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Hello and Looking for Advice

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I am new to this forum. I have always had a love of cooking since a young age thanks to my mother. I have decided to enter culinary art school and am seeking a way to finance my education so that I can attend the Natural Gourmet Institute.

I have two friends who have recently started a holistic wellness center. They are soon to be graduates of the Institute of Alternative Nutrition. They have enjoyed the foods I've made for past events at family and friend gatherings. One of them has already approached me about doing prepared meals for her clients. Some are too busy, one is paraplegic. If I become a trained chef, I will have a guaranteed clientele base from them and an opportunity to do cooking classes/workshops, prepared meals and catered events. This is partly what appeals to me so much about the Natural Gourmet Institute.

I hate that so many times when you want something healthy to eat you just can't find many healthy things that are delicious. At least not in my area, you really have to go to the city or philly to get innovative, creative healthy food but in central NJ, it just doesn't appear to be readily available. It has been personally frustrating to me when I'm out eating. I have some neurological health issues that I've chosen to treat through nutrition and I know many like myself share the same frustrations. This is something I feel really passionte and excited about.

Here's the problem, financing it. I am willng to take out student loans if need be. NGI has something where you can actually work 3000 hours and get your training for free. You have to work those hours before getting trained and I don't want to wait that long. I am 39 years old, married and work a full time and them some job as an Admissions recruiter. If I were in my early twenties or early thirties I would consider it. We just don't make enough for me to quit my job and do the apprenticeship full time which I would have loved.

I am thinking that once I go to NGI, I will probably be able to start catering even while I'm in school. I am trying to get a feel for how much I can realistically expect to make catering and how quickly I could pay off a $20K+ loan.

Any ideas??? How much profit do caterers see from a given event? I know I will want to use high quality, locally grown organic foods which will make what I charge go up in price.
post #2 of 9
Hello, Curlinator, and welcome to Chef Talk.

I'm going to move your post to the Culinary Schools and Culinary Students' forum, as most of your post belongs there.

I hope you get the answers you're looking for, and good luck!

Mezzaluna
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Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
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post #3 of 9
Hi Curlinator,

Sounds to me like you have a pretty good grasp on alternative nutrition already. Your friends obviously trust you to cater for them. My point is, Is it really crucial that you become a qualified chef. So many fabulous caterers are not qualified and do really well. You could work alongside your regular job till you felt you could do it full time.

Just and idea

Wecome to the site by the way, look forward to hearing from you
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #4 of 9
How much profit???? Hard question. Every caterer works different and has different cost factors and different expenses. It cost more to do business in New York then it does in Lake Worth Florida. You could charge more because cooking organic as everyone knows the products cost you more. Your clientel should realize this and if they want organic should be prepared to pay for same. There is most certainly a niche for this type of catering. Imagine having a good time and getting healed and healthy at the same time. WOW
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks Budhut! It is encouraging to know that there are so many untrained caterers out there but I had the opportunity to sit in on a class at NGI and fell in love. It just felt like everything I ever wanted - being with likeminded individuals and learning to cook. Right away the instructor showed me some pointers on my knife skills, just a simple thing such as the direction of my cutting and it significantly changed the speed of my cutting. I walked away wanted to learn more and to be truly trained and skilled as a chef.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
That is something I feel so excited about, you just don't even know. I love food and I want to help other people to experience having delicious food that will help them to heal their bodies and to walk away not feeling that they "missed out". That is just so exciting to me. Food is a beautiful thing, it has the ability to touch all of our senses. I so want to learn to make things that encompass all of our senses so that when people eat my food, it will truly be an experience for them.
post #7 of 9
The people at Natural Gourmet are just simply the best! What if you were to take a few courses there, just to be sure of things, and a few basic business courses at your local community college or continuing ed source? While there are, of course, aspects of running a food business that are unique, the general aspects of running any business are pretty much the same -- accounting, marketing, dealing with government agencies, etc.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
So funny you suggest that, that is also what one of my friends had suggested I do, take a few basic courses but a big part of me wants to go all the way. I know I want to do it. Right now, I'm still leaning towards doing the loans for the bulk of it. Or I could do the Stage thing. It won't be much but every bit helps. I have a couple of months before the semester starts.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Foodmagic . . . thank you, yes I agree. I think having a passion for what you do makes a huge difference in how your food tastes that you prepare. I know this is something I want to do. I feel more settled about it as time goes on.
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