Laprise, I've got a few holes to poke in your posts. Yes, the food biz is run by profit, what business isn't? That said, a Sizzler franchise can make a profit and it doesn't need qualified cooks, neither does a Denny's franchise or the Mom & Pop sandwich place in the light industrial areas. A "certified" cook wouldn't be happy in those places, but they exist and make a profit. Me, my first job was as a pimply 16 yr old washing dishes in a "Country Kitchen" franchise, and it didn't have any qualified cooks either, but I learned alot. Higher pay means higher menu prices, some places can swing it and still function and make a profit, others can't and have to rely on convienience foods and nation wide advertising. Start splitting tips with the wait staff and you'll have a riot on your hands and the Labour board seizing your accounts. Up the prices for the same quality food, same service and ambiance and you won't have any customers.
Now about certification, it's a dream. A good dream, but we dream to cope with reality and reality gives us incentive to dream. N. America is still cowboy style wild west when it comes to certification for our trade. It isn't recognized, period. Cooking is the second oldest trade in the world, and many European nations have Gov't recognized apprenticeship programs for it, for baking, for meat cutting, etc. Me, I did a 3 yr apprenticship program in Switzerland, same program as every other Gov't recognized cook in Switz., because there's only ONE, and it's the same program format for almost 40 years. Every one who graduates is on the same playing field, "Carrotes Vichy " are sliced, sweated in butter and shallots, and moistened with mineral water. The cook from Ticino, from Luzern, or from Geneva will have learned the same thing, albeit in French, German, or Italian, but it's the same dish, brain washed into us, along with the 14 methods of cooking.
We don't have that luxury here. Cooking school "X" pumps out "Chefs" every four months, and not even with "Foodsafe" certs either, "Y" does a decent job, but offers a multitude of courses, some 2 year, some 6 mth, some 2 weeks. Apprenticeships? Here in Canada we have 10 provinces and each one has different guidelines and demands. The apprentice from Sask. will not have studied the same curriculum as the Apprentice from Ont.. We've got CC's like SAIT, VCC, private cooking schools, post secondary cooking schools, you name it, there are countless courses out there, and each one with a "Certification" for Chef, food artist, whatever. It's Forrest Gump's box of chocolates for us employers, you never know what you'll get.
Gov't recognition and a encompassing, do-not-deviate-from-the-curriculum program for a certified cook? Won't happen. Not for a while anyway, and it doesn't matter if the entire nation is glued to the "Food network" and loves Emeril. No one to push for it except us whiners, and we're smart enough to stay out of politics. Professional bodies? I was (emphasis on was) a member of the BC chapter of the Chef's Assoc., 4 meetings I went to, and the only things covered were golf, golf tournies, and new members introductions who just happened to be sales reps. for large food distributors. Needs money and power to get a Gov't recognition for our trade, and a certain amount of politicking.
So we do what we do. Strive for better food, for better ingredients, for public education on food. We've come along way from 20 years ago when butter would kill you and you could live to be 100 if you sat on a mountain top spreading margerine on your bread, when chocolate was light brown, contained milk powder, and was very sweet, when the ony wine available was "Moody Blue" or Lonesome Charlie" or even that import stuff like "Schloss Laderheim"...
We'll pay for good cooks, and if the market bears our prices, we might even make a profit.