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Seeking unbiased career advice

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi Chefs, cooks and students,

I just finished with the classroom and lab portion of my education in pastry/baking arts, and am currently externing at a local French Style bakery. 

I am a "non-traditional" student ( in other words, older) and this is a second career.

I did really well in school, finished with a 3.8 GPA, and 99% attendance. I am smart, very very creative, have an eye for design and am passionate and dedicated. 

Sounds perfect? Well, here's the kicker: I have ADHD and an anxiety problem.

Now, after learning a lot about the industry ( and myself) I am just not sure that REALISTICALLY I will be able to fit in and be consistently successful in a kitchen environment.  Two weeks into my externship, and I am already worried that my Chef might be tiring quickly of my mistakes and forgetfulness.

So where do I go from here? I really don't know. I keep waiting for something to make me yell " YES that's it!!", but that hasn't happened yet.  My Chef instructor said that she thinks I would be a "fabulous" food blogger, and seemed very excited that I was interested in giving it a try... problem is that blogging doesn't really pay very well, if at all.

I do love writing, but I love creating plated dessert designs, sugar art, chocolates and truffles and coming up with cool and interesting flavor combinations as well. 

I would really like to hear suggestions from everyone, stories as to how you found YOUR place in the industry, or any advice you might have.

Thanks in advance

Cyn

post #2 of 9

Cyn,

 

My advice for you would be to just give it a couple of months.  Sit down and talk to your chef and see if it is a problem or if you are overreacting.  You're going to make mistakes, but you have to give yourself time to get used to being in a real-life setting.  I hope this helps!  Good luck!
 

post #3 of 9

I agree with Foxworth, starting any new job is stressful, but add to that your passion for it, wanting to do super well and anxiety about being an older beginner, in an industry when most start out half your age - that's a cocktail for stress.

 

Blogging is not the only way you can go.  You could look at writing restaurant reviews for a local newspaper or freelancing with magazines and newspapers.  You could look at writing a cookbook, specialising in pastries and the special 'how to' tips the general public love learning about.  You can also make money out of blogging, by affiliation, subscriptions and advertising.  It would take a little while to get started, but is possible.

 

If being a pastry chef is your dream, don't give up.  Einstein failed maths at school, but it never stopped him.
 

post #4 of 9
Dear 7DeadlyCyns,

Perhaps your ADHD and Anxiety helped to propel you into our industry. While the work requires an attention to detail, it also asks us to be able to act and react quickly. You're in good company, then, if you have to work with and through anxiety. The pace alone produces this, so one would be "crazy" not to feel a sense of anxiety and urgency. You were able to excel in school with these concerns and you will excel in this new career path also. See yourself through and learn as you go. Do your best which is all anyone can ask,or expect, and never be disappointed.

Get feedback from your Chef on your performance and don't assume how s/he may be perceiving your work.

Hope this helps!

PK
post #5 of 9

Cyn,

 

I come from a different point of view, as I am more business-oriented than culinary-oriented, but have  an appreciation for the culinary arts (I was a general manager for a bbq restaurant for 90-days before I realized it wasn't for me, even though I LOVE BBQ and love cooking it). My background is BS in Accounting and a MBA. Play to your strengths, don't beat yourself up over what doesn't work in a "normal" restaurant environment (which is mostly everything!). Look at catering birthday parties, or corporate parties, or even a "pop-up" type of situation for special occasions. Catering allows you to plan ahead and gives you so many advantages over a restaurant environment. If you have any further questions, let me know.

 

Best,

Squeezil

post #6 of 9

In all honesty, if you are that worried about the ADHD, and Anxiety thing slowing you down, or becoming an issue with your career, talk to a doc and get something for it.

 

I think EVERYONE I have EVER worked with has some sort of "ADD" or whatever, a LOT of kitchens are a ragtag bunch of characters anyways, I wouldn't worry about it. I would just settle in the best you can, find your groove, and go with it.

~If you are what you eat, I am cheap, fast, and easy.

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~If you are what you eat, I am cheap, fast, and easy.

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post #7 of 9

Personally I think everyone has some level of stress as a new cook in a professional kitchen and we all deal with it differently and you'll become accustomed to it over time or get ulcers!

As for mistakes, we all make them, I still do and I've been cooking for 18 years.  You'll learn that making mistakes are your best teacher and will always add to your overall experience more than your successes, and just think you'll be more patient with the new guy after you remember your own mistakes!  Keep at it~you can do it!!!!

post #8 of 9

It should be easy for you who have already much professional experience, just jump though the hoops like the rest have done until your in the ****ing zone!

 

2c 4 u

California Cook

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California Cook

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post #9 of 9

Agree with kwik...you will be in good company as a fair amt of hospitality people have varying degrees of the same problems as you!

It is what makes us unique and so very artistic!

No, not autistic...that would be the number crunchers.

Just hang in there, keep practicing  and the polish and speed will come.

 

mimi

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