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where to advance my career?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Im a new line cook, about a year in the field, no culinary school, but all of my chefs have remarked that i pick it up quickly and have abilities beyond what my time cooking suggests. My question is what are the best cities to go to advance my career other than the obvious new york or chicago. Thanks
post #2 of 19

N'awlins! Where are you located now? Portland is my next port of call, hopefully.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Currently in Charlotte NC, ive been thinking about Portland a lot lately. Up and coming culinary scene, great farming/quality of ingredients, im otiginaly from northern California so its an environment i feel comfortabl in. Thanks for the feedback!
post #4 of 19

I could name places all over the country.  It really all depends on where you would like to find yourself.  If you want to stay in the Southeast, then definitely check out Atlanta (I worked there for 5 years), or Savannah, although it might be harder to find a job in a great place there.  But they have plenty of great restaurants.  I would also make a plug for Chicago.  It's a large city, but doesn't feel like it, at least to me.  I was there for 4 years and loved it.  Also, look at Milwaukee.  5 years ago I would have never suggested it, but recently the food scene there has exploded.  Madison, WI is a very small city but the word is that there are 3 chefs in town all being considered for nominations for the James Beard Awards this year.  It's a college town and very liberal, so if you like that, it is worth checking out.  Back down South, there's always New Orleans.  Again, another place I did some time in.  But I'd also consider a few places in Texas, especially Austin or Houston.

 

Honestly, there are very few primary and secondary markets that wouldn't work for you.  All cities and most major towns have, at least, a couple of great places, although if you are trying to build a major reputation there are a few places that I would probably avoid, but even then, if you can get into the "right" place in those places it is a good resume builder.

post #5 of 19

Just an FYI, because Portland OR. has 2 culinary schools the local market is constantly flooded with cooks, many who may not be as talented as you.

You will need to set yourself apart in some way.

Not being a graduate of the local schools will help, most Chefs in that area cringe when they see a local culinary graduate with little to no experience listed.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Jim View Post
 

Just an FYI, because Portland OR. has 2 culinary schools the local market is constantly flooded with cooks, many who may not be as talented as you.

You will need to set yourself apart in some way.

Not being a graduate of the local schools will help, most Chefs in that area cringe when they see a local culinary graduate with little to no experience listed.

 

Thanks for the heads up on that. If I head there I'll probably take whatever job I can for the meantime while I scope out the market. Also I might start by moving to the PNW via Seattle as my brother lives there and I don't know much about the cost of living up there for my lifestyle.  

post #7 of 19

Rent is getting pretty expensive in Portland. $700+ for a room in a central part of town, and at least 1k for an apartment. 

post #8 of 19

  $700 for a room is average in metro New Orleans, but rent is skyrocketing here fast because all the blighted properties are being bought by the wealthy to convert into luxury housing. Soon enough, the tourist's will be buying daiquiri's and hurricanes from street corner vending machines instead of bartenders, WiFi enabled souvenir cup included. (JK. Though I did see a WiFi enabled hot water heater in passing at home depot yesterday :confused: "My hot water heater has a Facebook son!:lol:)

post #9 of 19

You can take what you learned in Nola and bring it to the PNW. I stop at a Cajun restaurant In Portland, Oregon for soft-shell crab and BBQ shrimp with crusty bread to mop up the plate. Portland, has a open and free feel to it. The city is open to all ideas and could be a fun place to Chef for a person with a good creative mind. If I had the choice I would pick Portland for that reason. Seattle is more of a stuffy feel to it. The cities are only 200 miles from each other but and completely different. Seattle may be different because Microsoft has been there for years, so that brings money.  Seattle just broke it's old record for rain fall. So if you pick either of these cities be ready for a lot of gloomy days. When the Sun does come out there is no place better. The mountains look like they come out and grab you. Good things about both places are easy outs to mountains and hiking trails. Portland is a short hop over to the Coast with Seattle having puget sound and Lake Washington. 

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewOrleansCookJ 

 $700 for a room is average in metro New Orleans, but rent is skyrocketing here fast because all the blighted properties are being bought by the wealthy to convert into luxury housing. Soon enough, the tourist's will be buying daiquiri's and hurricanes from street corner vending machines instead of bartenders, WiFi enabled souvenir cup included. (JK. Though I did see a WiFi enabled hot water heater in passing at home depot yesterday :confused: "My hot water heater has a Facebook son!:lol:)

 

I hate to hear that but it is time to bring her (NOLA) back.

We used to visit regularly and enjoyed some of the most beautiful and historic hotels (thank you Priceline) down in the quarter and garden district.

Have been back only twice for cruises and the feel to me was totally different.

I used to think nothing about walking the river while the hubs slept in....now I wouldn't go anywhere by myself.

Hopefully this punch of cash will be just what the (witch) doctor ordered.

 

mimi


Edited by flipflopgirl - 2/22/16 at 7:40am
post #11 of 19

Thanks @ChefBillyB and @flipflopgirl, I feel its time for me to get outta here because its commercializing so fast its losing its old world charm, turning into more of a vibe like Vegas than I care for. Portland was pretty cool to visit , circumstances why I was stuck there a day aside. Really enjoyed a beautiful day, there were concerts in the plazas, I hit that street with all the little food cart stands and had some really good and affordable food. Getting around the city was very easy and even though I only stopped in for drinks, the restaurants and menus were alive, new, and exciting. I've never decided on a move to a unfamiliar city where I don't know anyone, how much money I need to save is a really big question in my head. I am in a good position to do that for a few months though.


Edited by NewOrleansCookJ - 2/22/16 at 8:35am
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewOrleansCookJ View Post
 

Thanks @ChefBillyB and @flipflopgirl, I feel its time for me to get outta here because its commercializing so fast its losing its old world charm, turning into more of a vibe like Vegas than I care for. Portland was pretty cool to visit , circumstances why I was stuck a day aside. really enjoyed a beautiful day, there were concerts in the plazas, I hit that street with all the little food cart stands and had some really good and affordable food. Getting around the city was very easy and even though I only stopped in for drinks, the restaurant and menus were alive new and exciting. I've never decided on a move to a unfamiliar city where I don't know anyone, how much money I need to save is a really big question in my head. I am in a good position to do that for a few months though.


If you send out some resumes I bet you would get a few bites. I think in either city they would welcome your experience coming for Nola. I think it was just a matter of time before living in Nola would lose it's charm. Leave with the memory of the old Nola because it can never be replicated. I felt the same when I left Hawaii years ago. It was less about the real Hawaii and more about just building high rises. I'm happy to have started my career there but it's hard to go back. My Son went to Culinary school and loved the city. I love the city when I stop in it when I travel over to the Coast. It's a easy city to be accepted in and when you work in this business it's easy to make friends. Most people will have roommates to ease the rent obligation. It would be good to put some resumes out there and see what happens. If a Chef likes what they see they will always find room to improve their staff...

post #13 of 19

And always remember..........Keep Portland Weird as the saying goes.

post #14 of 19
Quote:

Originally Posted by NewOrleansCookJ View Post

 

 I've never decided on a move to a unfamiliar city where I don't know anyone, how much money I need to save is a really big question in my head. I am in a good position to do that for a few months though.

 

Do it.

I moved to Dallas from small town Texas as soon as I graduated HS.

Then when you get really old you will have lots of great stories to tell your kids.

My daughter loves to repeat stuff to her friends.."Really?  ZZTop?  My mom once......"

 

mimi

post #15 of 19
You should consider Kansas City. Lots of recent Beard winners and nominees, along with other national award winners. Instead of moving to the bigger cities, they've all hung around and opened restaurants. The cost of living here is low, and the city is surrounded by farms, so not only do you have an abundance of great, seasonal ingredients, but they're cheap too. Which also means you can afford to occasionally eat in a Beard Award winner's restaurant on a cook's salary.

We also have a culinary school with national recognition that has been running circles around CIA, JW and LCB for years in ACF competitions. The apprenticeship requirements are harder, the program longer, and the curriculum includes learning how to grow food as well as cook it.

Kansas City has it going on.

Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

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Brandon O'Dell

 

Friend That Cooks Home Chef Service

www.friendthatcooks.com

O'Dell Restaurant Consulting

www.bodellconsulting.com

 

Reply
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon ODell View Post

You should consider Kansas City. Lots of recent Beard winners and nominees, along with other national award winners. Instead of moving to the bigger cities, they've all hung around and opened restaurants. The cost of living here is low, and the city is surrounded by farms, so not only do you have an abundance of great, seasonal ingredients, but they're cheap too. Which also means you can afford to occasionally eat in a Beard Award winner's restaurant on a cook's salary.

We also have a culinary school with national recognition that has been running circles around CIA, JW and LCB for years in ACF competitions. The apprenticeship requirements are harder, the program longer, and the curriculum includes learning how to grow food as well as cook it.

Kansas City has it going on.

 

Kansas City has always been underrated as far as I'm concerned.  From my history with it, I've found that while it might not be quite as diverse as other cities and the food scene is definitely smaller, there are a lot of really good places there, and you're right about the number of chefs that have been receiving awards there recently.  I almost moved there when I left Chicago. 

post #17 of 19
Surprised no one has mentioned Boston so far. It's not New York but the high end dining scene has really amped up the last 12 years or so. Clio just recently closed but Craigie on Main, No. 9 Park, O Ya, L'espalier (back on track under the new ownership) and Menton bring some pretty serious tasting menus and kitchen standards. There's a million other kitchens that are bringing a lot of legitimacy to Boston's restaurant scene. Cost of living is HIGH in Boston, I think it's 3rd or 4th in the country behind NYC and San Francisco in costs of living. City is great and progressive, lots of nightlife and places to visit.
post #18 of 19
I lived in Charlotte for a spell and worked at a restaurant there while in school but the food scene has not caught up with the city. Atlanta is a nice food city and its only a three hour drive away. Nashville, Asheville and charleston are all great food cities. Wherever you go will have somewhere you can advance your skills and knowledge. This industry is a passport to every city in the world. It can take you anywhere. Example, im moving back to Norway in two months.
post #19 of 19
Don't want to hijack the thread asking about a new city, but is anyone in Denver or nearby suburbs? Has business been affected much by lower natural gas and crude prices leading companies to lay employees off? I think the area's economy has diversified quite a bit, much like Houston, but it's been along time since I was there so might be wrong.
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