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How to create better wages for Cooks?

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
A greate way to help this situation is for head chefs to only hire certified cooks in their kitchens. The more restaurants hires non-certified cooks, the more it undermine our industry and skills.

I am all for hiring apprentices, but that's it. Everyone else should be certified!
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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post #2 of 70

CC vs. profitable business

It seems you and I see everything from very different perspectives.

Rather than getting angry again, as seems to be my automatic response to every post you make, I decided to evaluate where you are from as a possible source of your statement.

In Canada, perhaps there isn't a glut of immigrants from Central America who are phenomenal cooks and will work much harder, with better attention to detail, and at a lower wage than an goofball kid who's been to "cooking camp", and earned his/her CC. Perhaps you're trying to take an Escoffier-like stance on improving working conditions, perhaps you don't care about profit.

As this most recent statement means you would never hire me (as a 24 year veteran without a CC, with the title Chef de Cuisine) or anyone like me, I think you're pushing out one of the best possible resources, but you can run your business as you choose.

DB
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post #3 of 70
Laprise,
certified by who?
pan

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post #4 of 70
Thread Starter 

Better cooks!

Hey Dan, don't worry, to each his own:rolleyes:

I do think that when you hire a veteran, you hire experience and skills. Papers or not...A veteran runs on acquired rights!

BUT when you hire a young cook without papers, you do undermine culinary schools, and every cooks that come out with a 1, 2, 3, or 4 years diploma.

Profit has nothing to do with Central American workers, it has to do with properly managing your work force and product. :roll:
In both USA and Canada, companies look to hire oversee's workers for cheap, sometime they move the production to India or China, and sometime they bring the labour in there own country to work the employees for cheap wages. Holland America does it with the Philippino workers on all their ships!

YES, it is your choice, but I choose to had positive to my trade and my country. If I do hire a non-certified cook, it is as an apprentice! SO that one day he can be certifed too!
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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post #5 of 70
Still trying to figure out. certified by who?
a culinary degree, AFC,.. what would qualify as certified?
pan
Keeping in mind that in the US there are no certifications to get into the industry.

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post #6 of 70
Thread Starter 

certification

A certfication...

A culinary art diploma, a technical culinary art diploma, a cooking school diploma, certifcation from AFC, Red Seal, or any international certifications...

If the cook went to a culinary school, whether it is an unknown school, or whether it is the CIA or Cordon Bleu, it is extremely important to hire certified cooks.

Now, you do bring a good point, yes it would be nice to have one single certification for all... but not in my life time:) so until we do, a CULINARY ART DIPLOMA will do!
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
post #7 of 70
Well, I think that just because someone is certified or went to school does not mean that they can work in a restaurant kitchen. Sure, they may have the skills, but can they hold up under the pressure of a dinner rush? I did not go to culinary school, I'm a rookie, but I am super grateful that I was hired because I love my job and have discovered that with practice, I am going to be pretty good at what I do. I may not have all of the knowledge that can be acquired in a classroom setting, but I will and it will be practical because it was learned in a real life situation. I have been a manager in a food service establishment and have an Associates in Restaurant Management (doubt if I'll be a manager again though)...so I know a little about hiring and what I look for in an employee. I just think that passion and the desire for knowledge outweigh a certification sometimes.
post #8 of 70
As someone with a European apprenticeship and over 20 years of experience in 4 and 5 star houses under my belt, I don't even bother looking at certifications on resumes, especially in Vancouver. It's no secret that I don't see eye to eye with "cooking schools", most of which are excuses to get young kids from distant lands into this country without paying the heavy tuition needed for University. I've had my share of students, and their hopes, dreams and fantasies.

Cooks want a better wage? Be a better cook. I'll sit up and scream for a cook who can pump out 100+ covers a night without a complaint and who can get along with co-workers, and can clean up after himself. What do you want, 18, 20, 22 $ an hour? I'll pay! And I don't care what country the guy/gal is from or even if they can speak passable English...
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #9 of 70
Well, I guess I dissagree.
I don't believe that's legal. I would hate to discriminate against those who can't afford school. I also have some insight( just here locally) to the so- called chef schools. I personally know 2, that the two years spent would be better off in the field, not to mention the money.
Anyway, I just can't help thinking this post is meant to insight. I'm not going to fall for it. I personally don't know of any Chef who would be on board with this.
So to all those self starters in the field without some type of paper, lets wait for additional posts before going off.
Pastrytracy, don't let anything calm your passion. I'm right there with you.
I have enough paper in my portfolio to start a small fire. Does'nt make me better than anyone else.Or qualified to hire.
NOTE: Let me also say, that I'm NOT opposed to any type of education.
My head is still spinning on how a cook without. as you say, some sort of papers, undermines culinay schools. You don't think Culinary Schools are not profit driven? What percentage, buy their papers vs earn their papers. What percentage of instructors have gone from school to teaching without being in the field.
Crap, I fell for it. :D You would be right at home in the US with the current team.
I'm typing this like Lewis Black is spouting it.:lol:

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
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post #10 of 70
Laprise you mean like ServSafe or what? What about people who are not but are willing to work and actually work hard to make you successful. What about guys like me, who cant afford culinary school at this point or probably wont for a long time? Im not angry im just putting some 2 cents in a thought of mind.
post #11 of 70
I'm also not going to fall for what i believe is the true meaning behind this thread. I will however say that I spent 25 years in some extremely demanding kitchens. I now teach at a culinary school. I would never had taken this job if I had not been in the trenches for so long. I would have no right what so ever to "teach".In the 6 years I've been on this forum I have used the word passion a million times, passion, combined with solid training (school or not) is the key. I have worked with some outstanding culinarians who do not have "papers" I have worked with graduates of culinary school who are shoe makers.There are great cooks and fair cooks, and there are great teachers and fair teachers.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #12 of 70
I would gladly have a plumber with 5 years of experience work on my house rather than one that just finished a course, piece of paper in hand.

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post #13 of 70
Ditto for the surgeon who did my Dad's cataracts last sumer....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #14 of 70
I thought the question here was about raising wages for cooks. We tip share equally with the front and back of the house. Have been for the last 9 years. Almost doubles their hourly wages.
If we do whats right, all of a sudden the semantical bs is seen for what it is. Semantical bs.

All the best. All the time.

Peachcreek.
Proud as h8ll of my 12th grade education....
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #15 of 70
Thread Starter 

Hit a never

Ok,

I am NOT saying that a cook with paper is better!
I am saying everytime you hire someone without papers, you are part of the problem at the base of this question which is; wage will never go up if anyone can do the job. If only professional certified chef can do the jobs, than the salary will increase with time:) a long time...

Yes, if the cook works harder he can get more money, of course!:bounce:

Please try to compare apple and apple! A carpenter with 5 years experience and no school, cannot be compared to a carpenter with papers just out of school!

The culinary trade is held back by profit, that is the real reason isn't it? You are now a head chef somewhere, so who cares about paper or not, you have to hit your labor cost target to keep your job! :smiles: SO, you hire people from Central America to save money and you managed to pursuade yourself that it's better! good fo you... that thinking is not far from child labor!

They don't ask an accountant and a lawyer if a diploma is needed to practice, they tell an accountant and lawyer you need a diploma to pratictice. Yes, I am sure someone off the street could do their job, and well too, but when IRS is knocking on your door, who are going to call? well it does not matter, bacause only the certified accountant and certified lawyer can actually sign the papers!:smiles:

It's not about the actual dipoma people, it's about the fact that if you can only hire certified people, corporation will adjust as such and have to pay more, it become a TRADE that his recognized on a higher level.
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
post #16 of 70
Maybe Chicago is different from other parts of the world, but I get down right skeptical about people with culinary degrees. I always expect them to not show up or lop off a finger.

Besides, it's not like the Mexicans don't get seriously paid. They may not be able to hold a conversation with the GM, but they definitely know how to ask for a raise. The lowest paid people I've seen are kids with maybe a few months of pub food experience and a diploma, driving to work (late) in the SUV their parents bought for them. The Columbian grill guy who can temp a filet from a quarter mile isn't stupid when it comes to how much hourly wage he deserves. And he actually appreciates his job.

I find the idea of cooking being a career you need a formal education for as being sort of frightening. Kitchens are a place where people who can't afford to go to school can still go in and work their way up. One of the few trades where your pay and position is dictated by your own motivation, and not weird politics. (Although I guess kitchens carry their own deranged political systems.)

And yes, I feel better about a talented, hard-working guy being able to tend to his family (usually extending to relatives in his/her nation of origin) and making a good career than I do a talented, narcissistic culinary graduate working to open up some dodgy Asian fusion concept with the remnants of a trust fund.
post #17 of 70
Thread Starter 

Great point!

I agree logghib,

maybe the culinary trade should stay the way thing are right now! I do like the idea to have open doors for un-certified cooks, but unfortunately, it does not help our trade:rolleyes:

I do have issues with workers being abused by corporations just because they come from somewhere else in the world.

Holland America is notorious for that... a CDP from Canada makes $2700.USD a month and for the same position a Philippino CDP makes $400.USD a month on the same ship... just because that $400 is worth more in the Philippine
:eek: I have seen this myself!
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
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post #18 of 70
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.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #19 of 70
:roll: :bounce: :smoking:

Beautiful!
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #20 of 70

undermining cooking schools

They don't need my help, their graduates speak for the system with high expectations of wage and lousy knife skills.

And again I'll re-state my point, and lay it out in other terms. When you grow up cooking, and your working to feed your family (not pay off student loans) you tend to work from a different motivational core. It's a core that rings very true to me. It's one that I understand.
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post #21 of 70
Lapster,
Is an OK concept, just the wrong place to start it. I've always thought we should be working towards a certified profession. Just not going to happen.
It needs to start at the top with SOPS. The groups out there representing us are basically groups/clubs. Heck, my local health department can't agree on the interpretation of FDA guidelines.
Your job as an employer is to see that anyone willing to work, that has a passion for this type of work, gets a well rounded education and a career from you. Not pidgeoned holed into one specific job. I feel that is one of the down sides of certification. I've seen it in all fields. Certification leads to specialists. The last thing this industry needs is a Sautee Specialist or Muffin Specialist. I'm all for specializing, but after an all around success.
I left the buzz because I felt I was just filling holes when it came to hiring. Bottom line was dictating that I couldn't cross train and teach.
Now I sleep well at night knowing that anyone who works with us can leave at anytime and get employment, and will be successful.
This field is large, almost a race. enacting hiring practicies like that is almost racist.
Certification is one of the reasons my son will never enter this business. Family business is going away quickly, there are so many soaking the industry, including some schools.
We can't or won't even carry out the laws we have now. There was a large bridal show here in town, one of our workers said there was 32 wedding cake vendors. We only have 16 licensed here. The others are working illegal out of their homes.This takes a huge chunck of our business. I've had to redirect our business 2 or 3 times over the last couple of years. I'd love to see certification. Not gonna happen.
pan

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
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post #22 of 70
Panini

I think you raise a good point about law enforcement. One of the issues as I see it (keeping in mind I am in Ontario and I know that the laws differ from province to province and country to country) is that there are very few laws governing our industry.

Here is an example. If I want to go out and get my hair cut. The person cutting my hair must have formal training, have gone through an apprenticeship and be licenced by the governement. BUT I can go have lunch some place that has not one person on staff who has even taken a food safety course let a lone any formal training.

In my opinion this does little to help the credibility of our industry.

There are two sides to every coin. Yes having only trained cooks would cost more money, no doubt. It would probabally eliminate some of the very cheap restaurants in all of our market places (both corporate and indipendant). But as professionals would it increase the caliber of food being put out. In the long run I beleive yes. I also beleive it would reduce the odds of major food safety issues (Jack in the box, Chi-chi's etc.). In the long run would it result in cooks being paid more, yes I think it would.

Will it ever happen? I am not betting my milk money on it.

In Canada the profession of cook is considered a trade and I have no problem with it being regulated as other trades are. As for the example of doctor that was used by some, give me a break. Are you telling me that you would let some one who has never been to medical school and is not licenced by the governement come at you with a knife, or a lazer? Thinks about that.... really would you!?!?! I sure as heck wouldn't.

Just one guys opinion.
Chef Bob


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Chef Bob


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
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post #23 of 70
"A greate way to help this situation is for head chefs to only hire certified cooks in their kitchens."
I am curious as to how this would generate better wages?
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #24 of 70
Not that I agree with the idea, I'm just answering cheflayne's question from an economic point of view:

Suppose only "certified" cooks could be hired in restaurants. You would immediately reduce the supply of cooks, (since all cooks non-certified would be eliminated from the work force). At the same time, enacting such a practice would increase the demand for certified cooks, (since eateries that used to hire uncertified cooks now must only hire certified ones).

Like any commodity, if the supply goes down or the demand goes up, the price goes up. In this scenario both supply would drop and demand would rise, thus causing an increase in the cost of labor, i.e. salary.

These are just the cold facts. Not my sentiment.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #25 of 70
Related to MarkV's comments, the price of the food served would go up. This would probably reduce demand. So the income to the restaurant might stay about the same meaning the profit margin is reduced. Or the income might drop and the restaurant goes out of business. It is not likely that income would go up.

Phil
post #26 of 70
Thread Starter 

Major under taking!

Well,
I think everyone agree, this is a hot button for many people. Profit does run the world, and restaurants are no diferent:crazy:

This will most likely never happen because we are finding out that it would be EXTREMALY COMPLEX to make such a change in our industry.

I don't believe that cook should enter this business for the money, but more for the love of food, the adrenaline ruches, and chance to be in a creative environment with other crazy cooks:lol:

MarkV is right, the offer and the demand does help increase salary in general. We often see it in area where no one wants to go cook.
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
post #27 of 70
I find the people who complain the loudest are the ones that get paid what they are worth.:lol:
THATS why they are so unhappy.....
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #28 of 70
Mark, morally this could never happen. All current workers would be grandfathered in. Then the bill for all this training will be put back on the company/owner.
Small business would vanish(would make georgie very happy). Food service would have to monopolize. OMG what a mess. The end result would be outrageous prices for food, and a medeocre product at best.
Also remember, to all those cooks out there, I would not be surprised if there would be any fast-tracking in the industry.
pan

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
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post #29 of 70
This is a topic that always upsets me. I am 21 years old, uncertified, no post-secondary education of any kind (ie. no culinary school), and I've been a chef de partie in several well-known award winning restaurants (after a short apprenticeship). I've trained and been responsible for more culinary school grads than I care to count. Yet because I am uncertified, I don't deserve to be where I am? (of course my current employer feels I'm a valuable asset)

Or how about the certification process itself? I'm in the process of getting certified, but so far my efforts have been bogged down by bureaucratic nonsense. They won't even let me write the tests! Why, because I didn't go to school.

As for hiring only 'certified' cooks, this will never happen. Chefs know there is some serious talent out there, and will do what is best for their business. Not to mention that employers pay for your current work, not for your past education.

Anyhow, rant /off, needed to vent some frustrations.
post #30 of 70
Can you please give us a link where we can observe the requisitions for certifying?
Is there an international certification?
Can you recommend books with all topics that cooks must know?


Thanks.
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