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Do I Need a Culinary Degree to be a Chef?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I was a culinary student before but had to drop out because of some financial problems. But my passion was cooking and i really love food. unfortunately i could not continue my education. so im wondering if is possible to become a chef would out a certificate? I love to cook and I believe becoming a chef requires more than being kitchen-savvy. You need sharp communication skills, honed creativity and business acumen. A college degree in culinary arts helps you gain these skills, but it's not a necessity. In the end, it will take several years of experience and learning at the hands of an experienced chef, not a high-priced degree, to become a successful chef.

 

Im planning on applying for a job here in the Philippines. and I'm scared that they might not hire me once they learn i dont have any certificate to show. But I'm willing to learn and I know that i am a very fast learner because i give everything to what i do. 

I need some advice to all professional chefs, should i proceed with my plan and try to look for a job on a kitchen or just forget all about it

I know i can do this. I know im capable. I just need some boost of confidence, any advice or pep talk could help me alot. this is my dream, this is my passion,  what should i say when they ask if i have a degree. thats my dilemma.

post #2 of 29

My opinion   NO you need years of quality experience and exsposure  to culinaary arts on a quality level.

I know plenty of guys with culinary school credentials that could not run a candy store.

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 #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

sir can you give me any advice? i have an what goes on inside a kitchen, the kitchen rush and everything. and i dont mind working for free at first as long as i get lots of experience. even if it means i have to start out as a dishwasher. sir can you please give me any advice to boost my confidence

post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chizburger View Post
 and I'm scared that they might not hire me once they learn i dont have any certificate to show.

So what is stopping you is the unknown?  The only way you will ever know is to do. If that door closes, knock on another.

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebisch View Post

So what is stopping you is the unknown?  The only way you will ever know is to do. If that door closes, knock on another.

Thank you so much!! with this, you gave me plenty of confidence boost. You don't know how much i appreciate this!

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

And I dont care if i have to work for free just to gain experience. I'll be glad to do that.

post #7 of 29

Dont work for free, in fact AN EMPLOYER CAN'T DO THAT.  Apply to a MDonalds if you have to You will learn there, as well as you will learn something in every place you are in.

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 #8 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thank you chefs. Thank you for the advice.

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chizburger View Post

  what should i say when they ask if i have a degree.

Say that you have a high degree of drive,enthusiasm, and passion for the craft of cooking.

 

Whenever I am hiring, no matter the position, a degree is not required nor necessary. I look for people with attitudes and mindsets such as yours. I can teach skills. I can't teach drive.

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 #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much cheflayne. now i know that i still have a chance to pursue my dream. I believe there are still people like you are looking for people like me. Even without a degree, I think I'll pursue my dream. What a relief. 

post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chizburger View Post

  A college degree in culinary arts helps you gain these skills, but it's not a necessity. In the end, it will take several years of experience and learning at the hands of an experienced chef, not a high-priced degree, to become a successful chef.

 

 

  The real question is how do you get a job with that experienced Chef that's willing to take the time to teach you Vs getting hired by some one that will leave you in a dead end position after several years. Do you want to be a cook for the rest of your life or a Chef?

I wouldn't ever let a lack of experience stop you but your selling your self very short if you've been hood winked into thinking it's just as easy as getting a job and grinding it out. That requires a lot of dedication, talent and more than a bit of luck along the way.

People that survive in that envirnment don't usually have the word "scared" in their vocabulary. If you need a confidence boost go to school or choose a different career because the big kitchen is not a friendly or kind place to the meek.

Sorry to not be more up-beat but that's the reality of being a grunt with out skill or training unless you want to be an hourly worker for many years.  

 

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 #12 of 29

Im not a professional Chef, but I completely understand where you are coming from. I am about to begin a journey pursuing my culinary certificate. Becoming a Chef is my dream as well and I have went over in my head 100 times about whether the pricey degree is the necessary. When I really sat down and thought about in any profession other then healthcare is a degree really necessary? Reality is...any college education is going to be expensive rergardless. You are the only one who gives your education value because its what you do with it. My advice is to not give up on your dream, you do not want to look back on life with alot of regret.

post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

If i could only enroll my self in a culinary school, I would do it right away. But money is the problem. And I know today company will hire someone with a degree than someone who only has passion and drive. It seems hopeless and I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.

post #14 of 29

If you can't get into to school for financial reasons then go to work. Just don't think school is a waste of time. You can always work for a bit and go to school in the future.

You have been given some great advice including how to respond about not having a degree by Cheflayne. You began this thread by telling us that a degree is not required to be a Chef. I can tell you from first hand experience that is indeed the case.

It just really shouldn't ever be a first choice option IMO.

That shouldn't stop you.

EVER!

 Reach down and grab those boot straps, Pull them up and get out and start pounding doors! You won't get any where commiserating on line. What you believe is going to be far more germane than what any of us think. I've said this many times in the past. School or work is what you make of it. If you want to be a Chef then MAKE it happen.

There are no free rides irrespective of which path you take.

Best of luck now get out there and get r done! wink.gif

 

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
Reply
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chizburger View Post

Thank you so much cheflayne. now i know that i still have a chance to pursue my dream. I believe there are still people like you are looking for people like me. Even without a degree, I think I'll pursue my dream. What a relief. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chizburger View Post

If i could only enroll my self in a culinary school, I would do it right away. But money is the problem. And I know today company will hire someone with a degree than someone who only has passion and drive. It seems hopeless and I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.

 

 

So which is it?
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 #16 of 29

Some more inspiration.  Granted, as mentioned in this thread examples like this are certainly very unique and are a culmination of many variables...but what if Rene had chosen to enroll in a school or decide a different path?

post #17 of 29

Whatever path you choose, make the best of it, and have no regrets. There is nothing worse in life than saying "What if this ? What if that ? What.....and so on, make your choice and be true to yourself.

 

Your question was :

"what should i say when they ask if i have a degree"

 

You don't have one.

 

You were given some great advice from experienced Chefs who have been around, the choice is up to you.

 

Who are the people that truly know you ? Have you asked them these questions ?

 

Petals.

 

ps. make it and have no regrets.

Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(155 photos)
  
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Petals
Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
(155 photos)
  
Reply
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much Chefs. I followed your advice. strap my boots and went out. I got hired! In a Japanese restaurant.

post #19 of 29

good luck, chizburger! Follow your heart, your passion, and you'll succeed for sure! There's nothing better than experience, and good training! Be careful of those knives! ;)

post #20 of 29

Hey chizburger,  I am from Philippines too.. From  Cebu...  I am not a Chef,  so excuse my posting here.   I can bake almost anything and deocrate cakes like a pro.  I have no formal training.  Everything I know is self taught.  Some very famous people Like Martha Stewart and Paula Deen are not Chefs,  but look where they ended up ?  Really as long as you love what you are doing,  then keep doing it.  You are not trying to become a brain surgeon where you have to pass a board exam or the bar to become a lawyer before you can do what you love doing.  I was just hired by a high end caterer in my area.  They wanted a baker who can bake very fancy stuff,  and that is what I can do.  They saw my cake photos and they were blown away.  Again,  I am not a chef,  but I can create nice things,  only because I did a lot of practice and self learning.  Good luck to you.smile.gif

post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 

thank you so much prettycake for sharing. you have given  all of us hope. you know what i mean by all of us. again thank you!

chefRoger thank you also!
 

post #22 of 29

  don't be afraid ,i been working in the kitchen for 15 years now and i just started as a dish washer,then i moved up prep cook ,to line cook now Iam sous chef ,.alway's show you're interest in cooking cause they going to noticed that, then sooner u just know that u can be a chef without a degree.

post #23 of 29

I started as a lunch mom in my kids school 25 years ago and have done every single job in the kitchen, from dishwasher to Dietary Manager, I have run into every type of kitchen disaster and do not get nervous about anything, that comes from experience .

One thing to remember as a young chef, you are NEVER to old to learn from someone else.
 

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefRogerUK View Post

good luck, chizburger! Follow your heart, your passion, and you'll succeed for sure! There's nothing better than experience, and good training! Be careful of those knives! ;)

Words of wisdom

post #25 of 29

I also did work here in the Philippines as a line cook, I can not well studied in culinary school because of financial problem also, we both, but there is a difference i love, because even contradict infirm I do it for the desire to learn to cook , I also started a diswasher and little patience and perseverance, now I cook, and also to read it I grow my knowledge of cooking and become chef someday, if I'm hiring you can hopefully apply to you, it I also live in the Philippines, for you might just really a boss in and love for cooking,this is my email,nestor_panganjr@yahoo.com,tenx

post #26 of 29

I thought you'd have the answer. :laser:

post #27 of 29

well if you can read, you can find the answer. it is printed on your screen.....

post #28 of 29

Well, that's really very inspirational story chizburger. It shows that if someone has a passion to achieve something, then no one could stop him. You are lucky enough chizburger that you got a job in a Japanese restaurant. Just explore your knowledge wisely to become a perfectionist.

Apart from this, i want to focus a little bit on the practical side of it, like for getting a job, culinary degree matters a lot in today's competitive scenario along with the passion and dedication towards the work. So my advice for all is to try harder to earn a culinary arts degree since it's one of the very important part for making a bright culinary career. But of course, if someone is unable to earn a degree due to some reason, then don't lose the hope and try harder to follow the passion and to make the dreams come true.

Live, Laugh, Learn and Eat !!!
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Live, Laugh, Learn and Eat !!!
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post #29 of 29

I have no idea what the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is up with all the necro-bumping but since Chizberger is from the Phillipines I sincerely hope that Chizburger and family are well.

 

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
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