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Advise for after culinary school

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I will finish my culinary study in 3 months. I like to know which establishment is a great place to start? is it a hotel which serves buffet or a la carte menu? or try to work at fine dining restaurant right away? or work at a smaller establishment? So please give me your inputs, Thanks.
post #2 of 6
That's a very wide question to answer. Each of the jobs you mentioned have a different skill set and career path.

With only 3 months to go, isn't it a bit late to start thinking about what area of the Culinary Arts you'd like to pursue? You should have had a goal before the first day of school that you were working toward.

So, the real question is - "What do you like to do?"

Working hotel banquets is hard work, long hours, and you'll work any day and time they ask you to. A restaurant has more defined hours, but the pressure to produce for each order that gets spit out of the ticket machine is greater. A banquet chef knows how many people are coming weeks ahead of time. The restauranteur doesn't know until that evening.

A smaller establishment may be good because you'll have a more personal relationship with owners and operators. A larger place will be good because of the benefits they may offer.

How about working as a chef in a hospital, university or corporate cafeteria? Then, your hours may be closer to weekdays. Maybe you'll decide to work with a catering company, that way every day and event is different. Perhaps you'll work with a personal chef.

Rather than ask a worldwide forum, what is it that you like about our industry?
What type of work environment are you looking for?
post #3 of 6
I worked part-time in a hotel while at school.

I decided it was the path I wanted to follow, and am still at that hotel 3 years later slowly working my way up. It is hard work, the hours are long, but I enjoy every minute of it.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys for the replies.

My goal when I started the school was to own a restaurant targeted for the lower up to the middle class people.

During my study, some of my instructors are into fine dining. I always impress by how tidy they work and how they present their work. (Sometimes I laughed because they were so beautiful)

Another instructor said to the class that you should try to work for a catering company because you sometimes don't have the equipments and the ingredients like what they have in fine dining kitchen. You can become a versatile cook. I was like "ok versatile is a great attribute. I value that".

My oldest instructor have work experience on a cruise ship. Once he told us that he used to make 8 crepes using 8 stoves at a time. He didn't mean to show off. He just gave us the picture. From that I learnt the word "juggle". Wouldn't be awesome if you can juggle couple tasks at the same time?

I think that is why I asked the board question. Along the study, I found some really interesting paths that offer its own valuable attributes.

ChefToddMohr, you make me think harder. Thank You.
post #5 of 6
I like where you're going with a restaurant aimed at "lower to middle class people". Finding a niche and being the best at it is better than being one of a thousand fine dining restaurants. How do you distinguish yourself? Every chef wants to be proud of their fine dining restaurant that showcases their incredible talent, but nobody comes to buy, and they're out of business.

Remember, a restaurant is a business FIRST.

If you follow this tact, I'd suggest a quick and easy "pasta factory" type place. Perhaps a $9.95 a plate restaurant that is easy to understand, has an easy entry point, and families can bring their kids. It may not be something you'll win James Beard Award for, but you'll make money and have a life.

Design your goals around a successful MARKETING idea first, then design the menu. Too many restaurants go under because they design the menu first and HOPE people will buy. Find what people want to buy first, then give it to them.
post #6 of 6
Everyone climbs the mountain at a different pace , depends on how fast you want to get to the top.......Bill
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