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Career questions?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello Chefs,

 

Need some advice on the industry since all I really know is restaurants and hotels.  I have two young children who I want to see grow up and spend holidays with, see them do whatever activities they choose, you know have a "normal life".  I've given up the goals of running a high end kitchen in a restaurant because of wanting to be around for my family.  My wife and I are done moving and want to settle down close to family and build some roots.

 

So soon I want to transition into a day chef job. If you have any experience in any of these types of places please give me your experiences.  Some types of places I was thinking were hospitals, unassisted living facilty(i've heard there's some nicer ones), corporate dining, schools, country clubs, universities.  You get the idea.  So my questions are what are the easier places maybe to get my foot in the door coming from a completey different area of the industry?  What companies are better than others?  What places give you the most creativity if any?  What have the best hours?  And so on.  Any specifics are appreciated.

 

Thanks!!

 

Jason


Edited by ChefJasonB - 2/2/15 at 11:50pm
post #2 of 7

There are plenty of head chefs who work relatively normal hours, something like 9am-6pm or so. The key is having a well organized system set in place and sous-chef's you know and trust that can implement your vision.

post #3 of 7

There are a lot of options for chefs that would like to "normalize" work hours. Look at retirement homes. Many feature upscale cuisine and search for cooks and chefs with restaurant experience. The so-called business and industry segment (employee dining rooms) is also an option, as are any number of institutions.

 

Also look at year-round camps. Many feature small groups and conferences during the off season. You work like crazy during the summer camp season, then things slow down in the fall. Don't expect a summer vacation as you'll have plenty of time later in the year. Many of my chef friends work in Christian camping. A lot of camps provide on-site housing for leadership.

 

I worked in prisons for 22 years and now enjoy a retirement. There's not a lot of glamour in prison cuisine, but it paid the bills and allowed me spend evenings, weekends and most holidays with family. One of the reasons that I retired was to get back into "real" food. I now work at a summer camp 4 months each year. Last fall I returned to an old job at a drug and alcohol recovery home. They are letting me return in the fall after my third season at the camp.

 

Steven

Executive chef

Oakland Feather River Camp

post #4 of 7

There can be several avenues you can take depending on where you live. I'm a believer in the private (golf) club environment . If you live in a colder climate, summers are an ass kicking. If you live in the Southern Mid Western states, Summers are a little slower than spring and fall. Although many are fading with age, Private city clubs are where its at. They usually showcase food as their draw and come with a wealthy membership. Winter is usually the busier season and summers give a little time for a life.  As others have mentioned, High end senior living communities are a very wise choice. Do your research though.... There is plenty of opportunity out there. Just keep in mind that You, Me and thousands of other qualified Chefs are after said job. Keep your resume strong and you will succeed. IMO...

post #5 of 7

With your knowledge and experience you could go anywhere.

Your fine dining experience may make job hunting difficult as you will find yourself over qualified for anything less.

You'll have to compromise what you want with what you can do.

 

The right fit is what you're looking for.

If your experience is more restaurant and hotel, as you say, will you be happy working in a college food service kitchen or a  hospital setting, where you make ground beef and macaroni casserole 4 different ways?

 

Country clubs can be tricky as they are governed by politics. Even with them, you will be working into the night, especially in the summer months.

Retirement places can be lucrative, but you need to do your homework to find the right fit.

 

I have worked in college food service, golf courses, hospitals, and corporate food service. PM me if I can be of any further assistance.

post #6 of 7
I was a corporate chef at a college and I think it would be a good fit for you. We also did outside work like catering that brought the fine dining aspect to it.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefflahertycec View Post

There can be several avenues you can take depending on where you live. I'm a believer in the private (golf) club environment . If you live in a colder climate, summers are an ass kicking. If you live in the Southern Mid Western states, Summers are a little slower than spring and fall. Although many are fading with age, Private city clubs are where its at. They usually showcase food as their draw and come with a wealthy membership. Winter is usually the busier season and summers give a little time for a life.  As others have mentioned, High end senior living communities are a very wise choice. Do your research though.... There is plenty of opportunity out there. Just keep in mind that You, Me and thousands of other qualified Chefs are after said job. Keep your resume strong and you will succeed. IMO...
I live in Florida so there's a ton of clubs. It's just not my background. I've applied to many club chef jobs and have not got past the 1st interview on only 2 occasions. I would have no problem moving to down to a sous position to get my foot in the door, but i couldn't swing the pay cut. Sounds like schoold or hospitals will be my starting point, Thanks.
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