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Advice for culinary students from a professional chef

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I have seen a few post and on occasion have been asked the timeless question " what advice would you give to a young cook"? And I want give my personal advice to those who desire an answer... The short version lol

First make sure this is what you want to do .. The saying " blood , sweat & tears " really does apply to those wanting become chef this field by no means is a walk in the park , early mornings and late nights if you can't handle being on your feet 12+ hours without complaining maybe you should reconsider..

To my culinary student who have the passion ... Find a creditable restaurant and wash dishes until your hands fall off .. Dish washing is not just hard work but it teaches multi-tasking.. Work hard and show the chef that and when you get on the line work harder then any one else .. I could go on and on but I hope this helped someone
post #2 of 3

I personally love the work and couldn't think of doing anything else. It is hard and sometimes dirty cleaning and time consuming, but it is where my passion is and in the end it is worth the hard climb to be able to do a good job, provide a good service and feel like you've accomplished something. Thanks for the advice.

post #3 of 3

I am no chef or culinary grad (yet), btw I will just say do not mess around with who you work for.  The wrong people will bone you.  If they do not respect the trade or food as much as money, they usually could care less about being a solid reference farther down the road when you need it, because owners and management like that are all about what you are doing for them right now.  Always keep the bigger picture in your head.  The older you get, the more bad moves, no matter how well-intentioned on your part, can paint you into a corner.  Try harder to get better jobs, don't take what falls in your lap and run with it and keep it if it does not build you up professionally.  If you are serious about this line of work and your career, make smart moves, and match yourself with the people who recognize, share and feed your passion for cooking.  Some of my best references were low paying demanding jobs, some of my worst were high paying, demanding, but did not feed the soul and resume.  If someone is reasonably not respectable or deceptive, get out as intelligently and quickly as you can.  If you keep that job too long it is hard to explain a solid resume with a gap or short lived experience, aka, harder to look good and be honest, which you should always be.  It is not fun explaining why you are leaving a job 3 months in to a prospective employer.  I've learned the signs and red flags the hard way.  Do not ever let someone pay you under the table and always fill out paperwork before you work.  It covers your arse.  If it is a small side gig, maybe, I advise against it, but make them pay in cash at the end of every shift until you are on the books.  I got roped into a 2 week "trial" and got stiffed hard on week two when these guys were taking money out of the drawer to go buy more produce throughout the day and had no money.  Come Friday they had no money to pay as promised and were cutting hours.  The hassle in legally rectifying this stuff is not worth the risk.  They were gone quick thanks to karma, but I was left holding the bag.  Avoid bad chefs who complain to you about staffing problems in an interview.  If they're this unprofessional and can't keep their dirty laundry behind closed doors, they probably have bad people skills and aren't effective managers.  These are the people that will not develop you but will also have high expectations you will never meet because they cannot clearly articulate them to you.  If they obviously do not understand that people may be responding to their leadership, they will not be worth your time.  The better employers will clearly communicate high expectations, and offer you help to get there.  They reward your dedication and passion, not abuse it.


Hope this helps, take care.

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