How hard is it to become a cook?

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Joined Aug 9, 2018
I want to know if I'm suited for this career if I'm not a friend of thermodynamics and chemistry.Is that possible?How hard can it be to prepare food at a specific time?I remember that I used to boil eggs but the problem was that I never understood why you needed 30 minutes for that and I asked myself ,,why would you need that''?After all all you need to know is the right time and you don't need a lot of math.Can someone explain me if what I know is wrong?Thanks!I'd appreciate your help if you tell me your opinions,advices,replies,comments.
 
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Joined Oct 1, 2006
I think everyone should be able to at least cook for themselves. You will have to eat food for your entire life...

Invite four friends over to have a three course meal that you made for them. Now think about if you had a different three course menu for different group of three friends that arrives 30 minutes after the first group. That will give you a bit of a clue on "How hard can it be?" A cook doesn't know how many of what item is needed until someone orders it. If you are the person cooking the steaks and an order comes in for two 8oz tenderloins, one well done and one medium rare, that have to be served hot and fresh simultaneously because they are at the same table, lack of knowledge about thermodynamics of a Broiler or Char grill will hurt your ability to accomplish this one task, for one table. Not many restaurants only have one table...

As for being a Professional cook, probably not, as this requires a certain level of passion and desire to make every dish as error free as possible. Without science as your ally you would have a tough time in a restaurant setting but might be suitable for the repetitive nature of industrial food service like a stadium, air port or a prison.

Good luck!
 
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You are quite literally asking people you do not know to answer an intensely personal question about you. The only person who can answer your question is you.

Can anyone cook? Yes. Is everyone suited for a life as a cook? No.

The best way for you to find out is get a job in a commercial kitchen. You'll know in a reasonably short period of time if you are suited for this life.

Good luck. :)
 

86d

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Joined Aug 9, 2018
Do you need to know "thermodynamics and chemistry" to become a line cook? Hot things are hot, food is done when it's done blah blah, you don't need to be a scientist, though it certainly helps to understand the principles behind cooking. Once you know the techniques it's more about time management and organization. The questions you should be asking yourself are you willing to stand for 12+ hours a day, every day, in a hot, loud, chaotic environment? Do you have passion, or are you just looking for a job? Are you suited to the cooking life? Only you can answer that.
 
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If your willing to work for low pay while working long hours with very little training then this job is for you. You will be promised the world and given nothing. Your coworkers will call in sick and you'll be expected to work their shift. When you ask for more hours you'll get less. If you ask for more money you'll be told your lucky you have a job. Your treated good in the beginning and bad at the end. Forget about your needs you'll be working all holidays. Get on the wrong side of the Chef and you'll be working all the hours you told them you couldn't work. Make one mistake and get your ass chewed. Do 1000's of things good you'll be told it was expected, just doing your job. No one will care what you think, keep your ideas to yourself and just do as your told. When they want your opinion they'll ask for it......If you could take all this abuse for about 10 years you can get out of the cooks position and become a Chef. This way you can run your kitchen with all the memories of the shit you had to do while you worked your way up from the cooks position......ChefBillyB
 
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Joined Nov 14, 2017
I want to know if I'm suited for this career if I'm not a friend of thermodynamics and chemistry.Is that possible?How hard can it be to prepare food at a specific time?I remember that I used to boil eggs but the problem was that I never understood why you needed 30 minutes for that and I asked myself ,,why would you need that''?After all all you need to know is the right time and you don't need a lot of math.Can someone explain me if what I know is wrong?Thanks!I'd appreciate your help if you tell me your opinions,advices,replies,comments.
If you want to just cook for yourself and your family, you should easily be able to do it. To cook professionally, you would have to have good cooking skills and be coordinated enough to fix different foods simultaneously, etc. Cooking school is also necessary.
 
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If you want to just cook for yourself and your family, you should easily be able to do it. To cook professionally, you would have to have good cooking skills and be coordinated enough to fix different foods simultaneously, etc. Cooking school is also necessary.

A culinary arts degree is only necessary if you want to work in hotels, resorts and some high end type restaurants. Even then, the degree is not always necessary. I'm not saying a Culinary Arts degree is useless or won't help a person get hired as a cook. What I am saying is that its not necessary, as you put it.

I can't speak for anyone else, but, whenever I hired a new cook, I couldn't care less if they had a Culinary Arts degree. I looked for experience, a good attitude and a passion for food. Sometimes that cook had a C.A. degree, most of the time they did not.

In fact, the chef that ran my kitchen for 13 years, who bought my restaurant with her husband when I retired, never went to culinary school and I can assure you, she can cook circles around most cooks with Culinary Arts degrees.
 
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The best advice that was given to me at the very beginning of this road was: get a summer job working in a kitchen.

Honestly I still believe it was more my fathers way of getting me out of the house for a prolonged period of time, but it was what got me in the game.
Will never forget that first summer working in a small kitchen, mainly washing dishes and cleaning but towards the end of the summer I was allowed to do some basic prep (peeling potatoes, mincing onions, etc...)

So I will pass along the same advice

You want to know, if the heat of the kitchen is for you - only one way to do that - get in it
Talk to the restaurants around you, see if any of them can / want to accommodate someone on weekend / 1-month period - offer to work for free, in the end, you are getting an "education"

I've met a lot of people coming in wide eyes and viewing the kitchen as a magical place - many of them got disillusioned in the first week alone - and as sgsvirgil pointed out - many of them had culinary arts degrees....
 
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I've met a lot of people coming in wide eyes and viewing the kitchen as a magical place - many of them got disillusioned in the first week alone - and as sgsvirgil pointed out - many of them had culinary arts degrees....

Good points, but even after 25+ years doing this I still find the kitchen to be a magical place.:cool:
 

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