9 Stages of Weededness
posted by colbychef on chef2chef
One night after work over a couple pints at the local, a couple of us started talking about the evils of the night and started comparing how weeded we were at different stages. It wasn't enough to say, "oh I was soooo weeeded" or "you were sooo much more weeded" and the like. So, we decided to completely deliniate the degrees of weededness. So, I'll just throw the stages out there and I'm curious to see how your worst shifts in the kitchen measure up to our Weededness Scale: (we were a golf crazy kitchen, hence the golf references)
Stage 1: The Clubhouse
You're not busy at all. There is nothing happening. In fact, there is so little business that the few housekeeping things (like maintaining the water in the steam tables) get neglected.
Stage 2: The Fairway
You're now getting some tickets, but there's not enough to really make you focus. This is usually at the very beginning and very end of service. Thoughts of pints and flirting with the waitress fill your mind, while the burger overcooks.
Stage 3: The Green
Now you have plenty of tickets to keep you busy, but not feel rushed. You're in the zone. Meat temps are spot on, ticket modifications are all done, life is good. You feel strong, ready for more action.
Stage 4: The Rough
Your board is beginning to fill. There are no more thoughts of the waitress. You have an increasing number of pans on your stovetop, your grill is filling. You're in the flow, slinging some serious food, working up a good lather. Nothing can stop you.
Stage 5: The Tall Grass
You now have a full board and your tickets aren't getting pulled off the printer right away any more. Your grill, stovetop and friers are all full to capacity. You are now operating at peak efficiency. You're working up a good sweat, there are no wasted motions. You're feeling a little rushed, but that's Ok because you're on top of it. But if anything goes wrong, then that's it for you and you progress to...
Stage 6: The Weeds
Now you have more orders comming in than you are putting out. There is no more physical space to handle the load. You start employing certain "tricks" to get the food out faster. The stress level is building, the expo is getting louder and tickets are now 5 deep at the printer. Ticket times are getting longer. The most important part about this whole thing is that it's a mental thing as well. You start to feel a little panic in the back of your mind. Getting into and leaving the weeds can be in a matter of minutes and you can do it on your own.
Stage 7: The Forest
You're deep now. The printer is going nonstop. You've resorted to sandbagging food. You're mind is starting to move faster than your body, usually to the detriment of the food. Things get dropped, presentations are sloppy, sauces may start to break. Things start to burn. It's at this point that you realize you need help to get through the rush. You start to loose track of the levels of mise-an-place on your station and next thing you know, you gotta run to get something out of the walkin, putting you further behind. Ticket times are consistantly exceeding acceptible limits. Without help or a sudden stop in business, you spiral deeper into...
Stage 8: The Jungle
Nothing can save you now except for a stop in orders. You feel beset on all sides. The tickets are forming a 6-7 foot trail of paper and are curling on the floor. You swear you see pygmies out of the corner of your eye shooting blowdarts at you. Food is comming back at an alarming rate because you didn't get the mods right, the wrong sides went out, the food was over/undercooked. The world is crashing all around you. This stage is ofter occumpanied by, say, an oven going down, or the dishwasher breaking, or some other global event. Rarely is a cook on the line alone in the jungle. For the mentally tough, this is the final stage. This is rock bottom. A fried calamari app can take up to 45 minutes go out (should take 5). The strange thing, though, is that an eerie calm comes over you and the world turns in slow motion, and you start to laugh. There's nothing more you can do.
Stage 9: The Kelp Forest
You're now under water, and you can't breathe. Crabs are pinching your toes and seals are dropping rocks on your head. The only difference between this step and step 8 is purely mental. To get to the Kelp Forest, you experience a total mental break such that you cease to function. You are so overwhelmed that you're found muttering to yourself in a corner, or curled up in the bathroom crying. If you reach the Kelp Forest, you should not be in this line of work. And few people, after reaching the Kelp Forest, continue on in the work.
So there you have it, the 9 Stages of Weededness. I'll admit, in my beginnings in the biz, I did get to the Jungle several times, but I haven't been beyond the Weeds in years.
How do your worst moments measure on the scale?