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Chefs night off? (moved from L.A. board)

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DrGunner Aug 3, 2009 09:32 PM

Might be a stupid questions, but are there certain nights that chefs tend to take off (or certain nights to avoid at restaurants)? I imagine they dont work every nite. The reason I ask is that Im planning on going to Providence, likely on a Sunday or during the week. I would hate to spend all that money just to have a meal prepared by the sous chef. Does it even matter? Thanks

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  1. wutzizname RE: DrGunner Aug 3, 2009 10:50 PM

    Pick up a copy of Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential." I don't remember if he addresses this specifically, but the book is filled with al kinds of insider info like that. And it's a great read nonetheless. But you may never eat mussels at a restaurant again. Or swordfish. Or bernaise.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wutzizname
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      Charles Pepper RE: wutzizname Aug 3, 2009 11:32 PM

      If memory serves, he said in the book that Wednesday through Saturday are the nights the head chef can be found in the kitchen.

    2. A5 KOBE RE: DrGunner Aug 3, 2009 11:43 PM

      Actually, most of the food is prepared by the sous chefs, line cooks and prep cooks. The executive chef basically expedites and makes sure that everything is correct before the food is taken to the table.

      And every kitchen is different, but most likely restaurants have their best workers on during the weekends since those are the days restaurants bank the most $$$. But really it doesn't matter that much, most nice places have line cooks that are pretty in tune with executing their stations without flaw.

      10 Replies
      1. re: A5 KOBE
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        FlyFish RE: A5 KOBE Aug 4, 2009 11:20 AM

        Exactly. I can't remember where it was, but I was reading an article on Paul Bocuse, who was asked (by a food reporter, I believe) who did the cooking at his restaurant - I assume it was l'Auberge du Pont de Collonges - when he was away? His response: "The same person who does the cooking when I'm there."

        1. re: FlyFish
          invinotheresverde RE: FlyFish Aug 10, 2009 12:32 PM

          I've never seen a head chef cooking on the line except in cases of dire emergency. They mostly do expo and quality control. There are, of course, exceptions.

          OP, don't sweat it. Very likely, the chef won't be cooking your meal no matter which day you go on.

          1. re: invinotheresverde
            limster RE: invinotheresverde Aug 10, 2009 01:47 PM

            It depends on the restaurant and also the type of restaurant.

            1. re: limster
              invinotheresverde RE: limster Aug 10, 2009 02:38 PM

              "There are, of course, exceptions."

              1. re: invinotheresverde
                limster RE: invinotheresverde Aug 10, 2009 02:55 PM

                To be honest I've considered chefs cooking the meal as the norm rather than exception and it's something I often witness (especially in hawker centres where the kitchens are completely visible). In most restaurants, head chefs do the cooking, with the exception being "fine dining" type places that constitute the vast minority of restaurants.

                1. re: limster
                  invinotheresverde RE: limster Aug 10, 2009 03:46 PM

                  Perhaps that's true in the UK, but it's not in the US, especially not in better restaurants.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde
                    limster RE: invinotheresverde Aug 10, 2009 03:53 PM

                    I disagree. In my experience it's true in the US, and in some of best places.

                    1. re: limster
                      invinotheresverde RE: limster Aug 10, 2009 09:37 PM

                      YMMV, but I've worked in excellent restaurants for the last fifteen years, and I beg to differ.

                      1. re: invinotheresverde
                        limster RE: invinotheresverde Aug 11, 2009 02:53 AM

                        Sounds like the excellent restaurants I've eaten at in the last 15 years in the US are different from the types you've worked at. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

                        1. re: limster
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                          Blueicus RE: limster Aug 11, 2009 07:03 AM

                          You're more likely to see the chef cooking on days that are not busy as opposed to the busiest days. If you're eating at a large or high end hotel restaurant the chef in charge of that kitchen will almost surely not be cooking.

      2. c
        carter RE: DrGunner Aug 4, 2009 08:29 AM

        Oftentimes, a chef might take off Thursday night if the restaurant is open Friday-Sunday, meaning three upcoming busy days, and thus the need for a day off beforehand. Sundays or Mondays tend to also be potential days off, yet that too depends on the days of the week the restaurant is open, etal.
        No definitive rules here. If you have any questions, call or email the place and ask.

        1 Reply
        1. re: carter
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          cyberroo RE: carter Aug 7, 2009 04:29 PM

          The trend that I saw when I worked in LA was for executive chefs to take Sunday & Monday off. Never Thursday - it's a busy night.

        2. k
          KiltedCook RE: DrGunner Aug 5, 2009 10:00 AM

          THE CHEF tells his subordinates what to make and how to make it. He seldom makes dishes himself except as a show-and-tell to the rest of the staff. If a restaurant's food is not good EVERY night it will soon go under anyway.

          In many cases the sous chefs are better overall cooks than the Exec Chefs. Haven't you been watching Top Chef Masters and seen the Master funble at things like cooking an egg or grocery shopping!!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: KiltedCook
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            chef4hire RE: KiltedCook Aug 5, 2009 11:25 AM

            our exec rarely jumps on the line...VIP tastings or help with a sauce or seasoning...the sous formulate recipes and the line cooks execute to specification

          2. j
            jaykayen RE: DrGunner Aug 10, 2009 01:19 AM

            just ask if Cimarusti is going to be in the kitchen.

            1. I'm pretty sure he will be. He's very exacting.
            2. It doesn't really matter, it's one of the best kitchen staffs in LA.

            1. b
              Brandon Nelson RE: DrGunner Aug 10, 2009 11:34 AM

              Rather than dealing with the details everyone else seems to be tied up in...

              Sunday and Monday are the 2 days you will be least likely to find the "A" team in the kitchen.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brandon Nelson
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                soupkitten RE: Brandon Nelson Aug 10, 2009 08:17 PM

                you should say: "sunday and monday *evenings*"
                because the "a" team often is on for sunday brunch, if the place does brunch, and someone in an executive capacity needs to be around on monday day-time to place/receive orders-- whether or not the place is open, and whether or not a bunch of cooking/prep takes place on that day-- & a lot of establishments that are "closed" mondays have a full kitchen staff working at least a partial day restocking and getting ready for the week.
                but yeah, sunday & monday nights are traditional chef's nights off.

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