What’s a Sous Chef?

In the late 80’s in my early 20’s, I was working at the Half Shell Raw Bar in Key West, FL as a line cook. To get an idea about how much of a fine dining restaurant this was, our unofficial motto was “we don’t take plastic—we serve on it.” It was a great high volume, freezer to fryer type of restaurant. The executive chef was a gentleman named Jeff Polland. After I had been working for 5-6 months with Jeff, one day he came in and said, “I just got a job as the Executive Chef of a restaurant in Stamford, CT called the Sterling Ocean House.” I was sick of Key West after having lived there for two years and asked if he needed any help. He said, “Yes, I need a Sous Chef,” to which I replied, “I’m your guy.” After work that night, I went home and looked up “Sous Chef” in the dictionary because I had no idea what it was. I went in the next day and told Jeff I was going to move up to Connecticut with him.

To quote Richard Branson, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later.”


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