What are your reasons for going into the kitchen?
(hint, the money sucks--big time)
O.K. so you've been in rest. mngmt, now put yourself in an owner's shoes:
Guy comes in with a shiny new Culinary degree/certificate/paper scrap. Diddly-squat for experience. How do you check for previous references? Yeah yeah the paper says he can cook, but how fast? How accurate? How clean? Can he and one other guy put out 80 covers on a Wed. night? Just because I have a valid driver's license doesn't guarantee that I obey all traffic laws and don't run over little old ladies. ( I don't, anyway)
What do the majority of the employers pay a freshly minted culinary grad with no previous cooking experience? Minimum. Certainly not $15/hr. Couple years of experience under your belt, yeah sure.
"How long before I become Sous, Exec Chef?"
Well.. first lets put it this way:
-A cook gets judged by what they put on plates. Period.
-A Chef is judged by how he/she manages the resources given to them by the owner. Good food is one, consistant food is another, time is a biggie, labour another biggie, money another one biggie, equipment another. Dude doesn't make money for the place, he gets the boot. That's a Chef. That's how he/she's judged.
An "Executive" CHef is one who manages multiple kitchens. More than one. Dude who's managing one 40 seat place kitcahen and calls hisself an "Executive Chef" is only fooling himself.
A Sous Chef is the Chef's right hand man. Chef trusts the guy to run the kitchen one his day off. Dishwasher a no-show? Deal with it, don't call me at home. Reach in blowing hot air in your face? Deal with it. Line cook walking stiff-legged to the parking lot during service muttering something about "Just checking on my car" and walking back loose legged with a shite-eating grin on his face? Deal with it.
But how long you ask?
How much can you absorb? How fast can you react, then how fast can you act?
Are you able to swallow crap? Work shite hours? Let the Chef patch up things with the wifey while you work the 80 hr weeks?
Like I said, the industry pays crap wages to cooks. You 've worked the dining room, you've gotten tips on a big table and then watched the guest dab his lips on a napkin and instruct you to pass a verbal compliment to the boys in the back. Money sucks for cooks. Even if you do make it to Chef, you'll be working 80-90 hr weeks, so when you have enough balls to work it out on a calculator, you know it won't average out to more than $18.00 per hour.
Don't take my word for it. Ask your boss to let you have a peek at the payroll.
Passion's all fine and dandy, but passion don't pay the rent when you put your back out or have a 8 day cold and can't work.