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job advice

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi there.... I need some advice on getting a job. I have been working small instutional kitchens for the past 10 years. I am very knowledgable and a very good cook. I do not have a cook certificate... but I am working on that right now.


My problem is I want to move up into a larger volume facility or restaurant, that has a faster pace to what I have been doing. I have been going for interview after interview for various jobs.. from University Kitchens to Restaurants. I seem to get an interview, but never get the job. I just found out that the recent interviews I went to have never even contacted my references... that are excellent by the way.


It seems alot of them see that I haven't done large volume on the line cooking, which I haven't. Can someone please give me some advice on how I am suppose to gain this experience if I can't get hired. Do I go for a small diner, or do I get stuck working at a place like Macdonalds to get the line experience.... any advice would be helpful.


Also none of the interviews that I have had have told me why I didn't get the job, is it okay to contact them and ask them why and what I need to do.

post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

Just to add a note.... I am about to quit trying to be a Chef... it seems to me I am not getting any where. I am creative, think outside of the box, dedicated to what I do and yet I feel like I am hitting my head against a brick wall. I love to cook and have a real passion for it, but it seems that no one sees that. What should I do. I really want to be a chef and the best I can be, but this is a career change for me and I am in my 50's and struggling to do this dream.... any suggestion would help right now.

post #3 of 8
To be perfectly frank, someone in their fifties is past the point of diminishing returns for high volume work. But not just for them; for you too. I don't know anything about you or your work habits, so I won't comment on that at all. But working a busy hot line leaves one drained and tired and there is definately minimal creativity involved.
I'm guessing you're applying for management jobs?
Or cook jobs?
Have you tried catering companies, restaurants with banquet rooms, or hotel banquet programs? Your experience in institutional cooking might translate better there.
There's also deli counters, places like that.
To respond to a couple of questions, don't take it too hard that you didn't get the jobs. You probably won't get much of a response if you ask why but you can try. A lot of places don't really check refrences, because they can't really say anything, and no one would put a bad one. If you want high volume exprrience, find out what seasonal places are in your area, if they are busy enough they will hire almost anyone(no offense!) and constantly lose people through attrition. Small restaurants, especially diners mean usually only one or two cooks; these jobs can be harder than a station on the line at times.
Anyway, good luck!
post #4 of 8

Have you been talking to chefs or human resources people at the interviews? I would think your best bet would be to talk directly to chefs, if at all possible. Also have you checked with restaurants about the possible of staging? Besides the obvious, stages are also a great way to open up possibilities by getting your name out there in the local chef network.



Originally Posted by Grande View Post

To be perfectly frank, someone in their fifties is past the point of diminishing returns for high volume work.

Gee, I didn't realize this about myself, thanks for enlightening me. I am in my sixties now (and still pumping it out) but in my fifties as a working chef, part of my duties included working the line on a nightly basis. Somehow, I managed to keep up. Also despite my advancing years, I always managed to stay employed, in fact jobs usually found me. I guess I was lucky that owners viewed me as experienced rather than old. :)

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #5 of 8
You've got my sincere apologies to yourself, cheflayne, but you are a chef with probably a lifetime of experience; the OP is not in that situation and is talking about going INTO a situation where he would be training in this situation. I
Things an experienced cook does without thinking he still has to learn.
I've worked for "very experienced" chefs myself and have no complaints about them. I just think given what the OP said, given what I know about restaurant work(and the entry-level money, both hourly and salary), and given my own high volume experience, that its not a move that would benefit him. My 2¢ chef!
post #6 of 8

No apologies needed, I am too cantankerous to be bothered, actually kinda humored and just had to speak up for my team LOL.


Natpag is not going to know if the move is going to benefit her unless she does it. I applaud her. Basically she is looking for advice on how to go about it. I already threw out my 2¢ on that.


Natasha, this thread is a perfect example of how different people perceive things differently. You just need to have faith that you will find your fit in the job market. It is out there, just keep trying. There are plenty of people that will give you a shot, you just haven't found them yet.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #7 of 8
You're more experienced than me, but more optomistic; I guess that makes you the realist and me the cynic! To be honest, you're last bit of advice is the best yet; when I"ve applied for jobs and not gotten them, I always heard something later that made me glad I didn't get it. And the jobs I did get, while none lasted forever, were all "right" when I got them. As sous in a couple of very busy & VERY seasonal places, I saw a lot of people come and go and employees in general were not treated as valuable commodities; my thoughts on looking for work were probably heavily colored by those experiences.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

thanks for the advice. I believe it doesn't matter how old you are... if you have the experience and the skills, there is a place for you. I have alot of experience and skills, but not in restaurants where the pace is faster and the volume higher. I have been an institional cook, where we have set meal times and a daily menu.  And just to let every one know... I can run circles around most younger cooks because of my age.... the organization and time management I have that they haven't developed

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