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Becoming a chef..

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I am coming to the point in my life where i have to go to the college, and i have the grades supporting me. I want, with all that I am, to become a chef. Cooking is a passion of mine that i would love to extend on by going to school then working in a restaurant, moving up in the ranks.

My question is, how much schooling is enough? My current plans are to go to a local SUNY community college for 2 years, then look for a job. Is this going to be enough? I have had people say that it will be, and i came upon this forum so i thought i would ask.

To become successful in the field of becoming a chef, will 2 years of culinary arts/chef training b enough(along with working on the job)?

Thanks
post #2 of 8
Clarify what successful means to you, and include time line please.
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 #3 of 8
Get a job ASAP. School will teach you how and why but to be a good cook you need practice and lots of it. Get some kitchen experience before you decide if you want to be a Chef. Everyone always says they want to be a Chef but it's not really the job for everyone. In some larger kitchens the Executive Chef might barely ever actually cook. He's too busy in meetings and phone conferences, crunching numbers and balancing books. If you are a work with your hands type, a Chef position might not be what you were thinking of.
post #4 of 8
Amen to the above post...

Please, please work in a commercial kitchen--any kitchen, for at least 3-4 mths before you start culinary school.

"Chef" in N. America is a pretty loose vague term. How much do you need to know? Never stop learning. I'm only 43 and have been in this biz since I was 16. I never stop learning. If I ever do, I'll be dead.....
...."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 #5 of 8
I don't neccessarily agree that u should worki in a kitcnen B4 college. Mainly depends on the college, and also on the kitchen, but overall in a GOOD kitchen enviroment you learn ****loads, - on the other hand breaking down bad habits and developing the proper way, is much harder, than learning someting from scratch. I would be also very carefull when chosing educational provider,- I KNOW what I am talking about.
Anyways good luck my friend, hopefully we'll kick each others arses in a few years in a busy kitchen.
post #6 of 8
I think you need to identify what your goal is before you make decisions. What do you mean by "become a chef?"

Are you interested in becoming a personal chef? Private chef? Chef of a fine dining establishment or chef in a casual dining restaurant? Catering chef? Pastry chef? Do you envision working for a restaurant with a traditional brigade system or would you rather be a working chef at a mom and pop establishment. Are you interested in going into business for yourself? Do you want to become the next Food Network star?

There are many types of chefs and although a basic of knowledge of sanitation and food preparation is essential, different types of jobs would also require different skills.
post #7 of 8
Ask yourself. What is my definition of a chef?
What kind of chef do I want to be?
How much time am I willing to devote to this calling?
Can I take criticism?

And last . It matters not what school you go to, it is all up to you. Its what you put in to the learning process. Many of the best I know went to H.K.U which is hard knocks university, Others community colleges. others took courses after they were cooking a number of years. But you determine the bottom line not the school.
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #8 of 8
Some form of schooling is important.

You can work 10 years in the field, but there's no guarantee that what you learn in the field is the right way of doing it, nor is there any guarantee that you will learn all you need to .

True, you can suppliment your working experience with books--lots of books, good books, but this is not a replacement for learning the actions and movements from an experienced person.

So, some form of schooling is neccesary. Most Chefs and employers do not put much emphasis on the name of the school, or it's repuation, or length of course. They know, however that the student is only as good as he/she wants to be, and will only get out of the school what they put into it.

Take your time in choosing a school, and above all, work a year or so in the field before making the financial commitment.

Hope this helps
...."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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