I'm curious on peoples opinions on making cooking their career. And seeking advice on ways to succeed and have a fun career with it. I've worked in kitchens for a few years now and have worked my way up to being a line cook. Lately i've been thinking instead of continuing in college (university not culinary) I should just focus on cooking. I'm good at it, I already have experience in it and I really enjoy learning everything. I love the team aspect and making it through the rush. I'm happy when people like my food and I think it would be awesome to help decide what goes on a menu. And honestly college is expensive and I don't really know what to do.
so i have a few questions if anyone would like to answer any. and really im just curious about how you made it, things you wish you'd done differently, things you did well, expectations to have etc?
1) Signs of bad work places? Signs of a good workplace?
I recently had a few interviews and one restaurant said they might have me do a working interview if it wasn't busy, and it'd take maybe an hour. Well for my working interview I was thrown into the dinner rush. I ran the fryer which was easy enough, but no one really gave me any instruction/training. I thought it was strange they didn't call out tickets and the chef didn't talk to me until I asked when I could go (2.5 hrs later). Then he said he was gonna have me stay until closing, and I had the job. I decided not to take the job, because I thought it was kind of unprofessional. Is that common? or was I right in thinking it may not be a good place to work? What else do you look for?
I decided to take a job a small Italian place. The chef there was super enthusiastic. He was really happy he got to design the menu and said he loved to teach, which made me want to work for him. He said he looks to hire people with passion and works on having a well rounded crew. So i'm hoping it's as good as it sounds.
2) Would culinary school be beneficial?
I've been considering doing the culinary program at my local tech school for extra credentials. I was thinking since I already know how to work in a restaurant, it could be beneficial.
My other plan was to apply at places that make food i'm most interested in, and learn that way. Do you think I have less of a shot of getting a good job, because I didn't go to college? Or do you think culinary school is a waste of money?
I've heard of apprentices but i have no idea how to get one.
3) At any point does the pay get better or start to get benefits?
I'm most intimidated by the idea of burning out. Never having a weekend off and 60 hr work weeks. Or never making it and being 40 and making $12/hr.
Have you every worked at a place with some weekends off? Or vacation time? Made a menu? What kind of places pay well? I don't really care about making a ton of money, I just want to be stable. I'm pretty low maintenance. Pay my bills and have a little extra, is that achievable?
4) How do you deal with stress? When you're in the weeds how do you stay calm.. do you destress after work?
5) I've been thinking in a way to avoid late nights, that I could get really good at breakfast. And apply at a breakfast joint. I think I might enjoy subjecting to early mornings instead of late nights.
Are there any pros/cons to working breakfast vs lunch vs dinner?
6) Is there anywhere you would move to get good experience?
7)What types of jobs have you had? What kind are available? IE; working on ships, cruises, casino, personal chef, traveling chef, institute etc.