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Am I being Unreasonable?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
ME: 45 years old 20 years in kitchens plus ten years full time dad. Of the last 8 years I spent 6.5 working in Army contract food service, last 1.5 years of that as a shift leader (kitchen manager) in a large dining facility (2000 meals a day or so) running a shift of 8 cooks. Last 16 months as "chef" in a small catering company where the owner keeps a very short leash thus while i did some of the ordering and did a lot of freelancing with out recipes I was not really a full chef. Now I want to be in a real kitchen and put some time in as a line cook so that I can get a feel for working on a line again (it has been a long time since I did that) so that I can direct all of my skills and knowledge into moving up in a restaurant kitchen.

Problem: I can't get any decent offers. I am willing to work for a low wage and commit to six months, in order to prove myself, but so far no luck.

Am I barking up the wrong tree here? am I too old or is my experience too strange to transition into back into restaurant kitchens (last was 1988)?

post #2 of 10
Nothing the matter with youir experience, problem is the timing--it's January, slow season. Take what you can find now and start looking again in March.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #3 of 10
yeah im in a kitchen with 6 or 7 cooks... but at the moment its 1 or 2, because of the season... i done maybe 40 covers today in 7 hours in a 370 capacity place....
post #4 of 10
Not that anybody would discriminate...but....they probably ask themselves...
...what the heck is this been doing for all these years....truth is....and this
may sound pretty insensitive....your a little long in the tooth.....and then maybe its just the off season....not that I can ever admit it...but...I can't
remember hiring someone over forty for an hourly line position....keep trying though....don't ever more thing...don't make a 6 month commitment....they will think....heh why hire him if he's only going to stay 6 months.....good luck...I'm getting up there in years myself....and am a father.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
I would prefer to cook, cooking is my craft, I want to learn more and do new stuff, but if I am too old to get in or if i will be considered as if I am some know nothing kid then it will not work. Corporate or mom/pop kitchen manager better fit maybe?

I was thinking that guys my age can walk fresh into the business and get work, but maybe culinary school is required for that to work? I am definitely confused about where I could fit into the business. I don't know all the terms, techniques, I can't step into a line on day one and knock it out, but I have been working with food professionally in a wide variety of kitchens for 20 years, I play well with others, and I still know what good food is....figured that should count for something.
post #6 of 10
I wouldn't try a restaurant or any place where your cooking 1 meal at a time. If your looking for something in the kitchen around this time of season, as been stated that January is the slow season, I'd try something larger scale like a catering op or basically any place that'll cook food in bulk.

I work in a college cafeteria and its been busy busy busy but having several people not coming into work and having 1 quit doesn't help either. The work is steady, the pay is low, and it'll last till around the summer when it dies down and maybe then you could find something on the line. Define busy you say? The chef starts at 5:30am and the morning plays out a bit like this
-do all the baking (a few dozen each of pastries, croissants, and muffins to be ready by 8am opening plus whatever needed for morning caterings)
-fill up the soup station (4 soups with 1 done from scratch, 1 chili from scratch plus extras) to be ready by 10:30am latest
-start on the hot food items (1 meat entree, 1 veg entree plus 2 or 3 sides, 1 baked pasta, chicken and eggplant parmesean plus extras) to be ready 10:30 latest
clean up and prep for next day then place orders, chef is usually out the door by 3-3:30pm. Today I helped the chef by cutting up cauliflower for a gratin and did 3 hotel pans worth of Chicken Tetrazzini from the ground up. All while doing all the caterings, covering all the breaks, and counting weeks inventory. Do we need help, yeah!

So basically my suggestion is go into someplace where the work never stops, theres always catered events going on year round and it'll keep you in the kitchen. Hold it till you can find yourself a line job and who knows, maybe the catering company you hook up with has a restaurant you can slide into when business booms again.
post #7 of 10
where are you located..maybe thats the thing...lots of hotel/casinos opening up out west.
post #8 of 10
Agreed, Vegas has a slow season too, but not like everywhere else. Great opportunities out here.
It's Good To Be The King!
It's Good To Be The King!
post #9 of 10
Hey buddy sounds like someone I knew a loooonnngggg time ago. I retired from Ft Gordon, GA in 94 I was 38, almost thirty nine at the time. I admire your drive and dedication to the business. It's hard to come from being a Food Service Sgt to being a line cook, I did it even while I was on active duty. Where ever I was stationed I got a part time gig, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Kitzegen Gast House, little hole in the wall in Paw Bon Ree Korea, several in and around Seoul, etc, it was still hard when I retired.
I worked everything from line cook down and then back up. I'm with a major corp now that appreciates my leadership and management experience and test's my skills daily in the kitchen, on paper, and over the stove, and I love it! My body don't though, 22 years of PT, humping and jumping are taking their toll.
But hang in there you'll find something that's just what you're looking for.:beer:
post #10 of 10
My hat goes off to both of you for serving in the military. God bless our troops.
It's Good To Be The King!
It's Good To Be The King!
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