ChefTalk.com Top Picks
I got my first job busting suds when I was 12. Bought my first car at 16 with money made as bus-boy. I paid for college by working restaurants and hotels--front of house and back of house. By the time I was 27, I was executive chef of a major hotel with banquet seating for 3000, a 400 seat restaurant and a bar that sat another 150. I tried more than once to get out of the business, "but they keep pulling me back!" Hard work. No, you don't understand...HARD work. Long hours. Low pay. Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, thievery, abusive bosses. No such thing as weekends or holidays. I have worked at some great places with great people, had a lot of fun, pumped out some beautiful food that makes people line up for hours in the summer heat. I have known a very few people who were paid pretty well. But...you will not get rich unless you own. And even then, it is just about the riskiest business there is. Get a job as a prep cook at a respectable place. See if you like it. Learn some basic skills and you will be employable anywhere. But don't put all your eggs in one basket.
I am new on this forum and plenty of folks may disagree. If you enjoy cooking, that is great, but a career in cooking is not for everyone--it is no picnic.
Pops pretty much has the straight of it, Ivan. Professional cooking is rarely the glamourous profession you see portrayed on TV.
Enjoying cooking at home, even being very good at it, has little in common with any food service environment. So your best bet is, as he says, to find a job in a restaurant (not fast-food), and put in some time to see if it's really what you want to do as a career.
Keep in mind, too, that the majority of entry-level jobs will be as a dish-washer. And, from there, you graduate to a prep station. In a word, drudge work. But it's the only way you'll truly know if cooking is the career you want.
Once you've made that decision you can decide how to achieve your goal: continued on-the-job training, attending culinary school, staging for a top-rated chef, etc.