramatize the trade. It's not about freak outs, primma donnas, or bad asses behind the line, but long hours, hard work, some odd craziness with folks who work a lot of long hours, under hard conditions, and who blow off steam, or are just odd ducks for sticking with a trade that ain't easy in the least. There is plenty of drama that happens in kitchens, but generally, that is the kind you want to avoid if you run your line right. The ideal night is one that has the specials coming out like clockwork, the dishwashers all show up on time, the deliveries are on time, and the waitstaff pay attention and things run smooth, and the cooks and staff joke a bit, and no one gets hurt. That doesn't make for good TV though, and the faux drama that a lot of shows focus on, don't represent the trade very well. And that skewed vision is filling up a lot of culinary programs, and my Inbox with folks who want to be cooks, with folks who are unsuited for the life. Who will give it up after they realize that it's a lot of hard work, repetition, and stress, not some fast track to schmoozing with stars and the rich life. It's fun, it's satisfying, I've been in kitchens since I was 16, and I'm still doing with a few breaks here and there when I got sick of a particular situation, and needed the decompression, but I go back, because cooking is what I'm good at, and I like the people. I like the trade. But it's not for everyone, and TV tends to skew perceptions, and give folks false impressions of what it is like to be a professional. Even so called "rock star" lines, are bone crushing labor. Yes, folks like to take pictures, but even if you're catering to tours, it still means a lot of work, and the shows tend to omit that for a simple dramatic storyline, because producers and directors understand their markets, not ours. They are making a different product than cooks and chefs, and when folks only get the impression of television folks, a lot gets lost. And that makes me sad, because I love this life. I love the people. I wouldn't trade it for anything--well, maybe writing, but even then, I still want my own place--but the vision that folks get of the trade isn't what it's really about. Kitchens aren't about being rock stars, or bad asses, or even fine artists, but it's about teamwork, it's about family, it's about doing good work, under often difficult circumstance, and minimizing those circumstance to make what folks from the outside would call hard look easy.
2013-01-30 10:17:20 PM
1 votes:

udhq: FTA:  "Once we got rid of all the culinary school kids and the lifelong line cooks, it's been a lot better. Those guys come, and they're very judgmental, very entitled. Half my cooks are from Red Lobster. And you know what? They listen. And they do what I tell them to do, when I tell them to do it."

Translation:  "I don't know how to put together a competent staff that I can trust to know what they're doing, so instead I prefer "yes men" I can push around, knowing they lack the knowledge or experience to push back.


First year and second year out culinary grads are nearly useless. Unless they've had experience on the line. I don't hire Johnson and Wales grads, period. Not unless they've had a few years to season outside the school, because I've found that the program tends to make some fantastic cruise ship cooks, and very bad line cooks anywhere else. CIA? They are trained well. New England Culinary? Trained well, and put into very real placements for their practicals, and that is really the issue. J&W tends to put cooks in fantastic positions, that they won't see very often, unless they go for the cruise lines, the resorts, and when they are faced with less than ideal conditions, they tend to fold.

Experience is sort of the issue. I can understand, a bit, where this cat is coming from. He wants to have a style, he wants buzz, and he wants street cred, as opposed to collaboration. His vision, his way, nothing else. I've seen this a lot in the business.

It doesn't always end well.

I tend to hire guys who have experience, and I look at where they've worked, and with who. That tells me more than their scholastic training. What markets they've worked in, who they've worked for, and then I call and find out how they did. I want guys who have some experience. Who ARE judgmental. Who have their own personal standards.

The business is full of freaks. We are not really the people that you necessarily want your daughter dating. Not if you've been at it a while. Smoking, drinking, drugs, it happens. Cripes, at a banquet place in the Happy Valley, I took a break, had my dining room Captain cover for me, snuck up the Bridal Suite with the girl critter, stripped the bed after, and dropped off the sheets with the laundry, and got paid. I paid a guy to smoke out P-Funk at the Iron Horse, on the clock, because the show wouldn't have gone on. You are in the business a while, these are the sorts of stories that happen. There's others you just don't share, because only folks in the business will believe you.

It's his joint. He can run it how he wants. From a business standpoint, it has limited appeal, and limited buzz, and that is really the thing: he's trying to generate buzz. It's style over substance, and that is sort of business plan, but it's not one that has staying power. That IS a plan, especially in places like NY or Chicago where restaurants can have entire life cycles of a year to 18 months, and be consider smashing successes, and then folks pack it up, and move on to their next project. With fairly disposable staff, and that is sort of the thing. It's a plan, but it's not one for staying in business long.

I don't really respect that sort of attitude. I tend to make crew part of the family. Be they culinary grads or starting off as dish crew and working their way up, or hired on as line staff from the get go. They are there to watch your back, make food your way, and hopefully bring some skills and talent to the table as well. Good kitchens are collaborations. Because you can spend every moment trying to micromanage, make things so simple and delineated that any fool can do it with minimal supervision, or you can rely on your staff to work with you, and make the joint their own as well as yours. I prefer the last one. But that's me. Not everyone goes for that. I've worked with guys who prefer the first. I know guys who prefer the second, but for me, I like to learn from my crew as much as I teach, and as much as I want my own stuff out there. I want guys and gals who have different experience than I have. I want guys and gals who bring something to the table beyond hands to make my stuff. Not everyone wants that, and in a situation where the whole restaurant has a sort of half life, I can understand not wanting to invest too much in the staff, and I can understand the trying to generate buzz portion of this show, but it's not something that appeals to me, because I don't like gimmicks. Give me good food, executed well, presented well, and I'm there on a regular basis. I don't like the gimmicky and forced trendy joints.

Telling me how f*cked up your staff is? I don't care. I just want my damn food, and hopefully without anything in it that's going to kill me or make me sick. They're line cooks, I pretty much assume that they've been high recently, possibly high right then, because they're working on a line. I hope that they're having fun. I hope that they're close, can trust each other, and the joint treats them well, but if you are basing your entire restaurant on their style, then it is pretty much a gimmick, and that's less appealing. Have a good time. Hire folks you like. Hire folks you can work with, but telling me all about it, how it's your thing, you are assuming I might not pick up on that when I roll in.

My favorite taquería in Phoenix was a great little family joint. There was music in the background, the staff were friendly, it wasn't anywhere near trendy, but the food was amazing. And the folks were great. It was a fun joint. It wasn't forced fun, it wasn't mariachis running around and giving the tourists a show--it was a family run joint, and I loved it, because the food was great, and the people were fun. Their style wasn't a style, it was just who they were. If you are basing your joint on style alone, then, yeah, you might be missing some other elements, or rather, you might be looking at the joint as ultimately an experiment, and forcing that sh*t is maybe less than ideal.
2013-01-30 09:24:42 PM
1 votes:

Well Armed Sheep: That said, this guy is a total toolbag. Have to like hip-hop? Showing up in a suit is a bad thing? Looking for the cream of the crop, eh? My pastry chef gets down to some baroque chamber music. Most of the line likes metal, but my sous is all about some electro. Musical taste has very little bearing on anything after high school except what we play at the after-party, and i count a lack of tolerance for other folks' styles of music as a strong negative personality trait. Same goes for a suit. Maybe he just likes looking spiffy. My best friend wears a tie every day. He's a botanist. He doesn't have to wear a tie. It doesn't impress the orchids. He just likes wearing it.


I've seen some of his web episodes on Vice.  I think he's just really brand conscious, given that his clientele is NYC hipster b-boy wannabes.
2013-01-30 08:34:50 PM
1 votes:

Kanemano: FuryOfFirestorm: FTA:  "4. Style is important. "If we like your style, you're probably going to be hired. Because you're going to be representing the restaurant. There are always people who come in with a suit on during the interview, and it's just like, you clearly did not look at the restaurant website beforehand; we're definitely not going to hire you." Beyond style, understanding the restaurant's culture is equally as crucial. "Once this girl came in and said, 'Is it hip-hop all the time here? Because I find it offensive.' And I was just like, 'Well, I'm not hiring you. Why are you here?'"  "

[www.foodandwine.com image 550x550]

Seriously? You and your crew are dressed like a Beastie Boys cover band and you're judging hires based on style? Dude, worry less about what your chefs are wearing and more on whether they can cook worth a damn. The damn Food Network attitude of style over substance is starting to infect restaurant chefs now, unfortunately.

[s3-media1.ak.yelpcdn.com image 300x400]

Here's a photo off of yelp from inside, it's not le bernardin it's a glorified sandwich shop, if you wore a suit to an interview at a sandwich shop I would look at you funny also.


My point about style over substance still stands. The idiot didn't hire someone because he came to the interview in a suit. Rather than turn the guy away, he could have just said, "We have a more relaxed dress code here". As long as the cook comes in on time and does a good job, he can come in dressed like Lady Gaga for all I care.
2013-01-30 08:32:02 PM
1 votes:

udhq: MadAzza: udhq: FTA:  "Once we got rid of all the culinary school kids and the lifelong line cooks, it's been a lot better. Those guys come, and they're very judgmental, very entitled. Half my cooks are from Red Lobster. And you know what? They listen. And they do what I tell them to do, when I tell them to do it."

Translation:  "I don't know how to put together a competent staff that I can trust to know what they're doing, so instead I prefer "yes men" I can push around, knowing they lack the knowledge or experience to push back.

It's his restaurant, his vision. He doesn't want or need some culinary grad who thinks he knows everything because he learned it in school. That's not the same as wanting "yes men." Perhaps you could try other ways of thinking.

So much hate in this thread against a guy succeeding at his passion. Typical.

No hate.  I've just worked in the industry, and I've seen this same cliche played out time and time again: nobody is very good at both the culinary end and the business end of running a restaurant.  Usually the business guys go belly-up sooner rather than later, while the food guys get a wave of buzz and fizzle out after about a year because they don't know how to keep it up.

Nowadays, though, a lot of people come into the business as media personalities who can't really do either.  I usually avoid those places like the plague.


I worked in quite a few restaurants when I was younger, although I'm no chef. I'm barely a home cook. But I get what you're saying. I should clarify: I'm not familiar with this guy, so I wasn't reacting to him as a "celebrity chef." I think what he meant was that he'd rather have someone with passion than someone with rote knowledge -- although if you have both, you can be a real asset *and* fun to have around.

It seems to me that a lot of posters (OK, maybe not you) are doing the usual "He's popular/the subject of a story in the media/ a so-called expert at something, so have to post something snarky" thing. It's tiresome. Like the "style" comment. It's not just about clothing, but people can't see past their own narrow definitions of simple terms to even try to understand him.

Anyway, I'm at work, so ... I'll leave it at that.
2013-01-30 07:43:14 PM
1 votes:
It's a fluff piece from food and wine, I wouldn't take it as gospel, chefs lie to them about everything even the recipes
2013-01-30 07:25:39 PM
1 votes:

MadAzza: udhq: FTA:  "Once we got rid of all the culinary school kids and the lifelong line cooks, it's been a lot better. Those guys come, and they're very judgmental, very entitled. Half my cooks are from Red Lobster. And you know what? They listen. And they do what I tell them to do, when I tell them to do it."

Translation:  "I don't know how to put together a competent staff that I can trust to know what they're doing, so instead I prefer "yes men" I can push around, knowing they lack the knowledge or experience to push back.

It's his restaurant, his vision. He doesn't want or need some culinary grad who thinks he knows everything because he learned it in school. That's not the same as wanting "yes men." Perhaps you could try other ways of thinking.

So much hate in this thread against a guy succeeding at his passion. Typical.


No hate.  I've just worked in the industry, and I've seen this same cliche played out time and time again: nobody is very good at both the culinary end and the business end of running a restaurant.  Usually the business guys go belly-up sooner rather than later, while the food guys get a wave of buzz and fizzle out after about a year because they don't know how to keep it up.

Nowadays, though, a lot of people come into the business as media personalities who can't really do either.  I usually avoid those places like the plague.
2013-01-30 07:19:39 PM
1 votes:
FTA:  "4. Style is important. "If we like your style, you're probably going to be hired. Because you're going to be representing the restaurant. There are always people who come in with a suit on during the interview, and it's just like, you clearly did not look at the restaurant website beforehand; we're definitely not going to hire you." Beyond style, understanding the restaurant's culture is equally as crucial. "Once this girl came in and said, 'Is it hip-hop all the time here? Because I find it offensive.' And I was just like, 'Well, I'm not hiring you. Why are you here?'"  "

www.foodandwine.com

Seriously? You and your crew are dressed like a Beastie Boys cover band and you're judging hires based on style? Dude, worry less about what your chefs are wearing and more on whether they can cook worth a damn. The damn Food Network attitude of style over substance is starting to infect restaurant chefs now, unfortunately.
2013-01-30 07:14:45 PM
1 votes:
go peepee in coke still ok
2013-01-30 07:06:51 PM
1 votes:
I worked as a line cook in college.   Anyone who has ever worked a line can tell you that almost everyone in the kitchen is baked.  

My girlfriend asked me "How can you go to work so stoned?"   I replied "How could you go to that job straight?"
It's hot, it's often stressful, your pay sucks, and you have little or no opportunity for upward movement.   Yet... I had fun.
2013-01-30 07:03:17 PM
1 votes:

Cyno01: fusillade762: freebased off a Mountain Dew can

What does that even mean? How do you smoke cocaine off a can? Maybe he means "through" a MD can? Like someone made a pipe out of it? I'm confused.

[www.oogaboogastore.com image 226x200]


Has no one freebased?? Seriously? No holes
2013-01-30 07:01:50 PM
1 votes:
Eddie Huang is farking great.  He has a show on the cooking channel, he cracks me up.  His food looks seriously good too.
2013-01-30 05:47:26 PM
1 votes:

GWSuperfan: vernonFL: That could be any restaurant in any major city.

Yep. Restaurant Kitchens run on cocaine.


And that is why I never worked in food service. Probably saved my life.
2013-01-30 05:47:25 PM
1 votes:
freebased off a Mountain Dew can

What does that even mean? How do you smoke cocaine off a can? Maybe he means "through" a MD can? Like someone made a pipe out of it? I'm confused.
2013-01-30 05:37:15 PM
1 votes:
The cooks that don't smoke in the walk in cooler have a little powwow out by the dumpster just before shift.

Ah, the infamous "Safety Meeting". I've chaired many,many of those.
2013-01-30 05:23:25 PM
1 votes:

blatz514: So this guy, Eddie Huang , is famous?

No clue who he is even after RTFA.


He got really famous after he sang She Bangs on American Idol.  Then he put out a record ... sorta lost track of him after that, guess he's a chef now.
2013-01-30 05:21:39 PM
1 votes:
Hip-hop fans make great employees

Ah, so he's going for the "brain the size of potato" demographic. Got it.
2013-01-30 05:18:46 PM
1 votes:
Let he who has never freebased off a Mountain Dew can cast the first stone!
2013-01-30 05:12:44 PM
1 votes:
guy with attitude opens restaurant and writes book. farkin right!
2013-01-30 04:11:23 PM
1 votes:
That could be any restaurant in any major city.
 
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