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New to this and have some questions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

So I washed dishes for about 1.5 years and cooked for a tiny place (town of 2000) for 3 years. When I moved away to college I got a job in a serious place and kept it for 11 months. I've since decided that college is not for me and am dropping out to devote more time to building my culinary career. I've secured two jobs at two of the nicer places in town and realized that the origional job I got upon arriving to town isnt teaching me the best things (clean plating and technique no menu chages in 25 years ect) so I've decided to drop it. There's a bit of my story now for my questions.

 

1. what do you guys use to carry your equiptment in? I've seen people use knife rolls and others use a tool box, but everyone seems to leave their tools at work. I'm working 2 jobs and that makes this unpractical for me. anything I should look into?

 

2. My kit consists of a utility knife and a peeler. I know from working that I need a paring knife a serrated knife a chefs knife and a veggie/herb chopper. I've already picked these out in theory, I'm just wondering what you guys think of wusthof as a brand? Also curious about how a knife with a bolster lasts after several years of use, it seems that they all get a divot of sorts.

 

3. My clothes are getting pretty torn up so I need to invest in some pants and shirts of some sort. Is it looked badly upon for me to wear coats dispite the fact that im not a chef? Should I just buy some white T-shirts for work shirts only?

 

4.I bought some cheap lace up non slips when I started and they're slowly dying, I'm ready to move on to clogs and im looking at dansko. what are peoples experiences with these? Do they generally last and hold up pretty well?

 

Thanks in advance for the advice and help guys.

post #2 of 7

I have an aluminum rifle case that accommodates my tools for travel, however on a daily basis I only need an abbreviated set. I just recently went to Staples office supply store and bought a plastic box that measures 4x4x16 and costs $5.00 that accommodates what I need on a daily basis. The have these boxes in a lot of different sizes and configurations. Before that I used a basmati rice bag with a zipper.

 

My chef's knife with the bolster is 30 years old and is probably good for another 30 years.

 

I wouldn't worry about coats. Most places provide jackets or shirts for work. You might need pants, but I would wait and see. At most, I would buy 1 coat and 1 pair of pants that you could wear to working tryouts if they come up.

 

I have worn Danskos in the past and definitely like them and feel that they last well, however for the past 8 years I have worn Crocs bistro model with the non slip sole. For me they are extremely comfortable, long lasting, and cost about 1/3 the price of Danskos.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #3 of 7

For my main box I used a plastic tool box from HD that was about $10 with a tray for small items and it could be locked. The glestain knife box from Korin is on my wish list. For travel a Pelican case.

A knife roll worked very well for me for a lot of years. I never left my tools at work unless I had my own office. Even with a locked office I once had my entire kit stole.

A bolster should never get divots. I've never had that problem after many years of heavy use but there are a lot of knife options that don't have bolsters. There's nothing wrong with Wusthof but you may want to avoid the cheaper stamped versions not made in Germany.

Worry about uniforms on a case by case basis with each employer. Most employers will rent uniforms for you at least in the US.

You can find knife rolls many places but you may want to look at JB Prince.

 

http://www.jbprince.com/cutlery/cutlery.asp

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #4 of 7

Since you don't really know what kind of work you're going to be doing I would suggest some very simple items.

Don't invest much - some places that you might end up working at may have some weird ideas or rules to follow.

ie. no clogs or 'plastic' shoes, or steel toe required, all leather footwear, No outside tools allowed! (seriously)

 

Get a small inexpensive knife roll - take only those tools that are commonly crap at most restaurants ie.   Chef Knife, Paring Knife, Peeler

don't worry about a serrated knife most places only have those!   Maybe a pair of tongs, be prepared to wear them on your waist though or they will go missing.   Once you start a job you'll see what you need to add.  Likely it will be something that they have that annoy's you, then add it to the kit.   Never leave your stuff at work, that is just asking for bad things to happen.

 

Keep some basic 'maintenance' things in your kit.  Aspirin, antacid, pepto and liquid bandage, maybe a spare stone or quick sharp.   Definately a couple of bandages that you know and like, a few print outs of 'common' things you might need but always forget.  Pens and notepad - one of the water resistant ones is great if you have the cash... saves a lot of wear and tear.

 

As for clothes that depends on your budget.   Starting out I went to costco and got 3 pairs of 'grey' cotton cargo pants, cost me about 10$ each, have a ton of pockets, very long lasting, hide stains well and actually fit me decently.   I have to have pockets.  I hate those 'chef' pants that have only one.   I then went to the local dollar store and bought about 5 black crew neck T-Shirts 3 dollars each.  It looks fairly well together and can get you through many days without much money invested.   I now wear cook-cool shirts / jackets by happy chef... still black.  Same pants though, I need a belt and pockets... it just doesn't seem right to be cooking in my PJ bottoms at work!

 

Footwear is a pet-peeve of mine, almost everywhere i've worked they have some kind of stupid rule about what you 'have' to wear and they are all different!

 

Buy cheap black cross-trainers until you land something stable / decent and then get what they want.  IF they don't have any pref's then go with classic mozo's please don't get or show up to a stage with the 'flaming skull' or other 'chef star' ones... good lord they scream.   Now once you make sous or chef get the most outrageous ones you can stand... it'll stop them from being stolen on you if you leave them at work!

 

FWIW - hope it helps!

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I think I've been confusing to some people. I have 2 jobs currently I've been at each for about 1.5 months now.
 

post #6 of 7

So you working and you need to buy your own uniforms? If so and you can get away with T's then go that route. You should know better than us what your employer expects. Chef coats are expensive and a RPITA to keep clean. Don't take on that expense if you don't have to.

Sorry I can't help with clogs. I prefer shoes.

 

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #7 of 7

Re the shoes

 

Get your self a pair of Shoes for Crews overshoes. You just put them on your regular shoes. Only 20 bucks or so, and they have the best non slip sole I've ever experienced. Only melting ice gave it trouble. They are really good at collecting crud in the treads, so you will have to clean them often, or you will be shedding bits of stuff where you walk.

 

I usually get chef apperal from King Menus http://www.kng.com/wholesale/servlet/home/en/kng/Restaurant/ good prices, but it's 100 poly.

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