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post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Is there a rising number of chefs leaving the trade? and if so, what occupation are they going to?
post #2 of 16
1) System Administration
2) Stay at home dad
3) Hockey coach
4) Food writer
5) Culinary educator

:) :)
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
cool! and how can you keep young chefs in the business...
post #4 of 16
Dear Student:

I've moved your question here because this is one that needs a broader audience than it will get on Cooking Questions (which is more about "Why did my XXX fail, when I followed the recipe to the letter?" or "Does anyone know how to cook emu [or whatever]?")

People come and go in this business all the time. To go to the pastimes ;) Kuan listed, or to other businesses, or to related one still having to do with food but not with cooking on a daily basis.

Are you considering going into this industry? Are you looking for outlets for your knowledge, skills, and abilities? Don't think NOW about how/why/where to people get out -- think about all the wonderful opportunities there are to do what we love doing: creating wonderful, sustaining food that nourishes and pleases.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #5 of 16
Don't smoke, keep drinking to minimum, stay married, chop faster.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
lol

your answers have been very very helpful
- for the record this is an assignment that i an doing on why young people are getting out of the business and what recommendations could be used to keep them in the industry
post #7 of 16
left for health reasons - cooking can be a very physically demanding job. as you get older it just seems to get harder to lift those large pots of pasta water. did inside food sales for a while but did not like the company i was working for, i really enjoyed the job though.
i think that the other health problems i've developed in the past few years can also be attributed to all those long years of very hard work - long hours, lots of stress, physically demanding. would i do it over again? probably.
how to keep people from leaving the industry? perhaps letting them know that there really is not a lot of glamour in the business, that just because you have a piece of paper that says you can cook doesn't mean you're going to be the next hottest thing next to sliced white bread.
kat
post #8 of 16
Another thing that may have an impact on why chefs are leaving, or simply why people are not interested may have something to do with wages. Given the kitchen conditions and long stressful hours, the minimum wage (depending which state or kitchen you work in) may deter young people from entering the trade... Apprentices or Trainees wages in Australia isnt much at all, with chefs having to work more and more hours to gain a sufficiant income.
post #9 of 16
I think there is a correlation between how many people are now entering this career and how many are leaving it. I think it has become glamourous, in the eyes of the public, to become a chef so many people are entering the field. Unfortunately, it is only after working in it for awhile that they discover how unglamourous it really is. People think that because they like to cook, they will like the restaurant business, add to that, the glamour of Food TV, and you will see people lining up to become "chefs". They reality hits and they discover that: 1. Its hard work, in a hot stressful environment. 2. Food TV doesn't have a lot to do with reality. 3.You must spend years "paying your dues", at low wages before you ever become a "chef". I think many culinary schools are partially to blame also. To attract students they often give the false impression that upon graduation you will be a "chef" pulling down $30,000+ a year. Not true. The best way to keep young cooks in this business is to pound it in their heads that this job is stressful, and unglamourous and let all those glory seekers drop out early. The rest, hopefully, understand what this business is truly about and will continue on with long careers. I do my part. I actively discourage many people from seeking the restaurant business out as a career. I know that most of them like the "idea" of becoming a chef much better than the reality of it.
post #10 of 16
I agree that the TV makes it look glamourous. Culinary schools are business if you do not retain students there is no business. Being a Chef educator myself I can tell you. That I base my lecture on reality. I tell them this business is tough long hours. The starting pay is low and you are not a Chef upon graduation. We can only give them a foundation. You have to be passionate about this business. If your lazy and have poor work ethic. Which unfortnately is pretty normal these days.
post #11 of 16
Does having family already being established chefs help?


I currently am in Sys Admin entering the Culinary Field... Was planning to be a chef all through high school then at the last minute decided military would be a better option now I'm back at going to do what I love... cooking...
Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
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Kitchen Confidential: A must read for anyone who works in the industry! My uncle gave it to me my first night working with him and I haven't put it down since!
Reply
post #12 of 16

here's my perspective....

I do love cooking; have been in the biz for years, in FOH and BOH from the floor to supervisory. Decided really wanted to know more about food and cooking and that maybe I would be a great “chef”. Well I am in my mid 30’s and graduation is just around the corner. I am looking at this from a financial aspect. I don’t really have 10-15 years to “pay dues” I need a ROI of school pretty quick. I love this biz and saw no other way to promote than school/degree. My direction is FOH management, seems to me the pay has always been better, conditions (minus still being on your feet all day) are more tolerable, and less physically demanding, andseems to me it's easier to find a vacant management spot in FOH than BOH. Also I have to consider my family. Seems like if I really wanted to be a great chef, I have to work with great chefs and that would require moving several times in the next 5 years or so. It has taken me 2 years of school to come to this realization, and I have to say it’s been painful, the reality of it.
What would have made me become more committed to being in the kitchen? Health insurance & better pay. I still hope that one day I can be a good chef, but that may just be at home with the family.
Just my experience....
Frizbee
Do what you do with passion....the rest will fall into place..
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  ~Rev. Run
Our Lives are not in the laps of gods, but in  the laps of our cooks.
  ~Lin Yutang
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Do what you do with passion....the rest will fall into place..
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  ~Rev. Run
Our Lives are not in the laps of gods, but in  the laps of our cooks.
  ~Lin Yutang
Reply
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
thank you very much for all you're replies... with regards to all your reality tv cooking schools, would i be correct in saying htat you are refering to jamies school dinners and my restaurant rules and the like? once again thank you all very much
post #14 of 16

why I left, how I came back... sort of....!

I left because working every weekend and holiday when I was 19 was cool :cool: and fun. Once I was married with kids it kind of sucked. :(

I came back through sales and now work as a corporate chef for a Food Distributor as well as some public speaking and TV demo work on the side. Better money, better hours, better life.

I still miss the rush of a Saturday night, but I don't think about it too much when Satuday night comes and I am playing "Snakes & Ladders" with my 6 year old or giving my 7 month old a bath. :)
Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
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Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
http://www.frappr.com/cheftalkcafe
Reply
post #15 of 16
A thinning of the ranks may be in order.

A lot of folks are getting into this trade based on what they see on TV. They think that kitchen work is Emeril live, and Bobby Flay.

The conditions and pressures of the business seem to be on the upswing, with an increasingly knowledgable public coupled with increasing cost pressures.

With professional cooking for the most part being a pure meritocracy cycles like this are bound to occur.
post #16 of 16
I suppose a lot of people leap headlong into this career without doing their homework. I'm currently pursuing a business major at a four-year college and I plan on attending culinary school afterwards. At first I was fooled into thinking (because of all the culinary school advertising) that I would leave CIA with a 30,000/year job that I would love and enjoy. I found out not too long ago that I'd be looking at 20,000/year out of culinary school. I'm currently employed at a place called "Blue Door Cafe'." It has won the "white tablecloth award" for best dining in the county and the exective chef there is amazing at what she does.

Working in the hot kitchen and pumping out plates of food that look and taste wonderful is something that I'm proud to be a part of. And even if its a crowded saturday night rush, I'm still far less stressed on the line than I ever am just sitting in my dorm room... I've definitely done my homework and this career seems right for me. Chef_Bob brought up an interesting point about alternate career paths. I have that business major so that if I'm ever in desperate need for a higher-end job I'll be able to get one. Yay for planning for my future.

I guess my main concern, because of the low wages, is how I'm going to pay back all those nasty student loans... :confused:
Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
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Chris Hinds
Chef, Blue Door Cafe'
Culinary School Prospective
Reply
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