Greetings from a Newb

Joined Aug 15, 2019
Hello all! In my various internet searches, I stumbled across this website and have found myself continuously coming back to it over the past several weeks. Tonight I decided to create an account for myself!

I actually don't have any professional kitchen experience; although when I was in my late teens/early twenties I worked as expo in a restaurant where I worked closely with the chefs. I've spent the past several years as a Registered Nurse. For a long time now, I've considered making a career change. I'm heavily considering going into the culinary arts for a few reasons: I enjoy making things, and love when I get to use my creativity to make something beautiful and useful; I also love how good food can bring people together, and makes them happy (this is very important to me, as in my current profession I tend to see people when they are at their worst).

My question is, I don't have the time or money to attend culinary school. And in truth, I'm not convinced at how necessary it is to go get another degree and rack up even more school debt. My plan right now is to read/learn as much as I can from books and the internet, and when I am able to with my work, decrease my hours as a nurse and pick up a job working in the kitchen at a local resort that touts its culinary expertise. Is this a reasonable idea?

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Joined Oct 1, 2006
Hi Vikinglady93!

Welcome to CT! (Thank you being a nurse!)

I think you have a solid plan. You actually do have some experience, in that you have witnessed the pace of a commercial kitchen. So you are aware of the craziness and speed! Understand that if you proceed with your plan, you will learn what that particular Chef thinks is correct. So be prepared to absorb, execute, and remember their way.

As far as books, find at least one text book used by a culinary school/program. In the 1970s it was "The Professional Chef".

Sanitation is critical in commercial food service, get your "ServeSafe food handler certificate" before proceeding with the plan. $15 shouldn't require a loan!

I'm glad you have a resort nearby. Approach the Chef, tell your story, ask to do vegetable prep. (Least favorite task in a kitchen, but a great training ground for starters!) This will develop your ingredient knowledge and knife skills also. I made a game of how efficiently can I cut 100# of onions, potatoes, etc. Uniformity of cuts and speed are components of that job. Always ask for a demonstration, to start with, AND what to do with the trim. "Attention to detail" is always important! Chefs know that they are paying $.79 a pound for the onion skins too! Bones, fat, fish heads, all cost the same per pound as the part you serve and it is a business! "I finished that, what next?" is what every Chef wants to hear! Keep your eyes and ears open while doing your prep work.

You might want to copy and paste your situation in the Culinary school forum, not that many come here just to say Hello!

Good luck!

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