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Career move

Poll Results: School, or no school?

 
  • 60% (3)
    Go Back
  • 40% (2)
    Keep Working
5 Total Votes  
post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

So, I've got 7 years kitchen experience, I'm 21, and I've been a Sous chef for two years. Today I was told that I couldn't be hired for a position because I didn't go to culinary school, despite my experience in Fine dining. So, my question is, do I reconsider my plans, and go back to school, or just stick it out and keep working? please explain, as well 

post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefTony21 View Post

So, I've got 7 years kitchen experience, I'm 21, and I've been a Sous chef for two years. Today I was told that I couldn't be hired for a position because I didn't go to culinary school, despite my experience in Fine dining. So, my question is, do I reconsider my plans, and go back to school, or just stick it out and keep working? please explain, as well 

What was the position you were going for?

 

I'm not sure of the answer to my question, but can an employer legally not hire you because you didn't go to a culinary school?

 

At this point, I would keep working, you're already a Sous Chef in the industry, i'd keep working towards moving further up the ladder.

post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

I applied for a Sous Chef position. But apparently it's one of their "requirements", so I'm not sure about the legality. My only issue is I've been working seasonally for a few years, and I'm trying to make the move from working in two kitchens for 5 months a year, to one kitchen, year round. Not sure if that could be holding me back, also or not? But the resort I work at has consistently been #1 in food and dining in the ski industry, so I also feel like that should count for something? What really has me confused, too is that we do less volume, but hold a #1 Zagat rating. So I'm really not sure about what to do. Obviously, my dad told me it means I need to go back to school, but he doesn't know the industry like everyone here. 

post #4 of 16

Its illegal to to base hiring on Gender,religion,race, and age but as for education it is a requirement for the job

and employers can set what ever requirements it sees fit to fill the position.

 

Culinary school is not a prerequisite but alot of employers want someone who has both experience and schooling behind them.

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

So what do you recommend? I don't want this to be a continuous problem moving forward, and if I HAVE to do it, i'd rather get it done with while I'm still young. 

post #6 of 16

Forget culinary school.  The fact that you didn't get hired at one place because you didn't go to culinary school just shows their ignorance.  One thing you can do if you're in the US is start working on ACF certication.

post #7 of 16

 Keep looking for a different job and start looking into culinary school. There are many choices these days. you can go for a certificate, an associates, a bachelors' or greater, depending on what your goals are. 

School is, unfortunately because of the cost, necessary for advancement in many jobs now. But as I stated, there are many ways to go about it. You don't need to drive yourself into lots of debt. Some debt but not a lot. 

School will also open you to many things you would not know otherwise. If you can work out the finances, it would definitely be worth doing. 

And remember there are all kinds of jobs in this industry. You may want to work in a completely different environment while you go through school so broaden your search to include jobs that would support that. If the school is large enough, you may be able to work for the school. Many universities offer a free course(s) each semester for employees. Each school will have different plans but that's another option. 

 No matter what job you get or keep, you can lose that job and the experience may or may not count for anything when applying for the next job. An education can never be taken away from you, gives you a serious competitive edge and provides life long benefits. 

post #8 of 16

Are you willing to come down to SLC to work? I say that because you should be able to find a sous job down here quite easily without an education, as long as you were a sous in PC, it looks great on your resume. I know of quite a few places down here that are looking (or recently have) for sous chefs. In PC it can be kind of tough, plus you're right in the middle of high season there. 

 

On the other hand, you're a ripe age for culinary school. I'd look into SLCC if I were you. Avoid Arts Institute. Everyone I've met that's done AI says it's a big waste of money. SLCC does a fine job with their culinary program and it's quite cheap. 

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Cardenas View Post

Are you willing to come down to SLC to work? I say that because you should be able to find a sous job down here quite easily without an education, as long as you were a sous in PC, it looks great on your resume. I know of quite a few places down here that are looking (or recently have) for sous chefs. In PC it can be kind of tough, plus you're right in the middle of high season there. 

 

On the other hand, you're a ripe age for culinary school. I'd look into SLCC if I were you. Avoid Arts Institute. Everyone I've met that's done AI says it's a big waste of money. SLCC does a fine job with their culinary program and it's quite cheap. 

Yeah I've seriously thought about SLC. I work at Deer Valley actually, so I hear it looks good on a resume. My only gripe, like I said is the whole seasonal thing. After this season, or closer to the end I might look into moving to SLC and school there, unless I can land a nice gig. 

post #10 of 16

EDIT: NVM


Edited by Vic Cardenas - 1/23/13 at 9:22pm
post #11 of 16

I'm also twenty one and going through a similar debate.  I have six years kitchen experience, two and a half fine dining and I've also moved up quite quickly.  I think I'm gonna go to school but I really do think that if you are good enough they wouldn't not hire you.. right?  If I were better than "John" and him and I applied but he went to school they aren't going to give him the job over me.  Skill over crudentials, plain and simple.  But I'm in the same boat, so what do I know.  Cool to hear from a fellow young chef!

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well I think it's just a corporate thing. I'm going to keep working and eventually it'll come along. I mean, were damn lucky, and damn good to be where were at at this age.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarrettJames View Post

I'm also twenty one and going through a similar debate.  I have six years kitchen experience, two and a half fine dining and I've also moved up quite quickly.  I think I'm gonna go to school but I really do think that if you are good enough they wouldn't not hire you.. right?  If I were better than "John" and him and I applied but he went to school they aren't going to give him the job over me.  Skill over crudentials, plain and simple.  But I'm in the same boat, so what do I know.  Cool to hear from a fellow young chef!
post #13 of 16
A bunch of Utah boys in here, and nice! I'm in Ogden

You're only 21 as a sous, even though you've been doing this a while, but absorb some more. How big is the kitchen you're in now
post #14 of 16
I am in kind of a similar situation although I am 24 and only have two years of fine dining experience. I am so on the fence right now between school and staying in the kitchen. I know that regardless of what choice I make, I'll wish had done the other. Decisions, decisions.
post #15 of 16

One of the hardest things about coming up in the industry too fast is that you never get a chance to develop/discover your own style.  Instead all you do is mimic the last 1 or 2 places that you saw, because it is all you know.  Although it is important to absorb what you have seen before, it is even more important to know how to interpret it and develop it into what suits you personally as a chef.  We are defined by what we put on the plate, what we allow to leave the pass, what we allow in the dining room; so we must always make sure that what we are serving is truly a representation of who we are, our own vision.

 

The same thing happens to line cooks.  We've all heard/seen it before.  A new hot shot comes into the kitchen, thinks he knows everything, and always talks about 'the last place I worked'.  Just think about if a diner cook saw a french chef making an omelette.

 

School will show you techniques, but only experience, and travel will open your eyes to the real world.

post #16 of 16
Well said chef Chad!
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