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Struggling with Job Search/References & Current Management

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

This may be a little drawn out so bear with me (I do eventually get to the piont).


Over the past 2 years, I have been struggling with trying to move myself up into a prep/line cook position from being in a dish/prep position. I have been running into roadblocks everywhere, mostly because the market here in Buffalo is very limited, not only because of the lack of positions actually available but also because I have no car (or license for that matter). My roadblocks mostly come in the form of going against people with experience and/or culinary degrees whereas I have neither.


On top of that problem, the current management where I work is very two-faced. On more than one occasion I have heard them bad-mouth an employee who I believed to be a good employee. This is done behind their backs and yet when the employee comes in it's all buddy-buddy.  That being the case, I feel a little nervous about using them as references. They say they will give me a good one but I don't think I can trust them. It looks horrible to not use references from your current job on a resume but don't want a bad one either.


Lastly, my boss has a reputation of being a real hard-a** in and around the cooking community. He has come up in conversation with other chefs/cooks a few different times and I don't say much because I don't want it to get back to him. But the other party's comments are usually not plesant.


So with no expereince, no degree, no good references from my current job, and a boss who makes me look bad just from putting his name down, what should I do?!?


I Love to cook and I would like nothing more than to do it professionally but I can't seem to get my foot in the door anywhere.  Any suggestions on how to handle this or even words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 11


because I have no car (or license for that matter). My roadblocks mostly come in the form of going against people with experience and/or culinary degrees whereas I have neither.



It seems to me that you are your biggest roadblock.


Why cant you get your license then buy a cheap car to get around to these other jobs.

Have you thought about going to school to get a culinary degree.

How about talking to Chefs in your area and seeing about apprenticeships or stages.

Your local Government about training grants or programs


Have your resume professionally written and keep it updated. Always have a copy with you. ( I have mine on a flash drive) you never know who your going to meet.


As for management ask for a written letter of reference then give out copies to places you apply at.


Also use your current boss to your advantage saying if I could work for him I could work for anybody.


I know this may seem harsh but if you want something you have to work at it to get it, you can't expect everything to be handed to you on a silver platter.


You get out of life what you put in.



post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

The license and car will cost money that I, to put it simply, don't have. With the bills/expenses I have, I literally live pay check to pay check and can't seem to save a dime towards one. I do have a resume on me at all times and I have had a resume expert look it over.


Good idea about the management recommendation letter. I will do that. And you are right, I believe when I do get hired, it will probably be a breeze next to them. And as far as talking to chefs about internships is concerned, I just took on a Sunday volunteer shift at a mission soup kitchen. It isn't the most glorifying work but it gives me some much needed experience.


Also looking at school for the fall semester.


Not harsh at all. It's what I asked for and exactly what I wanted.


Thanks Chef ChrisM!

post #4 of 11

What's going to pay for school?

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Because my income is so small, the TAP/PELL grants will cover all of the Associates degree from the local community college here. After that, I will see about getting a scholarship to one of the big schools to finish up my bachelors. If I can't get a scholarship, then loans.


Also, an update. I have a job interview tomorrow afternoon and just had an interview today. They seem to like me at the one today, and the guy for tomorrow went out of his way to call me to come in for the interview. I also changed up my references a bit. I am still using one of the kitchen managers as a reference (he tries to help me with knowledge and info whenever he can so I think I can trust him) and instead of the other one, I am using the bar manager. Hopefully it will go well!

post #6 of 11



Good luck with your interviews

I hope something good comes out of them.

Kudos for working at the soup kitchen. Remember to add that to your resume

many employers look for that kind of thing as a good character trait.



post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have a question related to the interviews. How good or bad would it be to mention that I come up with my own recipes at home? On the one hand I know that, starting out, I would be expected to learn and make their recipes the way they want them done. On the other, it might show that I have a good grasp of ingredients and that I have some creativity.  My gut is to not bring it up but the question came up to me while talking with someone else. What do you guys think?

post #8 of 11

I can't possibly imagine why a Chef wouldn't want to hire a cook because they make their own recipes at home.

post #9 of 11

I don't see a problem with talking about making recipes at home. It shows interest and motivation,

but if hired learn how they do things, be able to reproduce them perfectly, and only suggest changes if asked



post #10 of 11
I would definitely bring your recipes with you. It's sort of like seeing how your palate is without actually testing you. Use adjectives like flaky or creamy or silky to describe things to show your passion

Good luck, bud!
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hey guys. Just a quick update. I did get a job as a prep and line cook. Without the references from my (soon to be) former job. My kitchen manager seemed genuinely pleased and happy for me and the G.M. showed his true colors by congratulating me and then avoiding me for the rest of the night. Actually seemed annoyed with me when I sought him out to discuss scheduling with him during my transition period. What a jack-nut. Anyway, thanks to all of you for your help with the advice on how to handle the situation and the well-wishing. I'm on the first step to achieving my ultimate goal.

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