Choosing a Chef Career- PART 3
Choosing a Chef Career- Part 3 will be a discussion about all the scars and burns you will end up with during your career.
I know this might sound like a stupid topic to write about. But I have a few things I would like to share with you about this topic.
It is also for others to read and to be careful when you enter the Hospitality Industry as a chef.
Choosing a Chef Career: PART 3:
First of all you will quickly learn in your training when you are pot washer (yes, they let you do this terrible job so that you can ALWAYS HAVE RESPECT FOR THE POT WASHER if you are fortunate enough to have a pot washer in your kitchen) that in time your hands won't even feel the heat of hot dish washing tub water!(the longer in your career). I heard quite a few times from other front of house staff or waitress staff why do I stick my hands in such hot water that is in the tub and keep on washing the thing that I want to be cleaned.
Secondly you are not such a great chef that you will never end up with a burning scar! I have quite a few small burning scars from ovens. I just believe it is a way of the stove to greet you in a nasty way! And if you use your tissue oil, it will be less visible in time. And immediately put lavender oil or burning gel onto the burn.
Third of all be careful of knives, and of course you think especially the chef's knife or a larger one, but it is most of the time the small paring knives that can cut you very deep. Also blunt knives leave terrible wounds as well.
The fourth point is be very, very careful with a meat machine. I would like to write a bit more on this topic. About 2 years ago I started working for a couple who opened a coffee shop. Little at that time( I was quite desperate for a new job, as the previous job didn't work out for both parties as planned) did I know that they actually don't know ANYTHING about running a coffee shop and the business part that forms out the MOST IMPORTANT PART! Myself and about 14 other employees worked for free due to lies and ended up loosing a great deal of money (salaries).
Anyway, while working for this couple, our pot washer (Who I doubt was even the legal age to be working in South-Africa, but this I will discuss in a future post: ) left. I and my fellow colleague were told we will get a pot washer soon, which by the way never happened and I ended up with the result of it. They were totally obsessed with weight and measurement and we were forced to cut bread in even slices with a meat machine. So I took out the blade to be washed after each use and washed it myself. While drying it, it slipped out of my hand and the blade cut into my left hand, 2 cm from my wrist and by the corner.
My fellow colleague took care to phone them and used a cloth as a tourniquet to stop the blood. I was rushed to the local clinic (later did I realize they were so quick because they were afraid I would sue them as I was working without a contract) and I got stitches. But the best thing is I didn't even get the rest of the afternoon off, after this terrible accident! No I had to work!!!
After 10 days and difficulty to work with this injury (but I managed) I went for the stitches to be taken out (and which account they haven't even paid yet because it was on their bill- a work-related injury.) The pain of the injury is until today with me. In winter time even worse because of cold temperatures.
But the lesson to learn fellow chefs : ALWAYS INSIST ON A CONTRACT WHEN STARTING A NEW JOB , NEVER WORK FOR A LAWYER, IF YOU DON'T HAVE A CONTRACT AND GET AN INJURY AT WORK: SUE THEM!
I didn't take that step and because of my hand injury I can't work in a fast-paced kitchen anymore. I feel the pain too much when working with large vegetables such as butternut, squash, and pumpkin to be peeled and cut. The scar was on the edge of my hand and therefor I have trouble with doing certain tasks. In your chef career your hands are after all what it is all about!