I hate to ask but...

Joined May 30, 2016
I don't want to ask these next questions as I've read many forum questions similar to this but still haven't found the answer I'm looking for. I am in need of some advice...

Here is my "bio" so you can understand where I'm coming from. I am 28 now, I've been cooking since I was a child, I love it, I am skilled in or at the least talented in "cooking" I've taken many years studying cooking on my own, just for the thrill of learning new techniques....however my whole life I avoided going into culinary because, well, every body has told me I should so, instinctually I avoided it. I feel it was a bad decision and have not found a career I am in love with as much as food service...I am longing to be a professional chef, perhaps owning my own restaurant in the future.I understand the difference between "cooking" and actually being in a real kitchen and I'm full aware of the difficulty and learning curb. I am very very eager to learn this business, it's not a job but a career to me.i respect everyone in this industry and understand that I really don't know anything, and will be starting out at the very bottom because I have NO experience in a restaurant on any level. With that said here are my questions...

All though I'm good at cooking and creating dishes that have a lot difficulty, I realize I am no CHEF, I have no real technical skills , for example I can cut onions with a knife, sure, but I don't know the different ways of chopping cutting and most of all how to do it the way a chef does, I just do it as fast as I can, no real skill there, if you understand what I'm saying.

I have been told by chefs not to go to school and just get a job in a kitchen, they say that school is a waste of money and time and I've shown I'm able to learn fast, work hard, and practice at home if necessary, but I am worried that these basic skills I haven't learned would cause me to be fired in no time, also , I doubt it's likely at my age to get a kitchen line cook job with no experience....

Yes, so basically my question is, should I go to a cheap school to learn the things I don't know, or should I just work my way to the top? Also what is the likely hood of scoring a line cook job with no experience....

Thank you so much for reading this, and answering, any advice or tips at all are absolutely appreciated! I don't know you but i respect you and the time it took to read this. I just wanted to reach a broader audience for these question to make sure the advice I've been given was sound.

I also understand I'll be taking a serious pay cut from what I understand I'll be starting at 9.00 an hour. But I don't even care I just want to learn.
Joined Apr 11, 2013
Well i don´t think you would be getting into any line cook positions with out any experience. After all line cooks usually need to have speed and a sense of urgency, and sometimes they need a varied skill set. 

If you don´t want to go to school, or feel it would be a waste, then why not consider doing some culinary courses, or going to trade school. 

If you want to get into a kitchen AFAP then maybe you should look for stages around you, take maybe some gigs in the kitchen, even if they are for washing dishes, i´m sure you would learn something by the end of the day that you didn´t know. 

My opinion is, that if you want to work in a kitchen, then the first thing you need is a game plan. How are you going to get your foot in the door?? Be it with a piece of paper, or having swagger to just simply walk into a restaurant, ask to see the chef and ask him for an opportunity. 

Regardless you will need to work hard to work up the ladder and onde day achieve your objective of becoming a chef.
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Joined May 14, 2014
A community college or similar culinary program might not hurt- the big schools are often prohibitively expensive, is why most people recommend against them. And a culinary degree/certificate isn't worth much more than the paper it's printed on without at least some experience.

If you have not worked in a restaurant, you have NO clue what your future career holds for you. If there are seasonal summertime restaurants in your area, often they will hire people with no experience for dish/prep positions. This can be a good 'in', and also help get your feet wet. A culinary education is a good jump on techniques and knowledge you may or may not learn on the job. Is does not teach you the day to day skills you need to be a good line cook; only experience can teach that.

As for being a chef, there is so much more to this job than food and cooking, if you are not in love with every aspect of this business I would not recommend pursuing it. Hence my dishwashing suggestion; I've spent more time washing dishes as a manager than I ever did as an hourly.

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