How to get a (cooking) job in this industry with no prior work experience?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by vonshu, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. vonshu

    vonshu

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    Hello all, so cooking/food are my greatest passions and I've been cooking since at least 14 (now 21). I would consider myself quite experienced in the home cooking realm but I have never had a cooking job really, or any significant work experience for that matter. I'm currently attending university (3rd year - studying environmental anthropology) but my dream is to be a great chef and/or own a restaurant that sources as much locally and sustainably produced food as possible. So basically my question is how can I get myself into this industry with no prior work experience but significant experience in home cooking? Thanks
     
  2. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    Offer to work for free?
     
  3. pollopicu

    pollopicu

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    ...or for little pay, for a trial period. I really believe that passion and determination will lead any chef/restauranteur to give a person like yourself a chance. At least a foot in the door.
     
  4. solsen1985

    solsen1985

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    Most chefs I've met would take passion and a willingness to learn over someone stuck in their ways. Don't beg. Just impress upon the person how you're willing to bust your arse.
     
  5. raibeaux

    raibeaux

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    Read my post on "How to deal with a messy chef". Nothing to it...just like eating lettuce.  We always need good people.

    <[ : ^ )

    People who can think for themselves with a willingness to learn, a strong desire to learn and who possess a good work ethic are becoming rare. 
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  6. junglist

    junglist

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    If you're looking towards owner/management, taking restaurant/business management courses will give you a head start. 

    In any scenario, networking/making connections can help you as well.

    If looking for kitchen work, in addition to working for free you can also get your foot in the door as a dishwasher. Show your employers how efficient you are on that station, and soon you will be given prep tasks, and eventually more responsibility. Sure enough you can work your way up through other stations; there are many success stories where there are humble beginnings as a dishwasher to becoming successful head chefs.
     
  7. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    School.

    or

    Find a great kitchen and get a job as a dishwasher, letting the chef know you want to be a cook but realize your experience is limited. You are much better off doing this than taking a job as a cook in a poorly run kitchen, which would be more likely to hire you. Once you have some years working under a chef with a great reputation, you'll never have to look for work again.

    But,

    If your dream is to be an owner, you aren't going to learn that in a cooking position. Owning is not about cooking, it's more about your ability to recognize standards, train other people to them, hold people accountable, MARKETING, record keeping, book keeping, controlling costs and finding employees.
     
  8. vonshu

    vonshu

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    Thanks for the advice everyone! Also, I was told by somebody who has worked as a cook in the past that most places won't hire people for part-time kitchen jobs because it isn't worth it to train them. Is this true? Because with going to school currently, I could only get a part time job for now.
     
  9. rbrad

    rbrad

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    Lots of chefs love having a couple of part timers........it fills a hole without having to provide full time hours.When it's quiet they are usually the first to have their hours cut or sent home early but if you are mainly doing it for experience it won't really matter to you that much.A weekend dish job can easily turn into a weekend prep job in a very short time if you show you are reliable and organized.
     
    brandon odell likes this.
  10. 10buttonfriend

    10buttonfriend

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    Wash dishes until you have a good feel for the hours and the lifestyle. it might not be compatible with your study schedule. if going to the restaurant is more important then your major, then go to the restaurant. think it over... Going to culinary school will also make it alot easier to get into that kitchen to. dont jump into anything... take a summer job as a professional cook before leaving school to be sure its what your really want.