Culinary Students: What would you do?

Joined Apr 28, 2003
As most people would probrably post here, experiance speaks louder then your diploma. However, I do believe that getting a certificate or diploma to be a certified chef really does help. It can be argued either way but I would personally take some classes at least.
Joined Dec 8, 1999
Here's the thing: if you haven't stood at a station for 14 hours chopping parsley, how can you be the boss of someone that does? Understanding how a task is carried out teaches you not only how to do it, but how to teach and motivate somebody else how to do it. There is a solution, though. Get into a segment of the industry that doesn't require you to perform that type of task.

To address your actual question, I'd say you need to go to school, then get in with Bon Appetit, Mariott/Sodexho, Viking Foodservice, et cetera. You might be able to get into management in that area with a modicum of line cooking experience.
Joined Jun 29, 2004
I'm debating the same thing myself. So far in 1.5 years of cooking for a living (I'm 19 years old), I've learned alot. I'm actually almost scared of going to school because I've worked with students who have already completed their 'Professional Cooking' diploma (and I wasn't impressed by their knowledge or performance).

Tedious work sucks, but someone has to do it. On the plus side, long shifts of chopping, trimming, peeling, etc... really helps your knife skills.

Whether you go to school or not you'll need experience - cooking at home or for small parties is nothing like line or restaurant cooking. It is very stressful, fast paced. Being able to plan everything well in advance is essential.

School will probably help with experience though - people coming out of culinary school are typically better than those who just got their first restaurant job... I guess in your position I'd probably recommend going to school...
Joined Aug 3, 2004
hey, i'm only 17 but i had the same question as you did and i really did feel that i wanted to cut parsely for a party of 2000. but there are many jobs that one can do in the food industry, i feel that you should research and find a job that you like.
Joined Jul 30, 2004
With so many restaurants out there that need someone as interested in cooking, and being "part of the team" as you sound like you are, I don't see you have the need for more schooling unless you are only in this for the "bigger bucks". If a desire to be a "part" of the kitchen action is all you require for a comparable paycheck, then offer yourself! At least in our area, you could become a part of the team very easily with the "want to" attitude and no schooling.
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