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Starting Culinary school

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi, I start my college course in September in north wales. The way we do it is like an apprenticeship, basically I work in a restaurant but we also work theory for the hospitality side of a restaurant. The reason I'm posting is because I haven't had much experience in a proper kitchen, I've always loved cooking and at home I'm always in the kitchen, but I realise it isn't as stressful, so i was wondering if you guys have any tips on things i should prepare for, things I can expect, any tips and tricks and basically just what I should know before I start (I've looked into it all already i just thought some extra feedback would help)

post #2 of 23

I've been doing a cooking to become independent basic course for the past year and a half and it's a lot more hard work when you learn in college because you have to prepare everything from scratch, bake it then do the washing and if we do 2 meals we have wash what we used twice and whatever else we have to use so for sure working in a restaurant is easier, tips i will give you though is wear really comfy and non-slip shoes because you will be on your feet all day, most places want black shoes so id find some black flat ones, when your chopping try to move your body about and stretch as much as you can because you will get stiff cutting and cooking so much, try not to bend over your work area because your back will get sore. If you going to work in a busy place you have to be quick as well so prepare yourself to do a lot of dishes, they won't start you off hard though at first but you still have to do things quickly. Don't try to cut really fast too soon ether or you will cut yourself too much, start off slowly, i myself can't cut fast only i can when I'm dicing onion, celery or slicing something i can do it quite quick that's the easier cutting but don't try what the chefs do on the TV as they have had years of practise. Keep learning lots of new ways to do things too, some people will show you different ways and tell you this has to be cut such and such a way and people will always tell you different, find what is the easiest way for you to do what is expected, keep watching lots of tut oriel videos on youtube because they really help. I expect you will need your own knives too if they are not provided for you, but if you ever do get your own knives most places want color coded knives for food hygiene regulations, some really good knife sets are not color coded though so it's best to research how you could do that which won't mess with the food. Not everything will be great in cooking as you will have to keep making the same menu unless they add something else to it but it will still be stressful especially when you get better and are put on a bigger job.

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

hey thats great thanks for the advice :)

post #4 of 23

working in a kitchen is fun!  however, it isn't for the weak.  you'll get burned, cut, cursed at, shoved, but just remember there's a bigger picture. i can't tell you how many times i've burned myself with the damn oven or cut myself with a stupid potato peeler!  my advice is:  move fast but safely (walk before you run), always always have a towel with you, learn to use tongs as your hands, be confident but willing and eager to learn, and most importlantly, HAVE FUN!  you'll soon learn that the other chefs in the kitchen will be your closest friends.  best of luck!

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

I understand what you mean and thanks! :) haha

post #6 of 23
Hi Barry

How exciting! Good luck. I start tomorrow but its just evenings. I want to see if I'm actually any good before I even think about jacking in the day job wink.gif

Keep up updated with your progress when you start. Sounds excellent.

Goldi

Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness

AUGUSTE ESCOFFIER

Ravioli
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Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness

AUGUSTE ESCOFFIER

Ravioli
(5 photos)
  
Reply
post #7 of 23

I hate the shoving part personally one thing i would advice is if you do go to work as a chef try to find a strict place as they keep their workers in check and there won't be any stupid competitive behavior, in a kitchen people are meant to be working as a team not competing against each other and manipulating your work to get your hours.

post #8 of 23

Just a reminder, IMHO

  • Chef = management (knows what needs to be done and sees to it that it gets done)
  • Cook = production worker (does what the Chef says)
     
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 

Well good luck with it :) i will dont worry but us updated aswell :) 

post #10 of 23

Another tip is buy a pair of electronic scales if you haven't got any, the cheap ones with the glass top are very good and fast weighing compared to other scales and easy to wash and take small round batteries, you can get a bunch of them from ebay for cheap, i got the scales from ebay too, reason i say this is because colleges don't provide enough equipment these days, they do give you some but you will probably have to share 3 or 4 pairs of scales with the whole class which can slow you down, you be lucky if they have more as colleges are not aloud to buy much equipment ether and lecturers are being forced to buy equipment for the students, my lecturer has to buy us peelers, jugs and plastic bowls out of her own money it's so sad how greedy even colleges have got, so i would get your own scales for sure and more than likely you will need to get a chef uniform too if it's not provided for you, it still wouldn't be yours though even if it was so id get your own chef uniform too when you start. My college use just a plane double button jacket with any non-slip flat shoes and a black chef beanie hat, were supposed to wear black chef pants too but we have no time in the morning to keep putting them on as we have to get in and start right away, we don't have lockers ether it sucks really, id get yourself prepared for all of that especially with the scales if you don't want to butt heads with the rest of the class, cooking can get really competitive at times. They will more than likely provide knives, peelers, bowls and stuff but i'm not sure what the health and safety rules are at the college your going to about taking your own knives, at the one i go to they are really strict and we can't take any in unless all of them are color coded, it sucks as i got my own set with black handles.

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

I've heard some stuff like that and not been too sure so cheers for the heads up :) and we pay the college about £150 and they give us uniform and a knife set so its not too bad, but I know what you mean definitely need to get stocked up on some stuff haha cheers :)

post #12 of 23

No problem :) after finishing last year it's all about stocking up before doing it, my lecturer aloud me to have my own scales which was great but i wasn't even aloud to put colored paint on my knives in case it got on the food so i would buy a good set of color coded knives because i think some companies are strict about that too, although a lot allow you to have  your own set i think. Standard for all places is black, comfy, non-slip shoes, comfy ones make all the difference as your feet don't hurt that much.

post #13 of 23

@barryevans so it has been a while since you started. How have you been doing? What suggestions would you have for someone facing what you faced? I am coming really late to this thread but here is what I recommend:

 

  • Always be on time which means at least 15-30 minutes early. 
  • Never show up late no matter what.
  • Keep some bandages with you there is nothing more embarrassing then asking the chef for a bandage the first few days. (Which I had to do the first day I started in France).
  • Mistakes are part of the learning they are not a sign of failure so don't get discouraged.
  • Keep your knifes sharp make it part of your daily routine before you start to give them a quick edge
  • Stay away from drama, gossip, and bad attitudes.

 

 

Hope that helps.

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
post #14 of 23

A question about apprenticeships do they provide you the knives there? or Do you have to take your own?, if you have to do you have to sharpen them too? i've never been in an apprenticeship before, should i do the same and take some plasters and badges?.

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmbai90 View Post
 

A question about apprenticeships do they provide you the knives there? or Do you have to take your own?, if you have to do you have to sharpen them too? i've never been in an apprenticeship before, should i do the same and take some plasters and badges?.


Your school does not provides answers to questions such as these?

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #16 of 23

They will but it takes them ages until they tell you lol you have to wait and wait until you get a straight answer out of them and i don't understand half of what they are saying or how they do things until i've asked about 10 questions lol, they phrase things in the most confusing way, just from anyone who has been in apprenticeship, did you need to take your own knives or did they provide them for you?, it's easier asking here trust me lol.

post #17 of 23

Some kitchens have knives for anyone to use. Some do not. Depends upon the establishment, there is no one rule that covers all.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #18 of 23

Hopefully they provide knives wherever i go so i can spend time practicing sharpening them at home

post #19 of 23

If the kitchen does have knives for personnel to use, they will not allow you to take them home.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #20 of 23

I have cut my thumb a number of times, while cutting fish and other sea foods. Many a times, you have to make that dishes, which you don't like to eat. During peak hours in any restaurants kitchen, when orders are coming continuously, you have to work fast and smart. Try to use most of the raw supplies you get, to prepare food.   

post #21 of 23

a good school should also teach how to take care of knives.

and any cook should know how to sharpen (as in, hone) knives themselves.

if not being taught, learn yourself.

 

schools nor working places do allow you to take their knives home.

post #22 of 23

Not these days they don't because of the way they work around the assessments and serving the food then washing your own pots (and the sad moment your instructor tells you to wash some of theirs urgh... no... lol), it's a lot to do all in one day it takes hours for a beginner, if they do they must skip at the assessments for one of the days as you have to do like 2 or 3 pages of work in 1 days these days plus your class diary for what meals you made and what equipment you used.

post #23 of 23

@emmbai90 Don't wait for people to show you how to learn to care for knives ask. Take time after school, be assertive and ask a chef to show you. As for a place providing knives, always bring your own. The last thing you want is a knife at a kitchen that 30 other cooks have been using that is dull and now you are stuck with it for the next 8+ hours and have to cut onions and everything else. I also would say that bringing your knives to work has nothing to do with the topic of this thread so please in the future start new topic. Thanks!

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
Reply
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