education ins and outs

Joined Aug 10, 2001
hey everyone, I am new to the industry, only 7 months, and I'm only a dishwasher/prepcook, but I've wanted to be a chef since I was knee-high to a grasshopper and really would like as much advice concerning ways to educate myself as possible. book reccommendations, advice on the red seal test and where to study from, and pretty much everything you wish somebody would've been there to tell you. I know it's alot to ask, but I would be extremely grateful for ANY advice, be it a website, a recommended book, or even just overall tips. thanks so much, and its a great pleasure to have access to such a wonderful site!

[ August 14, 2001: Message edited by: Jonas ]
Joined Mar 30, 2001
Welcome Jonas:
Good to have you here at Cheftalk.

I would say that you are already off to a good start. You are in the kitchen and you are no doubt developing an appreciation of what a tough slog it can be at times. Some people are unpleasantly surprised when they figure out that the commercial kitchen is NOT like the Food Channel.

You will find lots of helpful advice here. Search the forums, ask lots of questions and have fun.

Joined Jun 28, 2001
Welcome Jonas.
Lots of good info on this site.As for books,there is a topic on the boards already that myself and others have posted books(not cookbooks) about the Culinary Arts.Check that out and it will give you some good ideas as where to start.

Learn all you can at your present job,don't be afraid to ask for more responsibility if you think you are up to it.

I started out as a dishwasher 16 years ago and worked my way to Sous(well I will be Certified as a Sous in a little while,going back to school for the mandatory 3 courses that the ACF wants you to have---that starts next Monday)

Good luck,and stick to it.

Billy [email protected]
Joined Dec 12, 2000
Welcome aboard Jonas. In response to your questions about the red seal test, what you need to do is go to your local ITAC office, ITAC stands for Industry Training and Apprencship Commission. and get an application for apprenticeship, and then talk to your manager to see if they are willing to train you, if they are, then fill out the application, send it to ITAC, and then they will get back to you set up your apprenticeship. This is a three year program. I actually just finished this year, and I can definetely say that it's worth it. Good luck,
Joined Aug 10, 2001
Thanks alot guys, I really appreciate your advice, and good luck starting school monday Billy
Joined May 26, 2001
Dear Jonas:


Read cookbooks -- prefereably classics such as Joy of Cooking, Julia Child, Madeline Kamman, James Beard, Marcella Hazan, but also ones on ethnic foods, on ingredients, on the science of cooking, on baking and pastry, on EVERY topic related to food!!!

Also read magazines: I don't know which the good Canadian ones are, but here some of the better ones are Food Arts, Fine Cooking, Saveur (in addition to interesting but less professionally-useful ones like Gourmet). I also REALLY like the Australian Vogue for keeping up with the incredible stuff happening down under!

2. Eat out as much as you can afford to.
3. Ask questions. See if you can talk to the chef.
4. Develop your own palate. This is not about what you like or don't like; it's developing a knowledge base.
5. When you can, buy things that are totally unfamiliar. Then try to cook them. THEN look them up in reference books.

etc. etc. etc. LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN IN WHATEVER WAYS YOU CAN. The technical skills are the easiest part, and come with practice. It's the other stuff that will distinguish you!
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