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Question for all of you cooks/chefs

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have read a lot on here saying that experience in the kitchen is more important then going to culinary school, or to have experience in the kitchen before going to culinary school. Now my question is, if I am looking to get experience in a kitchen how should I go about it and what kind of kitchen should I try to get in?

I work full time right now in my current career and I want to make sure culinary is what I want to change my career to. Any information would be greatly appriciated.

Thanks!
post #2 of 6
Hi, Clayton -- I moved your question here so that you'd get more answers from the pros! :D

There are many types of kitchens: restaurants, caterers, retail shops, manufacturers, research, institutional (hospitals, schools, prisons, group homes, fraternity/sorority), and corporate, just to name a few. And then there's working as a private or personal chef in someone's home. Working in one type might make you hate culinary work, while you'd love it in another. But the common denominator for most is: food comes in raw, it is prepped and cooked, it goes out to the customer, and the (hopefully) empty plates come back to be cleaned.

The point of seeing that, anywhere, is to save yourself a lot of money, since school is not cheap.
"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 #3 of 6
before i came to school i worked in fine dinning and loved it. I started off as dishwasher and prep and i worked my way up to cooking on the line full time before i came to school. Before working there i didnt know if i want to go to culinary school or not but it i liked it so much i knew i did. just find a restaurant that needs somone to prep, and see if you like it.
post #4 of 6
Hi Clayton - yep, what they said. See if you can find work part-time, say on the weekend, and give it a go. You'll soon find out if its for you. Maybe volunteering for a charity that runs a kitchen if that's possible, and you're having trouble finding paid work for just a few hours a week.

For example, there's a local charity here that runs a second hand shop which has a cafe in it. The people there are mostly volunteers -perhaps you can find something like that in your area.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
here is another set of questions for you all.

When I go into the resturant, who do I want to speak to, the executive chef? the manager of the resturant?

Also what should I say? Should I just tell them that I am looking for something part time to see if I want to pursue a career in culinary?

again, thanks for any info. I just dont want to go into a resturant and screw up a chance.
post #6 of 6
Ask to speak to "the chef" most front of the house people (whom you will most likely be speaking to first) will know exactly to direct you to.

Don't dare going during hours when the would even possibly be busy, I would recommend around 9-10am or maybe 2-3pm depending on the individual establishment.

Explain to them your exact situation, tell them that you are interested in a culinary career and would like to start for them. Let them know what your skills are and what you think you can provide for them. If you are lucky they will start you at Garde Manger and you can work your way up from there.
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