Career advice for becoming a chef

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by joeontheland, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. joeontheland

    joeontheland

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    Hi I am looking for some good advice,

    I have recently decided that I want to become a chef, I am 26 and have been to uni studying subjects which I now have no desire to follow up as a career choice and I have realised that I always enjoyed working in kitchens and I am very enthusiastic about cooking and would rate myself as a pretty decent cook.

    I need a window to enter into the catering industry and not sure what my best route would be, as most jobs seem to either advertise for either a kitchen porter or an actual trained chef. I need ideally a position which would allow we to work my way up to become fully trained but not require the experience to start with.

    Any suggestions on what I could do from here would be appreciated.
     
  2. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    As I say in every one of these threads.... before wasting money on a school to become a chef, go work in a restaurant for a year. Trust me, its NOT for everyone.
     
  3. joeontheland

    joeontheland

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    I have worked in kitchens alot and I love it
     
  4. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    Well in that case, good luck! 

    Apply to every position possible. Even if you think you won't get it, apply anyway. Talk to people, make connections. A lot of times you can get your foot in the door by just 'knowing' someone. If you have to, start out in prep. Show desire to learn everything, and I mean everything. People who work hard and WANT to be there advance quicker then people who are just there for a paycheck. 

    Do you want to go to culinary school? Its expensive considering what people who work in restaurants make. But maybe cost isn't for you. Culinary school will give you a good base of information and it certainly helps to have it on your resume, but experience and desire to me speaks louder then schooling (not everyone feels this way, trust me). 

    Where do you live? Are you in a big city or a small town?
     
  5. joeontheland

    joeontheland

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    I live in Leeds, there are quite a few good restaurants in town, maybe I should hand my CV in to a few of them? Is this a good idea or should I just apply for posted jobs online?
     
  6. allium

    allium

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    A lot of people suggest not going to culinary school and working instead. Yes, you will be more skilled if you spend time in a real kitchen rather than school, especially if you find a decent kitchen to learn in. However--getting a good job is all about connections. Good culinary school = an externship in a good restaurant = a chance to make good connections.
     
  7. rgm2

    rgm2

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    Joe, If you have worked in kitchens a lot then you have experience. I would not hand them a CV unless you have a good year of recent experience in a professional kitchen. Instead I work on a letter of intention. I would try and figure out what point of view you have on food. What kinds of food are you interested in making and learning about. You need to have a focus. I would work a year in the best kitchen you can get into and study your ass off on your free time. If it were me and I was able to do it I would give up all the things in my personal life for a couple years and just learn at every chance you have. CIA puts out some amazing books, buy whole tenderloin at costco and break them down. Buy whole fish and break them down. All this will cost a good amount of money and you will not be able to do that and have a social life on $9 an hour. IMHO, you can buy a lot of books and amazing ingredients to work with for the $40k you will spend on school. If I did not want to open my own place in a few years I would not be thinking about culinary school. 
     
  8. joeontheland

    joeontheland

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    Thankyou that is good advice,

    I have actually found a possible job, however its with a chain restaurant called strada, they cook Italian food. The only thing is, is this guna be ideal for me or not, if someone could take a look at the site and see what you think. 

    http://www.strada.co.uk/
     
  9. chef_wade

    chef_wade

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    Its relatively hard to give you advice on this subject. You know you enjoy being in the kitchen, but what type of kitchen was it? Was it privately owned or corporation. As I live here in the states, I dont know much about Strada, but from the website it seems it is a corporation. Are you willing to go in and do the same thing everyday? Or would you succeed in a place that wants some feedback and takes ideas from their staff? These are all things you need to consider before you decide where you want to work. Just picking a place to work at because you need a steady income, doesn't always mean success.