Is this the end?

Joined Oct 30, 2006
Hey everyone, long time no post. I'm not complaining, I just need to vent. Have any of you ever felt that career wise, this is it? It's over! Most of my experience is working for organic markets, working in their catering and prepared foods departments. My line experience is limited to a couple bars. With that said, I recently left my most recent job for a line cook position at a nice cafe. I was working with the people and product I always wanted. I thought I was doing really well. After a few days, the chef comes to me and says their not making money and have to let me go. So now I'm looking for a new job and I've had my line in the water over a week and not getting any bites. I can remember my last night there, standing over two hotel pans of roasted beets, cleaning them and thinking to myself, I love this. I'm really happy. Then the next night, the bomb is dropped. I know it's the nature of the business, but sometimes I feel that at my age (35), which I know I'm not old yet, but competing with younger,school trained people, not having strong line cook experience, do I really have a chance?
Joined Sep 18, 2008
Well, I'm 67, no "formal culinary training", first cooked for money 45 years ago, O/O 20 top for 2 3/4 years, economy SUCKS, yup, I've reached the end, yeah RIGHT!
Joined Dec 4, 2009
Hmmm, let's see...

1. McDonald's is ALWAYS hiring and looking for managers, to boot.

2. New career altogether. Insurance companies are hiring big time.

3. Go to school. Take a break. Get that education.

4. "...over a week..."!!! Venting's one thing but are you kidding me?

5. How's your credit? Borrow some money. Start your own organic roast beef business.

6. It's not the "nature of the business". It's the nature of bad businesses. Find a stable restaurant that needs your maturity and maybe even value your "organic" knowledge.

Joined Sep 23, 2009
^ What he said.

Don't worry about competing against school grads. You can teach someone how to cook, you can't teach someone how to work. Cooking the line is an intense, aggressive job, so be intense and aggressive in your job hunt. I have yet to write a resume, as my kitchen job's to date have been landed simply by talking to the Chef or Chef de Cuisine and offering a week or two of free labour.

Everyone wins, it gives you a chance to show the chef how hard you can work, without the chef having to assume any financial risk. It shows everyone that you are determined to get the job, and dedicated to what you do. If you do get the job, it means that you have two weeks of experience that the business didn't have to shell out money for - You already know where things are, how some things are done, etc. In addition, when you are the new cook on the line, it helps to have earned a bit of respect from everyone else in the kitchen.

If for some reason you don't get the job, you got to see how it's done in that particular kitchen.

Be warned, you'll often be set up with the dirtiest, least fun tasks, because everybody just got the opportunity to unload things they don't want to do on the new guy. I've been put in the dishpit for two weeks, for free, working line cooks hours (14) as opposed to dishwashers (8). But if you take those grimy tasks and run with them, and haul serious ***, and prove that you can hack it, then you can find a job anywhere.
Joined Sep 28, 2008
Hold up there. You can kill this line of work, you just need to be passionate. I have been where you have been.

You need to find yourself a side hustle. You need to offer your employers the chance to hire YOU, someone who has skills or loyalty, or whatever it is that you have to offer.

You need to be confident, you need to be YOU. What do you bring them? Sell it!

You can do it, you already have experience, now get out there and use it. Also, DO IT. It is your brand!
Joined Aug 21, 2009
I wouldn't worry so much about competing against culinary grads.. as it has been said here.. culinary teaches you how to cook, not how to work. On the line a strong work ethic, good organizational skills and the ability to multitask goes a very long way and those are learned skills, not taught ones.

Keep positive and keep looking and I agree with what has been said here.. be aggressive and sell yourself.. offer your services for free for a week or two to see if you fit in witht he kitchen.. if you do awesome, if not, well you will have learned a few things and you can take that knowlege with you and apply it to your next prospect.

You're not too old either.. this is a second career for me and I was about your age when I got into it!

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