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Why do they use the term "Amateur chef"? - Page 2

post #31 of 53

I've never called anyone an amatuer Chef ....Chef in training or Apprentice is appropriate for those who have not written their Red Seal
here in Ontario it's 2 years of Cooks College and 6000 hours in a professional kitchen working under a Certified Red Seal Chef. You can move around while doing your apprentship and receive letters from various chefs on the amount of hours you've put in or stay with one Chef it's up to you. I'm not sure how these small places get away with hiring someone to Chef their kitchens with no papers as the guidelines from the Health and Safety Board are so strict here in Ontario.....

 

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post #32 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coulis-o View Post

the definition of a Chef = a professional cook.

I respectfully disagree. IMHO, in the culinary world, all "chefs" are professional cooks, but all "professional cooks" are NOT chefs!

A "chef" has skills well beyond "cooking" that include kitchen management, inventory control, personnel management, business management, business finance, marketing, and a host of other skills essential for the profitable operation of a food production facility.

A "professional cook" is one who prepares food for a living.

An "amateur cook" is one who prepares food because they enjoy it or have to to survive.

In a given kitchen, paraphrasing the Highlander, "There can be only one "chef"!"

Think "military" and substitute "general" for "chef".
Chef,
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post #33 of 53
CaterChef, it would seem from your last post that it isn't with language you have a problem, it's with authority. Don't dispair. Many of us suffer from the same problem.

By the by, "doctor" has nothing to do with medicine, per se. It connotes a certain level of training and education, and is a prefix for an entire title awarded by a jury of their peers. Thus, there are Doctors of Medicine, Doctors of Philosophy, Doctors of Jurisprudence, etc. In common usage it's mostly attached to those licensed to practice medicine. But the idea that a medical doctor is, somehow, morally superior or better trained than, say, a doctor of law, or doctor of astrophysics is just silly on the face of it.

I have a problem putting the title " Chef " anywhere in those shows.

If so, then there are no chefs anywhere in the world. While their level of ability and professionalism may leave something to be desired they meet every criteria of being chefs. Look at any of the definitions posted on this thread and tell me where any of them doesn't fit.

Let's examine the most recent Kitchen Nightmare---the one involving a women in Boca Raton. I would be the first to agree that she's in the wrong business. But the fact is, she is top dog in her kitchen, she prepares food for sale, she orders supplies and equipment, she plans menu items, and she supervises a staff of other cooks.

How is she not a chef?
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #34 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsy2727 View Post

....Chef in training or Apprentice is appropriate for those who have not written their Red Seal
here in Ontario it's 2 years of Cooks College and 6000 hours in a professional kitchen working under a Certified Red Seal Chef. You can move around while doing your apprentship and receive letters from various chefs on the amount of hours you've put in or stay with one Chef it's up to you. I'm not sure how these small places get away with hiring someone to Chef their kitchens with no papers as the guidelines from the Health and Safety Board are so strict here in Ontario.....

 


Ummmm..... several statements here make my hair stand up on end.

1) "Chef in training" makes me see red.  A chef is the boss, the guy who hires and fires, the guy who hands out paycheques.  Cook in training maybe.....
 
2) THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "CERTIFIED RED SCHPEIL CHEF"  The "Red Schpeil" is a title for COOKS, not Chefs.  If you don't believe me, look at the website.  And the "Red Schpeil" in every CDN province, EXCEPT Alberta is comprised of 200 -odd multiple choice kweshtuns,  THERE IS NO COOKING COMPONENT TO THIS FARCE. (except in Alberta)  How on earth do you test a cook without observing him/her cooking?  When the Canucks/Maple Leafs hold try-outs do they ask players to show up with equipment and go out on the ice, or do they give them a 200 question written test?

3) "...to Chef in their kitchens".....  Again, abusing the word Chef, this time it's used as a verb.  Almost as good as "Chef's blend Dog food.....  I believe the proper usage would be "To manage or run their kitchens".....  Again, the Red Schpeil focuses mainly on cooking kweshtuns, those who pass it may or may not have accounting skills, working knowledge of the Labour Board and Worker's Comp board, builing codes and eqipment knowledge, and a zillion other things that a "Chef" needs to know in order to run a succesfull kitchen. 

4) Don't know about Ontario, but all you need to open up a place here in B.C. is money.  Oh sure, you gotta pass the health  inspection and you have to have a "foodsafe" certificate ($50/6 hr course) but that's it.  There are no other qualifications.
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post #35 of 53

. I'm not sure how these small places get away with hiring someone to Chef their kitchens with no papers as the guidelines from the Health and Safety Board are so strict here in Ontario.....

 


I have no papers, have  never been to culinary school and I managed to "chef" the kitchen when I worked at the cafe. I have a sound knowlege of food safety and food handling practices as well as the requirements that public health has in place.   What mattered to the cafe owners was not the papers I had but the quaity of food I produced and I have very high standards to what I will sell to customers.   I'm not saying papers are not important but the quality of one's work also needs to be considered when hiring a chef and the people doing the hiring need to have a firm idea in their mind as to what they want from a chef and hire accordingly. 
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post #36 of 53
Wow I think it's great that you guys a digesting my thread in so many ways
In Ontario as I said before you have to COOK in a kitchen for 6000 hours under a Red Seal Chef before you can write your exam

For the local Mom & Pop shops I guess they have high standards of their own...... still the food handling aspect is a question
everyone is a "COOK" in my experiance. Some I guess with no formal training can do the job.....
I am only speaking from my 30 years in the business ...no offence intended
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post #37 of 53
The thing to realize, Gypsy, is that in most of the world---even other parts of Canada---there is no certification program that earns you the title Chef. Indeed, if certification were more common, and more widely accepted, we wouldn't be having this discussion at all. A chef would be anyone who is certified as such.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about any certification system that only has one path. For instance, assuming a 10-hour workday, your 6,000 hours amounts to less than two years in a kitchen. Why shouldn't, say, completion of a degree course at a culinary school be comparable? Or apprenticing at a recognized facility?

I have to wonder, too, if Red Seal isn't a way of limiting entry into the field, the way the AMA limits doctors. After all, how many current Red Seal chefs are there ready to take on numbers of apprentices? If I can't get a job in one of those restaurants then there's no hope for me to succeed in my choosen career.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #38 of 53
I agree with much of what your saying Heirloomer

It's a two year program at the various cooking colleges which teaches you the food-costing , purchasing ,receiving, safe food handling,
the basic fundumentals of  Sauces, Butchery, Filleting fish , Pastry, Gardemanger, well you get the idea.....whilst attending school the majority of these student have jobs in professional kitchens...being hands on to ask the real practical questions they are learning in school ...I truly beleive in hands -on when in comes to cooking. Then you get out do the rest of your apprentiship and write the exam
It is 150 multiple choice questions which seems a little Mickey Mouse to me actually, but..... it is what it is
I hire on references and experiance myself....I don't care how many papers you have, experiance says it all
I do agree Heirloomer that most parts of the world do not have these programs but Ontario is a highly populated multi-cultural Province with a High standard for education so I guess they can be as anal as they want to be
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post #39 of 53
Oh I forgot to add Heirloomer
we are short of apprentices  all over Ontario!
Too many a Cheifs not enough Braves     eeeeek!
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post #40 of 53
Gypsy I have to agree with you on the shortage of apprentices in this province.  Not only in the culinary field but in other areas as well.  I have two teens in high school now and the ads for apprenticeships are all over the guidance office.   Kids aren't leaning towards the trades anymore... they're all high tech with computers and things. 
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post #41 of 53
Gypsy, are you sure it's only 6000 hours in Ontario?  Here in B.C. it's over 80000.

See, what really gets me worked up is that ther are two ways to write the "Red Schpeil".:

One is to do an apprenticeship and then answer the 200-odd mulitple choice kweshtuns.
 
The second way is to work for a few years, and then "Challange' the test.  Couple of girls from Wendy's( the burger chain) did this a few years back in--of all places--the province of Ontario and got their "Red Seal" title.

Here in B.C. it costs $100 to write the test--either by "challanging" or with a completed apprenticeship.  If you flunk the first time you get a second chance--after that--game over.

Every Province has different requirements for the "Red Schpeil":   6,000 hrs for Ont., 8,100 for B.C. a separate cooking component for Alberta.....You get the message:  So much for a national standard........

Every now and then you'll see posters on this site and other Cooking sites begging for information about the mysterious "Red Schpeil":  What questions are asked, what textbooks to study, etc..  These are the "challangers" and they make up over 75% of the "Red Schpeil" ticket holders.  

Working under a "Red Seal" Chef in a big national Hotel doesn't mean much, as very rarely will an executive Chef actually take an interest in the employee, the employee learns from the Sous, Chef de parties, and other co-workers.  These employees may or may not have any paper qualifications.  Hyatt hotels don't like fresh eggs, just don't have them, haven't had any since the early '90's.  Something about a law-suit, I was told....... 

Once again, anyone can take the title "Chef", just as anyone can take the title "professional photographer". "Red seal" is a qualification for a COOK.   There is no national standard in Canada for Cooks or Chefs, each and every culinary school has a different curriculum, heck they can't even agree on a common textbook, each Province has different requirements to write a "Red Schpieil".  The Unions are as useless as mammary glands on a stud-bull, and the schools are pumping out "Chefs" in as little as 3 mths.


Welcome to reality.......... 
...."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 #42 of 53
surely the term amature chef reffers to the fact they are not a chef by profession but are a chef for fun? a  professional is someone who is a chef for a carree or job no?

i still love telling people what i do altho where i work may be ify iam proud to be a chef of sort may it be a demi or hopefully next week a cdp iam proud
post #43 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

Gypsy, are you sure it's only 6000 hours in Ontario?  Here in B.C. it's over 80000.

See, what really gets me worked up is that ther are two ways to write the "Red Schpeil".:

One is to do an apprenticeship and then answer the 200-odd mulitple choice kweshtuns.
 
The second way is to work for a few years, and then "Challange' the test.  Couple of girls from Wendy's( the burger chain) did this a few years back in--of all places--the province of Ontario and got their "Red Seal" title.

Here in B.C. it costs $100 to write the test--either by "challanging" or with a completed apprenticeship.  If you flunk the first time you get a second chance--after that--game over.

Every Province has different requirements for the "Red Schpeil":   6,000 hrs for Ont., 8,100 for B.C. a separate cooking component for Alberta.....You get the message:  So much for a national standard........

Every now and then you'll see posters on this site and other Cooking sites begging for information about the mysterious "Red Schpeil":  What questions are asked, what textbooks to study, etc..  These are the "challangers" and they make up over 75% of the "Red Schpeil" ticket holders.  

Working under a "Red Seal" Chef in a big national Hotel doesn't mean much, as very rarely will an executive Chef actually take an interest in the employee, the employee learns from the Sous, Chef de parties, and other co-workers.  These employees may or may not have any paper qualifications.  Hyatt hotels don't like fresh eggs, just don't have them, haven't had any since the early '90's.  Something about a law-suit, I was told....... 

Once again, anyone can take the title "Chef", just as anyone can take the title "professional photographer". "Red seal" is a qualification for a COOK.   There is no national standard in Canada for Cooks or Chefs, each and every culinary school has a different curriculum, heck they can't even agree on a common textbook, each Province has different requirements to write a "Red Schpieil".  The Unions are as useless as mammary glands on a stud-bull, and the schools are pumping out "Chefs" in as little as 3 mths.


Welcome to reality.......... 
LOL ....thanks for the entertainment! Those comments are really funny ...no really  hahahaha
Welcome to Ontario.......
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post #44 of 53
Personally I haven't heard the term "amateur chef" and over the last few decades I've always heard "passionate about food home cooks" referred to as "gourmet cooks" or something like that.

On the other hand, what annoys the ---- out of me is when food stores like Central Market, Wholefoods and Eatzis - stores that sell pre-made ready-to-eat at home restaurant quality food refer to their employees as chefs!!!  As if all 20 or so people in the kitchen are a chef!!  It perpetuates the idea to the public that anyone in a chefs coat IS a chef - could you imagine the payroll?? 

Of course the culinary schools are right there with them.  I've heard a local school in my area was sending fresh grads to high end hotels for sous chef positions when they have no experience other then school!!!  Why are they setting the students up to fail?  But that's another topic.
post #45 of 53
Thread Starter 
That was my point, we don't have amateur presidents or amateur congressmen {or do we}
You can't go to school to learn to become a Chef, Oh, you can learn to read recipes, make out schedules, prep sheets and take inventory and figure food costs but to become a Chef, well, that may take years for some. And some may never make it because that is a title you earn by being successful, and there are no unsuccessful Chefs, only cooks that never made the grade. I have too many mentors to be thankful for to ever think differently. 
post #46 of 53
I agree with Chef Billy. I have not measured anything in over 30 years. Baking , thats another story since it is a chemical balance of sorts one must measure . As far as Amateur Chef ? never used the term to describe anyone.One can be an assistant chef, or aspiring chef  or wish I was a chef in my book and thats it. One you are classified chef you are Chief or in charge . One can't be amateur to do this. Remember it's not only the cooking, it's the planning, purchasing, specs, concept, scheduling and a whole lot more, it all must come together.Ramsay earned his toque. The guy who encompasses it all is Chef Robert on Dinner impossible. Again all this is strictly my opinion

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #47 of 53
That was my point, we don't have amateur presidents or amateur congressmen {or do we}

Bad analogy, CaterChef.

There is a clear cut job description of what a chef is, and a fairly clear career path that gets you there.

The same cannot be said about either the presidency or congress. There are no clear criterium for aspiring to those jobs. Anybody can run for those offices, and achieve them. And, once you achieve them, it's pretty much on-the-job training.

So, in a sense, both the President and all member of congress can be said to be amateurs.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #48 of 53
My dad always said, "all you ned to be a politician is the ability to get elected"........
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #49 of 53
Senator Sam Ervin always insisted there are only three rules for being a politician:

1. Get elected.
2. Get reelected.
3. Don't get mad, get even.

In other words, Foodpump, your dad was 100% correct. And, my point above, getting elected has nothing to do with one's ability to do the job.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #50 of 53

I agree, but that makes the term "Professional Chef" a bit redundant, doesn't it? "Chef" is a vocation, not a qualification.

post #51 of 53

IMHO, chef is a title for a manager, cooking is a vocation for cooks..
 

Chef,
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post #52 of 53

I am frequently a chef by title and responsibilities.

I am always a cook, even when titled chef.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #53 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by n0z1e View Post

surely the term amature chef reffers to the fact they are not a chef by profession but are a chef for fun? a  professional is someone who is a chef for a carree or job no?

i still love telling people what i do altho where i work may be ify iam proud to be a chef of sort may it be a demi or hopefully next week a cdp iam proud

chef for fun?

you mean "cook".

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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