Chef Brian Lynch

 

This is a short biography of my professional career

By - Chef Brian Lynch…

 

I was 13 years old when I undertook my first foray into the restaurant business (now we call it the Hospitality Industry), that was in 1971.

I spent the summer in the dish room of a local country club in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood. Believe it or not…it was kind of fun…but not too fun, as I didn’t take another job in the industry for four years…

 

 My next adventure in the biz was as a DMO (Dish Machine Operator…aka dishwasher) in 1976 for a very large family dining oriented corporation that no longer exists.

I worked in that position for nine months until the Manager, recognizing talent when he saw it, asked me when I would like to begin training as a cook. I of course said immediately…and promptly dropped a stack of 30 plates at his feet.

This did not, however, douse any resolve he had for my promotion to cook. I think his exact words were, “It will cost me less money in china if I promote you.”. Thus starts an illustrious culinary career!

 

I began training on my own time (translation: no pay) on the graveyard shift, 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM and back to work at my day job (washing dishes) 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM. I did this for three months until I was deemed worthy to have my own shift.

I worked as a short order cook for most of two years and worked my way from graveyard shift to swing to day this is where I learned a large part of the very necessary production skills that would serve me well the rest of my career. The day shift was the most coveted shift for only the best cooks. This came with a raise to $4.00 per hour, decent money then…this cooking thing was pretty fun, and I am hooked, but I wanted more…

 

I began looking for a better job and found one with an independent restaurant that was not open 24 hours (a step up already) as the swing shift cook.

Soon I was working as the breakfast cook and after awhile, I was promoted to assistant Chef, really a lead cook but I liked having the word “Chef” in my title.

In six months I took over the kitchen as Chef (I am now 20 years old), once again, really the kitchen Manager, but doesn’t Chef sound cooler?

Everything in this kitchen was made from scratch, here is where I learned to read and produce from recipes, organization and time management, nothing creative yet…

What’s that? What’s the difference between a Chef and a kitchen Manager? I define it as this…a Chef has creative and managerial control of the kitchen and a kitchen Manager has no control but gets blamed for most everything…

I worked as “Chef” for a couple of months…found out I could make more money almost anywhere else and began looking…

 

I went to work at another 24 hour family dining restaurant as the kitchen Manager. It was here that I learned the concepts of cost…food cost, labor cost and all controllable costs (i.e. paper, equipment, etc…). I worked there for a year and a half and was made assistant Manager on the floor (another graveyard shift…sigh).

At this point, I was about to get married and needed less nights and more days, so I began looking again…

 

I went to work as the breakfast cook for a mid range Steakhouse. I worked six days a week for $6.00 per hour, I am now 23 years old, married and have an infant son.

I work in this capacity for a year and the Chef (the first real Chef I have worked with) is getting ready to move on. Here is my chance!!! I take it and I become Chef at this steakhouse. For the first time, I have a little creative control of the menu and I am loving it.

I learned quite a bit about butchering in this house, beef and poultry, but I am yearning to better my culinary skills, and just then…a headhunter (restaurant recruiter) contacts me and, voila, my culinary adventure really begins…

 

I began working as a night lead cook at a new seafood restaurant in the city.

We were fairly busy, but the best part was there was a cook who had been classically trained by a French Chef…my chance to learn…and learn I did! I took everything he had. I learned everything from the five Mother sauces to proper butchery (this time including fish) to the absolute recognition of quality product and pride in the quality of the product I produced.

We were doing things then that didn’t get popular across the country until years later…

We blackened tuna before a certain  Southeastern Chef made it popular. We used a variation of blackening that later became known as bronzing made popular by another Southeastern Chef two years before he started using this technique. We were using compound butters and chutneys and salsas as accompaniments long before they became popular…I was in creative heaven.

I became Chef of this restaurant in 1988. Unfortunately for me, the owners decided that they wanted a name (famous) Chef for marketing purposes and I was shuffled to the wayside…collective awwww…

 

Fear not, this was the best thing that could have happened to me as my next position was as Chef for one of the best restaurants in the city. I had the opportunity to work for one of the most respected Corporate Chefs in the city. This restaurant was a nationally recognized, upper end Steakhouse that had reached number eight on the Knife and Fork Clubs Top Ten Steakhouse list. This is a list of the top ten Steakhouses in the country!

When I started there we would do 300 lunches a day and between 180 dinners on a Monday night to 450 dinners on a Saturday a night.

I was there for ten years…and during that time we reached number three on the top ten list and began averaging 400 lunches and 500 dinners a night (we rarely ever did less than 500 on any night, on the weekends we would do 600 to 700).

The last couple of years of my tenure there I was the Executive Chef playing more of an administrative roll.

The company had become more corporate. It had became more and more difficult to get anything done without approval from somebody else in the corporate quagmire. Shortly, my job was no longer fun…

 

 

 

 

 

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