or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Disabled workers

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am disabled, no sugarcoating it. I have one leg and I am missing 2 fingers and some strength and fine motor skills in my right hand.

I have made it through culinary school with some difficulty, but have succeeded for the most part. I have overcome issues with knife skills and have become proficient, but the pain associated with my prosthetic leg is still there and at times very bad. I still plow through my production and cleanup. Not to toot my own horn, but I make the healthy kids look bad :D Still, my body hurts and I have my limits. Very rarely have I had to leave class or go to the nurse (and if I do leave I make sure my production is finished first).

I am just concerned that when I enter the work place, I won't be able to keep up with other people and will eventually lose my job.

If you were an employer interviewing me, would you hire me? I don't want a job as a handout, I want it b/c I have a strong portfolio/resume and did well in an interview or mystery basket. Still all this lingers in the back of my head.
post #2 of 14
Doesn't sound to me that you are "disabled", maybe "physically challenged", but definitely NOT disabled, especially in the "mental sense"!

IMHO, you might find a typical "line job" hard to master, but there are a multitude of culinary jobs besides typical "line jobs": assisted living facilities, retirement facilities, corporate food industry kitchens, etc., that might offer a more relaxed pace that still needs dedicated efforts.
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #3 of 14
I'm about to turn 49 this week and the level of pain I experience every day just from AGE is staggering! I am in no way equating creaky joints and arthritic bones with your challenges, but, to some extent, if you work in a kitchen long enough, pain WILL become your constant companion.

According to your post, your physical limitations did not slow you down while at work. My sense is that many people, who struggle with such challenges, actually work harder than "normal healthy" people. I worked with a dishwasher who had some type of disability of the legs that severely affected the way he walked. That guy busted his butt and worked as hard, if not harder, than any other able bodied man in the kitchen.

I suspect there are legal protections in place as well that would prevent an employer from firing you simply because of your disability. While it may be true that some employers will be hesitant to take a chance on you, it will be your responsibility to convince them you are worth the risk.

Good luck!
post #4 of 14
choosing a job that fits your needs sounds like a priority......start out with a list of your strengths and weaknesses. There are many culinary jobs in the work force that don't include standing for 12 hours....

for example:
teaching, most teachers spend alot of their time planning
Food Styling
food writing
cooking school helpers
R&D
F&B
there are some older threads with comprehensive lists of other cooking jobs than working a restaurant line.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #5 of 14
As an employer the only thing that concerns me is the length of time you can comfortably stand on your feet. Once that is determined, I schedule around that.

You've got great attitude and love to cook, fantastic, but don't think that you 'll be standing infront of the stove untill you're 90.

Good cooks usually morph into good chefs and owners.

Most Chefs/owners I know only spend 5 or 6 hours/day on their feet cooking and alot of time on their butts doing admin-myself included.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #6 of 14
I am considered disabled. I am now an executive chef. I work as hard as anyone in my kitchen. I even help do dishes and floors. The first few months back into a pro kitchen were the hardest. However after that it just feels good to have a real reason to be in pain. Look to me being physically challenged should not hurt your chances for employment. You should just be upfront with the owners and see if they can work with you.
post #7 of 14
Build up your non physicals skill set. Your taste buds, management style, financial accumen, read and study what's going on in the food world. As Shroomgirl says, there's a lot more culinary work besides linework.
Best of luck to you!
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
post #8 of 14
Hey Buddy great job with school. Pain maybe a part of the pleasure you get out of being a Chef. You need to weigh if the pain is more than the pleasure. Foodservice has many things to offer. I started in the Restaurant business and now own a Food Service Management Company. I do upscale in house employee cafe's.
I think its up to you to try out different Restaurants and food services and find out what your nitch is in this business. You sound like a guy that sets goals and meets them. Don't worry about being fired from a job, I would hire you on your determination and drive............Good luck...Bill
post #9 of 14
if i was looking to hire someone, i would be more concerned with their skill set, and ability to do the job i am hiring them for... what i suggest for your situation is maybe 'shadow' a few nights in a kitchen and see if you can tolerate the hours standing and fast pace etc. if it works well, go for it... if not all you lost was a few days. there are many avenues to go down in the culinary field...
post #10 of 14
I wish you all the luck in the world. Sounds like you have a great attitude but...... This is a "tough as nails" business without any outside influences to cause challenges. Shroom had some good points and they are worth looking into for sure.

With that said......... Having some first hand experience with this..... my profile say's retired Chef but that's certainly not by choice. In the last 5 years of this, I have found a reluctance that people have in hiring someone that is classified as "disabled" Unfortunately it is a classification. There seems to be a huge worry of the liability you can pose, especially if you have to take the heavier narcotic pain relievers. There are those that can and will ask you to sign a waver to get the job. Get clear of those as fast as you can. They are not the one's you want to work for and the piece of paper they want you to sign?.......It usually doesn't amount to any value greater than the paper it is written on but if you do hurt yourself, it can make things rather sticky plus I have to say in an uneducated legal opinion that it's probably illegal to require it. No matter what you sa or how you act, someone in an interview is going to ask the questions about limitations and they are tough to give answers to. You want there to be none but when it comes down to it there are and they will focus on them. This will either keep you from getting the job or keep your pay down because you can't be expected to perform at the same level as other staff.
Even trying to work into a couple partnerships for businesses have come up short. The biggest worry I have found is the party's are worried about when you can't fulfill your partnership obligations.:o Frankly that's always been a tough thing for me to overcome given that one of my attributes was my he11 or high water attitude. Funny, that's what caused the issues that have ......... :D

I know this sounds harsh but I have been through it so I do speak from experience. Then again, maybe that's just the people I meet. There is a bit of George Costanza in my luck and all things considered.:blush:

Get all you can out of the experience in school and take it as far as you can. Go for your Bachelors 'cause teaching will probably be the best avenue to pursue. I say this because I didn't go after my bachelors and even though I have the work experience of a Masters or better, there are zero to no schools that offer teaching positions even with a close to 30 year level of experience. At least I haven't found one near me yet.

Anyhow, hang in there and keep us posted on how it goes. Maybe I can take a page or two from your plan book
post #11 of 14
many teaching jobs at universities require a degree, not teaching degree but a 4 year. Ditto old school's advice, get that degree as it may be your saving grace down the road
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #12 of 14
Do you have to disclose that you have one leg?
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
no, but you do need to disclose that you have limitations.
post #14 of 14
I grew up with a friend of my that had a prosthetic leg. One day while we ahd a softball game he was rounding third base and i was catching. He hit me had enough sending me flying to the back stop. I haven't figured out yet what his limitations were. I think we all have liminations and we all need to know what they are. I think you will do fine, you will do well in this business. My son graduated from Western Culinary with a girl that was deaf, she was at the top of her class. I would have hired her in a second....Good luck............Bill........P.S Most Chefs have big hearts. I think they will want to help and see you succeed.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs