Culinary Schools and Jobs

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Joined Mar 21, 2002
I have a question for those culinary professionals out there. I'm planning to attend the CIA in October and in the mean time I want to work in a restaurant and save of some money (student loans are going to be so much fun to pay off). I've been looking in the Metro Atlanta area and I am greatly interested to work in one of the semi-nice non-chain restaurants in the area. My question is this. How should I approach the job search? Should I tell prospective employers my real motivation for searching for a job (to learn more while earning some extra money)? Am I setting myself up for failure by only looking for jobs in a non-chain environment? Any advice or musings would be greatly appreciated.

Matthew
 

pete

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Joined Oct 7, 2001
Go for it! There are lots of chefs out there that would kill for someone with a desire to learn. It might be kind of rough in this economy, with things being slow, but I think that you should be able to find a job. Just don't expect to be paid lots, or even to see the line. Chances are you will be hired on as a prep cook. But, hey, at least it is a start. There are many fine restaurants in Atlanta (I used to work there a few years ago), so I would definately stay with something other than chain restaurants. Would you be looking in the city or in the suburbs?
 
80
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Joined Mar 21, 2002
<<Just don't expect to be paid lots, or even to see the line. Chances are you will be hired on as a prep cook.>>

Yup, I'm not expecting the world. Even if I'm just doing prep and then making 100 salads a night it will be good experience (at the least I'll be able to work on my knife skills).

<<Would you be looking in the city or in the suburbs?>>

Either, I live in the Woodstock area but I don't mind a commute. My dream position would be working at the Atlanta Fish Market (which is about a 30 minute commute) because I'd be able to see new ingredients all the time as well as work at a place connected to one of the best fish markets in Atlanta.

Matthew
 
3,853
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Joined May 26, 2001
If you have a place you want to work at, just get over there and talk to the chef! (Just don't try to do it during service.) Do a little research on the place first, so that you'll talk to the right person. But when you explain why you want to work there, if they can fit you in they'll probably try to. The only problem might be that you're planning on being there just a short time; but then again, if you make a good impression, they might want you to come back when you can.

Best of luck!

PS: am I right in guessing that you're the same Matthew who asked this question on OTR? Both that site and this are great for you to keep up with!
 
80
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Joined Mar 21, 2002
<<PS: am I right in guessing that you're the same Matthew who asked this question on OTR? Both that site and this are great for you to keep up with!>>

Yeah, figured I would post on both boards to get the most feedback.

<<The only problem might be that you're planning on being there just a short time; but then again, if you make a good impression, they might want you to come back when you can.>>

Yup, that is the biggest drawback. To be honest I'm willing to push back my entry date in school if that is what it would take to get my foot in the door at some of the restaurants in Atlanta.

Matthew
 

pete

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Joined Oct 7, 2001
I would be careful of a place as big and and as busy as the Atlanta Fish Market. Yes, the immediate response is that you would get to see a lot of things. In a place like that, quite possibily not. They may keep you so buried in menial prep work that you will not get a chance to see as much as you would hope. I would try smaller places, where the chef is capable of giving you more hands on training.
 
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Joined Mar 21, 2002
<<Er, what's an OTR?>>

On The Rails, another Cook oriented website where I made a post.

<<I would try smaller places, where the chef is capable of giving you more hands on training.>>

Any suggestions? I'm always up for input.

Matthew
 
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Joined Apr 19, 2002
I am going to have to say any chef that loves his job will be more than happy to take a someone under their wing and teach them what he knows. A even if all u do is prep work you are still in the kitchen getting experience and learning. The longer you are there then the more you will learn and who knows maybe they will let you mark off some meat on the line before service hours.

Now about pay i had to work for 3 months without pay just to prove to the kitchen staff that this is something that i am serious about and when they started paying me it was peanuts, but that is still better than nothing. Also the experience will more than pay for itself in the long run.



Good Luck, and make sure you have FUN. Every night should be serious but it should also be a party.
 
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