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Best way to get to the top?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I think we've all agreed that experience triumphs in this field but in less then a year now I'll be looking for a better restaurant to work at, as of right now I'm a short order cook at a diner and I'll have a culinary diploma (the certificate not associates degree)

Is it easier for somebody to try and apply at a nice hotel (say, marriott, raddisson, doubletree, etc) or should I look for a job at a nicer restaurant in a city?
I want to be able to move to the west coast with the ability to definitely land a decent job and I want to collect as much experience as possible at home here on the east coast first.
post #2 of 14
Its not a question of is it easier, its more of a question of what do you want to do. I have worked in both including high end county clubs. The pace and speed is completely different, if you want to experience banquet and catering type kitchens go to a hotel or resort something along those lines. If you want the speed, the stress (which I love and prefer) go to a high end high scale restaurant in a city.

Its all about the experience you want to indore (sp).

Also just a hint, money seems to be less of an issue when your talking payment at hotels and country clubs.

What would be better on your resume and experience when you say you want to go to the west coast?
"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
It really doesn't matter so much to be. I want to be challenged so I'm thinking the restaurant would be better. My main concern is that they won't be interested in hiring me and apt to pick somebody more qualified. It seems as though it may be easier for me to be hired at a hotel. I feel I'm talented enough and have the desire to work in a nice kitchen but just a bit intimidated because I live in new jersey and there is a lot of competition being I'm within distance of nyc, atlantic city and philadelphia. There are a lot of schools that are better than the one I could afford so I guess I'm just nervous. I have a tendency to aim lower than I probably should.

Money is of no concern to me. And that is where I feel I have an advantage over a lot of others. My main priority is to gain experience and learn as much as I possibly can so I can be marketable and always have work in a respectable restaurant.

My main goal is to be executive chef one day in a nice restaurant or disney world. I'm not so sure if I would ever want to own my own place but I certainly would like the responsibility of running a kitchen.
post #4 of 14
Like Quin said it depends on what you want to experience. I'll tell you the chefs I know would take a nice kid male/female who wants to learn and has a positive attitide before one who thinks he has experience. To be able to teach a upcoming chef is one of the greatest gifts for me that this field has to offer. To make a line cook a sous chef, and then watch them get their own place, is a gift..
Country clubs pay well and most have dining room and catering great experience for those who want to learn. Hotels are great to.

Just an opinion
Try to find a chef that isn't a control freek, one that isn't afraid to hear a suggestion. Those who are control freeks often have a fear of teaching/training cooks because they are afraid of losing their job to someone else. Find a chef who is confident in themselves and wants everyone to have a better life.

Remember cooking is only half the battle, try to learn the business end of this thing we do, you will be worth more. My old mentor use to tell me you can make the best food in the world, but if you can't make money don't expect a pay check next week.

Try not to mention money is no concern to you. Just a suggestion

best of luck to you
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #5 of 14

tink

I know what your saying because I'm in a hard place right now. I do have an associates from Pennsylvania Culinary and I can't find anyone who wants to give me a job. At the moment I am unemployed and have submitted numerous resume and it just don't seem to matter that I do have a degree. Yes I don't have a lot of experience but how am I supposed to get that experience is someone will not take a chance on me.
post #6 of 14
Hang in there, All good things come to those who wait. You will get one, be persistant. I usualy hire the ones that keep calling me back. It shows they are interested.
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #7 of 14
If you aren't concerned about how much money you earn staging might be an option for you. Pick your dream resteraunt and ask them if you can do a stage there. If you knock their socks off maybe you will get a job there if not at least you had the experience.
post #8 of 14
In any career that you decided you wanted to do in your life, remember that there are those at the bottom too that want to be in the same position as you are. Don't step on them and be considerate of others on your way up no matter what skin colour or creed they have that may be different from yours. Just my take on this.
Bill and Izzie: Proud parents of a soldier.
Looking back on all the mistakes I've made in my life, all I can say is I've gotten a lot of miles out of stupid.
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Bill and Izzie: Proud parents of a soldier.
Looking back on all the mistakes I've made in my life, all I can say is I've gotten a lot of miles out of stupid.
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post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
elizabethbryce@

I'm not so sure what you are talking about???

I don't talk down to anybody and that's not what this post was about...I'm really confused by your statement. I myself can barely afford to buy my knives and my 5000 for my community college program...that will only yield me a certificate..and that isn't a nationally or internationally recognized program that is going to set me up with some great restaurant.

I only wish...instead I'll probably be relegated to a place like red lobster for the rest of my life...regardless of how much hard work I put in. I won't be coming with a shiny degree...so this post was essentially about where's the best place for somebody in my shoes to start.
o well..such is life right?

maybe i'll be reincarnated as a rich spoiled brat.

sorry for all the hostility...i can't afford real culinary school, I can't get a loan and I have bills up to my eyeballs because I'm an adult and the economy sucks.
All the money I work for goes to paying for my car payment, the insurance and gas...I can barely feed myself. Even finding the time amongst my girlfriend and work...I'm gonna get through my sub sub par schooling next year.

once again, sorry for all the angst...i had a very depressingly poor day.
post #10 of 14
I am sorry...I did not mean to be rude nor condecending (sp?) Your question was : Best way to get to the top? I was answering your question that the best way to get to the top is by not stepping on someone else's toes. I was trying to give advice, real true advice, that the best way to get to the top is by just being you, no matter how high you had gone to the top...the most admirable people I have met in my life so far (I am not a young buck anymore...) are the ones that are on the top and yet had not forgotten where they started -- right at the bottom.

I have not read your full reply...but I will when I had time. I saw a notice in my inbox for this thread and I saw how hurt you must have felt at some simple words I had written which wasn't meant to hurt so I came in and offer my explanation.

I hope I am forgiven for being misinterpreted.
Bill and Izzie: Proud parents of a soldier.
Looking back on all the mistakes I've made in my life, all I can say is I've gotten a lot of miles out of stupid.
Reply
Bill and Izzie: Proud parents of a soldier.
Looking back on all the mistakes I've made in my life, all I can say is I've gotten a lot of miles out of stupid.
Reply
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
no need for apologies..i was just confused by your comment and then went off into a tangent because I had a very depressing day...lost 200 bucks (long story)...and recently have been having other people tell me I'm stupid for not trying harder to afford something I really can't.

so unfortunately I took it out on this blog/forum

hope you understand
post #12 of 14
Just sticking my nose in here....never listen to anyone who tells you you're stupid. They are just negative people trying to drag you down. Be positive and surround yourself with positive people. Dream big and believe in yourself. I just read "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne and found it truly inspirational and I would definately recommend reading it to anyone who wants more from life. Take in the positive stuff and let the negative roll off you. Good luck to you. You can achieve whatever you believe you can.
post #13 of 14
I personally think that one of the keys to success is to maintain a large network in the community and impress the pants off of them. It will be a long and arduous process to get one's foot in the door, even for something as seemingly win-win (for the chef) as a stage (I've certainly approached a lot of places only to have them tell me that their kitchen can't really fit another cook, or they have a long lineup, etc.) so the key is to keep trying and to start building up good relations with fellow cooks and chefs... there's no telling where that and a lot of hard work can get you.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #14 of 14
Hi,
I'm a culinary student in Argentina (actually, I am Japanese with a BA in Spanish at an university in the US a couple of years ago). I just found your post and read it before catching a bus to get back home (I have an oral presentation about a group project for the Culinary Management class tomorrow :-(

I totally understand what you are talking about. I passed all the classes of the first semester of the first year and now I'm in the middle of the second semester. Since a month ago, I started doing a paid internship at one of the five-star hotel in Argentina (I don't live in Buenos Aires, by the way and it's a local hotel, not chain like "Hyatt or Sheraton") Working 30 hours in the kitchen of the hotel and 10 hours per week at the culinary school as an assistant student to a professor. Although it might sound great to you, but I feel like I'm almost like a kitchen prep *****/slave because what I do is cleaning a floor, washing lots of dishes and leaf veggies, peeling vegetables, etc. To get to my point, I don't cook in the kitchen.

My situation is much harder than anybody else's because I go to the culinary school, work 40 hours or more a week, study German at the university (by taking an intensive course) and live and speak foreign language. If I am not confident to myself (or believe in myself), then there are always people who discriminate me, don't treat me equally, etc. Two weeks ago, I took two exams with only a hour-and-half sleep and I got 7 on the management class and 10 out of 10 in the kitchen class (well, you know, I took all the exams in Spanish)

I'm not from a rich family, so after graduating from the university, I worked and saved money for going to a culinary school in Argentina.

Now, I think which is a better idea: to go on working at the hotel's kitchen as long as my boss let me work or to quit it and focus on studying at the culinary school. At my culinary school, we have a thesis (final project) including the whole restaurant business concept to open up a new business and oral, written and demonstrative presentation by the end of my graduation.

I'm a crazy and very unique one and I advise you not to let other people disturb your dream. You can go to whatever culinary school (I think you don't need to the CIA, for example) you want and learn as much as you can with your budget. I cannot afford to go to one of the best culinary schools in the US, so with my Spanish profiency, I chose to go to a culinary school in Argentina and I'm totally happy with my decision.

Be positive! I say "Do I really have passion for what I'm doing?" to myself every mornings when I wake up and gaze at the display of my cellphone that is my morning ritual. I don't see how my career path goes, but focus on what's in front of me right now and that's what makes you achieve your goal.

Good luck with everything you'll do ;-)
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