Help me break the rules(at work)

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ken123
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Re: Help me break the rules(at work)

Post by ken123 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:49 pm

Interesting discussion so far. So since these Mercer stones are available from this supplier that may take care of a lot of the problem. They ARE waterstones made by a manufacturer who doubtless isn't making stones exclusively for use in an operating room or kitchen. Bringing this up a notch to a higher grit is certainly a possibility. Given the types of knives for this environment it may be that you won't extract much more from these knives in a kitchen environment. These are details to work out.

The politics are interesting. It clearly isn't a safety issue. I've spent 12 years in an operating room environment almost daily, bringing in all sorts of customized equipment into sterile environments, including equipment I built for the OR for deep brain stimulators, electromagnetic flowmeters, somatosensory evoked potentials, computers, etc etc. I'm not new to sterilized environments and have dealt with sterilization, anesthesia, electrical and other requirements, to say nothing of some mean bitches of head nurses, anesthesiologists and surgeons. Hell I've even dealt with this in University med school morgues (Yes you can catch diseases from dead people).

Mercer stones are not doing anything different than other waterstones. They release grit, they cut metal and if improperly cared for will grow mold. The grit needs to be removed from a workstation environment. No one is suggesting bringing these stones into an operating room environment and the food is being processed after cutting.

What is limiting are the rules of procurement. You MUST buy from a specified supplier. Period. Buy a Mercer stone from Amazon - no deal. Etc etc. Don't follow the rules - no deal. Knife not from Mercer - no deal.

I'll see if I can work out a solution. I like challenges. No guarantees.

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ken123
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Re: Help me break the rules(at work)

Post by ken123 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:32 pm

metamorpheus wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:37 pm
dAviD wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:32 pm
Over the years I have had to deal with similar problems.
I worked at one place that was using a crappy sharping service and also the head chef was an assh$#_ about bring in your own kit even though he and his sous chef were free to.
There's nothing like trying to clean salmon with a dull Dexter knife with less than the amount of the needed time before service last second and then catching an earful because of self righteous weirdness or whatever policies that are in place.

And I feel your pain with working with less than professional cooks who are barely treading water and drag down the level you like to roll at.
Place like hospitals and like are a grab bag for cooks, and most of the time the staffing issue gets complicated and compounded over time.
What your left with is just that.......
I have two cooks who left the hospital for all of your exact complaints. They took less pay and benefits just so they didn't have to deal with that.
In all fairness now they are stuck with me though.....lol.

But!
I will say that my solution at a time was picking a victorinox based on the fact that it was NFS and cheap and easily available at the store they ordered though.
And honestly those are available though most food supply catalogs and stores.
And I would take one of those over a shun any day.
There's a reason why it gets voted top inexpensive chef knife since forever in cooks Illustrated.
If anything get an a/b choice to the sous chef so you know at least you get something thats going to work.

And I know I'm going to catch hell for saying it but....
We also couldn't or they wouldn't let us have stones there either. I bought a good accusharp and for whatever it was worth, on stainless steel knives I could work out a good edge. Plus it fit in my back pocket and was a very discreet way to tune up an edge when no one was looking.

The best edge?
Not by a long shot but I was able to get it useable and people would run by my station to get me to scrape them up a new edge.
There's was also the trick of using the unglazed rim on a ceramic plate as a weird round strop/honing rod.
Newspaper, cardboard, a small leather strap.....saw allot of those tricks there.

Shared knives suck.
In the above hell kitchen, I'd hide the one I picked. But people would eventually find it and my hidden towels. I'd just have to scrape up a new edge on the next victim and hope my favorite would show up later on in the shift.

Take some comfort in knowing that it is unfortunate that this industry there is allot of places that for whatever reason....give no f***s or you have bosses that are just whatever way.
Most pros have been there or are still there and it's awesome that you are trying to do your best inspite of the roadblocks.

I'm curious to see what happens for sure.
Lol the struggle is real. I leave a resuable grocery bag with some snacks on top of the employee fridge and hide the knife in there when I suspect someone used it in the other hiding spot. No one has done any real damage, but I can tell it's been used when the edge can no longer be revived by stropping on a newspaper or a dry stone like it could when I left it. They probably used the honing rod on it not knowing the angle it was sharpened. 90% of the time people will respect my stuff if I don't make it convenient for them to use it.

Not the coolest thing I've done, but my sous said I couldn't bring my stones a couple weeks ago before going on vacation for 3 weeks. I smuggled the knife home a couple weeks ago, thinned it down really nicely, and got it shaving sharp. My work space was fully disinfected with bleach prior to sharpening. After I was done I disinfected the knife with PDI super sani wipes with gloves on, washed it with my dedicated knife sponge and soap, hand dried it with paper towels, sheathed it, and wrapped it in plastic for transport. I did what I felt I had to do at the time because I was left with no good options. I will say that the thinning has helped tremendously with stiction issues and premature edge failure(still high maintenance though), but the Cozzini bros did not make it easy to thin. The secondary edge has a dip in the middle and it had to be thinned for a long time before I could get a scratch on the middle section.

Ken is working on an above board way to help me get the finer grit finish I need. If that fails I have thought of another option besides doping the 3k. When the Sous said I couldn’t bring stones from home I used newspaper from inside the hospital and he didn’t care when he saw me using it. I could just load the newpaper with a light misting of diamond spray in the locker room and strop on that. It’s not the most conservative use of product, but it would be a drama free method.
Pm sent ....

Ken

Kalaeb
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Re: Help me break the rules(at work)

Post by Kalaeb » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:12 pm

[/quote]
Ken summed it up well. It's a political problem and not a logical one.
[/quote]

You are right, it is a political problem....I am not saying right or wrong. Ken can get you supplied with whatever you need and can provide a better job of doing it and make a better end product. But guess what, he is not credentialed at your hospital so it does not matter.

Every vendor from the sharpening service to the toilet paper come from credentialed/approved vendors. It is a lot of work, stupidly competitive and pretty costly to become a vendor for a hospital. A lot of this has to do with liability so if there ever is a problem they know exactly where to go. I am not saying there would ever be a problem in sharpening using stones from different vendors, but it is a slippery slope argument. If the sous and the head chef said no go, it should be a no go. End of story. They should not have to monitor whether employees are hiding knives or stones.

Are there ways you can push the system and force change through meetings and advisory boards or whatever else? Sure, but guess what, all those avenues are going to make lots more work for your sous and head chef, none of which they want. You may be able to force a change at your place, but you will not make any friends doing it...It sounds like you need this job, don't stir up a frenzy over something like this.

My grandfather, who worked in sewage treatment/water reclamation for 60 years, was always of sound advice. For this he would say, "never stir a turd".

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ken123
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Re: Help me break the rules(at work)

Post by ken123 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:24 pm

I've put in a request for more information to the OP. I THINK I have a way around all this mess that solves political problems. We'll see. A bit more complex than usual, but hey that's what I do :) It may involve some of the issues mentioned above ...

I ran into a similar problem with some neurosurgeons who had some custom instrumentation that required resharpening. Typically they just call in the vendor for the equipment and they do the resharpening or simply get a new one. Here they are dealing with slow virus infections (creutzfeldt jakob disease), etc etc (Here we are talking about neuro cases some worth $100k+ per case with serious product liability issues (life/death) On the other hand some of the microsurgical instrumentation that I made as well as resharpening microsurgical instruments - there were no vendors so I did the work :) Part of doing original research where you are the last stop.

FWIW I used to work with a maintenance man who was a plumber as well. When he was teaching young plumbers / apprentices, his first suggestion was that they should stop biting their fingernails :)

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Re: Help me break the rules(at work)

Post by ken123 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:39 pm

No response back from the OP, so I'm dropping this. Hope he found a solution.

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Re: Help me break the rules(at work)

Post by metamorpheus » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:53 pm

Sorry for the slow response, we were more short staffed than ever and I took some extra line cooking shifts before going on my vacation that I planned months ago.

The head of the dept did order 2 shuns and the 2 mercer stones, which was nice. Still prefer my HAP40, but those Shuns are much better than the cozzini bros knife and I can certainly work with it. I dont need to strop after every task, which is an improvement.

I've been stropping on the free newspaper I get inside the hospital with a light misting of 1 micron diamond spray. Not ideal, but no one cares about me using newspaper, so it works for right now. Maybe I can find some other gold from inside the hospital like some broken leather restraints from behavioral health that have been sterilized lol. Wish they had the Chlorox short wave UV machine like they did at another hospital in AZ, not sure how leather would hold up in an autoclave.

Kalaeb, I wasn't suggesting to bring my own knives or continuing to bring my own stones after being told I couldnt. I brought my own stones without knowing I couldn't originally. The knife I was hiding wasnt one that I brought. Just one that I maintained and hid so it wouldn't get contaminated, damaged, or stolen. I needed stones for my job and management had a bad track record for supplying things that we need, so I brought my own. Seeing how much I needed them expedited the ordering process with the dept head, so it worked in my favor.

The Sous wasn't mad about the order when he came back from vacation and we're cool now. He understood why I needed a better knife and some water stones

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