question

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by curiouspete, Dec 20, 2001.

  1. curiouspete

    curiouspete

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    Hello,
    My name is Pete. I am currently looking into culinary arts as a career. I love to cook and create. I am currently a laboratory assistant. I have been for five years now. I do not like it anymore and am heading nowhere. I thought about a career move and couldn't think of anything that I would like to do. Well, really like to do. Nothing seemed rewarding or fun to me. Then I thought of becoming a sous chef or executive chef. It seemed to be the logical choice. Saying how I love to cook, I might as well make my life doing something that I love. I do not know, however, what demands there are in the world of culinary arts. What education looks good to a prospective restaraunt or hotel? What is a waste of time? Do executive chefs look at what type of school you went to and base there descision of whether or not to hire you on that? I need some help getting started here. If anyone that reads this can answer these questions I would be very grateful. Your help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time and help.
    [email protected]
     
  2. flash

    flash

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    .....with all due respect curiouspete, I'll tell you what a cook at
    K-Pauls told me after I expressed that I wanted to be a cook (chef). I was on my way to the culinary institute of america to check out the campus, but stopped in NO with my dad a few days before. We had dinner at K-Pauls--I had the crawfish saute, and rabbit sausage appetizer, awesome. After dinner, we walked up to the kitchen to watch the chefs do their thing. We got to talk briefly with one of them, and when he found out I wanted to be a chef he turned to my father and said, "Have you taken him to see a psychologist?" Anyway, many sessions later, I'm still cooking and loving it. I say you GO FOR IT BUDDY, but take some time to seriously think about it. READ: Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain--It couldn't get any worse than that, and if it did, would you still do it?

    Good Luck.

    seasons blessings,

    flash
     
  3. coolj

    coolj

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    Flash, I never thought that I'd be saying this so soon into my career, but when I was younger, 16/17 yrs old, I was really gung ho to become a cook, and everyone in the restaurant told me I was nuts, well I didn't actually start cooking at my restaurant till I was 19, and now only five years later, I find myself asking other people who want to work in the kitchen if they need some sort of psychiatric help.
    But all that aside, I don't think I could change careers, because cooking is like playing golf, either you're hooked the first time out, or you just hate it.
     
  4. chrose

    chrose

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    All I can say is look closely before you leap. Cooking while an art and a passion as practiced by artisans (just read some of these posts) it is still a business and the bottom line unless you want to cook at home is profit. You still have to pay the bills. When you see Emeril, or Martha or anyone else on TV remember that there is a battery of cooks behind the scenes doing the real work. It is physically demanding, it can be emotionally draining it can wreak havoc on a relationship. The hours can be ridiculously long. When it's busy time. it's mad! When it's slow season it's deadly. Still cooking can be richly rewarding financially and emotionally if you only go into it with your eyes wide open and look under the carpets! Good luck.
     
  5. curiouspete

    curiouspete

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    I thank you for your response. Crazy as it may sound, I love how the whole thing sounds. The hectic yet controled caos in the kitchen. The well (olive) oiled machine that a well organized kitchen is....or should be. I can't wait to get in there and produce outstanding cusine. My dream is somewhere along the lines of co-owning a great little rest. in the Boston area. Crazy as it sounds I already have a name...Karas. Please tell me that I am not foolish o think I can make a good life doing this. I don't want to waste my time if it isn't worth it. I love to cook. Plain and simple. I would love to challenge myself to becoming a great chef. I understand that the road will be hard but I am willing to take it....if enough people think its worth it. Are you a chef? What type? Do you think certain schools are not worth attending for the education that you receive? Give me one word......advise, school and do you regret you're decision to persue the culinary arts?

    pete

    [email protected]
     
  6. flash

    flash

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    Pete,

    Yes I am a chef--though I prefer cook, because I feel this is a more definitive term for what it is I do (I don't like to chef, I love to cook). Then again, I do so hate to get hung up on definitions and such.

    What type of cook? I will cook anthying, anywhere, anytime--and probably eat a little too. I consider myself a Missionary cook: converting foods to my religion everywhere I go--and I have gone, gone, gone to so many places it's not funny (sometimes on purpose). I guess the best way to answer this question is by saying that I am not a baking/pastry chef--though I have a solid grasp on the basics of baking and pastries and have mastered what I do know in my dessert repertoire (and I love baking breads of all denominations too).


    The subject of Culinary Schools is HIGHLY debatable!!! I went to CIA, NY, '90--I do not regret a single cent I payed, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Should you go to school? I do not know, I would have to meet you in person and get to know you better in order to answer that. Use your intuition and once you decide, BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE.
    [it's funny ya'know, you almost have to be a chef that went to school in order to know if you should go to school. A paradox of sorts. I guess, in a sense, This choice will be your FIRST RISK, in a business that demands that you take risks.]

    I do not regret for a single second my choice to be a cook or go to school. It's a very hard business and it almost got the best of me a couple times--like, near death. Few that I have ever met have had as hard a time as I, but many have had harder.




    I started as a dishwaser at 14.

    I then worked making pizza's at the same family (not my family) owned Italian restaurant.

    At 16-17 I went to work as prep cook in another local rest. I didn't last long, I quit about 3months later--but from that bad experience, something inside me told me THIS IS IT!!! this is what I wanted to do (about this time I started questioning my sanity)

    At 18 I took off to New York, CIA bound. At 20 I graduated. (I didn't notice the crazies there, cause everyone was completely NUTS! Kinda like, a fish doesn't notice it is a fish when it is only surrounded by other fish.

    I then went to work to LEARN what school cannot teach you.
    I traveled around the country cutting my paws in such places as CA, NC, WA, CO etc. For various reasons (bad luck, self-fullfilling prophecies, my sometimes bad attitude which is actually just a projection of my ULTIMATE love and respect for food, drugs etc.) I had many, many, many jobs thereafter--averaging about 2 per year for the past ten years [I am currently unemployed, but back in college working on my BA].

    At about this time I diagnosed myself as too far gone to save. I will apply my BA degree to some area in the foodservice industry--I do not regret my insanity (though it makes it hard to get along with 'normal' people) or the path I have chosen, AT ALL!

    I am 32, Single (never married), no kids. I never would have made it if I'd been married or had kids--but that's just me.

    In the future, I hope to continue cooking, and travel far and wide. Really, these two things are all that really matter to me now, and they take every ounce of gold and second of time I have.





    Good Luck Pete, I'm sure you'll do just fine.
    If I ever get to Boston, I'll be sure to look up Karas:cool:






    later dude,
    flash