Use these tips to teach your Sous become better at running that line. These tips are also great for your new Exec Chef, or even managers.

When the chef is out, you are it. You are the main guy that everyone, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders, and servers look to for all the answers. The minute you panic, they all panic. Keep a cool head and split your problems up. Delegate: Delegate with authority and confidence. Never place blame: On equipment or persons. If you are the IT guy, you are to blame no matter the problem. If something wasn’t prepped, complain to yourself or the chef, NEVER to another subordinate. Problems are meant to stay contained, and NEVER expressed to anyone else. Complaining will happen, but don’t place it on one person unless venting to an equal or manager.

When the line gets “slammed”, take it like you love it. “I love when its slammed, it’s when I shine”. Your talents as acting kitchen manager, assistant kitchen manager, or sous chef should shine through when managing, with unforeseen problems, and when no one else can keep up but you or the chef. Show up the chef: Make everyone wish it was you on the line and not the Chef de Cuisine or Executive Chef. His talents should be with kitchen management, financials, ordering, recipe construction, kitchen construction, tips and direction. Yours should be managing and running the line. Anytime the kitchen gets “buried” with tickets, it should be your name shouted from the kitchen, not his. Learn as much as you can from him/her. Without his direction and mentorship, you will never succeed; without your work ethic and skills, he/she will never succeed. You are a viable and crucial commodity. Make your restaurant see that you are not replaceable, and you won’t be replaced. Show them you are just another line cook that gets scared when it is busy, then you are easily replaceable, and will be.


Delegate, delegate, delegate! As stated before, with your title everyone relies on you; whether they are 16 years old or 60 years old. Show them you are a professional and “save them”. When tickets come through during busy times, announce the ticket as usual, then delegate what to throw and when. We as Chefs see the big picture, line cooks see “oh my god we are busy, if I don’t get this out I’m going to get yelled at/fired/suspended/kicked off the line.” As the sous chef, or executive chef, you must see it as “I WILL catch up and get this food out with confidence, timing, and quality. My restaurant depends on it. When the restaurant loses money, I lose money. When the servers have customers walking out, they are not walking out on them; they are walking out on me.” The survivability of YOUR restaurant depends on YOU. Bad service can be corrected and forgotten by scolding a server, hiring a new one, and talking down the customer. Bad food can never be forgotten. Think about the worst meal you’ve had, or even the longest it took you to get your food. What is your impression of that institution? Most likely bad. You should never want that to be a thought of your restaurant. Every Restaurant’s survivability depends on 3 things: A good accountant, talented chefs, and its employees.

Focus. Focus is KEY. A great Chef once told an employee, “This line is your area. Nothing can get in your area, and nothing can harm you here.” Everything that is in your life outside the walls of YOUR restaurant stays there. Emergencies are an exception. There are a few things in life that help you forget your problems; spending money you don’t have and cooking. Your life is removed out there. Out there you are Mr. Smith. Here you are Sous Chef John. You are the owner, executive, manager, destroyer of worlds in this kitchen. Everything is treated as yours, because here it is yours. No matter if you’re busy or slow, you work as if your busy. For one you are paid for your time, so be worth it. And two, this is your livelihood. Live up to expectation and focus on what is happening around you. See everything, hear everything, taste everything, touch everything, and smell everything. This is your world. Attempt to never disappoint the “man in charge”, and NEVER disappoint yourself. The minute you disappoint yourself is the minute you fail as a Sous and Manager. Create your own personal rules, keep them to yourself and use them. “I will never lose focus. I will never let myself panic. I will never need to rely on someone else for something I know I can do myself.” Use these rules. They help.

Views: 52

Tags: becoming a chef, cooking, line cooking, management, pittsburgh, sous, training


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Jesse Mendica on October 26, 2011 at 9:33am

This is fantastic.  Lane, you read me mind!  I really think so many employees would benefit from reading this.  These are basic kitchen truths that ring true in any situation...  As the saute chef for the night, YOU are responsible.  YOU are there to make the sous's job as smooth as possible.  You want everyone to know that you are in control...  I think having this attitude, whether its your first kitchen job, and you're working pantry, or you "have made it," is exactly the mindset that will eventually land you the sous chef title. 

Great thought!




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service