information please!

Discussion in 'New User Introductions' started by helgendasz, Nov 5, 2001.

  1. helgendasz

    helgendasz

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    Hi!

    I found this website earlier today, had a look around and instantly loved this forum.

    I'm not a chef neither have I got any degree or working experience in this sector, but I have over recently been cooking more creatively and I love it! I've started "inventing" my own stuff, but I would like to start from the total basics and learn it properly.

    I am looking to change in my carreer, preferably with some schooling. Cooking sounds like a great opportunity.

    Does anyone have any advise for beginners? Can I "test" myself if I would be suitable for this work?

    Thank you all,

    H.
     
  2. momoreg

    momoreg

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    Welcome, helgendasz,
    You most certainly can 'test' yourself, if you are willing to find a good restaurant or other highly regardeded food establishment that is willing to take you in. You may very likely not get paid, so be prepared to work very hard for no money. If you choose your restaurant wisely, you can learn a lot just by watching, and after a couple of weeks, they may give you more challenging work. But at first, you will be given menial jobs. The faster and more efficiently you work, the more you will be able to learn.

    There are many other threads in this forum on this same subject, so please look through them!!:)

    Good luck, and welcome to Cheftalk.
     
  3. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Welcome Helgendasz!

    I am not a chef and I have an average skill in cooking. I am a lawyer.
    I keep reading people asking Chefs what can they do to become real chefs and I have been thinking...

    According to my opinion if you want to be a chef you have to do the same things you would do if you wanted to become a doctor or a lawyer.
    To study, study, study and
    To practice , practice , practice.

    :)

    Momoreg gave you an excellent idea!

    I did the same when I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer.
    I went to an aknowledged lawyer and I BEGGED him to let me watch and do the errants.
    It was a nice experience because I didn't expect that it was THAT difficult to be a criminal lawyer but in the same time this experience gave me courage and will to be what I wanted!

    I wish you the best!

    :)
     
  4. isa

    isa

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    Welcome to Chef Talk Helgendasz!


    Try browsing the Culinary Students Forum. You'll find a ton of information there.
     
  5. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Hello Helgendasz,

    Just a warm welcome to Cheftalk! ;)
     
  6. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Welcome, welcome, Helgendasz! It's wonderful to see someone from beautiful Gent. The guildhalls and churches are well worth the visit, and the natives are very gracious.

    Many of us are amateurs, myself included. You have found a very friendly site full of creative people who love food and respect each others' levels of expertise, from beginner to seasoned professional (pardon the pun). What do you enjoy cooking? Tell us about some of your creative excursions into cooking, please.
     
  7. anneke

    anneke

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    Aha! a fellow countrywoman!! My mother's family is from beautiful Gent!

    Helgendasz, I recently changed career as well. I took the plunge without having first worked in the industry but that's only because I was winding down my previous position and looking for a change anyway. I do recommend that you first try it out and hang around your local culinary school to see what it's like, what the teachers are like, go to their bookstore and browse through the required readings, etc. Keep your job but try to give a hand on weekends at one of Gent's finer dining establishments (and there are lots, I remember!). I wouldn't dare ask your age but age is definitely a factor when choosing your path within the food world; maybe restaurants are not your thing. Maybe catering or food styling, or food writing, etc. Explore your options carefully. Believe me, restaurant work is hard and ill-remunerated. So think about your opportunity cost.

    Whatever you decide, good luck! If you have more specific questions that will help you figure all of this out, you're definitely in right place. Welcome!
     
  8. zorba the greek

    zorba the greek

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    Welcome and good luck!

    I agree that being a Chef is as difficult as being a doctor or a lawyer or a ...plumber.

    When things become professional they are getting really demanding and serious!

    What do you like cooking?

    Zorba the Greek (amateur cook)
     
  9. helgendasz

    helgendasz

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    Hi again,

    Thank you all very much for a very warm welcoming!

    I've had the chance to read more on this site since my last post I found already a lot of useful information. I showed this page to my boyfriend when I got home last night and he was instantly searching for posts of coffee and was also taken in. I guess he will be signing up shortly.

    Back to my original question: Thanks to you all for the great ideas. I had been thinking about getting some hands on experience first, just to see if I would like it. I would like to know more about what a day in a professional chef's life is like... I also never realized that there were so many different directions and things you could do within this field, and this is what I will start looking at straight away. (This way I can look for the right place to test out!). So lots of stuff for me to read (yes!!!)!

    Athenaeus, study, study, study and practice, practice, practice - I will! (PS. I also wanted to be a lawyer and got myself a summer job running errands at a great law firm (I was about 14), it was great. Let's just say I got distracted thereafter and never made it to law school!)

    Then I will also have to clarify something(Anneke and Mezzaluna), I am living in Gent right now but I am not from Belgium at all. I'm half Icelandic and half Faroese (from the Faroe Islands) which curiously makes me Danish and living in Belgium. I've been here for 3 years, the people are friendly, the chocolate is great and it is really easy to travel around Europe, so I love most of it! Especially Gent!

    I guess I started cooking because I was so far away from home, and occasionally was missing some good old traditional Faroese/Danish food, but the turning point was really when I found BBC's Good Food Magazine in my paper shop. They are great for beginners, since most of their dishes cannot go wrong! At this point my boyfriend also became interested in cooking, and we have really developed a passion for trying new things in the last year or two.

    What do we like cooking? Well, to be honest everything. Since we both love spices and lots of vegetables, we regularily tend to cook asian food, but we are really trying to vary the menu, so it is interesting. During the week we mostly cook dinner, and then it is preferably not such a long affair, but during the weekend anything can happen. This weekend, the new thing we are going to try is a few cocktails (birthday party and festive season coming up!!) !

    Gotta go, we are going to the green groces and the butcher so this Sunday's session can begin, I am sure you understand!

    See you soon,

    H
     
  10. pastrychef_den

    pastrychef_den

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    Hi Helgendasz

    I am a dentist by education but am a Pastry Chef by Profession. I knew I had the passion for food and pastries even when I was a kid but i had to finish Dental school first...It was more like a family thing. I finished dental scholl then took the board exams right after graduation, which I passed at the top of my batch.

    I chose to become a pastry chef because of my fascination with pastries, that includes food too. I am very happy with my chosen career because I am following my calling. The dental thing comes in very handy though when it comes to dexterity and steady hands. I have no regrets with the career change that I did. I am happy with what I do now.

    I kinda volunteered at my aunt's pastry shop at first then when I thought that I can manage to go to school already, I went to school and finished baking and pastry arts. I think training under a bakeshop or restaurant will help develop the skill needed to get you through culinary school.

    Good luck!