Dish of the Day: Staff worth their weight in gold

Dan Doherty

PhillipFoss Dish of the Day: Staff worth their weight in goldOver the years you hire a lot of chefs of all levels, some with CVs glistening with Michelin starred restaurants and some having grafted in cafes looking for a change. I’m always exited when someone from a two star restaurant likes what we do and wants in on it, because it makes you feel proud that young aspiring chefs are noticing you.

That doesn’t mean they are the best chefs out there though, and glistening CVs often have very little behind them to support what’s written. I once had a chef who, when asked to make hollandaise (a great way to see if someone can really cook, by the way) didn’t know what it was, let alone how to make it. It seems some three Michelin starred restaurants don’t teach that. Another spent two years at a well known two Michelin starred, but spent the whole time picking spinach. Little use to me, we don’t even use the stuff.

The point I am getting to is this week we said good by to one of our chefs, who has been with us since day one. Now, she was not from any fancy restaurant, in fact if my memory serves me correct, we are the first restaurant she has actually worked for. She was not the fastest. She didn’t know who Simon Rogan is, or what Maltodextrine is used for (who cares anyway) and some of the boys I had from ‘big restaurants’ would turn their nose up at the thought of someone coming from a sandwich shop who didn’t know what they knew. These are the same guys who walked out during the middle of service because they couldn’t take the fact that I refuse to pre-cook things to get ahead, the people who didn’t understand why we don’t sous vide everything in sight. We are a busy restaurant, often cooking for over a thousand people a day. It’s hard, but I always say if you can do 2 years here, you’re ready for anything.

We never close, our deliveries come into the basement 800 feet below, and the internal goods lift only goes to the 38th floor, where we need to carry everything up the remaining 2 floors. It’s a daily battle that our guests have no idea about, and nor should they.

These guys bailed in the biggest possible way, just walking out without a care in the world, had zero commitment where as Tammy stuck in, she fought and overcame all of the logistical issues we face by working in a skyscraper. She is a fighter, stands up for herself and works her ass off regardless if she is doing back-to-back doubles. She never called in sick, never answers back, no attitude, just a smiley face who tries her best every single day.

I’ve no idea why I hired her, other than that she had something about her, something one can’t teach, but I’m so bloody happy I did. She has helped make us who we are today, and I really hope our paths cross again.

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