Shifting careers

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Joined Jan 19, 2019
Hi there. I’m Jan from the Philippines.

I used to work as part of the marketing staff of a company and now I’ve left and decided to enter culinary school under a short course.

To be honest, I’m excited and yet also nervous as this is technically new ground for me. I have cooked before but at home.

How different is the office life compared to life in a kitchen? Which I hear depends on what kind of restaurant and how big and where. Any advice for the new guy dipping his toes into something new?

Thanks.


Jan
 
2,311
627
Joined Feb 8, 2009
How different is the office life compared to life in a kitchen? OMG, where to start. There isn't a close comparison. The only thing that's close is that they are both jobs that people go to to make money. The kitchen is a fast pace, think on your feet profession. In most cases you are always running. Most people who aren't at the top of their game are always running behind trying to catch up. If you're good you realize your weakness and strive to get better daily.......ChefBillyB
 
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529
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Hi there. I’m Jan from the Philippines.

I used to work as part of the marketing staff of a company and now I’ve left and decided to enter culinary school under a short course.

To be honest, I’m excited and yet also nervous as this is technically new ground for me. I have cooked before but at home.

How different is the office life compared to life in a kitchen? Which I hear depends on what kind of restaurant and how big and where. Any advice for the new guy dipping his toes into something new?

Thanks.


Jan
Before you take that leap of faith, please do yourself a favor and get a job in a commercial kitchen. Like chefbillyb said, there is no comparison whatsoever between working in a commercial kitchen and working as part of a marketing staff. None whatsoever.

Here are some highlights of what life is like. I'm going to be very frank about it so, please forgive me if this seems a bit melodramatic.

Culinary school is intensely expensive and your education only has value within the food industry, no where else. So, if you decide one day that this life is not for you, your culinary arts degree will mean precisely zero. The hours that you will work will be long. A 60-70 hour work week is a short work week. You will not have time for a spouse, children, friends or any sort of social life. Period. You will be working on weekends and holidays as they are your busiest times. You might get a day off during the week. The stress is intense and will be made worse by an insane chef or that one person that exists in every restaurant who is incredibly irritating. The pay is horrible. Do not expect any benefits until you reach kitchen management level, which is a 6-10 year track. This profession has one of the highest substance abuse rates and divorce rates of any profession.

These are just the highlights.

So, here's my advice which is the same advice I have given to others in this forum and to all others who have come to me over 40 years looking for some advice or a job: If you can do anything else, do anything else. Cooking at home for friends and family is nothing like cooking commercially. A passion for cooking is never enough.

Get a job in a commercial kitchen and stick with it for 6 months to a year. At the end of that time, if you are still enthusiastic about pursuing a career in the food industry, at least you will be going into it with your eyes open.

Good luck. :)
 
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Joined Oct 23, 2012
I spent some time working in a commercial kitchen back in the day and the only thing business-wise I have ever experienced that was close was working on a trading floor, though trading in a pit is probably closer. Fast pace, must think on one's feet, totally incomprehensible to outsiders, etc. Also, you pretty much can only start at the bottom and work your way up and will spend most of your early time making mistakes and (often getting screamed at for it). You will be exhausted and feel incredibly stupid and may love it.

The change to that career for people who love cooking is like all my friends who fantasize about being fishing guides for a living. Yeah, they love to fish but all my fishing guide friends really wish they could go fishing from time to time instead of rowing clients all day during fishing season.

Liking to cook is not enough, there is something more that the folks who are successful have. I love to cook but will never, ever set foot in a commercial kitchen again, if I can help it. Having no other options seems to be helpful ;)
 
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
I spent some time working in a commercial kitchen back in the day and the only thing business-wise I have ever experienced that was close was working on a trading floor, though trading in a pit is probably closer. Fast pace, must think on one's feet, totally incomprehensible to outsiders, etc. Also, you pretty much can only start at the bottom and work your way up and will spend most of your early time making mistakes and (often getting screamed at for it). You will be exhausted and feel incredibly stupid and may love it.

The change to that career for people who love cooking is like all my friends who fantasize about being fishing guides for a living. Yeah, they love to fish but all my fishing guide friends really wish they could go fishing from time to time instead of rowing clients all day during fishing season.

Liking to cook is not enough, there is something more that the folks who are successful have. I love to cook but will never, ever set foot in a commercial kitchen again, if I can help it. Having no other options seems to be helpful ;)
Yes I agree there becomes a disconnect with the things you enjoy doing in life when they become mandatory. I know people say that if you love what you do for a living it won't feel like a job, I just haven't met any of those people personally.
 

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