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Career as a Chef

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have career choices in mind regarding food, and wondering if there are professionals out there who could give me some advice.

1. Personal/Private Chef Service

Perks: I love how in this career, I could create menus and cater to some really interesting events. Every event/menu is different, and I like how in this profession, there is always a change in food choices and people. There are not a lot of start up costs I could think is basically just me and perhaps a website.
Negatives: If I choose this career I want to break into NYC or LA. (Because they are always needing personal everything, like chefs). I don't know anyone in those cities, and this profession is mainly word of mouth. How could I connect to high end Manhattan/ Hollywood clients? 

2. Opening a bakery

Perks: I looovveee baking. I like the idea of building a brand, signature items, a logo...all those creative things. I also love waitressing, serving customers with coffee and stuff. 

Negatives: Competition. (To make matters worse, television is marketing a lot of bakeries...cake boss, dc cupcakes arghhh!). Long hours, and A LOT of expenses. 

3. Working at a food publication

Perks: I have that 'girl in stilettos working in an NYC office' image in my mind. Obviously, hard work is the real deal, and I am up for it. I'm a food blogger, so I am constantly taking photographs, writing articles, eating everywhere.... In a food magazine, I could do just that with a benefit of travelling. The hours are not crazy long, and pay is good. 
Negatives: The magazine biz is one tough cookie, and it is hard to break into that field. Food magazines are harder because they take up half (or less than half) of the magazine world. Before actually landing a job, I would have to go through several UNPAID internships which could be very troublesome because it is hard to just land one internship these days. 

Well, those are my top three, but I might come across some more. Any professionals out there willing to give advice? Thanks!

post #2 of 7

My opinion


1) if you want to pursue a private/personal chef career.. I would suggest joining a club of some sort... country clubs for example.. a lot of high end people end up there even though 80% of them are not high end.. get to know the club and use them as your first clientele to get your base and expand from there.. it does not have to be a country club but your gonna have to be sociable to get your name out so i suggest joining a club to do so.. also make sure you know what your talking about and if you dont then know how to bullshit them..


2) Running your own company is always an experience.. If you have no idea whats involved make sure you do your research.. get some consultants, and possibly another investor if not two.. But your going to have to be the backbone and if your not used to that I dont suggest this..


3) This kind of refers to my opinion with being a private chef... you have to be part of a club or somewhere to get your name out there.. gotta have people to talk to about your reviews just to get started.. websites and blogs only go so far.. if you want to be your local critic you have to get out there and be a local!


hope this helps

post #3 of 7

I can't speak for your third option, but I do want to say a few words about the first two.


O/O a bakery,and being a self employed private chef are businesses. 


Making an excellent product is taken for granted, just as reading and writing are taken for granted in school. 


Your biggest challanges will be:


(1 attracting customers,




(2 keeping customers. 


Managing finances comes second, as only "real" money comes from customers.  Remember, whatever is borrowed has to be paid back, with interest, and this money comes from customers.


Hope this helps  

...."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"......
post #4 of 7

1) requires less initial investment (in terms of money)

It could serve you as a step to open your own bakery, restaurant etc.


I would stay away from the 3rd option as it's unlikely to take you too far.


(I'm not a Chef professional, but ex-editor in magazine)

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Alright thanks for all the advice. Question: Should I get some experience as a line cook or baking apprentice or something before I start any of my choices?

post #6 of 7

That would be a very wise thing to do.  In fact,I insist on it--and virtually any lending institution would as well....

...."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"......
post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by Cakeandcookie View Post

Alright thanks for all the advice. Question: Should I get some experience as a line cook or baking apprentice or something before I start any of my choices?


YES YES YES AND YES!!!. I Don't know about any formal education or knowledge you may/think you have.. But any apprenticeship or cooking experience is a must! Especially with baking or line work if your interested in it.. I apprentice for a few months under a friend who runs a bread company here just to learn how to make breads. Not that I make all my breads in the restaurant from scratch its knowledge you cant get anywhere else because your working with someone who knows it and can show you hands on.. You will gain so much experience and get a grasp on things better than reading them from a book or going to school.... Any cook that has gone to culinary school and applies at my restaurant that has little to know kitchen experience I hire will not touch my line Until they have proved themselves in the dish pit first for at least 3 months.. Then they will do Tedious backprep and garne manger for another 2 months to 3 months... They cannot touch my line until they go through the basics... I don't care what they think they may know or if their arrogant enough after they've gotten out of school they think they have more book knowledge than me I don't care(Because most likely they do), If you have no experience in a kitchen with a degree or not you work your way up regardless.. Even Cooks with experience have to start on backprep and making hot sandwiches and fried food before they can ever touch my entrees.. Its the only right way to do things in my opinion because you gain respect for all stations while learning hands on at the same time..

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