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After culinary school

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm an aspiring chef almost done with high school. So once you become a certified chef what steps or qualifications does one take to become an executive chef or the assistant? And how much experience is needed? . Thank you in advance.
post #2 of 5

Well, seeing as how no one answered your question, I'll do my best.

 

First, congratulations on finishing high school.  It's a great first step!

 

As far as certified chef etc.  There are some certifications one can get from say the American Culinary Federation, but from what I've seen those are usually pursued by chef-instructors or people hoping to run giant operations.  For your average restaurant you won't find anyone, including the head chef's actually holding one of these.

 

Culinary school is a good choice for learning fundamentals and getting a degree or certificate that can open doors.  The advantages are that you learn classic technique and a variety of cooking styles (though you won't master any of them.)  You'll also have a piece of paper with your name on it that can open doors to internships/externships and many schools have job placement opportunities.  The disadvantage is they can be terribly expensive!  You can spend 20-30k plus on your education to land yourself an entry level pantry cook job for minimum wage.  Oh boy!

Should you go to school, do your research!  There are a lot of schools out there that while I won't say they scam students, they cost a lot with questionable results.  When I picked my school I had three prerequisites, 1 it had to be a non profit school, I wanted my tuition to be reinvested into the program not going to shareholders, 2 it had to be a real degree.  If I was going to spend the time/money I wanted a real college degree (learn about who accredits the program and look for regionally accredited (not nationally), 3 the school had to be well regarded in the industry.  For me I focused on Johnson and Wales, Culinary Institute of America, and New England Culinary Institute.  (I chose JWU because I felt it had a stronger business program and I'm interested in going a more management route.)

Those were just my preferences.  I've met great cooks and chef's that went to some of the bigger culinary chains ie Le Cordon Bleu (which is closing its doors), but that didn't work for me because I wanted a degree which they didn't offer.  Also, if you choose to go to school and money is an issue look at community colleges, there are some really good community college cooking programs and they will cost a small fraction of what a private school costs!

Another way to go about it is to start knocking on doors at restaurants.  Trying to get a job as a dishwasher or prep cook and hopefully find a chef who will mentor you with on the job training.  While this won't earn you a degree/certificate it's a lot less expensive and many great chefs got into the business that way.

Now, what would I do if I were you at your age?  I'd join the Coast Guard and tell the recruiter I wanted to become a Food Service Specialist.  The military is always hurting for cooks and often give signing bonuses.  The reason I say Coast Guard is because the service is so small it allows a lot of opportunities to do different jobs both inside and outside the kitchen.  Also if you're a good cook at a small unit you pretty much walk on water.

Then after four years of Coast Guard, I'd use the Post 911 GI Bill and go to CIA or JWU to get my degree.  Both schools offer accelerated programs for military cooks and with the yellow ribbon program it will pay 100 percent of tuition and give a living stipend!  Then once school was done I'd spend some time in Europe (having of course saved as much money as I could when I was in the military) and stage at different restaurants.  I'd have work experience, military experience, education, and then some time bumming around Europe.

Ah....20/20 hindsight.  To be 18 again.

post #3 of 5

Hello,

I'm thinking of going to a culinary school (HRC) in Europe as a non-EU applicant. The program takes 2 years and includes 2 internships in Europe and US. The cost of program for 2 years is at least €12000. I will use bank loan for this purpose but I have to pay it back within 1-2 years after graduation. I used to thin US can be good destination but after reviewing forums on some websites it seems that freshers are paid very bad. Therefore, I think Berlin, Zurich and Brussels can be better places. I have also learnt a little German and I can improve it. So, do you think it is a realistic anticipation to find a job immediately in these cities after graduation and be able to pay back this amount?

 

Many thanks,

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yase View Post
 

Hello,

I'm thinking of going to a culinary school (HRC) in Europe as a non-EU applicant ,.. I used to thin US can be good destination but after reviewing forums on some websites it seems that freshers are paid very bad. Therefore, I think Berlin, Zurich and Brussels can be better places. I have also learnt a little German and I can improve it. So, do you think it is a realistic anticipation to find a job immediately in these cities after graduation and be able to pay back this amount?

 

Many thanks,

 

The ability to communicate with your coworkers will be really important if you want to work in Germany (or any other country where English is not the native language). 

 

I have worked abroad, though not in the food service industry. 

 

If you want to work in Germany, you will first need legal residency. You will not be able to work in Germany without legal residency. 

 

Since you are not a citizen of an EU country, you will need to apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) after which you will have to visit the  Resident Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) to register your new address. You will need the following documents: passport, proof of health insurance coverage, a bank statement showing that you have enough funds to support yourself, and confirmation of your city of residence in Germany. The typical residence permit is good for one year and may be renewed.  

 

If you start this application process in Germany, the applciation process for residency will take about 6 weeks. If you do this from outside Germany, it will take about 12 weeks for your applicaotin to be processed. 

 

Although residence permits are relatively easy to get, be aware that the infusion of refugees has inflamed xenophobia and social tensions are high. One concern shared by government officials is that people are moving to Germany to take advantage of their social welfare system instead of working to contribute to the country's economy. You should not have a problem if you have a valid contract and work visa. 

 

post #5 of 5

Buckrogerspdx.....

 

Quote "As far as certified chef etc.  There are some certifications one can get from say the American Culinary Federation, but from what I've seen those are usually pursued by chef-instructors or people hoping to run giant operations.  For your average restaurant you won't find anyone, including the head chef's actually holding one of these.

 

Culinary school is a good choice for learning fundamentals and getting a degree or certificate that can open doors.  The advantages are that you learn classic technique and a variety of cooking styles (though you won't master any of them.)  You'll also have a piece of paper with your name on it that can open doors to internships/externships and many schools have job placement opportunities.  The disadvantage is they can be terribly expensive!  You can spend 20-30k plus on your education to land yourself an entry level pantry cook job for minimum wage.  Oh boy!"

 

 

 

Perhaps you are not aware of how much the ACF (American Culinary Association) has changed over the years.

 

Many corporations utilize ACF accredited Chefs. Some restaurants use the fact that they have a certified Chef as a marketing tool for their business.

Some places won't hire cooks unless they have at least the minimum accredited title.....I believe that would be certified culinarian or cook.

 

So to say that the program is more for chef-instructors or people running giant operations is inaccurate.

 

 

Also, the divide between going to school or working for the education will continue forever.

It is purely subjective.

Some people are best at learning in a classroom atmosphere while others need more one on one training through hands on experience.

 

Oh............and that piece of paper with your name on it that will open doors to internships and externships...good luck with that.

 

It's not worth the ink and paper used to make it.

Resumes will only get you an interview, if your lucky.

Your skills, and experience is what this industry is all about.

 

 

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