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I want to be a chef, and I will die for it

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

hey guys, i'm 28 yrs old. yes, i'm too old to cook, i get it. all i have to say is this: i loved cooking my whole life and was too much of a %&$#@ to try and do anything about it. i now am fed up with my current job and want to do something i like for "ONCE" in my life which is to cook and become a chef.  i honestly dont give a %$#@ what people say or how hard it is. i've read so many things and talked to so many people.  thing is, it's my passion, if i make $0 dollars a day i could care less. if i die early from stroke because of it i could give a f***.  is this enough of a passion to want to make it to become a chef?  i dont mind working 15 hrs a day for years but eventually that'll pay off right? i just dont want to make a mistake with this decision but i've had it up to here with people telling me i should become a chef, only to google some article that makes me feel like it's not possible for anyone over 22 yrs old. i really am fed up with this and i want to cook, i want to make great food. i cook already everyday and try to master every technique i get a chance to read about. i've sous vide, i've braised my favorite is making pizza dough from scratch (which i have an excellent recipe for that took me 5+ years to develop), ive made macarons, souffles, i mean everything. and i dont stop making anything i cook until i get it right. i'm sort of maniacal when it comes to cooking, i cannot accept anything less than perfect for the most part. it pains me to cook until 4am sometimes just trying to master some dish but i do it anyway because i know one day this skill will pay off as ultimately, like any chef, i want to have a restaurant some day. okay not a restaurant, but more of a pizzeria and beer type place with very moorish comfort stick to your ribs type food. honestly guys, if you guys think that at my age of 28 with the personality i have and the passion i have for making great food i can't make it in this business or im too old, then i really fired up to prove some people wrong. anthony bourdains article about how if you're 32 just walk away from it is infuriating. how can i walk away from something i dream about everyday of my life? i'm really upset and confused at the same time. my life is in the fire at this point until something changes. whooo....feels good to vent.

post #2 of 15
You shouldn't worry too much about what other people think. If cooking is your passion then cook. I went to culinary school with guys twice my age. And 28 isn't old. Personally i think it's good to be working with guys who's a little older. We know what we want. And are ready to do what it takes. So if you're sure this is what you want just do it.
post #3 of 15

yep, just DO IT.

by the way I am 47 and entered the industry one year ago.

now working at a very good restaurant as line cook! 

all that counts is passion and drive, all the rest can be learned.

 

what are you waiting for then!! :) 

post #4 of 15

Welcome to the group------You can change your career any old time you choose---

 

So what's holding you back?  Go for it----

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThaNouShef View Post i dont mind working 15 hrs a day for years but eventually that'll pay off right?

 

It might pay off, it might not. That's regardless of age, that's why you find a lot of bitter lazy chefs, they paid their dues and got nothing for it. It also depends on what you mean by pay off. You may eventually not have to do as much actual labor, but you will never have anything that approaches reasonable hours, and if you do, you probably won't get much satisfaction from your work, as this is usually obtainable at a corporate/chain restaurant.

 

If you don't have the money to open your own restaurant when you start you won't make it working in this industry, which means you'll need investors and they'll want a return on a business that makes very very little after taxes, taxes, taxes, taxes, workers comp, payroll, food cost, equipment investment, equipment maintenance (you've got no idea how much stuff breaks), waste, insurance, janitorial supplies, rent, utilities, advertising, interest on loans, flatware (that people steal), dishware (that dishwashers will break), the possibility of a lawsuit every time you turn around, unemployment insurance, theft, liquor license, beverage costs and also depreciation. You'll have to pay all of this and more while not taking any pay for yourself at first, meanwhile your underpaid overworked staff will think you're rolling in dough. Your investors will think you're incompetent until the business builds and the whole time will be drinking your booze and eating your food. This is if you're even fortunate enough to find investors that want to throw money at a business that has a high rate of failure and low profit margin. The investors you will find that have interest will be a certain type of people often with an ulterior motive, possibly to bring all their friends to "their restaurant" to eat and drink for free to their hearts content, not tipping your servers.


If you don't have your own place the odds of you finding a place where you have true creative control is very remote, and the owners that allow their chefs this opportunity don't usually have a very high turnover so you'll have a hard time getting in or moving up.

 

 

If you took this as me saying it can't be done, or you shouldn't do it, you are mistaken.

post #6 of 15

If you're dead you can't really become a chef... better to just perform unspeakable acts of evil.  And 28's not too old, but be prepared to sacrifice for it.

"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #7 of 15
The most difficult aspect to teach in my opinion is passion and desire. You obviously have these things! I suggest to go beg a good chef to let you work for them to truly see if this is REALLY want to do with you life. Cooking at home is one thing, cooking in the heat of battle is an entirely different animal. I would suggest to read Becoming a Chef, it has some good insight into our profession. Also it takes time, lots of hard work and effort, lots of failures, and tremendous commitment to actual be a "chef". Good luck
post #8 of 15

Well i could list a lot of things but fortunelty their is a list already created , and i can vouch for at least 40 of them. 

 

http://pt.scribd.com/doc/112033847/50-things-they-never-told-you-about-being-a-chef

 

Read it. 

 

To work in a kitchen you definitely give alot more then take. 

But if its what you love, i doubt you will regret it. I still havent regretted it yet. 

Cooking has become a drug to me. 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys. Appreciate everyone being so supportive. Thought I'd end up getting negative feedback for some reason? lol. I'm just so frustrated in my life. I've always had a passion for cooking but was always afraid, ALWAYS afraid. and I wish I could just kick that fear in the gut and face because I realize now i'm too old to cook to get to where I want, but I still want it.  I will hate the fact that I'll be 50 with very little money in the bank and almost no time for myself while staying highly stressed, but I just don't want to do anything else. I just wish I started earlier.  If only. Really upset this week. Just hate my life and feel I want to end it for making the wrong time & money investment in the wrong choice of career.  All I really want in life is to become an executive chef in my 30s and open a pizzeria before I'm 40. Am I asking for too much?

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThaNouShef View Post
 

  All I really want in life is to become an executive chef in my 30s and open a pizzeria before I'm 40. Am I asking for too much?

 

I started taking cooking seriously at age 28. Went to culinary school at age 30. Became an executive chef in my 30's. Opened my own restaurant at age 39. No, you are not asking too much.

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 #11 of 15

hey buddy 28 you may be too young (just kidding) I changed my career at age 38 started as an expeditor then pantry then lunch time line am now 52 and still have the sam passion for food. Currently I work as a production chef for a large catering co. and before that I worked as a catering chef for a Jewish deli. and so on. A good chef is not just a great cook but an excellent mgr. and with that comes maturity and the ability to talk, train and teach  people the art and technique of cooking. If this is what you want then follow your dreams just keep going forward.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThaNouShef View Post
 

Thanks guys. Appreciate everyone being so supportive. Thought I'd end up getting negative feedback for some reason? lol. I'm just so frustrated in my life. I've always had a passion for cooking but was always afraid, ALWAYS afraid. and I wish I could just kick that fear in the gut and face because I realize now i'm too old to cook to get to where I want, but I still want it.  I will hate the fact that I'll be 50 with very little money in the bank and almost no time for myself while staying highly stressed, but I just don't want to do anything else. I just wish I started earlier.  If only. Really upset this week. Just hate my life and feel I want to end it for making the wrong time & money investment in the wrong choice of career.  All I really want in life is to become an executive chef in my 30s and open a pizzeria before I'm 40. Am I asking for too much?

:confused:  How about the number to a good shrink?

post #13 of 15

Sit down and really think this through.

Can you afford to work for $11/hour?

Can you afford to not have bennefits?

Do you have a family that wants you around?

How are you going to handle being on your feet for 12-16 hour days?

Are you going to be okay with a sous, lead line and chef that all may be MUCh younger than you telling you what to do?

post #14 of 15

keep it up!!! its not all negative as some state but these ARE things to consider…….

can only tell you, to just try and experience it all and then decide.

but if you are passionate and driven, GO for it…...

post #15 of 15

wow im reading this and im like bud r u ok life is tough i know guys that have entered the kitchen in there late thirties they do fine you probably will do fine as well your young in my books if your serious about commiting to this crazy lifestyle then i would suggest some form of councelling and sort out why your feeling so low and down im pesonally worried about you in that regard do yourself a favor n get some hel my friend and then come see us learn what it is to serve people the madness of on the line in the digger ha ha i love that being able to perfect your own dishes is an awesome thing being able to perfect chefs dish is crucial you do that and chef will notice. the long hours required are tough on some people these guys are not lying when they ask if you think u can stand for 12 to 15 hours what they fail  to say is in constant motion from one task to the next we work our asses off but its also a blast the rush of service that momment when the machine takes over and your just cooking in a team people are talking but key words filot away, 5 on the trout the dreaded refire lol your team becomes the people you see the most. it really is a great job you can travel around stay in amazing resorts its all there maybe theres not alot of money in it but its not peanuts either chef tops out around 27 an hour but rare lol so come on get on the line and get your mis en plac ready 

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