Need advice on Red seal exam

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by cjl_2006, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. armond kearns

    armond kearns

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    well said!
     
  2. armond kearns

    armond kearns

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    Good evening

    hello new to this forum and this site,..

    I am soon going to write the red seal exam as I would like to get into LTC facilities,... apparently a requirement to get into these places,

    I have been in this industry for many many years now and I'm wanting to shift career placement

    i'm looking to study something but haven't been able to find anything except for my school books from way way back (at least 25 years now)

    any suggestions that I might look or just wing it as they say?
     
  3. lewaxe

    lewaxe

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    There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the red seal in culinary around here, so hopefully I can clear up some big ones for you all.

    Challenging levels of the program:

    All you need is an employer to vouch for a certain number of hours (2000+ for levels one or 2, 5000+ for level 3*redseal*) in order to challenge.

    Level one covers fundamentals such as mother sauces, knife skills, stocks, and basic cooking techniques.

    Level two covers advanced cooking such as consomme, terrines, small sauces, desserts, all at the fine dining level.

    Level 3 is a full review of the previous two levels, plus some specialty techniques such as table side service, butchering entire sides of land animals, molecular gastronomy techniques, but is mostly the skills of the previous two levels combined.

    You may challenge anything you have the hours for, but you cannot just challenge a red seal.

    In order to actually get a red seal you need to gain equivalency for level 3 by passing the practical exam for that level, and passing the written test afterwards. Then you must have a red seal chef you presumably are apprenticing under send a letter of recommendation for red seal certification to the ITA.

    At the end of a successful challenge, you will have a PC3 equivalency, but not necessarily the red seal itself.


    What I can tell you who challenge is that the practical exam is NOTHING like working the line at work.

    Have you ever seen Iron Chef? Because that is exactly what it is like, only rather than all your dishes be up at once, you have a predetermined set of serving times for each course that you present, with an allowable deviation of 10 minutes per course, and you have a very limited workspace.

    You have to set up your station, find all the tools and ingredients hidden around, weigh and portion everything, prep everything, butcher everything, and you have no time for confusion in an unfamiliar setting.

    You can't simply go for broke, because if you prep too much you will be dinged for food wastage, so you will be needing that scale for everything.
    You are to create a work plan beforehand outlining every amount of every item you need, and every step you will be making throughout the day, and present this to your instructor before the assessment.

    All levels require a demonstration of every cooking fundamental, with level 3 demanding fine dining quality, levels 1 and 2 need only be acceptable.

    The tests are LOADED with obscure questions, so if you can't readily answer such questions as "what is Sauce Robert?" or "To which family does a Jerusalem artichoke belong?" and "Is osso buco a poached dish?" you are more than likely going to fail the test, regardless of how good you are with cookery.

    My advice for those who must challenge is to simply go to any near by college offering the program and buy a copy of the text book in use, they will HAPPILY sell you anything you can ask for.

    Or, call and ask what the required text book is and then Ebay a copy if you can't afford the price, but it is an investment well worth the cash, and comes with digital content and a companion work book if you buy new.
    There are several textbooks that are in use currently, and are all pretty much the same, a couple examples would be "On Cooking" and "Professional cooking for Canadian chefs".

    I had challenged level one after 8 years of industry experience, 5 as a sous, and I did not find it easy at all, passed by the skin of my teeth, thanks to a friend gifting me his old textbook. Without that book I would have failed the written without a doubt.
    Make SURE you get the book, a good highlighter, and memorize everything relevant, right down to the recipes.

    French terminology translations are even a part of the testing, including food costing calculations, food safe, and everything in between.

    Does a Red Seal make you an amazing line cook by default? Well, no it does not, but, Can any experienced line cook challenge a red seal? No way in hell.

    The course is not a joke. You have to become the guy who can answer anything culinary within reason, to pass the red seal tests without lucking out and scratching through, so don't take it lightly. Study that book until you have a firm grasp of each chapter, scout out the facility of your practical assessment before time to familiarize yourself with it's layout, and time will be your number one enemy during a practical exam.

    My take away perspective on the red seal in the industry is that a Cook's resume will testify that they are good in a real kitchen, but the red seal will testify that they have a knowledge of everything culinary and industry.
     
    nicko and foodpump like this.
  4. welldonechef

    welldonechef

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    Great analogy. I passed my red seal exam in 2000. I went to school, and I apprenticed. Let me give you my takeaway...

    I find that the people who dog the red seal are the ones who never took it seriously in the first place. The thought that all you had to do was work XXX hours and you'll be able to challenge the exam is ludicrous. Sorry but it just doesn't work that way.

    The red seal exam is set up so you can have the foundation for your CCC exam. Yes, there are a LOT of obscure questions on the red seal exam, but then again, you are supposed to be as knowledgeable as the person who actually learned and took the time to study the test.

    Why do you need to know that coffee brewing times? Temperature? Well, there may come a time when that's good knowledge to have, when the FOH manager is freaking because the customers are complaining the coffee isn't up to par. You could call in the company to come troubleshoot, or you could have the tidbit you learned from being an apprentice and went through your breakfast block in school.

    I'm sure you know tonnes of people who have their red seal who suck. I'm not sure why people think that means the designation is not good. I can point you to a lot of professions that suffer the same thing.

    I agree with the resume.. I'll add something. As an apprentice I recieved my blue book... I was told that the book was like my resume. What I put into my apprenticing, I would get out of it.

    So, I took the time to get it all done. Every bit of it. Cakes? Made them. Forcément? Made it. Why? So I would have that knowledge.

    Wrote the red seal exam in 40 minutes, scored 92%. I'm not a scholar and I didn't do all that well in school growing up. But, I put the time into learning the Professional Cooking and On Cooking using flash cards that I made.

    This is how you do it. I still have the flash cards, in fact I showed them to my wife the other day. I can't bring myself to throw them out LOL

    Oh, and as of this year the red seal brings a designation to your title. R. S. E.

    So, Jason Sandeman, R.S.E
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  5. armond kearns

    armond kearns

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    Awesome! thank you!
     
    welldonechef likes this.
  6. leverd

    leverd

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    Hi chef..
    I am giving Red seal exam this is my third time..
    Can I know what happens if I fail 3rd time too.
    How many chances will be given ??

    Thanks
     
  7. trevorunc

    trevorunc

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    Totally agree 100% with you on this!!! I sent  resume in for a job and NOWHERE on it did it say i was red sealed or even that i hinted at it and was still hired for the sous chef position at said restaurant. Now i am just unsure if i should even mention it to him or just let it ride out??
     
  8. foodpump

    foodpump

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    I.T.A.

    That stands for Industry Training Authority.  Google it, get the branch that's in your Province, and find all about the Red seal and its rules and regulations from there.

    Hope this helps

    P.S. Most Provinces only let you flunk the Red Seal twice.....
     
  9. essenkommen

    essenkommen

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    Hello Saskatchewan boy,

    this is Saskatchewan girl.

    I am looking to challenge the Red Seal exam as I've been in the industry for almost 10 years and I feel it will maximize my career opportunity.
    I believe it will allow me to attain the jobs I am looking for with a little more ease, as well as a higher pay rate right off the bat.
    I have the experience and skills to back my time in the industry, but am quite nervous for the exam...as I am dyslexic.

    Can you point out any key points to study? 
    I've heard of many random questions, such as milk temperature for a latte, Waldorf salad components, tables for chafers at an event....etc. etc...

    If you can answer this specifically to the Saskatchewan exam that would be righteous....

    Thanks!
     
  10. essenkommen

    essenkommen

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    Hey,

    I'm actually looking into applying at a local prison in order to bank coin as well.... I would also like to be involved in a different work environment than that of the relentless kitchens I've worked in for the last decade...
    Would you say working under a Gov't job would give me a bit of a break compared to what I've been experiencing in industry thus far?
    I just want my weekends and affordable pay wage :(
     
  11. foodpump

    foodpump

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    I dunno, try the instructors at Kelsey.  Each Prov. has their own rules for the red seal, and their own series of questions.  Like I said in the above post, google the I.T.A. and find the chapter in Sask.,there should be a lot more info on their website.

    Gov't jobs?  Usually all union.   Kiss a** to get a p/t shift, kiss some more and wait by your phone for the on-call shifts, and maybe in as few as 5 years you can actually get 3 0r 4 consecutive 160 hr mths to qualify for f/t. position.  And then they'll privatize the whole thing and you can start all over again......,
     
  12. essenkommen

    essenkommen

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    I am in contact with Kelsey still..and the info I have is still limited due to confidentiality.
    I have also checked the site..same shit.
    It's okay, I'llet figure it out.

    In regards to jobs...well, I guess this is the kitchen industry......
     
  13. gerald francis

    gerald francis

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    Hello all I have study for my red seal I kept coming short need some help 780-594-5584
     
  14. interlop

    interlop

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    can you please send it to me 

    thank you soooooo much
     
  15. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Uhhhh....why?

    Is there some urban myth about someone sending out mock exams for free?

    You are "challanging" the red seal. That means the I. T.A. is assuming that you know what to expect on the test, and that you have taken steps to educate yourself on the whole process.


    This is the one gov't recognized qualification that thr Cdn hospitality industry has, the Americans don't even have one. Don't make this a joke by expecting a cheat sheet in your email inbox.

    Hope this helps. Usually I tell requesters like you to buy their "papers"in packs of 24 or48 (double ply) at the supermarket
     
    michaelga likes this.
  16. vic thankinggod

    vic thankinggod

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    Hi,

       I am a line cook and getting ready for my red seal exam, can you kindly send me some of the mock test to practice on that b4 my exam?

    i will really appreciate it,if i get some from someone very experience like you.

    hope to hear from you soon.

    thanks

    vic
     
  17. JaimeBCN

    JaimeBCN

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    Hi to all Chefs! I'm from Barcelona, and I've been cooking for 9 years 2 of those spent at school to gain my certifications . Now to become a certified cook in Canada I have to get the Alberta Qualification Certificate because apparently my Cook certificate from Spain doesn't mean anything in Canada (which I totally respect) which I believe is the same exam as the Red Seal. I've gone through the Professional Cooking 7th Edition and paid $100 at 2 different websites to get some sample questions. The thing is I just wanted to know any advice from chefs that actually did the test (passed or not passed) to be ready and to know what to expect on the questions.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  18. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Government test here in the states have to list the sources for testing standards. Maybe if you could find what the heck they are using for source material for their questions you might fare better.