Beginnings Of A Hangry Chef

I remember the first job I went for as a fresh-faced, straight out of school, 17 year old aspiring apprentice. It was at a local seafood seafood restaurant, and although I'd already worked as a kitchen hand AKA dish-pig, it was definitely daunting going for my first full-time job. I was so young I didn't even have my license yet!

After going for a lengthy interview, I was told to come in for a two day, split shift trial. The alarm bells should have gone off then. What were they possibly expecting to learn from me in TWO 9 hr days that they couldn't have picked up on in the first hour? I was fresh out of school, with limited knowledge and skill. It's not rocket science! I'd be shit, and I can admit that!

So anyway, I organised to stay at a friends place up the road from the restaurant during the trial because I had no way of getting there otherwise. I ended up having to bring 4 FULL chefs uniforms with me, because they wanted me in my complete chef whites, and doing 4 shifts meant getting dirty and I wanted to make a good impression turning up in a nice clean pressed uniform every shift.

The first lunch shift wasn't too busy, but the apprentice thought it would be a great idea to get me to make an Anglaise (something even the best chefs can't get right some times!!!) as one of my first tests, then got cranky with me when she had to take over because I'd only ever made it once before. Right.

Usually when you're hiring a first year you get them to do some precision cuts and maybe boil a pasta? Basically you're seeing if they have any motor skills whatsoever and can follow any kind of direction (and you'll be lucky if you find one that does!) so anyway, I was shoved onto cleaning squid, which I'd never done before and really is just a menial task that doesn't require any skill. Although it was slow going, with her over my shoulder telling me to HURRY UP.

Once lunch service started to pick up I was instantly shoved on dish duty and the head waiter kept bringing me dirty plates, not scraping any remaining food off them, then standing there smiling at me while I scraped them, too timid to actually stick up for myself and tell him to scrape his own plates or I'd stab him in his stupid face. If that was now, he'd be dead, lying in a pool of blood. And me laughing maniacally over his oozing corpse.

After the horrific lunch, I was determined that dinner service would be better. I was only working with two apprentices for lunch and would be working with the head chef for dinner so was looking forward to seeing if he would be any better with me. It's safe to say he was the biggest prick I've ever seen. A giant walking penis.

Leaving me on dishes all service, the clock ticking, it rounded on 9pm and I was still there even though I was told I'd be finishing at 8.00 and my ride was outside. I shyly asked Mr Head Chef Douchebag if it was alright for me to leave as I was told I would be finishing early and my lift had been waiting. He looked at me incredulously and said 'Yeah.. Fine' (even though there was really not much left to do but a few dishes and the floors- I'm guessing I would've been doing that if I'd stuck around) then on my way out he made a point of angrily saying to me 'Next time you stay until the works done!!' I was stunned and mortified. 

I know that now as a chef, its what you do, you stay until 1am if you have to until the work is done. But it was a shocking first day in the kitchen, and I really don't think it was necessary for him to be such a colossal dick.

So after balling my eyes out I went straight to bed. I woke up early dreading going back, I lay there weighing up my options.. I could go in- it might be better? Or it would be the same and I'd end up working with a bunch of people who I classify as the scum of the Earth to put it lightly. And guess what I did?

I went back to sleep. Yup. Screw those assholes! I relished in the thought of them having to wash their own dishes, that fucktard waiter having to scrape his own plates and I enjoyed the beautiful sunny day, walking down to the beach and having a nice recuperating day after my shocking first day as a trial-apprentice. It was one of those rare occasions when I didn't follow through with something I started (I'm a stickler for finishing everything I start).

I ended up getting my first real job as an apprentice at a little Italian restaurant down the road. It was a small family-run operation, not without their own problems, but I got on well with them for the most part and they made the effort to teach me what they knew, even if on occasion they told me I had an attitude problem- what 18 year old doesn't?

So tell me readers... What's your first-day-on-the-job-story? I'd love to hear some good ones!


  1. I was 'lucky' if I got to peel the carrots for the first 3 months!


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