Is it worth it? Not Culinary school but the lifestyle you are going to school for.

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Joined Jun 15, 2018
Hi! I’m a 17 year old that is going to attend The chef John Folse Culinary Institute in the fall of 2018. Three months ago I got my first real restaurant job. I had for the past year a prep job at a more meals to go place that had 9-5 hours and no stress from customers. Once I started at my new job I was introduced to the stress of having a 20 ticked come in non stop. I work at an extremely popular restaurant that is a quick service sit restaurant (that has gained a lot of popularity in the recent years) so it is always busy except on mondays and Tuesdays. As a new kid on the line I’ve been put on working three to four doubles a week and having a morning and a day off each week (if nothing happens and I don’t have to cover). Through this job I’m realozing the toll this takes on my life. I had to breakup with my girlfriend of 7 months Bc of the hours and of moving to the school which is 2 hours away. My family and friends arnt taking me working 70+ hours to well either. So on top of the stress of work I have family friends and losing a girl i could see having a future with. From what I’ve been told I’m not the usual person who want to work kitchen life because I was a honors student in high school and will be in college and I have a full ride to any other college if I wanted it ,but I’m in love with kitchen life. I love the hours,, the stress, the Adrenaline, and food and cooking.Being a chef has been the only thing I’ve wanted to do since 10th grade and nothing else is interesting me. I’m stuck between to choices and don’t know which I should I choose. Has anyone been in the same position please help!!!!!
 
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I believe in following my heart more than my head. Don't know if that is wise or not, but that is the path I took and I have no regrets.
 
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For every cook starting from the bottom, can be one of the hardest especially if you were gaining more experience from fine dining restaurants especially restaurants, hotels, catering companies that are busy, receive Michelin Stars, have a lot of customers every day. You will learn a lot from these positions as the tasks get more physical, exhausted but I don't have any regrets either. At the same time, I always learn the hard way when something inevitable happens. And others notice that giving advice on what you are doing can be better because they have experienced it.
It was your choice to go to culinary school and get the fundamentals of being a chef, businessman and maybe in the future entrepreneur.
Only you can make this choice, if you like the adrenaline, have gained experience and knowledge from your peers. Maybe have a mentor that you totally respect in your workplace. You are pretty lucky having a scholarship in a culinary school. It is ok that you don't have the usual background of being a cook, and you are still young too. Don't mind those remarks - it really means nothing and just let go.
Also, it is not the end of the world finding a girlfriend - you will find a better one next time. You can even find a better position as a line cook near your culinary school too. So it would close between school and work. I saying it is really up to you where your dreams and goals you want to set for a better life.
I know my boss went to culinary school after he went to get his business degree. Then worked his way up being a line cook for several years, then worked his way up being a sous chef at a catering company for 5 years, the executive chef for 5+ years. So it just really depends on what you want to with culinary school. Also, companies, restaurants, and chefs will look into your culinary degree as an added advantage when you get hired for a better position. Just keep it up!
 
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Hello and welcome to CT! :)

If you have the opportunity to go to college on a scholarship and not have student loans, you would be foolish to give that up for culinary school. That opportunity has a shelf life and will not always be available. Culinary school, on the other hand, will always be there and so will those student loans afterwards.

This is a hard life, as you are learning. Try to imagine a lifetime filled with the sacrifices that you have already made in your short time working in a kitchen.

If you can do anything else, do anything else. Get a degree. Afterwards, if you still have the same passion for a career in the food industry, have at it. At least then, if it doesn't work out, you will have some sort of safety net.

The grim reality is the average career in the food industry lasts less than 2 years.

This is not the basket you want to place all of your eggs.

Good luck! :)
 
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Joined Oct 1, 2006
Welcome Redbullandtired to CT!

Bottom line is that this journey is yours alone so trust your gut, believe in yourself, follow your dream, and choose the path that meets your goals in life.

I can relate to parts of your situation, minus the Honors student part!

I knew from 9th grade I wanted to be a Chef. I spent my time from age 16-25 working my butt off. During my culinary school era, simultaneously working a full time job and a full time student. Yes, my friends were out having fun, dating, and I was just learning and working, and working... I followed my Dad's advice, "The harder you work at being good at something, when you are young and full of energy, the less hard you will have to work when you get old and have less energy." I did, and he was right...

Take advantage of opportunities to learn! I quit a night manager position, and took a pay cut to prep/dishwasher to learn Chinese cuisine from a Chinese Chef. Worked for free at a Butcher shop because the Meat Lab at school wouldn't be finished before graduation, etc. All the extra effort was like a deposit in the bank for me, it paid off down the road. I had a 38 year career that far exceeded my expectations!

A successful chef must have "attention to detail". You already have a taste of that, with all the moving pieces of working the line. Surprisingly, I ended up with a six figure job offer in logistics, because of my "attention to detail". I love food though, not moving things by rail, trucks and ships... Still pretty cool though!

You will probably have success in whatever field you choose to apply yourself!

Good luck and make the journey a fun one!
 
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Joined Jun 15, 2018
Welcome Redbullandtired to CT!

Bottom line is that this journey is yours alone so trust your gut, believe in yourself, follow your dream, and choose the path that meets your goals in life.

I can relate to parts of your situation, minus the Honors student part!

I knew from 9th grade I wanted to be a Chef. I spent my time from age 16-25 working my butt off. During my culinary school era, simultaneously working a full time job and a full time student. Yes, my friends were out having fun, dating, and I was just learning and working, and working... I followed my Dad's advice, "The harder you work at being good at something, when you are young and full of energy, the less hard you will have to work when you get old and have less energy." I did, and he was right...

Take advantage of opportunities to learn! I quit a night manager position, and took a pay cut to prep/dishwasher to learn Chinese cuisine from a Chinese Chef. Worked for free at a Butcher shop because the Meat Lab at school wouldn't be finished before graduation, etc. All the extra effort was like a deposit in the bank for me, it paid off down the road. I had a 38 year career that far exceeded my expectations!

A successful chef must have "attention to detail". You already have a taste of that, with all the moving pieces of working the line. Surprisingly, I ended up with a six figure job offer in logistics, because of my "attention to detail". I love food though, not moving things by rail, trucks and ships... Still pretty cool though!

You will probably have success in whatever field you choose to apply yourself!

Good luck and make the journey a fun one!
Thanks! This really helped Inspired me that working hard now is definitely going to pay off and that the sacrifices I’m making are worth it! Definitely going to continue to use this app throughout life!
 
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
Thanks! This really helped Inspired me that working hard now is definitely going to pay off and that the sacrifices I’m making are worth it! Definitely going to continue to use this app throughout life!

I really hope you know what you are doing, kiddo.

sgmchef sgmchef - I think you have a responsibility to explain to this young lad there are no guarantees in this business, even with hard work; that even the most modest of successes are elusive and based in part on luck.

Based upon your comment, he is under the impression that all he has to do is work hard and he is guaranteed all kinds of success.
 
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Hi redbullandtired,


sgsvirgil sgsvirgil raised some concerns I would like to address.

I look for indicators. A dirty front of house indicates poor management. This increases the possibility that sanitation and food safety in the kitchen may also suffer. Just indicators, no absolutes, just small pieces of the puzzle.

I take people at their word. When you stated that you are working multiple double shifts and working more than 70 hours a week, lost your girlfriend, your parents are unhappy, you turned down a full scholarship, and you still derive some bizarre satisfaction from getting slammed with 20 tickets on the line… To embrace that chaos, at age 17, is an “indicator of potential” worthy of acknowledgement. These are the primary reasons for my prediction of a rosy future!

I too was an experienced line cook before attending cooking school. Having an “experience filter” was incredibly useful in interpreting classroom lesson material. You know that having 2 people spend three hours to prepare 50 portions of a Pasta salad in not at all the pace of a restaurant. Another big plus for you! (I also learned a lot from my instructors “off program” because they could explain how they would do something in the real world)

You are an honor student, that is an indicator that you are pretty good at retaining information that you are taught. Another plus…

I took these indicators and concluded that you have an above average chance for a successful and satisfying career as a chef IF you continue to work very hard and never stop the learning process.

When I stated that success would come to you when you apply yourself, I did assume that you apply much more than minimum effort and meet minimum standards.

Nothing about being a chef is easy. There is simply too much to learn even in a lifetime!

sgsvirgil sgsvirgil I am glad to see removal of the “Why we are here” comment.
 
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Joined Jun 15, 2018
I really hope you know what you are doing, kiddo.

sgmchef sgmchef - I think you have a responsibility to explain to this young lad there are no guarantees in this business, even with hard work; that even the most modest of successes are elusive and based in part on luck.

Based upon your comment, he is under the impression that all he has to do is work hard and he is guaranteed all kinds of success.
Don’t worry I understand that in this profession you gotta be lucky to be big.I was looking for some positivity when I was in the gutters. If I work hard enough and do the right things something good is bound to find me!
 
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Don’t worry I understand that in this profession you gotta be lucky to be big.I was looking for some positivity when I was in the gutters. If I work hard enough and do the right things something good is bound to find me!
You have the right attitude, that's for sure.

But, if you are intent on giving up a free college education for this life, do so with the knowledge and understanding that anything good that happens to you in this business will only happen if you make it happen. Do not sit around and wait for something good to happen to you.

I wish you the best of luck. :)
 
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If you want to become a professional chef and have a nice job, you need to work hard. If your GF loves you, she can understand that this time you need to scarify for a better future. Each restaurant it’s like a small family. Those people spend a lot of time together. If you are new you need to work harder to earn your place and reputation. Still, if you feel exhausted better take some time off, so you won't die at your job. I recently discovered yoga for myself, and each year I visit a new yoga retreat place. I found a few nice places on https://yogapractice.com/yoga/luxury-yoga-retreats-in-usa and every time a visit a new place. It helps me to relax and gain energy to perform better at work.
 
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