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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.
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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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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