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Cook: What it Takes to Make It in a Michelin-Starred Restaurant

Cook: What it Takes to Make It in a Michelin-Starred Restaurant


You know what it takes to be a cook in L.A.? Self-sacrifice. I left Virginia to come to L.A. because there’s a certain energy that translates to the food scene here that I haven’t found anywhere else. I work at Mélisse, which is a 2 Michelin star French fine dining restaurant in Santa Monica, California, and it’s one of the best restaurants in L.A. Working on the line in the kitchen is like composing a symphony. It really is. It’s almost like each dish is — like one is the violins, one is the cello, one is the keyboard, and another is the drums. My first job in the kitchen was when I was
sixteen. I was a dishwasher. And that was before I even knew I wanted to cook. I was just a kid looking for a job. After I started working there and seeing something as simple as salad being plated, it kind of drew me in. I said this is pretty amazing. As sous-chef at Mélisse, I have to go to the farmer’s market first thing in the morning, pick up produce, go back to the restaurant, disperse it to the staff, and then we start
prepping. We have to get fish deboned, tomatoes concasséd, sauces simmering. All this has to ready before service at 6 o’clock. “Fire menu prawns, menu truffle pasta, two menu seasonal, followed by menu duck – medium rare…” Working in the kitchen is one of the hardest jobs I’ve had in my life. You’re under this constant stress. And on top of that, you’re working long hours, you’re on your feet all day, and it’s just completely physically and mentally straining. And most people can’t
handle it. But I love it. “See how beautiful that looks? And we sear it off nicely. It also protects halibut being so delicate. It helps protect the flesh.” Chef Josiah Citrin is one of the most renowned and respected chefs in L.A. and it was only natural that I would want to come and work for him. He’s almost like the epitome of an old school French chef relocated in the U.S. He has that passion, that drive, and intensity that you come to expect from great chefs like himself. One day I was in the kitchen and I was scrambling eggs and this memory kicked back to me from my grandmother and how she taught me how to properly scramble eggs when I was a little kid. And she was explaining how you use a spoon to stir it and cook it really gently so that the texture comes out nice. And it’s actually a classical French way of cooking and I have a southern grandmother. It was kind of weird. And, it was like little moments like that I think back that kind of directed me to cooking that I didn’t really realize until now. If you want to be a chef, you can’t wait around for someone to hand it to you. You almost have to take it. Hosting pop-up dinners has given me and my friend Gary a chance to not only showcase our skills, but do what we were trained to do: be a chef. “For the oyster dish, I was thinking right, we have those nice clear bowls. We’ll put the garnish in the middle and then pour the gazpacho so it comes like two thirds of the way up.” “I brought a fish tank bubbler. And instead of making foam with the frother, let’s do bubbles.” “And we’ll just drop right that on top.” “I just want to thank everyone for coming
out tonight. As you know, we’re just cooks when it boils down to it. That’s our life. This is what we do. This is what we love to do on our free time. We just spent our last few off days preparing this for you and we had a lot of fun doing it. So, cheers to the night.” I always have this sense of satisfaction and
almost comfort in knowing that something I served pleased someone else. And I think that’s what most cooks thrive on.

100 thoughts on “Cook: What it Takes to Make It in a Michelin-Starred Restaurant

  1. sry as much as I love cooking, I would never become a chef. One of the most ungrateful jobs ever. Right after being a soldier

  2. You said some things that i hear Gordon Ramsay say alot, NOW i know that there's much more to it than a punch line! Thank you for the video, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!!

  3. What it Takes to Make It in a Michelin-Starred Restaurant

    Big balls to give people no food and charge them whole salaries.

  4. I bet he has no social or outside life and makes less than his friends with normal 9-5 jobs. Thats why im leaving this stupid fucking industry.

  5. I started my first job 2 weeks ago at hotel restaurant as a dishwasher/chef's assistant but to the fact that I'm out of my country to continue my study , accompanying my mom and trying this work it'll be a harder challenge especially on communicating because the people around don't usually speak nor know how to speak English but that doesn't mean I'm backing out even though they pay me less, I even got problem on transport because I'm using only publics and we all know restos usually closes midnight but fortunately my workmates understands me and they sometimes take me home if they really me need for dishwashing, they say the harder the challenge the bigger the possibility on obtaining or achieving the reward you asked for, so yeah! Go with the flow where life throws you and its a coincidence that Youtube recommended this video at the time when my mind keeps on telling myself if this job would make a successful person one day? I think yes, don't want to be negative when it comes to success anymore.

  6. I really don't understand how people get so upset over food & the expectation & the stress over food. Growing up in a 3rd world country, we were happy to just 'eat'.

  7. To be in this industry you have to love the stress, the fast pace and the challenge. I think I'll stop doing it. He said it well in the video. It requires self sacrifice.

  8. Everyone should work in the restaurant industry at at least point in their lives just to understand how hard it actually is and learn some respect for the people who make your food.

  9. Can imagine Gordon Ramsay having a spasm like a Hitler rant on Tourette's Syndrome at some over wilted spinach.

  10. If I wasn't a barber I would be a chef. All my respect to anyone who works in job where you're always honing your skills to try to reach "perfection"

  11. Isince being a Michelin chef shouldn’t he know when sharpening knives to always pull towards yourself and not against the grain ?

  12. Cut your fucking nails my guy, holy fuck…Or at least clean them. Other than that, great video. I once wanted to be a chef but i guess i was one of those people that couldn't handle it.

  13. Gamora : What did it cost to make it in michelin-starred restaurant ?
    Chef : Everything

    Sad background music start playing 🎶🎶

  14. I used to work in fast food. The only thing I learned from a restaurant is I don't want to stand all day working and I need to get a job with a chair.

  15. In this world evervody stars very passionate about cuisine, not everybody keeps tjat psssion wirh the years though.

  16. Oh please don't make it all artsy we all know it's bullshit hard work. People who do it, love it or hate it. It's gotten old already, go back to the kitchen and just do well. Don't keep trying to make it into the next becoming of Christ.

  17. Being a chef is no joke. It blows me that people in other “dignified careers” put their noses up like doctors and lawyers on a pedestal thinking they’re better. In my opinion, chefs deserve a high salary too, what do you doctors/lawyers do when you have meetings? You go out and eat? Having a party/get together? You go eat the finest food in the city. It’s bullshxt to be underpaid for something you like to do and be under appreciated. The stress is crazy too.

  18. I love this guy.In spite of the fact that he is passionate he is a hard worker.I really have respect for this.

  19. If this was an original Netflix documentary about a sous chef trying to open his own restaurant in LA I'd watch the hell out of it.

  20. I need to work at this exact restaurant, I graduated culinary school a year ago and I’m extremely fast paced, organized and strictly focused on a task. I’m tired of these other restaurants being so slow paced I need something like fast!

  21. People saying “its not worth it” because of the pay to work load obviously this is passion driven and not too many people can say they found there passion these chefs found it and are willing to go through hell to do it

  22. Makes perfect scrambled eggs…burns toast…but in honesty seeing the passion is awesome..hope u go a long long way in the industry

  23. I love hearing the servers coming back into the kitchen and saying their tables loved the food. I’m only 19, and love cooking. I currently work in a restaurant and I love it.

  24. I work as a dishwasher and prep cook at a Intercontinental hotel, and i can't handle the stress but this is all i know so I'm applying to furnace operator and power plant operator jobs, since you get on the job training

  25. Ok, so..I'm obviously poor..because, I don't get why you would want to go to a restaurant to get 2 little things on a plate.. With lines of sauce around it.

  26. Stop making life in this world romantic. It’s not. Spending 14 hours straight hours rebuilding a station because someone left you with nothing is not violins and soft conversations about preserving the flesh of white fish with your chef. This is an industry of abuse. And the love is a love of abuse. You live with hernias, plural, severely fucked up knees and hands and arms of unspeakable damage by choice and pride. You choose a boss who threatens and berates you with literally every mistake, from burning something expensive to dropping a crumb on the floor. You want to be underpaid for your level of intelligence and ambition simply because it affords you the ability to cook (try explaining that to your wife/husband/preferred stupid pronoun). There is nothing at all about this industry that is romantic and I grow so tired of this millennial generation trying to justify their eating out every night by making it so with slick cinematography and classical music in doc after doc after doc. For all this genre of mine obsesses about cooking I’ve never seen anything that actually captured what it is to live in a high end kitchen as a cook or chef. Just pretty pictures, sweet music and stupid interviews.

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