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Are there vegetarian chefs? I have a question.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I really hope this isn't a stupid question but I'm pretty new to this, I just started considering a career as a personal chef about a month ago!

 

If a culinary college student is a vegetarian and doesn't eat meat or seafood, and actually would feel nauseous or squeamish at the process of preparing meat, lobster or crab...what happens then? Do you have to do it? Surely there have been other vegetarian chefs, did they have to boil a live lobster, cut it apart and prepare a meal out of it? Because that would seriously stop me from becoming a chef if that is what is required. How about if you didn't go to culinary college, could you just take some local classes for the types of food you want to cook, and then tell your clients you are a vegetarian chef and you don't cook certain things?

 

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post #2 of 5

First, IMHO, you do NOT need formal culinary schooling to embark on a career as a PC. You DO need to be able to cook what you will be offering your potential clients.

 

Cooking is the easy part of becoming a PC. In addition to cooking you will need to know and understand:

  • Food Safety and Sanitation (ServSafe, NRFSP, or equivalent)
  • Basics of bookkeeping
  • Basics of business practices and business law
  • Business laws and regulations pertaining to your planned area of operation
  • Marketing, advertising, and self-promotion

 

As a practicing PC since 2000, let me offer a note of caution concerning specializing as a PC, be sure you understand exactly how specializing reduces your potential market.

 

According to some reports, vegan/vegetarians comprise something on the order of 3-5% of the people in the USA. Thus, IF you choose to restrict your potential market to vegan/vegetarians, you are choosing to ignore 95-97% of your potential market. That is NOT a problem as long as you recognize the choice you are making.

 

In my 10 years of experience, about 20% of any given population has the CASH to afford a PC and about, oh, 25% of those with the CASH have any grasp as to the benefits of a PC and maybe a quarter of those really end up willing to spend the CASH for a PC.

 

So, for every 100,000 population, 20,000 can afford a PC, of which maybe 5,000 understand what a PC is and does and maybe 1,250 are willing to hire a PC. Not bad, you only need, what, five weekly clients? That is only 0.4% market penetration.

 

But wait, limit it to vegan/vegetarians and the potential market is now 62-63 per 100,000 and your five clients are now about 8% of the potential market, in other words 20 times as difficult.

 

Again, cooking is the EASY part, develop your business plan and seriously analyze your potential market before making ANY commitments.

 

And yes, if you attend a conventional culinary school, you will most certainly be handling animal products and, more than likely, be required to taste them.

 

That being said, I think there ARE Vegan/vegetarian culinary schools out there.

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

I googled vegetarian and organic culinary schools and I found a lot of them! Unfortunately, they're all in other parts of the country and half of them are almost as much as the expensive colleges. I can't believe every state doesn't have at least one.

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by heroine26 View Post

I googled vegetarian and organic culinary schools and I found a lot of them! Unfortunately, they're all in other parts of the country and half of them are almost as much as the expensive colleges. I can't believe every state doesn't have at least one.

First, I believe that "organic food products" are handled, as far as cooking, in the same manner as regular food products so I have serious reservations as to how an "organic culinary school"would differ from a conventional culinary school.

 

According to the 2000 census, see: http://www.adherents.com/adh_dem.html,  4.2% of the USA population is vegetarian and 0.2% is vegan. There is no geographic distribution offered but I would seriously question whether every state has the same distribution.

 

Even if vegetarians and vegans are evenly distributed according to population, they would comprise only 4,400 per 100,000 population. Why would every state have a school?
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #5 of 5

And even those numbers are skewed, because they represent people who describe themselves as vegetarians, and that means many of them do eat animal proteins---ranging from lavo-octo all the way to those who eat chicken and other non-red meats.

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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