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Beating the system...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am a prospective culinary student. Now I've been doing my research for culinary schools as well as the culinary field in genera and after much consideration I decided to enroll into the Art Institute of Atlanta this fall. For the most part, a lot of the things haven't scared me away from the field. However, I can't say that I can live contently for too long a period under this profession. I know fully well that you shouldn't enter this field under the pretense that your going to make "good" money. But I don't think anyone can have a positive outlook on being broke for a long time. So now I find myself thinking what can I do to not be broke.
I would like to think that because unlike other people I know how tough it is out there in this field. That I can take some preemptive steps during the 2 years while I'm in culinary school as well as in the following years after that. I'd rather not start at the bottom of the barrel while having to pay for a 40k loan. The only things I can think of doing are possible internships at some high end restaurants. Working for free so I can build up a decent referral list. Networking with as many chefs as possible so I can have potential job offers right off the bat. Maybe I'm not being realistic, but I think I could be capable of starting off at sous chef right out of school.
Theres also the retirement,health care,dental care, etc, etc. At this point I don't see very many options. Either I'll have to start saving up on my own now, open up my own business and provide for myself like other business owners, union, get a gov't job.
Thanks to those for reading all this, any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 5
Kid, you can do what ever you choose to do. Just make the right choices.

People tend to help people who help themselves, so as far as networking with other chefs, thats a great idea. If it was me and this is just my opinion, be respectful, be polite, ask for help, leave egos at home, and always remain teachable.
About starting your own business, thats a great idea, just be clear in exactly what it is you want and do it right the first time.

Remember business is just a game, play hard, fair, and honest.
Don't be fooled by those who tell you, you can't make money in the begining of your career. If your a go getter the jobs and hours will come.

Whether you think you can or you think you can't, your probally right.

Come play the game its a great time!!!
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
post #3 of 5
If you like what you do..the money will come.

I've realized...as well as you will at some point that NOTHING in life comes easily..especially not now a days.
You have to truly enjoy...or even better...LOVE your job to be successful with it. If you can't see yourself doing this career forever then I don't think investing in culinary school is a wise choice because it's expensive and you are right, initially it's not going to yield a huge outcome. School is just a tool to advance you farther a little faster. In this field experience AND TIME is a huge factor in the amount of money that you make and where you work. Unfortunately sometimes I think the pressures on young people are so great that they feel they NEED to attend a school for something without even giving it much thought.
Think of school as a car, Would you buy a dodge ram when you only need a chevy aveo???
could you afford the dodge ram?

I think maybe waiting a little longer or taking some community college courses in business (since you can get a lot of stuff with a business degree...including look better on a loan application if you want to open your own restaurant or bakery someday :) )

I'll tell you some more lessons I've learned about life (i'm 25)
Not everybody can be a millionaire..or even a hundred thou a year "aire" ...and once you can accept that and get over it the easier life will be. I thought for a time that maybe I should be a computer programmer...I like computers...BUT not enough..or not as much as those hot shot programmers pulling in six figures a year...not as much to get dressed up nice everyday sit at a desk.
Not enough to be a part of the corporate world where you're as disposable as a dirty dish rag...the one where after 20 years a company just randomly lays you off when you're just about to retire..*ouch*..
but that happens all the time.
Some people like that atmosphere, not me
and maybe some of us who can't take a job like that are unfortunate because we're relegated to being a truck driver, carpenter, artist, musician, or gasp!

but, it's fine by me because I love being a cook...more than I love money.
and as long as I can make create food and be in the kitchen
I'll find a way to make it work.

good luck to you
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replys so far. I've thought about this field a lot. I've might have even had mini panic attacks from fear of it. This is a BIG risk to take on your life. One of the things that brought me comfort is that a lot of other people take similar risk. People want to be teachers, lawyers, etc, etc. And there is very little they can do to get experience in that field before entering a school. The same can't be said about culinary. Unlike those other fields, I will always have work, always be able to eat, and always be able to enjoy my work because I love food and I love cooking.
post #5 of 5
Not to discourage you but while you may be capable of working as a sous upon graduation it is highly unlikely you will be given the opportunity to do so. More often than not fresh out of culinary school grads end up having to work their way up from the bottom.

The ideas you propose are excellent. The more you can add on to your resume the better your chances for satisfying employment and a higher income. Stages are a great opportunity for you to learn and gain experience. I would recommend contacting any and all chefs whose kitchens you would be interested in working in and offer to come in and work in any capacity they might have need of for a chance to learn. You'd be surprised by how many of them will take you up on it!

Best of luck to you! This is a truly rewarding and exciting field to be a part of!!!
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