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"Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting jobs"

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So if some of you read an earlier post you'd know I just graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management with a 3.7 GPA from Johnson & Wales University ( a pretty good school considering the CIA competition ). I was wondering what all of my more experience colleagues would have to say about the job market right now. I'm currently "employed" as a Sous Chef of a catering company, I use employed lightly because of the lack of business my owner has means I work an average of 6 days a month... yeah.

I've been applying for new jobs for almost 3 months now. I've applied at all the big corporate places such as Aramark, Hyatt, Darden, Marriot, etc. But I only have a rep for Aramark, so all of the other ones I just essentially fill out an application online and wait... lots of waiting. Months of waiting, I know things take time, I'm not that impatient.

 

I've also applied for a few positions locally, and had success but they weren't even enough to pay rent. I was getting offered to start out at a position lower than what I am currently at.

Long story short, what do you guys think of the job market currently and do you have any suggestions for getting a job with these current industry standards?

Oh and for those of you who will say (because I know you are thinking it) "You have to start somewhere, you have to work your way up. You can't just be expected to have everything handed to you" I am aware of this, I'm not that incompetent... I just don't want a job as a dishwasher/prep cook after going to school for 4 years and currently holding a job as a sous.mad.gif

Sorry for the rant, but I've been hearing that party line a lot lately. crazy.gif

:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

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:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

Reply
post #2 of 12

Regardless of the college degree, there is no entitlement to a job of any kind. Jobs are market driven.

 

If you are working 6 days out of the 22 working days (5 day workweek) or 26 working days (6 day workweek), I hope you are making 3.67 to 4.33 times the wage of a dishwasher/prep cook, at minimum wage of $8.25 (California), that's $30.28 to $35.72 per hour.

 

In my limited experience, a Sous Chef works far more than 23%-27% of the time.

 

Your education and your experience do not entitle you to anything except the opportunity to apply for work, IMHO.

 

BTA,WTHDIK

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 12
Thread Starter 

Pete, you do love the acronyms. I was looking less for a bunch of statistics of how much people work and make (although I'm impressed) and a little bit more of what you all would do if you were in my shoes looking for a new job in this market.

 

Oh, and I'm not making anywhere near that amount of money.confused.gif

:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

Reply

:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

Reply
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheftux View Post

Pete, you do love the acronyms. I was looking less for a bunch of statistics of how much people work and make (although I'm impressed) and a little bit more of what you all would do if you were in my shoes looking for a new job in this market.

 

Oh, and I'm not making anywhere near that amount of money.confused.gif

Having been there, more times than I'd like, laser.gifpound the pavement.

 

I'd certainly target the food service segment, i.e. hit the breakfast houses before 5:30 am, lunch places between 9:00 and 10:00, dinner places probably 2:00 to 4:00. I'd take any job they offered to get in the door and rely on my education, skill, and experience to advance as opportunities arise. In fact, I'd offer to stage for a day or two to demonstrate my abilities, even in the dish pit if necessary, remember, a good "pearl diver" can definitely make any operation work more smoothly and your training/experience provides you with the knowledge to know what the BOH personnel need and when they need it, right?

 

As far as resumés, I'd downplay the "Sous Chef" title, replace it with, um, cook or lead cook or catering cook. Though I'd list the J&W degree, I wouldn't "flash it", simply list it under education.

 

Go in with both eyes open and remember, you have two ears and one mouth, there is a reason! crazy.gif

 

There is an old story about the Native American that stood on the street corner and greeted those of the female persuasion by raising his hand and saying CHANCE, finally one stopped and asked him; "I thought the greeting was HOW, why do you say CHANCE?" He replied, "I know HOW, want CHANCE!"

 

P.S. 40 hours per week at $10.00/hour is better than 10 hours per week at $30/hour.
 

 

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 12

cheftux......... what is it you want for a career ? if you want to work corporate then you will probably make better money but if you want to learn how the business really works then maybe small independent restaurants for a while. pete is right about using the title sous chef on your resume,especially if it's the first job listed;titles are the least important thing for you right now,gaining knowledge and experience are. it's been a long time since i've been through providence but i'm sure there are lots of interesting places to work..... if money is a problem there work two jobs which gives you an even better perspective. with the schooling you won't have to be a dishwasher but where and what did you do as your internship? as for the economy cooks never make great money but people always want to eat out so there is never a real difference in your wage.

post #6 of 12

Might I add that when I see a recent graduate state that they are a Sous Chef at a certain place, I usually ignore it as I envision the true definition of a Sous Chef in my mind and sorry but a recent grad can't fill that position. It all goes back to what I have said before....and that is titles are just names slapped on a person. It doesn't define their ability.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Ok, I'm not a sous chef. I'm a lead cook, my apologies. I can see where some of you are coming from, and you get recent graduates with a pumped up title but no real work experience behind it, however I have trouble believing you don't even look at titles.

If you have two very similar physical interviews, but one resume says prep/dishwasher and line cook and the other says line cook and sous chef, you're really telling me that just because it's words on a paper it doesn't matter? This is only my 2nd "sous chef" job so I'm proud of the fact that I've come farther than other people my age.

 

@Rbrad, it's coming down to me getting two jobs to pay rent believe me I've been there. My only hesitation is that I wanted to try and take every advantage I could to get a newer career job (either corporate or local, I really have no preference. Which I'm sure is a bad thing as well).

 

And while we're starting to broach the topic, I must ask. Why do all of you have such a negative view on the younger generation? I agree with you most of the time, a lot of my co-workers or class mates from school who are working else where are extremely lazy or think they know more than they actually do. I just spent 45 minutes last night talking to a catering exec chef at a farmers market about the bad reputation students get that graduate from my school. I would just ask that you maybe realise that maybe you have met a lot of bad students, not everyone who is 20-25 is immature and not ready for this industry.

 

Thanks guys,

 

p.s. if this is the start of me getting my #$$ chewed out by all of my superiors then let me know and I'll just pull the post and pretend like it never happened.

:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

Reply

:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

Reply
post #8 of 12

Funny it took me 9 years to achieve Sous Status and  about 14 for first Exec Post. But that was in the day that nothing was gfrozen and came chef ready? or already made. The 2 positions were earned and not just named by some HR person looking to get someone to work for 50 or 60 hours without paying OT.(They consider a Sous today Management)  The whole business has changed. I spent 4 monthes washing pans in a Pastry shop in a European hotel for free and then graduated to the kitchen just to be fortunate enough to learn. In Europe you started in pastry shop and moved up from there Today thats called slave labor. I'll still take it over any Culinary school today.  You turned so many veges that you could do it in your sleep, diced, sliced, julianned until you felt like your knife was an extension of your hand.  Was it all worth it ? Darn right it was and I would reccomend all culinary grads try it.

 

 

                                                                        HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL

 

 

 

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 #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

So you'd recommend I go over to europe for a while edb? That's the kind of thing I'm looking for, I would do this or you should try this. Not everyone bashing on the fact that back in your day a sous chef took X years to earn. 

 

I truly believe you all ARE better than me, I know that you guys would run laps around my sorry behind in a kitchen. However, if possible even just for this post, could we maybe set aside the fact that you all don't think I'm worthy of being a sous or maybe it's just that you don't agree with how titles are handed out nowadays. 

 

As for the schooling I hope I wasn't waving around that I went to JWU. It just seems like my teachers and other chefs I know in the industry are telling me that I should have that little piece of paper if I ever want to be more than a cook. So that is why I brought it up, do you disagree? Was the degree not worth it in your opinion?

I posted this to get advice on what my more experienced acquaintances would do, not to argue about what it means to be a sous chef or who is worthy of the title.

:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

Reply

:chef tux

"Mother Nature is the true artist, the Chef is merely the technician"

    -MPW

Reply
post #10 of 12

Cheftux,

 

Please do not misinterpret my comments about degrees and titles but remember:

  • Degrees are certification of completed classwork and, in many cases, have little relationship to knowledge gained.
  • Titles cost nothing to award and there are few objective standards as to what they mean, especially in the culinary world.

 

Think about what a prospective employer's priorities are. For me, in priority order:

  • Do I need someone, i.e. do I have an opening?
  • Do I have the time to train, or retrain as the case may be, someone to fill the job I need filled?
  • Do I want to hire someone below their current skill/experience level?
  • Do I want to pay for someone who is over trained or who has experience exceeding the requirements of the opening I have, thus risking job dissatisfaction?
  • Do I want someone trained to manage a different operation, and a Sous Chef is a manager, or do I want someone who can produce what I want, when I want it, in the manner I want it?

 

Chances are extremely great that when you walk in, the Chef/Manager does not need anyone and, most likely, is not even thinking about hiring someone. Personally, I'd visit the places on my list of prospective opportunities and see how they are functioning, including:

  • Volume, are they busy, what time(s), what's the turn ratio?
  • How long do you wait for food?
  • Closed or open kitchen?
  • Industrial espionage, learn all you can before going in.
  • Figure out whether you will be able to work in that particular place, i.e. can you fill a need (the Chef's, not yours!)?

 

IF you can fulfill the Chef's needs, you will get a job.

 

Notice theme here? Getting a job is not satisfying your needs/wants, it is satisfying the Chef's needs/wants. In a majority of cases, the Chef will hire you to replace someone else.

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 #11 of 12

 i have noticed that there is a bias against culinary grads on this site, not younger people but culinary grads. i think this started when they became chef schools instead of cooking schools and also  with the advent of the food network which changed the face of cooking as a profession from a blue collar job to something much more glamourous. everyone remembers the one student that used a cup of salt instead of a cup of sugar or the intern that refused to run a load of dishes through the machine or mop the floor instead of the nine that were there to learn. cheftux,judging by your posts and comments you are one of the grads that really want to learn and have a good career and you did well in school which means you worked hard and were serious however i think your degree will mean more in a few years when you are competing for the bigger jobs. you said you are willing to travel so as well as international, which has been suggested another good way to fast track is to go to a year round resort town. your advantage there is that there is such a transient population that if you stick around for a while you will advance much faster than in a city and often there is staff housing so you don't have to pack up everything for your move. anyway let us all know what is happening with your search.

post #12 of 12

Cheftux......I want to add thatI many managers give out those titles without realizing what the true definition of  that titles infers.

Example being Sous Chef. You see that title requires much the same responsibilities as the Executive Chef him/herself.

The Sous is the Chef's right hand man. They are closer in many cases than a husband and wife. The Sous can take over any situation should it arise.

The Sous Chef fills in when the Executive Chef is out of the kitchen. The Sous Chef leads all the rest of the Brigade.

 

So when you ask me why I am offended by the younger generation having these titles without the experience and knowledge to go with it. I am obviously going to be a little hesitant.

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