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The business of being a chef - Page 2

post #31 of 39

#1, if your good, you name your price, if your not, they name the price.

#2, The reason why cooks wages are low is, Chef's hire cooks knowing they are a dine a dozen.They have to keep labor cost down to get their bonus.


Who is it again that's screwing up this industry????????


#3 Through #1000........Be a Chef with integrity, Be good at your trade, Treat people with respect, Run your kitchen/Restaurant with talent, "you can't build an empire with a shaky foundation", Love what you do, lead with confidence, remember where you come from.


P.S. The reason why wages are low in this industry is, ........................if a Chef or Cook doesn't take the wage that's offered, the next person will. I also feel a Chef should never feel he/she is looking for a job, they should feel they are looking for a challenge, and are guaranteeing success. If your not making a difference everyday practicing your talents, your wasting your time...............................ChefBillyB

post #32 of 39

Robert Kiyosaki says you should never work for money, you should work for an education. That falls right in line with what you are saying ChefBillB. chef.gif

post #33 of 39


 after reading your posts about the banksters, thanks for the reminder that we are not the best species on the planet for sure. yes, there are some truly good people, but all in all, we don't value much other than what we can get for ourselves....

is that PC enough panini?, she said jokingly!!!


Edited by durangojo - 6/19/11 at 12:10pm

food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne


food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

post #34 of 39
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by RGM2 View Post

It seems that the ACF already has a certification program. It is weird that I spent 6 months looking for an entry level job here is Seattle on Craigslist and never once did I see anyone say anything about it. It seems they have very poor marketing or have very little credibility in our industry as a whole. 


The Certs. seem pretty solid though in the requirements.

RGM2 i don't know about the US, but here in Canada the certifications for cook are voluntary. We are slowly beginning - myself as a recruiter for the company I work for included - to insist on minimum standards. I will post want ads requiring PC1 (Professional Cook level 1 - basic prep and line cooks) qualifications, or PC2, or in the case of a sous chef or even a chef de partie I will require an Interprovincial Red Seal, our national standard of accreditation for all trades. In most trades, the IPRS is required, not voluntary. Not so in cooking - yet. The reason so many employers do not insist on this is that yes, they don't know much about it, and in many cases they believe they would automatically have to pay more for a "certified" cook over an uncertified cook. Some of you have stated and correlated skill, experience, and certification. They have little to do with each other, as one is a minimum recognized standard (certification) the other comes from practice and personal discipline (skill) and the last is merely a matter of time, whether you apply yourself or not (experience). Having one does not mean you have any of the others. I believe you should have all three to be good at what you are doing...

Durangojo, I know where you are at, and I envy you for being able to do what you do. i used to own a small hotel in the countryside, by the ocean. I raised my own chickens and had not only free run chickens' eggs, but happy chickens' eggs. I had an orchard with apple, pear, cherry, peaches and plums. I bought my seafood from my neighbour on one side, who was a prawn fisher, and the other who fished salmon, halibut and tuna. I grew lettuce, herbs, rhubarb, red currants and strawberries, and my wife and I would pick tons of wild blackberries. I would go to town every two weeks to pick up dry staples such as sugar and flour. i baked my own bread and made all the pastries and desserts. Only occasionally, if i had a big catering job to do, did I have a broadliner bring up a delivery from town. That's how it was, not beause i wanted to be some granola crunching environmentalist, but it just made sense! (And, it was the most fun I ever had as a chef!) Yes, that's how it is supposed to be, ideally. I realize we can't all do it this way, economics and logistics don't allow it, but we as chefs can at least have this sort of ATTITUDE. If it can be had locally, fresh, in season, done right, without hurting the planet or the people who produce it, then we should choose it over whatever may be more convenient - or cheaper. When our kids go to kindergarten they soon learn that the toys there are not theirs to keep. They get to play with them for as long as they are at kindergarten, and they are taught to share, and to treat the toys in such a way that the next group of kids can play with the same toys, too. If our kids were to insist on taking these toys home, or they wrecked them, we parents would give them heck, wouldn't we??  Well, we adults are also kids in the same kindergarten called our planet. We, too are only allowed to play with the toys while we are around, and we too, need to leave them for the next group of kids - our kids - to play with. Maybe too philosophical...

On the sustainability of our profession, I'm glad I struck a chord with this group. From 35 years of cooking, then going on to teaching, and now testing young cooks, I am convinced that we need to change how we manage (or rather do not manage) our profession. I am convinced a strong guild - not a union - would help us build much needed integrity and respect for cooks everywhere - in North America, anyway. In Europe, cooks enjoy a much greater level of respect than here. Granted, there are lousy cooks there, too, and many a "European trained" chef I have run into couldn't cook his way out of a paper hat! The exceptions do not make the rule, they confirm it.

For those of you interested in the reasons for the US economy's current challenges, I encourage you to read the final couple of chapters in Bill Fawcett's book "100 Mistakes That Changed History". A good read, beginning to end, but particularly at the end.

Keep up the arguments!


post #35 of 39

I understand what you mean. I am sorry for that sad reminder.

post #36 of 39
Thread Starter 

ChefBillyB you hit the nail on the head. But we are all under the pressure to make that often less than 5% bottom line. if your cook makes $13 instead of $15, this may very well be the difference between making money and losing money. I've pretty well said all I can say on this topic, but there is one more thing -okay, two:

one - if all cooks had to have some sort of formal training and certification, we'd all make better money, restaurant prices would go up - but go up for ALL restaurants, so it really wouldn't matter except that people would perhaps eat out only twice a week instead of the average four times they do now. They'd probably be a little more discerning about what they eat, and think about it a little more, too. All in all it would elevate our industry

two, if you run an ad for a cook - as I am at this very moment - you would actually get COOKS applying. I'm running an ad which is very specific about what qualifications I am lookng for, and out of about thirty replies only one or two actually have real cooking experience. The rest were "cooks" at Mickey Dee's and fryer monkeys at fast food joints. One plated desserts at a retaurant. That's all the "cooking" experience this kid had. I'm sorry to have to burst their bubble, because I'm sure they meant well, and really would be interested in the job, however this is not a training opportunity-type position. Only proves that they don't even know what a cook does! I bet if you ran an ad for a plumber you wouldn't get replies from guys who like to tinker around the house. Just because you've put a washing machine in your basement doesn't make you a plumber. 'Nuff said.

Keep it coming!

post #37 of 39

not sure where i stand on all this exactly...thought i did, but after reading the posts here, it is clear like a kaleioscope that it is many sided and complicated. not sure there is a 'one size fits all' panacea. inherently i am usaully for less government, not more. do we really need ANOTHER government agency's laws and regulations? don't the health departments do this anyway? and who funds this? geez, we can't even keep our state parks open with all the federal budget cutting. would kitchens be closed because of 'undocumented' workers? ouch!! like arizona...we do have a serve safe program offered by the health depts. here which is fairly comprehensive...$150 bucks which the employer shells out. what i know is that anyone can cram for a test to get certified, but still may harbor some really bad practices and habits. how would blanket certification affect small indie businesses who are in a small town with an even smaller employee pool to choose from? oy... 


food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne


food is like should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

post #38 of 39

If the government does not mandate it, then we need to find a way within the industry.



Here is my idea/wishlist... I understand that folks can "game the system" however, I think it would be more help than it would hurt. The ACF or any other "guild" needs the chefs and owners to get behind it and make the change happen. If they can require 2 years experience to wash dishes for Christ sake, they can require some form of certification or offer a way to get the certification to the right candidate. The ACF and other groups like them can not market it by themselves, they need the chefs and owners to promote and educate the public and others in the industry. I also think that the ACF has to make changes in the services and the way they offer it. If these groups would also empower the chef members to teach and build up the new folks culinary education, skills, and experience, I believe they would be more on board. I also believe that if they had to put their names on the candidates "promotion", they would be more picky... and as they grow in the industry that chef would get the props.


I believe that the wages would go up as your reputation grows in this industry. If a restaurant was able to look on a database for people qualified to fill a position they have open or are soon to open... they could contact the cook directly and "poach" that cook. It would in essence, raise the demand for better cooks. I used to get offers once a week from companies looking to fill positions because I had my resume on Monster and other sites. IF the "guild" would implement a usable enough product, had a stellar program that Chefs/cooks actually wanted to join, and the members would promote the "guild" it would make a huge impact on our industry. 

post #39 of 39



Coupla things though.


The ACF--like many CDN assc'n's are overrun by by "non professional" members--Sysco reps, Meat purveyor reps, here in Vancouver our treasurer is Scotch salesman.  The guilds need cash for stuff--shows, sending off olympic teams, etc. and the non pro members have cash, scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.


We all need Chefs--where do Chef's come from? 

Answer: from good cooks.

Where do good cooks come from?

Answer: How the he** should I know?  I did a Swiss apprenticeship, nothing at all like that in N. America, no infrastructure to support such a system as of yet. 


Schools? The curriculum is all over the place, fer krissakes they don't even have a common textbook, let alone a standard test or qualification.  


The ACF only focuses on Chef's qualifications--- zillions of "Chefs", not cooks, not on what needs to be focused on--the training of cooks.   For that you need Trained Trainers, Training the Trainees.  For that, you need qualifications, or they'll all learn how to make an ommelette on a flattop, or to mark off steaks and nuke them to order.  

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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