Opus One: An Analysis of the Work Environment
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In the late 1980's, Jim Kokas and his father set out to provide the people of the Metropolitan Detroit area with a blend of French-cosmopolitan cuisine, the ensuing result, Opus One. Named after a popular wine, Opus One began as a small organization that sought to provide excellent service coupled with an elegant meal. Year after year, Opus One is regarded as one of the leading restaurants in the city, and the mentality is still going strong. Over the past three summers, I have had the opportunity to work as a prep cook in the kitchen. I have also been fortunate enough to learn what many average people are unable to comprehend; that there is a great deal of effort required to produce a well-designed display of food. Originally, my older brother was working as a Sous chef in the winter of 1998, and had alerted me to the possibility of a position opening up in the kitchen. Because he had established a trustworthy relationship with the Executive chef, he assured me that he could get me a job in the restaurant. After a brief interview, I was told to return the following week and they would put me to work. Come Monday, I was given a chef coat, introduced to the other people who worked there, and so began my career at Opus One. Now that I have seen what happens behind the closed doors of a kitchen, I can honestly say that I will never look at restaurants the same way again. During the course of my tenure I have been able to gain some very valuable experience, and have been fortunate enough to work with some very interesting people. But working at Opus is not the charade that it is cracked up to be. Once you become an employee in the kitchen, you must immediately come to the realization that you are in store for long hours, complaining co-workers, and a management staff that can keep even the most stable person on edge. Unfortunately, most of the employees at Opus One struggle to make ends meet as they vigorously work from paycheck to paycheck. Nevertheless, Opus One presents an opportunity to explore the intricacies of the work environment, in an effort to uncover how various relationships within the kitchen can hinder the quality of work.