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post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

So basically I cant afford culinary school,ive been in the industry for 7 years and its very difficult finding someone to be molded into something more. Im tired of the same old a la carte restaurants and working with people that have no passion for anything culinary and that actually have any skill and reasoning for doing anything.FRUSTRATING!I really dont want to be enrolled into culinary school,Im just wanting the documentation that I know something about what im doing. I dont give myself enough credit but im a fast learner and I have great organizational skills and cleanliness. Theres a reason for doing everything in the kitchen,and I have that.

Mentor where art thou??

post #2 of 5

I have often felt exactly the same way. I could suggest that you move, esp to a large city like Chicago, LA or NYC. But there are lots of great restaurants where people with passion work. Keep looking. Most importantly, don't lose faith. Get a subscription to Food Arts magazine. They profile lots of top notch restaurants all over the country and you will have a better idea where to apply. There are also lots of great cookbooks by the kind of chefs you are looking for.  Buy them and study them. Much of what you are looking for can be found by continuing to develop yourself. Focus on that. The best chefs I have known are that way because they have developed tremendous self discipline and do not accept second best from themselves. Keep trying.

post #3 of 5

You should find a new job. Shoot higher. Fine dining or something that interests you. Something where you can learn from some people who know more than you. I don't think you'll ever find an official "mentor", but you can certainly find a temporary mentor in a chef or lead line cook that will show you new things and help you grow. Many kitchens will have enough patience to show a new guy their way of doing stuff. If they lose patience with you because you don't know enough or are too slow, screw it, find a new job and at least you took something away with you.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you Chefwriter,I agree with you and Ive done that.I moved here to CA to open myself up to something more.I study each day.A great book I have been reading is The Professional Chef by CIA.great informative stuff there.Basically it boils down to my passion,ability to adapt,work ethic in all is way more in depth than what cooking positions ive had.Having said that,the level of difficulty to get in anywhere to be further trained is frustrating.I cannot be one of those line cooks that are in there 30's and 40's that have really nothing to show for what they have accomplished throughout their career.Funny thing is, im a perfect candidate,willing to move(have lived in 4 states)im single without kids and have been ready for that next step to launch me.Aaaanyways....

post #5 of 5

Here's a few more books. Thomas Keller's "French Laundry", Alfred Portale from Gotham Bar and Grill has three, James Peterson's Sauces' and "Glorious French Food", Alain Ducasse "Flavors of France". Madaleine Kamman "New Making of a Cook". 

You don't say where you are in California but the Napa Valley has several great restaurants including the French Laundry and the CIA has a campus there. While a full time course load may be too expensive for you, there are other options the school offers, including employment with course benefits so it would be worth your time to at least visit the campus and talk to them to investigate what they have to offer and talk to the chef instuctors.

Find out where the local chapter of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) is having their next meeting. Go to it and introduce yourself and explain what you are looking for. 

As far as difficulty getting in.. That's not that hard. Be prepared by working on the basics. i,e. knife skills, cleanliness, organization, etc.  Pick a restaurant you want to work in. Ask for a working interview. If you don't get the job, make sure to ask how you can improve. Listen to the response.  Go to the next restaurant.

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