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Need to decide, best ways to test the waters?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hey guys. I'm a 21 year old living in a moderately large city, and I really am trying to decide where I want to go with my life. I feel i do have a strong passion for food.


I took Culinary classes in high school, I was for the most part top in my class, and I can say it was honestly the most fun I have ever had in school. I can follow directions/recipes easily and I was usually the leader of my group. For what ever reason, because I was in a rebelious stage, I decided I was def not going to school after graduation, and I told my culinary teacher it was just a hobby.


Now, as a few years have gone passed I have really missed it. I still enjoy cooking, but I dont do it as often, or try as much because I kind of doubt my skill level on some things. I, unlike some havent been cooking through all of childhood, aside from occasionally baking cookies with grandma or something haha.


Since the burden of paying for school will be on only me, I want to be very sure. Do you recommend looking at working in a professional kitchen under someone first? I worry that with the economy in its current state, that those types of opportunities will be limited.


I currently work in a fast food restaurant as a Manager, have for almost 4 years, so I have a lot of urgency down, but never have done anything like being a line cook, and to be honest that sounds kind of indimidating! :D


Any thoughts/comments you can offer? Try not to tear me apart too much :P




post #2 of 3

try community college. find one that has a culinary program and go... even if you have to drive a distance. that is what i did. i started with taking "Culinary 1" and "Sanitation and Safety", which is the prerequisite for the cooking class. It was broken up into classroom instruction, the boring sanitation classroom instruction, and the fun lab where you get to cook. there is a bit more to spend than just registering for classes though... books, uniform, and knives are also required. it is a slight investment, but nowhere near what you'd be paying to attend CIA or Le Cordon Bleu. If you don't like it, then you have a book full of great recipes and you have nicer knives for cooking at home. even the uniform isn't a total loss as the pants are comfy and the jacket is cool. total investment may be $500 for your 1st semester.


i think this is your best bet to see if you are dedicated or not. i think maybe 10 people from my class of almost 40 continued on to the next semester. some were prone to cutting themselves, some just could not keep up with the fast pace, some simply incompetent at cooking, and some could not handle being yelled at by the chef. taking those 1 day classes is no way to determine if you want to do this or not. those people are in it for money, so they are nice to you and pamper you.


trying to cook in a kitchen without experience is not likely to happen... not even if you work for free. (their insurance wont cover you) you can work your way up as dishwasher or janiter, if those positions exist. going to school, you can get internships easier because you are covered by the schools insurance... but its still hard to get. whatever you choose to do, good luck with that.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, our community college doesnt offer those courses, you take them at the Tech school, as part of the 2 year Culinary Program.


My job I think has a bit of similar points as working in a kitchen, though we are doing more assembly than cooking, but there are different positions on the line, communication is key, and you have to monitor several things at once, and be able to move easily.

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