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Former Line Cook

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am a 45 year old "former" saute cook and stock/sauce maker. I have not been inside of a professional kitchen in over 12 years. I had 13 years of solid experience in medium size kitchens (perhaps total of 5 line cooks) with the last kitchen being about 350 cover/night, well prepared menu, IMHO 3-4 star quality place. I was the stock & sauce maker and the saute for dinner service there for a few years.

I have been considering, for several weeks now, getting back into the business again and will be moving either to Orlando or Tampa/St Pete in a few weeks.

I don't imagine that much has changed in the past 12 years, although I am curious of different opinions of what type of approach I may take to land a decent job as a stock/sauce maker, is there even such a position? I would like to progress to the line to resume the saute, and perhaps in time make Sous Chef (which position I have basically held without the title, anyone ever been snookered into doing the job of a Sous without the salary?)

What would you think if I showed up with a solid resume, however the may be some references unavailable (due to 12 year gap)?

What would you think about a 12 year gap in related employment (I have been employed in an unrelated field)?

Would a favorable interview and a live demonstration be sufficient to ally and concerns regarding 12 year gap?

What ballpark income would I be looking at?

So please, let me know your thoughts.
post #2 of 6
I'm fairly new to the industry as this is a second career for me. Before I had my kids I worked with special needs kids but after staying home with my own, I came to the realization that I did not want to work with other people's kids all my life as it was super draining and..that I LOVE to cook so why not make a career out of cooking. In my experience no one has even questioned gaps in my resume and i have a few... I had a babysitter quit on me so I had to quit my job and stay home and then my son got sick so I had to quit working again to take care of him. My work has spoken for itself and it's gotten me where I am today.

I think you need to be honest when you present yourself to potential employers and your work will do the rest.

As for salaries.. I have no idea ... I think that has to vary alot from place to place.

Good luck with your return to the industry and keep us posted!
OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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OK ... where am I going?.. and WHY am I in this handbasket??
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
The following questions are mainly for Chefs in the Orlando and Tampa/St Pete Areas:

Regarding my original post in this thread, I am considering moving to one of the above areas, and was wondering if someone could give me a ballpark on prevailing wages for saute cooks and stock & sauce makers in upscale restaurant Kitchens.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Anyone it the Orlando or Tampa area that could comment?
post #5 of 6
I'm no longer in Fl and have not been for several years. With your experience and age I would suggest you look at employment opportunities with Disney if this is the area you are looking at. Florida suffers from an incredible number of transients. Many of them young and willing to work in this field for next to nothing. Minimum wage is common. Finding a FT job with insurance can be very tough. WDW is East of Tampa and West of Orlando so right in your target area. A few other things to remember about FL. It's a right to work state. You can be let go at any time for any reason. There is no state income tax in FL so that does help a bit.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #6 of 6
I work in florida area and from what I seen at least in the clearwater, st.pete area is kitchens filled with illegal immigrants that work for min wage. They are also never ending, if one leaves he will have 3-4 guys waiting to take his place.

However, not so much for sous chef. I am sure the chefs want their chefs understanding English 100%. With that being said, I doubt any chef would hire you on as a sous chef. 12 years out of the biz is brutal and a chef will most likely not take that risk

Far as pay goes, about 8-10 an hour, no benenfits. I know some places that pay 15 an hour, but you really have to be amazing and that is usually an above average prep job. Like making desserts from scratch, prepping weddings, etc. I know Tampa pays a lil more for line positions. I think most starting pay is around 10-11/hr.

Good luck, St.pete/clearwater is brutal for decent pay
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