career advice needed

Joined Feb 18, 2009
I know there are many approaches to being successful.

Starting in a good kitchen as a dishwasher and seeing where it goes.

Apprenticing to a master fishmonger, butcher, baker or other title.

Going to culinary school and then... what? making some magical connection?

Getting the proper business, zoning and sanitary licensees and opening up a mobile stand or more permanent outside fixture in a good roadside location.

Going all out with business partners and hiring enough people to run an building based cafe, in and out or dine in.

culinary school, business school, hospitality school

hotel and vacation line catering


I want to do something interesting. I always love learning about food, breads, pastries both savory and sweet, dumplings, deep fried, parcels and turnovers, strudels, pizzas, pies, fancy ingredients like tripe, breadfruit, kidneys, blood suasage, cassava, damson plums, prieselbern, wines, homeade fruit wines, fruit nectars, coffees and teas, sushi, chinese cooking, chinese breads, chinese cookies, chinese meats and fishes, cheese, fruits, pickles, potted meat french or austrian style, smoked pig fat on european bread, donuts, sauces, french cuisine, italian, austrian, west african, german, swiss, egyptian, iraq, iran, yemen, the gulf states, turkey, cypress, greece, trinidadian, fish u can only get in trinidad or in the amazon, jamaican, mexican, cuban, puerto rican, haitian, iguanna curry, guyanese, bjan, grenadian, colombian, red palm oil with sun dried locusts. norewigan and scandinavian fish tongues (a delicacy) the entire world is fascinating from street foods to french parleyed ham. i want to experiemnet, be creative,. learn, travel and share with others the magic and amazement of the worlds cooking art.

culinary magazines, tv shows, food anthropology, the discovery channel.

how can i get in with people who do things like that? where do i direct myself?

i have this dream of excitedly researching with others to create new or recreate old fascinating recipes techniques and research in exciting creative endeavors that touch the whole world, maybe even open special cooking centers in urban communities, where black kids can learn all kinds of west african or egyptian or caribbean gourmet techniques. for one idea.. i need a benefactor

i guess media like film crew involvement or communications or other media might be a better option then trying to take on major restaraunts as well as chains like mc donalds and applebees here in the USA

(gag gag)

what about working outside of the USA
Joined Jan 5, 2007
I thought you had already said you wanted to be famous?

If so, then you need to refine your career goals!
Joined May 26, 2001
If you are within striking distance of a "gourmet" retail store or distributor, apply for a job as a stock clerk. Or if you're near a culinary school, don't just apply to study there; see if they have a work-study program and get a job in the stewarding department -- that's where EVERYTHING comes in and gets doled out to classes. Seriously: when I was in culinary school, I worked in stewarding and got to see a gigantic range of product, and learned how to judge quality of all sorts of stuff, since I had to check in deliveries.

And if you have a regular 9-to-5 stock job, that leaves you plenty of time for long-range learning. See if some school like Boston University or NYU has such a program. Also, check out the discussion here, including people who have been through other programs.
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Chalkdust - I don't know about where you are, but here, butchers are in extremely short supply and very high demand, even for first year apprentice butchers.

It seems to be a dying art as the supermarket chains take over the planet. As with fishmongers. The lists of cuts of meats available are diminishing by the day. (This will be for a separate rant at some stage :) )

You have dreams - this is a wonderful thing. You need to refine - which does not equate to restrict - your dreams. You love food and the diversity of food, that is clear. You want to succeed. You are driven to those goals.

Use that drive to focus on what you would most like to do. Initially. You must have a starting point. We all walk before we can run. Get a solid base, it may be working your way up through a a good kitchen environment - you'll find out from the inside of the establishment if it really is good and is somewhere you would like to be involved in. You may find your mentor there. If it's no good for you - it may not work. But, don't be a too fussy about it (no offence given or intended). Move on if its no good, for you.

Suzanne's advice is valid and appropriate. You appear to have a big interest in diverse products, so it could well be an avenue for you to pursue.

I admire your passion, follow it, but narrow your immediate focus so you can get " a foot in the door", then go from there.
Joined Sep 18, 2008
Remember, if you want to be a "General", you have to start as an "Officer Candidate" and work through the promotion lists, one step at a time.

Even if you only desire to be a Sergeant Major, you probably have to start as a recruit.
Joined Jan 27, 2010
Id rather go to a culinary school, impress everyone so that you will be known when you graduate from it. Then start your cooking career,,
Joined Sep 18, 2008
Hm, that pre-supposes graduating from a "culinary school" carries any weight.

IMHO, those that are impressed by a culinary degree/certificate are limited to HR and management types, not those actually cooking for a living.

But then what do I know, my undergraduate degree is from MHC and my graduate degree is from SHK ;)
Joined May 26, 2001
"Impress everyone so that you will be known"?? :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol: :lol::lol::lol::lol:
Thanks for a good laugh.

Sorry, my friend. A culinary degree may get you an interview, maybe, but you'll still start at the bottom IF you even get asked to trail and prove that you can fit into the kitchen. And there are some culinary grads (not saying that chalkdust would be one, but read the boards here -- there are many :cry:) who think they should start at the top and never fit in, and so never make it. Or they do get hired to be execs by some not-too-smart owner, and quickly realize that they are in waaaaaaaay over their heads.
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