or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Advice for young aspiring chefs, fresh from culinary school
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Advice for young aspiring chefs, fresh from culinary school

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Are you more valuable if you graduate from culinary school? Are restaurant jobs looking for young culinary school graduates? I'm only 20 finishing my extern hours in two weeks.. Just tryna figure out which path to take I'm at red lobster but in not into the chain restaurant after only 2 1/2 month.. Any advice?
post #2 of 14

I will preface this comment with the fact that I did not go to culinary school.  This is not to say that I chose not to, but I simply worked jobs and built up knowledge and experience a different way.

 

Anyway, I have noticed a few things about many (not all) fresh culinary students.  I have often heard chefs note these things as well.

 

1.  Arrogance, bear with me.  Culinary students feel like a million bucks and know a lot of information and surely have learned from great teachers.  However, to be successful, it is vital to remember that you don't know everything.  Accept that there is always something new to learn and always something you can do better.

 

2. Unwillingness to do dirty work.  If you want to truly be valuable to your chef or owner, you must be willingly ready to do all the stuff nobody wants to do.  Nobody wants to empty the grease out of the deep fryers or clean the ovens, but an open willingness to do these things and do them well will set you apart from the pack, easily.  Also, a willingness to do these things regularly will set your kitchen apart from others.  I often hear, "This is the cleanest kitchen I've ever seen," and that will make any chef proud.

 

3.  Lack of business sense.  Understanding the business side of a restaurant is vital to daily production as well as menu development.  Just because you're really into asian cuisine right now doesn't mean you should bring your chef a pad thai recipe when you work at a french-style cafe.  Remember.  You are no longer paying for your time in the kitchen, you are being paid.  Your job is to make money for the restaurant.  At work is not the time to practice new techniques and experiment with personal recipes, the time for that is at home or after you punch out if you have that option.

 

Ultimately, my advice is that Red Lobster is probably not the best place to grow as a chef.  HOWEVER!!!  It is important that you stick with that job for at least a year (provided you aren't going insane from it).  Prove that you can do the dirty work and bring good ideas to the table.  Show that you are reliable and valuable.  THEN, once you have earned respect, you can pursue another job and be confident that you have a good reputation.

 

As far as finding a good restaurant to work in, just write down all the small restaurants in your area and start calling them.  Just ask if they are looking for any kitchen staff.  If you follow those basic principles, you will have no problem working your way up the chain, even if you start as a prep cook or even dishwasher.

 

Okay, hopefully I didn't ramble too long!

post #3 of 14
post #4 of 14
I always get a chuckle when I read AB.
post #5 of 14

At your age, yes the degree will make your more valuable. Mainly since you aren't old enough to have had a lot of experience. If you are going up for a job at a restaurant against someone with the same experience and no degree, you'll have a big edge unless you fall prey to your ego.

 

Just don't make the mistake of thinking that a culinary degree is enough to get you a leadership position, or even make you a better cook than someone with experience. Experience trumps degrees, but a degree gives you a leg up on someone with the same experience. At your young age, you'd do well to finish your degree, find a kitchen run by a successful chef, then offer to do anything, even being a dishwasher, to get your foot in the door. Every kitchen has turnover and a chef will respect a guy with a degree willing to do anything to work for them. You'll move up fast and your degree will get you farther faster as long as you respect that its the experience that really counts.

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply
post #6 of 14


Yes I read that years ago and didn't agree with it all then either. His opinion.......

post #7 of 14

I have told this story here many times and here it is again. I was chef at exclusive golf club in Florida. I had a crew from C I A for the season.

    One day we were really busy and the place was a wreck we all had to stay and help clean. I sked one girl to just run the broom around ((I was scrubbing down tables and the Sous and Garde Manger were cleaning stove area)) she looks at me and says "I am from CIA I don't sweep floors'.  I fired her on the spot she went home next day, end of story.

CHEFED
Reply
CHEFED
Reply
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ED BUCHANAN View Post
 

I have told this story here many times and here it is again. I was chef at exclusive golf club in Florida. I had a crew from C I A for the season.

    One day we were really busy and the place was a wreck we all had to stay and help clean. I sked one girl to just run the broom around ((I was scrubbing down tables and the Sous and Garde Manger were cleaning stove area)) she looks at me and says "I am from CIA I don't sweep floors'.  I fired her on the spot she went home next day, end of story.

Gee.....I remember an Executive Chef say the same thing once....."I am the Chef....I don't clean toilets."

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ED BUCHANAN View Post
 

I have told this story here many times and here it is again. I was chef at exclusive golf club in Florida. I had a crew from C I A for the season.

    One day we were really busy and the place was a wreck we all had to stay and help clean. I sked one girl to just run the broom around ((I was scrubbing down tables and the Sous and Garde Manger were cleaning stove area)) she looks at me and says "I am from CIA I don't sweep floors'.  I fired her on the spot she went home next day, end of story.

 

You work a big event in what is essentially your own home and cannot see the debris laying around  :confused: , needs to be assigned routine clean up tasks ?

:laser:  IMO has zero work ethic skills and needs to be shown the back door.

Princess probably has her housekeeper on speed dial lol.

Most likely mum and dad set her up in her own place which was promptly run into the ground 'cuz our princess managed from the VIP room.

Nothing like leading from behind.

 

mimi

post #10 of 14
Im the reverse, im the owner and i clean toilets, wash dishes, take out the trash and everything else. When im doing those things im at peace, and never feel like a jerk when i have someone else doing it. Plus when i wash dishes i am one of the highest paid dish tank people ever to scrape a dish. smile.gif
post #11 of 14

A friend of mine posted this on his FB this morning. I think it should be part of every Culinary Arts curriculum. It is great advice for anyone leaving culinary school or entering into this crazy insane wonderful world of kitchens

 

http://www.diningchicago.com/blog/2009/08/28/chef-mark-mendez-open-letter-to-a-culinary-student/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social-media&utm_campaign=addtoany

post #12 of 14

http://eggbeater.typepad.com/

All you need to know. I will say that while you can be taught and learn culinary techniques you either have a strong work ethic or you don't. That is more important than all the hours spent dicing onions in class.

 

 

~Apprentichef

Apprentichef - Six stitches to go home early and you can't die until your shift is over.

 

Reply

Apprentichef - Six stitches to go home early and you can't die until your shift is over.

 

Reply
post #13 of 14
@chefross you sound like you've got the " I went to culinary school" entitlement.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorgeBishop View Post

@chefross you sound like you've got the " I went to culinary school" entitlement.


how so?

I have always thought I am no better than my team.

I would never ask anyone to do something I myself would not be willing to do, inclusive of cleaning toilets.

I have done that.

Perhaps you misunderstood.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Advice for young aspiring chefs, fresh from culinary school