a bit of a notice to all newbies to the culinary world

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Joined Nov 13, 2003
just a little thing that most folks in this feild already know. for all of you folks just starting up be prepared this is a dog eat dog buisness full of compitition and back stabbing. if you are as passionate about this buisness as i am i am here to tell you.... work hard, when you think you have reached 110% give 110% more. be prepared for critisism and embrace it. never let someones opinion dishearten you. always give your absolute best even when your tired and hungover go that extra mile. if you have a love for food like me this will be the easy part. be prepared for a life of constant contridiction, loneliness, and self sacrifice. but remember its not the money, the fame that some of us get or the adoring crowds of "foodies" its the simple pleasure of knowing that you have put your heart and soul, and poured every bit of passion the you are able to relenquish into something that is ultimately "art bound for distruction". i just want to let all of those who follow the path i have chosen that michealangelo has a siteene chapple that will be imortilized for ever (or at least how long it stands) my lifes work and all the passion i have was just divoured by a hungry guest... :chef: WHATEVER YOU DO DONT LOOSE THE PASSION YOU STARTED WITH!!!!!!!! Keep that fire burning in your soul through all of the hard times and long nights. Keep the passion for food burning cause if you dont who will want to follow in your footsteps?
 
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Joined Apr 14, 2004
What a lovely post! I am an executive chef, have 74 employees and 12 satellite cafes- it is so inspiring to hear your words- I do give 220% every day and I must be doing something right, because I care so much about the business that I don't even realize that there is a nice paycheck that comes with all this stress when I am in the mix. As I said in another thread, food makes people happy, that makes me happy and that's what it is all about.

Kendra
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
Chef from Va, it is a good post, but I'm going to add to it, not to upset anyone or to disrespect ChefTalkCafe or the Food Service Industry. I love to cook good food for people, however I have ill feeling towards employers that want great cooks and chefs.
A person new to this line of work also need to be prepared to get lied to, asked to perform illegal tasks on a daily basis, work with illegal immirgrants, suck-up to seniors, turn into an alcoholic or drug user, end up in a hospital for exaustion from giving 110%, working 18 hours a day-7days a week. Getting laughed at from other professional career groups when you tell them your a cook or chef. Working with Chefs that cannot hang on a line. Getting your tools stolen. Vandalism to your vehicle. Working with some of the most fowlest mouth people, forced to use adulterated products to cut food cost, over-look sanitation practices, told to keep your mouth shut to keep your job, rasism, sexism,clicks,brown-nosers,nepatism. Using a microwave ovens way to much (ig, well done steak for example). watch other serving food that has been dropped on the floor or picking their nose, scratching whatever. Because that is the reality and if you manage to deal with some or most of these things, then you'll have the opportunity to learn alot about the art and science of culinary preperation that once masterd or at least well understood, NO-ONE can touch or take away from you.
So, don't forget about your passion to cook good food, but getting paid for it is another world.
 
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Joined Jul 30, 2004
Chef from VA....a beautiful post....and I have the same passion not only for the cooking...but for the "pleasing people" with that cooking. I hope you always have that in your soul.

A Linedog....perhaps you have never really been satisfied with what or where you are?
You seem to have had a really rough time on your way to wherever you are today. Newbies won't all go through times like that....although I'm sure it doesn't hurt to warn them that there are places out there like you described. But there are also the kitchens that are warm, friendly, laugh a lot, enjoy each other, no harder drugs than our coffee and cigarettes, no fouler mouths than maybe an "off-color blonde joke or two", we wash our hands a lot....and care about sanitation...and there's never been any vandalism in our parking lot.
However....I agree entirely that exhaustion is a possibility. We don't work the eighteens...but my husband and I have both worked the fourteens for four years with only 4 days off the entire time...and two of those were to remodel our kitchen.
I know...I know...you must be working for the "big guys" and I'm talking the "little guys"....
I'm truly sorry that our society may look down on you as a cook or chef...I've never had that experience as I've also always been the "owner".
But don't put down those microwaves...(although I'd never consider using them for a well done steak)....we have 8 of them in our 2 person kitchen. We've built a wonderful business cooking home-made and nuking later.
No one in our restaurant knows the home-made items were made "yesterday"....and you can't beat them to cook those home-made sauces and puddings without having to stand there and stir....
So newbies....take warning from A Linedog....but know there are places out there that can fulfill your every dream too....and if you can't find them in your area....start your own!
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
KAYLINDA, Thank you for replying and "Yes" there are great places to work for and every kitchen is not the nightmare I refered to just realities of the way our (yours and mine) world is today. I am satisfied with my skills and knowledge in any kitchen which is where I attained those valuble assets. Since Chef Talk Cafe was created to discuss all aspects of cooking I want to give all those new or thinking about joining a fair warning about their dreams, something I never had which is why I had to experience many things both negative and positive. I sincerely do not wish my personal experiences on anyone, but they are out there and these realities have happened to others as well. But thank you for your tempering of my post and nothing but the best wishes for you and your resturant!

To you new cooks and chefs:

Weather you are cooking for a lunch crowd of 200 alone, feeding 1200 for dinner with a crew, or plating-up 4000 in the Banquet room, cooking is fun, challenging, rewarding. Culinary Preperation is one of the most demanding professions out there requiring high standards mentally and physically. Your creativity will be one of your best friends, multi-tasking a must, and at the end of the day you'll be thinking about tomorrow. IMO if you want to be better later on, master the basics !!! now while your young!! Good Luck !

P.S. I'll not put micro-ovens down unless there is a big garbage can under them. :bounce: :D
 
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Joined Nov 13, 2003
i am glad that my ramblings after an insane day could pull some productive internet conversation into the open. thank you for responding to my post and helping me to realize that there are others out there who have and will experience the same things that i have. i think that the one common thread all of our writings have in common is keeping the passion.... without it where would we be? where would the industry be? all i can say is without passion we are just a bunch of folks slapping someone elses ideas together with our blood sweat and tears! thanks again folks and keep on livin the life :chef: !
 
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Joined Aug 10, 2003
Those weren't ramblings, cheffromVA - those were heartfelt sentiments and I, too appreciate them. Great advice, thank you! It really IS a dog-eat-dog world out there and we need to thicken our skins if we're to survive it, no doubt about that. It helps so much to know we're not alone in the challenges we face. Hang tough!! ;)
 
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Joined Sep 27, 2004
I have to give A LineDog credit he calls it the way he sees it and I am the same. That being said I have existed with the Bad & the Ugly, (it was a s****y life, full of imense challenges. Even in Canada you say?) but once I found the Good I was able to flourish and grow in the industry. I was lucky enough to find a restaurant where the owner was just as passionate as me. The owner prefered to be in the background and was very much absent from the business for a majority of the time, My wife and I ran it as if it were our own. She worked as my exec Sous and we split the task of running the business and the 30+ staff on our team. The view I would offer up is this. When the time comes in your life and you find your other half, you had better besure that they are foodies as well. No one else will ever understand why you work like a dog for so many days and why you may tip the drink at the end of most every shift. The hours can be and are very demanding. The shifts relentless and the stress at times can be almost overwhelming. But if your like me and thrive on stress and the need to be creative, and the desire to achive even more than the previous shift! Then this is the business for you. Be warned no one will ever get you unless they work in the same industry, if you have any doubts listen to conversations you are having with fellow foodies, I would bet it revolves around how their day went and what they created or what kind of stupid request they had to deal with. If by chance someone in the group is not a foodie just watch how they pull back and stay out of the conversation. I speak from experience most of my friends are fellow food service nutters like me, but they have a spouse or signifcant other who is not. My wife and I met in the kitchen and have been togehter for 24 years. Our friends with the outsiders (ha-ha) their relationships seldom last. When you come home in the A.M. and go back to work in the same A.M. they will only understand to a point but never fully will they understand the passion or the art of cooking that drives you. I was once told by someone that it is almost like a sickness, this crazy need to do what we do. I laughed when they said it but now I look back after 28 years of doing this and I think that maybe they were right on some level.

P.S. I just recently came across this forum and I have to say it is a pleasure to read that there are others in the world that feel like me. I have to smile when I read the threads "cause man I fell your pain", but at the same time it makes me reflect and smile and ask myself "How would I have dealt with that?"
 
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