Hola a todos!

Joined May 9, 2007
Hey everyone I was an old member here way back and a lot has changed so I thought I would reintroduce myself, and how I have evolved from an aspiring cook.

I started my career in cooking as a prep cook/dishwasher and moved up the line at a famous resort casino to their line cook position, after working there and going to school I landed a QSR salaried restaurant management position and worked there till we made the store profitable again.  After my fiance graduated from college, we both transferred across the state she took a job as a teacher and I took another restaurant management position.  After turning two restaurants around I decided the long hours were enough for me since the business side of the stores were getting me down (working through others isnt as fun as working it yourself at times), and QSR wasnt what I was really into, I wanted to get back into the resort life or at least fast casual.  I took a step back to learn other foods and took a job cooking at a local restaurant.  There I met with a great chef and worked the line.  A down side was that the menu wasnt very inspiring for me (the chef knew it, but we had to sell food that was familiar to customers) and didnt teach me anything new so I decided to go back to school, which is where I presently am.

So heres my question for you all.  I have enough credits behind me to finish my bachelors of science degree in Hospitality and Tourism in two more years (less if I go summer), but I can also finish a degree in culinary arts in the same amount of time.  Which do you think is more beneficial?  I would really like to be the chef or sous chef in the back of the house, but I'm afraid that a bachelors in HT would disqualify me for those positions.  Could I possibly get a bachelors degree, and hone my cooking/menu design skills at home? 

I consider myself a professional in the restaurant business, my library at home is filled with cookbooks/restaurant books but I can only cook (with speed and efficiency) basic meat and potato applebee type items.  Thats what is holding me back I believe.  My management skills are on par I believe. On any given shift I'd manage 15 staff and never had labor issues (mainly due to running multiple stations myself to reduce labor)  I have worked in the school system before so my ability to teach and communicate with staff is strong.  Do you think I just need more time to develope menus?  If you need more information to formulate an opinion let me know.  I thought of choosing a speciailty and then creating a portfolio of menus I had put together with pictures and projected costs.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Hi Cookingjoe, and welcome back! As you can see, the board has changed. But the human "resources" here are available and ready to lend their advice.

Since your post is mostly about your question, I'll move it to the Professional Chefs' forum. Good luck in your future!

Joined May 9, 2007
Whoops. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif   Thanks for the wishes!  Hopefully I'll get some insight here that I am missing, because this question is driving me nuts! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif
Joined Feb 8, 2009
All the Chefs I know have one thing in common, when they work a 16 hour day, they come home with a feeling of pride and accomplishment. If a person becomes a Chef to hone in on learning menu design, they will work a 16 hour day, and come home with sore feet. If you don't have the passion for cooking and creating, you could hone in menu design needs other ways. I wouldn't spend 2 years in Culinary school to learn menu design ............Get the BS.............Chef Bill
Joined Feb 7, 2010
Apply your time to what you enjoy and toward your long term goals. 

It sounds like you have done well as a manager in the front of the house.  Long term, do you see yourself in the kitchen or in a managers position in the FOH?  If it is in the kitchen then apply yourself there.  Either through schooling, or by picking some of the best restaurants in your area and working in the kitchen and building your resume.  Work for one year then move to another well known restaurant.  Repeat.  This will build your resume, give you versatility in cuisine, and great experience from good chefs. 
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