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Can I go from being a bartender to being a chef?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this, I'm new here.

 

Well I am an aspiring chef and I want to go to culinary school but I can't afford it, so I want to try bartending to save some money up. I was ust curious if bartending would hurt my learning because I would have already memorized so many drink recipies or would my knowlage of alchohals help? Thanks you!

post #2 of 16

I worked the bar to pay nursing school tuition.

Now not only can I deliver a baby, but mix up a damn fine martini for the after party, lol!

 

Use your time there to practice knife skills on the garnish.

post #3 of 16

I would think having experience with cocktails would only help you as a chef. I doubt anyone would view that experience as actually part of the core experience a chef needs but it's a nice skill to have in addition to the core skills. See if you can get a position bar tending at a nicer place, at least then you'll be in an atmosphere where you'll see the relevant front of the house, back of the house, expediting, etc. Plus since you're serving the drinks you'll probably get to know the line cooks well ;)

post #4 of 16

To answer your question straight-up...It really depends on your level of intelligence and capacity to learn and store knowledge. 

 

What do you mean when you say you're an aspiring chef?  You've been working in a restaurant kitchen and decided this is the profession you want to be in?  I may be wrong, but that's not what I'm gathering considering you joined ChefTalk today and gave yourself the heading of "can't boil water".  I'm understanding that you have not a lick of experience, and that TV has given you this glamorized idea that anybody can be a chef.

 

Don't try to become a chef.  Don't waste time becoming a bartender.  If you haven't already, do not waste your time working in a kitchen.  People who can't boil water, first need to learn, on their own or from their brother, sister, mother, neighbor, friend, community class, etc. the BASICS of cooking.  Get that first, then think about the next steps.

 

You may not like my advice, and that's fine.  You have more information about yourself and skill-level than I do.  I'm just reading into the tidbits of information that you let out over here.

 

Now, you may decide that bartending is a career that you want to have, and that's good.  But to become a bartender with the plan that it's going to finance your culinary education, without having a damn clue  about the realities of what becoming and working as a cook entails....Bad friggin' plan.

post #5 of 16

In that case chef dave, shouldn't he consider taking a job as a dishwasher, and working up to prep and hopefully a line cook? Assuming that is that he has no one in his life that can teach him basic cooking skills. Although YouTube has more than enough videos to get started. I have to be honest, he took a good step by coming here to ask advice, that show's he is at least trying to get outside input/advice.. he has to learn to crawl before he can walk and culinary school isn't the place to decide if you want a career in food.

post #6 of 16

I was just expounding on the unrealistic, uneducated and ignorant expectations of people who think,

"I'm gonna go to culinary school and become a chef!"

Maybe now this danny person will consider the option of starting as a dishwasher.  Highly unlikely, though.

"I'm gonna become a bartender and make a lot of money!  Woo hoo!"

post #7 of 16

Is it necessary to put people down when they ask for advice?  What does that say really about the person doing the putdown?  Most people who begin medical school can't stitch a wound or give an injection or diagnose an ulcer.  Most people who begin to study architecture can't build even a wooden box.  THAT's what school is FOR, i understood.  Or not?  And if you don't come from a privileged class and mummy and daddy can pay for your education you try to get a job that will pay a lot of money (woo hoo? sorry, but why woo hoo? does that imply only a yahoo would want to earn a lot of money?) and pay for it yourself.  Washing dishes isn;t going to pay for an education nowadays.  Maybe it's a route to learning the basics in the kitchen, but from what i;ve read about what cooks call dishwashers (in this very forum), I'm guessing that maybe that's not the best place to find someone willing to teach you or to treat you as anything much more than some dirt under his shoe.  

It seems that there is a lot more in common between bartending and cooking than between washing dishes and cooking.  Both try to make products that will have an appealing taste, color, presentation, quickly and efficiently. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 16

I agree with flipflopgirl, whatever pays the bills! 

Well, within reason, of course.

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

Reply
post #9 of 16

Hey dannyh ... don't worry about it.    Unfortunately some people in the culinary profession look down on the regular world, from some mount high up above the mortal life.   Some of the best people I've known in the kitchen came from the bar.  Some of them were not as happy in the kitchen because to tell you the truth, the work is harder, and you don't always make as much $$$.  Yeah, it sucks sometimes, but it's a different love.  You'll find out on your own what I'm talking about.   Anyway ... don't worry about it, just give it your best shot.

 

 

Our profession aint'e rocket surgery ... We work in kitchens.

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Reply
post #10 of 16

Yeah, I get it.  Bartending is a part of the Foodservice Industry, so it's closer to being a cook, than a lot of other jobs.  So yeah, making the jump from bartending to cooking is not as huge of a leap as going from law to cooking.

BUT, this is a trade/skill industry, AND it's one of the few where you can still get on-the-job training, on-the-job experience and not ever have to go to school.

For a lot of people, many who never set foot in a professional kitchen before enrolling, it becomes a hobby that they dropped $20,000 or $50,000 on (one that some people can afford to do, but that the OP can not).  And doing proper research - as much as is possible - is ALWAYS highly recommended before any sort of Master's level education.  It's widely accepted that high school graduates often go to college not knowing what they want to do professionally, and many others change along the way.  But who goes to medical school without taking Bio, Chem, Physics, and gaining a fairly decent education of the sciences?  Who goes to medical school without doing a fair amount of educating themselves as to what medical school entails, and what the profession on which they're about to drop $200,000 is all about?

 

All of you who has a friend who admittedly "can't boil water", but expressed an interest in going to culinary school.  You'd all encourage that without any realistic advice. like...learn the basics and work in a kitchen first to see if it's what you're imagining it to be?

 

Danny, Why put yourself in a position where you have a huge education bill, for no reason??

FIRST, spend time in a kitchen...THEN after you decide that being a cook is what you want to do, and you've researched the cost-benefits of going to culinary school versus staying in kitchens and learning, THEN learning to be a bartender and using it as a way to finance culinary school becomes a plausible idea.

 

I apologize if you felt insulted by my earlier posts.  It wasn't my intent.  If anything I was insulting your idea, not you.  I'm trying to be truly helpful to you, Dannyh, and if that means that when I don't blindly support your plan....Well, let's just say you could use more "friends" like me.

post #11 of 16

To this, Dave, I can only agree. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #12 of 16

I don't know about making cocktails, but drinking them is very helpful.

 

If you can get a job cooking somewhere before committing to school that could be very helpful; even if it's only an "internship," as an unpaid "commis."  Consider this, if you work a few weeks of unpaid or minimum wage time somewhere it's still cheaper than paying tuition.  You can learn a lot just by "hanging out," too. 

 

My first, paid (occasional and part time) cooking gig was were helping out Willie Walker, a (barbecue) restaurant owner/caterer.  He gave me the jobs because I used to hang out with him at his restaurant after closing time at the Anchor Inn, the bar/club/disco I worked at as a bouncer.  Eventually, he trusted me enough to chop onions.  Willie mostly paid in food. 

 

Those were different times and cooking schools weren't nearly as prevalent.  I'm not suggesting that cooking school will or won't help you get good jobs, or handicapping whether or not it's worth the money.  I don't know.  What I am saying is... get your feet wet before you decide you want a career as a duck.

 

Good luck,

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/26/12 at 10:36am
What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
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What were we talking about?
 
http://www.cookfoodgood.com
Reply
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Dave, its obvious "can't boil water" is an hyperbole. Just bceuase its the internet doesn't give the excuse to be rude. Anyway, I really don't watch cooking shows on TV but I really have loved cooking since my mom let me use the stove, I just don't have the money to pay for culinary school, and I have heard bartending at a big place with good tips can be a decent living, and I wanted to see if anyone has ever taken that path and could offer some advice. Thanks to the people who answered.

post #14 of 16

I think Dave is trying to show the reality of the kitchen life by being crass.  This thing called line cooking isn't for everyone.  A vast majority think it's a fun, super creative, express-my-love-for-food kind of thing.  In reality its typically not.  You have to do the tedious, boring, smelly jobs.  All the time.  Until you get it right.  All the time.  You mostly execute someone else's vision and creativity.  You get hell from the chef and other cooks because you're slow, or cant follow directions, or because you have ideas about food before you can sear a steak properly. But I love it.  I have the best time at work because I work hard, take direction, execute things well, am consistent and love cooking.  There's nothing better than owning your station on a busy weekend night with your fellow cooks.  THAT's when its fun.

 

I was lucky enough to learn some basics at home, fall into a restaurant job and be decent at it.  From there I decided on culinary school.  And I did well at it.  I can tell you with full honesty, that from my knowledge, me and 2, maybe 3, other people I graduated culinary school with are still actually cooking today.  Most can't hack the fact that they don't make any money.  That they work long hours, without real breaks, and don't see their friends.  I'm sure I sound like a huge d-bag by trying to sound like I'm hardcore, but this has been my experience.  I agree with Dave that you should get into a kitchen first.  Try more than one.  Restaurants are like, um,...well like beds?  Some can be bumpy, with springs poking into you all the time.  Others are droopy and suffocating with no support.  Others are like that memory foam stuff...it just seems to fit.  Find a place that will take you on as their project and really dive into because you'll only get out what you put in.

 

Was this all a bit too much?

post #15 of 16

Line Cook = assembly line worker, speed, consistency, and accuracy most important, works cheap but gets overtime occasionally

 

Sous Chef = assembly line foreman, make sure the line is working with speed, consistency, and accuracy, salaried, still works cheap

 

Chef= Manager, makes sure raw materials, labor, and equipment/supplies are available so the Sous Chef and Line Cooks can do their job, sometimes has an opportunity to get creative. Salaried, not quite as cheap, may get bonuses or profit sharing

 

Executive Chef = manages two or more Chefs, plans new products, mostly creative work, fair to good salary and bonuses, probably profit sharing

 

Celebrity Chef = writes books, does TV shows, festivals, makes money crazy.gif, gets others to do the work inexpensively, gets all the credit.

 

AWWTFIC (Above Written With Tongue Firmly In Cheek)!
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #16 of 16

I agree with Boar D Laze - try and get in some unpaid cooking experience (called a stage [pronounced stah-ge] by us industry folk) to see if its something that you would enjoy.

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