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I think the main difference is that a professional cook needs to be able to exactly reproduce a recipe.
An amateur or home cook doesn't have to.
Skill set of a regular cook will provably be better as everything that you do often enough becomes a routine.
 

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The person is what they make of themselves.

I've had people who can't make the same recipe the same way twice. I've had others who become proficient at making things but when it came time for independent thought about making food were lost like last years Easter egg.
Conversely I've seen amateurs go both ways in a setting from literally turning in circles to getting after it and getting it done well. And usually IF the amateur will accept a bit of guidance they can be every bit of the professional. (Accepting the guidance is usually their most difficult task)

I've been at it for decades...I'm still always trying to improve and do new things. Invent new recipes and flavor combinations. I also have had businesses to run and operate for profit...meaning that I have a narrow menu selection to choose from. So I don't get to try to sell everything. It's a stretch to try to sell pot roast in a bakery. Not that you cant....but it's a real stretch to pull it off.
 

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Enthusiasm, and motivation are both inherent traits. They can't be taught. Either you have it or you don't.
Some have it in varying degrees and call it "passion." Passion for something doesn't always translate into a good job work ethic.
There are pro's as JohnBD said who, when taken from their comfort, zone fall apart.
Then there are those who can walk into any situation and simply take over.
I don't believe a difference exists between the amateur and the pro. 50 years of dealing with people has been an eye opening adventure.
 

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How good are the high level enthusiastic amateur compared to a regular cook in your guys view? Im just curious where the level is
Being a good cook requires much more than enthusiasm. I know 'enthusiastic' cooks that own a beautiful collection of enameled cast iron Staub pans that sit unused in their kitchens, but want everyone to know they own them. (You often find the Staub pans placed near the enormous knife block with a collection of matching and oh-so-pretty dull unsharpened knives and a steel that has never been used.)

What I appreciate about cooks, amateur and professional, is the sincere intrigue in thinking about their cooking, a confidence to experiment, and an appreciation and strong respect for the cooking of others. Best of all, the desire to learn more about ingredients and interesting combinations. The passion to try new cuisine when traveling.

Enthusiasm out of a love of cooking and food is one thing. Enthusiasm that manifests itself as arrogance is a completely different thing. I have a family member that literally pulls out a recipe to make scrambled eggs but publicly chastises you if you select the wrong wine glasses (which are conveniently located near a large collection of dull knives).

I love food. I love to cook. I am inspired by others. But, one thing I have going for me is I'm usually only cooking for myself and sometimes a few family members and/or friends. This means I can get away with a lot! I can try something new . . . which I frequently do. If I make something unsuccessful (but, hopefully still edible), I don't worry they won't return. I don't face the pressures a professional chef confronts on a regular basis of coming up with something innovative to put on a menu that will have diners hankering to order it again and again.
 

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To me, the telling factor would be the reaction to being presented with a mystery basket of ingredients and being told to make something utilizing all the ingredients.
A high level enthusiastic amateur will be excited at the prospect and jump right in; with a can't wait attitude.
A regular cook, not so much. I would expect some hemming, hawing, wheel spinning, and floundering; before action begins with a somewhat begrudging attitude.
 

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To me, the telling factor would be the reaction to being presented with a mystery basket of ingredients and being told to make something utilizing all the ingredients.
A high level enthusiastic amateur will be excited at the prospect and jump right in; with a can't wait attitude.
A regular cook, not so much. I would expect some hemming, hawing, wheel spinning, and floundering; before action begins with a somewhat begrudging attitude.
I find they've already made their decision before they present any type of test.
They know all they need to know to make a decision if you have a resume.
... good jobs I usually got hired on the spot.

Proper training, common sense, neatness, speed, sufficient humility to jump in the sink when needed, these are the traits of a valuable pro.

Reality TV cooking show, eh.. maybe not so much.
 

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What’s the difference between a professional cook and an non professional? Nothing to do with passion, enthusias, nothing to do with cooking skills— I know of several home cooks who can out- cook, out-bake, and out-meat fabricate myself.

So what’s the dinference?

O.k., you‘re at you Gran’s, your Aunt’s, your best friend’s for Thanksgiving dinner. After coffee, do they hand you a bill and the credit card machine?

A professional plies his/ her trade for a living, not a hobby, that’s the only differenc.
 

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What’s the difference between a professional cook and an non professional? Nothing to do with passion, enthusias, nothing to do with cooking skills— I know of several home cooks who can out- cook, out-bake, and out-meat fabricate myself.

So what’s the dinference?

O.k., you‘re at you Gran’s, your Aunt’s, your best friend’s for Thanksgiving dinner. After coffee, do they hand you a bill and the credit card machine?

A professional plies his/ her trade for a living, not a hobby, that’s the only differenc.
heres another difference, the last thanksgiving I worked we had 800 reservations.
100 pies, 60 cakes, 900 petite fours plus had to make another 600 on the fly.
Could they have done that at home, probably and I wish they did, it was brutal with no assistant.
 

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What’s the difference between a professional cook and an non professional?
To me it wasn't quite clear if this was what was being asked or if "What's the difference between a high level home cook and a regular home cook?" was the question.
I kinda sorta geared my previous answer to the second question, as the first question is like comparing apples and oranges
 

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heres another difference, the last thanksgiving I worked we had 800 reservations.
100 pies, 60 cakes, 900 petite fours plus had to make another 600 on the fly.
Could they have done that at home, probably and I wish they did, it was brutal with no assistant.
I don't even want to remember all the holidays I worked instead of spending time with family and friends....
I love kitchen work...but I ALWAYS hated working holidays. It was always half of a skeleton crew that gets overloaded with work for the dining room....dishwashers don't show up, cooks don't show, and you end up working extra long and extra hard for the same pay...and you don't get to see your family or friends.
 

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I don't even want to remember all the holidays I worked instead of spending time with family and friends....
I love kitchen work...but I ALWAYS hated working holidays. It was always half of a skeleton crew that gets overloaded with work for the dining room....dishwashers don't show up, cooks don't show, and you end up working extra long and extra hard for the same pay...and you don't get to see your family or friends.
bad memories, christmas in a bakery with the logs of doom.
 

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The person is what they make of themselves.
Not if that person is an employee and following orders (and that could indeed include the head chef). They may find them selfs in a one size fits all "meet two veg, butlins holiday camp" style, a couple of step up from prepairing ready meals in a factory

And usually IF the amateur will accept a bit of guidance they can be every bit of the professional. (Accepting the guidance is usually their most difficult task)
This is all to do with ego and self presivation (thining that you are the best, seen it all in the music job before) example, my yorkshire pudding at the best (but they came pre packed out the frezer though)

It's a stretch to try to sell pot roast in a bakery. Not that you cant....but it's a real stretch to pull it off.
You could allways try making a wrap out of the pot roast for christmans/ thanks giving coming up (so long as it dont make pastary soggy)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
There are many very interesting answers here. I meant in terms of skill level, and what someone can actually manage to put on the plate.

Consistency is a word many use here. I mean how hard is consitency? For me personally ive always managed to get consistence results after some practice and studying.

I know of several home cooks who can out- cook, out-bake, and out-meat fabricate myself.
Why do you guys think that is? Wouldnt a pro have quite the advantage considering how many hours a pro spends with the ingredients
 

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I mean how hard is consitency?
If you are working saute station for example and a dish comes with a beurre rouge made to order and over the course of the evening you get 35 orders along with orders for 65 other items, all with sauces to order, and every one of those 100 orders plus 100 sauces has a sense of urgency to it as in the customer wanted it yesterday...consistency is making sure that the first beurre rouge of the evening is exactly the same as the last beurre rouge of the evening.
 

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How hard is consistency?
As hard as it is to get consistent ingredients, consistent equipment, consistent time to fabricate the same item, and of course, consistent ambient temperature and humidity.
 

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I had to go back and re-read the OP.
What's the difference between a regular cook and a highly enthusiastic amateur?
Nowhere was the word professional used.
You are assuming that a "regular" cook is a pro.
With enthusiasm, a Chef could train and re-teach an amateur. Re-training a regular cook, as retired baker mused, is difficult. Unlearning bad habits and relearning good is hard.
You can't teach enthusiasm or motivation. Either you have it inbred, or you don't.
 
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