So sad....

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Recently, someone asked me how one becomes a Chef.
I explained that the term simply means chief in French and the name is given to anyone that oversees and manages a kitchen generally.
This led me back to one of our past threads concerning certification and licensing.

I find it curious that when we need a plumber, electrician, or even a hairstylist, we look for one that is reliable, honest, expert and we know they are licensed by the state, and have a certification stating they are knowledgeable about their trade.
Yet why do we trust our lives (literally) when we dine out or take in, to someone we know nothing about who cooks our food?
Ever think about that?
WOW!
 
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In most cases fast or casual dining monopolize the culinary landscape. If you're worried about trusting your life with unskilled or unqualified people look at these places. The one place that sticks out to me is Chipotle Grill. They pushed the limit of having untrained people handling and preparing food with little knowledge. They just have to many items that go from raw to cooked by these people. Then you have the crossover and handling of the food being a contamination problem.
I don't worry about fine dining. The Chef s/b responsible enough to train his/her employees to prepare their food as they would. After all, the cooks in the kitchen s/b an extension of the chefs vision of quality and presentation. I never had any of my cooks work my front line that didn't have my vision. Maybe that's why I worked the line so much.......ChefBillyB
 
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Exactly. As the fast casual style of chains and franchises start to dominate the general market more and more, I believe this will undoubtedly lead to more cases of food poisoning and other issues like that. Maybe if this trend continues long enough some kind of shift will happen that will either force these types of establishments to change how they operate or more and more people will gravitate towards a more upscale dining experience.

On a side note to the question about other trades, I believe that is in part to where your location is as well. Where I am only certain parts of the state require a license while others do not for some reason. And I've seen plenty of tradeskills people including in food service that may have had a piece of paper saying one thing that was very different than their actual capabilities.
 
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In my experience, a piece of paper does not always ensure quality or safety standards. Point in fact, how many culinary school graduates have we encountered in our careers who disregarded safety protocols and health codes?

The only thing that will hold back this tide is the dedication and professionalism of those of us whose work ethic demands that we properly train our employees. To a very large extent, the food industry is a "self policing" profession and we are its guarantors of safety and quality. When training new people and even our veterans, this must be lesson #1.

Cheers! :)
 
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No.... I think the food poisonings have/ will happen at mega processing plants. Granted, there are poisonings at restaurants which is 99% due to ignorance, but the majority of poisonings happen at processing plants.

Looking back at the hospitality scene 40 and 50 years ago, there just weren’t that many restaurants per person in most cities. A lot of people would brew a thermos of coffee at home to take to work, schools had 90-120 minute lunch breaks so kids could go home for lunch.

About 12 years ago we bought a unit in a new building and proceeded to turn it into a bakery and chocolate shop. A guy leased the next door unit and sunk 60 grand into infrastructure to turn it into a bubble tea place. After two years he folded, the next guy leased it and tried to make a go with Thai food, The unit only has 100 amps of juice, no gas, and no way to install ventilation equipment. That lasted about a year, then the next guy started a Bolivian meat pie place. That lasted about two years then a local leased it and turned it into a pie shoppe. Another two years and it’s a bubble tea place again. It’s latest reincarnation is a Poke place.

The point I’m trying to make is that a large chunk of restaurants are started by people who don’t know what they’re doing. They can’t make money, so the old strip-tease of “ how low can you go?” starts. Wages are one of the largest expenses, so they are slashed., family is coerced into working. Convenience products are used—not because they’re cheap, but because relatively little labour is needed. And the public? They LOVE it, they’ll buy the cheapest they can find, and look forward to when the business folds, because it means something new.

It could be argued that chain restaurants fit into the above model. The franchisee buys into the franchise because they have no idea of how to operate a restaurant, everything from purchasing to H.r. to promotion is done by head office. Franchises make a lot of their money with their um...(cough) “signature items” which are frozen convenience products of which the franchisee is obliged to buy. Thus ovoid ing the need for cooks who can actually cook.

In most parts of Europe you need a license to operate a restaurant. This qualification does not come easy, even with a hospitality background you need to take a 6 mths course and write a series of tests. Coincidence or not, restaurants in Europe tend to operate longer, and cooks, who take apprenticeships and meet qualifications can actually earn a living wage

Now add into this “ melange” the fact that the U.S. has no standards for what a cook should know or be capable of. So how does a culinary school design a curriculum for a standard that doesn’t exist? Most people laugh when I tell them in most parts of Europe a server has to take a 2yr. apprenticeship. I don’t think it’s its funny.

The final seasoning to this “melange” is the tipping issue. More often than not a server is “ mercenary”, hired for a period, having no relevant experience, scooping up tips, then leaving to go back to school. The cook, who is responsible for 50% of the dining experience is not tipped—either by the customer or the server, and figures out fairly quickly that cooking is not sustainable.

Meh, let free enterprise sort it out.
Well, let’s look at Marriott. They own a lot of hotels and manage even more other hotels. Ya’d think a large employer like that could influence culinary schools in how they prepare students for the work force. Have they? Ya’d think they could organize or help organize a national standard for cooks so they could base their wages on it. Have they? Ya’d think they could get the whole tipping issue out in the open and get discussions going. Have they! Perhaps another large employer should do this? Taco Bell or Olive Garden?

So what?
Well, if you’re smart you’d figure out that hospitality makes up a big chunk of the tourism revenue for major cities. Gov’ts can invents in airports, ferry terminals, amusement parks, golf courses, Now, an animal is most viscous when it protects its food source. Yeah yeah, businesses pay taxes. But that’s like saying Jordan plays basketball.. Businesses GENERATE taxes, businesses COLLECT taxes. Who’d ya think takes a chunk off your pay check and sends it to the taxman? Free of charge? Ya’d think the various govt’s would protect their tax sources, do they?

So I’ll get off my milk crate now. I hope Bodistsava or whatever his name is is reading this, before he tells some else to start up a food truck business....
 
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I am glad I have had 0 interest during my long and continuing restaurant adventure to never call myself a chef. I have spent countless years learning how to be a better cook. I think of my time as getting paid to show up to practice every day. For that I am still grateful! I see the restaurant business as an ongoing shit show of up to the moment contrivance. For people who love to cook and wish to do it for others? My heart goes out to you. May you be happy with the choices made as you move through the culinary world.
As far as my feeling of the state of cooking in America? I don't stress out. I just stay out of those kinds of places!
 
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No.... I think the food poisonings have/ will happen at mega processing plants. Granted, there are poisonings at restaurants which is 99% due to ignorance, but the majority of poisonings happen at processing plants.

Looking back at the hospitality scene 40 and 50 years ago, there just weren’t that many restaurants per person in most cities. A lot of people would brew a thermos of coffee at home to take to work, schools had 90-120 minute lunch breaks so kids could go home for lunch.

About 12 years ago we bought a unit in a new building and proceeded to turn it into a bakery and chocolate shop. A guy leased the next door unit and sunk 60 grand into infrastructure to turn it into a bubble tea place. After two years he folded, the next guy leased it and tried to make a go with Thai food, The unit only has 100 amps of juice, no gas, and no way to install ventilation equipment. That lasted about a year, then the next guy started a Bolivian meat pie place. That lasted about two years then a local leased it and turned it into a pie shoppe. Another two years and it’s a bubble tea place again. It’s latest reincarnation is a Poke place.

The point I’m trying to make is that a large chunk of restaurants are started by people who don’t know what they’re doing. They can’t make money, so the old strip-tease of “ how low can you go?” starts. Wages are one of the largest expenses, so they are slashed., family is coerced into working. Convenience products are used—not because they’re cheap, but because relatively little labour is needed. And the public? They LOVE it, they’ll buy the cheapest they can find, and look forward to when the business folds, because it means something new.

It could be argued that chain restaurants fit into the above model. The franchisee buys into the franchise because they have no idea of how to operate a restaurant, everything from purchasing to H.r. to promotion is done by head office. Franchises make a lot of their money with their um...(cough) “signature items” which are frozen convenience products of which the franchisee is obliged to buy. Thus ovoid ing the need for cooks who can actually cook.

In most parts of Europe you need a license to operate a restaurant. This qualification does not come easy, even with a hospitality background you need to take a 6 mths course and write a series of tests. Coincidence or not, restaurants in Europe tend to operate longer, and cooks, who take apprenticeships and meet qualifications can actually earn a living wage

Now add into this “ melange” the fact that the U.S. has no standards for what a cook should know or be capable of. So how does a culinary school design a curriculum for a standard that doesn’t exist? Most people laugh when I tell them in most parts of Europe a server has to take a 2yr. apprenticeship. I don’t think it’s its funny.

The final seasoning to this “melange” is the tipping issue. More often than not a server is “ mercenary”, hired for a period, having no relevant experience, scooping up tips, then leaving to go back to school. The cook, who is responsible for 50% of the dining experience is not tipped—either by the customer or the server, and figures out fairly quickly that cooking is not sustainable.

Meh, let free enterprise sort it out.
Well, let’s look at Marriott. They own a lot of hotels and manage even more other hotels. Ya’d think a large employer like that could influence culinary schools in how they prepare students for the work force. Have they? Ya’d think they could organize or help organize a national standard for cooks so they could base their wages on it. Have they? Ya’d think they could get the whole tipping issue out in the open and get discussions going. Have they! Perhaps another large employer should do this? Taco Bell or Olive Garden?

So what?
Well, if you’re smart you’d figure out that hospitality makes up a big chunk of the tourism revenue for major cities. Gov’ts can invents in airports, ferry terminals, amusement parks, golf courses, Now, an animal is most viscous when it protects its food source. Yeah yeah, businesses pay taxes. But that’s like saying Jordan plays basketball.. Businesses GENERATE taxes, businesses COLLECT taxes. Who’d ya think takes a chunk off your pay check and sends it to the taxman? Free of charge? Ya’d think the various govt’s would protect their tax sources, do they?

So I’ll get off my milk crate now. I hope Bodistsava or whatever his name is is reading this, before he tells some else to start up a food truck business....

While I agree with most of what you said I would like to just add some counter points for a few things. The first is about restaurants in Europe versus the States. While I believe that perhaps the restaurants there may be around longer some of that I would think would be due to the tourist industry and the overall attitude towards food and hospitality in general of Europeans versus Americans. Also you would have to take into account percentages as a whole as America and its restaurants versus Europe and theirs is not an even numbers game. And while areas here are propping up casual chains there are plenty of finer dining established places around the country.

The other areas I want to touch on are the curriculum for cooks. At least in my experience the program was structured in a way to give different levels of understanding from fundamentals to fine detailed skills and was generally based off of teachings that were a consensus from chefs and their peers. While I understand the point you are making I do not think it is the best course of action to start having the government decide what cooks need to know and how to achieve that knowledge.

The last point I wanted to talk about was the example you gave of the Marriott. Sure, they would benefit from a more educated work force out of the bag but I would venture to guess they have developed their own training methods and requirements to suite their needs. If they have to train them at the premises after hire I don't see why they would try and invest in training people in the industry as a whole who may never work there. Not to mention the needs of this establishment or part of industry will not always be the same as another so who's training and requirements receive preference?

All in all I think if we were to go towards mandated skills requirements it would have to be at a local or state level. Federally mandating it would be a logistical nightmare.
 
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O.k., regarding culinary curriculum. Imagine for a second you are designing curriculum for plumbers, yet your state has no plumbing code. How do you proceed? How do you anticipate what employers want? What culinary schools refuse to acknowledge is that employers want experience. This is entirely possible to build into a curriculum, but which school does it?

So you don’t want gov’t laying out the standard for what a cook should know. Yet that’s exactly what happens with other trades— plumbers, gas fitters, electricians, car mechanics, etc. If your insurance finds out that the guy who did your brakes wasn’t licensed, or the guy who repaired your furnace wasn’t licensed, they tell you you’re not covered should something happen.

So the big question is, if gov’t won’t provide qualifications for cooks, who will? Private industry has had well over 100 years to do something, and the only change they lobbied for and brought in was ‘ tipping wages” for the servers.

Marriott built a mega project here over two years ago, their kitchen staffing is still only 75% complete. They don’t want to use the Cdn gov’t qualification of red seal cook, and won’t pay the going rate of what other hotels pay qualified cooks. Which is why they are still looking for staff. They can pull senior staff from all over the world no problem, but it makes no sense to pull staff from another country or even another city to work a line cook’s job. Which is why they are still looking for staff...

Again, using other trades, you need qualifications to base a pay scale on. Why should a cook invest money in school and time on the floor if they can never break the $25/hr barrier? Compare that to what a freshly minted plumber will make on his/ her first day on the job, and it ain’t minimum wage....

The Cdn govt qualification for cooks is federal, but each province decides what should be on the test, and how applicants should be tested. It’s a nightmare.. Some provinces only require. 200-odd multiple choice test. Others have a two day battery of tests and a 6 hr live cooking test. Night and day. But it’s better than nothing.
 
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I was in culinary school in 1973. My first class started at 5:30 am where I was a cook in the schools cafeteria. I learned how to make 100 gallons of soup or 50 gallons of chili.
I also was exposed to the various equipment and spent many weeks simply peeling, chopping, and slicing. I was part of a team of students and we rotated our positions for the entire semester.
The rest of the schooling also included, hands on work in bakery, fine dining, butchering and many other sciences.
My question is, if this is still the way students are taught?
They should be graduating with, at least, some kind of grasp of the kitchen. .

Foodpumps' analogy was spot on and I found myself nodding with each sentence I read.
I worked for Marriott and they did have an educational arm that developed scholarships for employees to go to culinary school. They did have those "recipe cards" for their food service facilities to follow. I even met the corporate Chef who wrote them. Like them or hate them, at least, it was a move forward.
 
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O.k., regarding culinary curriculum. Imagine for a second you are designing curriculum for plumbers, yet your state has no plumbing code. How do you proceed? How do you anticipate what employers want? What culinary schools refuse to acknowledge is that employers want experience. This is entirely possible to build into a curriculum, but which school does it?

So you don’t want gov’t laying out the standard for what a cook should know. Yet that’s exactly what happens with other trades— plumbers, gas fitters, electricians, car mechanics, etc. If your insurance finds out that the guy who did your brakes wasn’t licensed, or the guy who repaired your furnace wasn’t licensed, they tell you you’re not covered should something happen.

So the big question is, if gov’t won’t provide qualifications for cooks, who will? Private industry has had well over 100 years to do something, and the only change they lobbied for and brought in was ‘ tipping wages” for the servers.

Marriott built a mega project here over two years ago, their kitchen staffing is still only 75% complete. They don’t want to use the Cdn gov’t qualification of red seal cook, and won’t pay the going rate of what other hotels pay qualified cooks. Which is why they are still looking for staff. They can pull senior staff from all over the world no problem, but it makes no sense to pull staff from another country or even another city to work a line cook’s job. Which is why they are still looking for staff...

Again, using other trades, you need qualifications to base a pay scale on. Why should a cook invest money in school and time on the floor if they can never break the $25/hr barrier? Compare that to what a freshly minted plumber will make on his/ her first day on the job, and it ain’t minimum wage....

The Cdn govt qualification for cooks is federal, but each province decides what should be on the test, and how applicants should be tested. It’s a nightmare.. Some provinces only require. 200-odd multiple choice test. Others have a two day battery of tests and a 6 hr live cooking test. Night and day. But it’s better than nothing.
While I understand the point you are making, in my mind the comparison of several trades is similar but not entirely apples to apples. You asked why a cook should invest in school if they cannot break a pay ceiling in essence. I would argue that it would not be most culinary students aspirations to go to culinary school simply to become a line cook for the rest of their career. Culinary school is there for teaching sound fundamentals and skills, and it is up to the individual to take that knowledge and progress with it. In that aspect I believe there are already standards set in place of what a cook should know coming out of culinary school.

When bringing up codes and standards set forth by the government for other skills trades I would also argue that we in the culinary field also have these in the way of sanitation codes. Places that do not operate sufficiently are dealt with as would a shoddy trades person.

The point about pay gaps between other trade skills also has some finer details I believe like one, trade skills have tier systems usually like you would see as position tiers in a kitchen. A certified master electrician is obviously going to make more than a line cook, but may be more in line with an executive chef. The other item to consider is that gap in available skilled workers. At least here, there is a huge gap of skilled workers in the end years of their career and new trainees, while the food industry has been pumping out recruits like a factory (largely in part to tv shows I believe). Like with anything involving supply and demand, the demand for skilled trades people outside the culinary field on a whole (I realize we struggle with this internally) is higher than the supply as opposed to our field, again as a whole and position depending.

As far at the Marriott in Canada, I don't live there and have no experience to talk about with it but I would just ask if forcing a company to hire a government deemed acceptable worker is the way that particular building will be fully staffed, can you say with a certainty that the facility will operate significantly more efficiently than an similar place where that requirement is not mandated? I am just wondering at what point on the data graphs a government certificate will surpass industry experience.
 
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I was in culinary school in 1973. My first class started at 5:30 am where I was a cook in the schools cafeteria. I learned how to make 100 gallons of soup or 50 gallons of chili.
I also was exposed to the various equipment and spent many weeks simply peeling, chopping, and slicing. I was part of a team of students and we rotated our positions for the entire semester.
The rest of the schooling also included, hands on work in bakery, fine dining, butchering and many other sciences.
My question is, if this is still the way students are taught?
They should be graduating with, at least, some kind of grasp of the kitchen. .

Foodpumps' analogy was spot on and I found myself nodding with each sentence I read.
I worked for Marriott and they did have an educational arm that developed scholarships for employees to go to culinary school. They did have those "recipe cards" for their food service facilities to follow. I even met the corporate Chef who wrote them. Like them or hate them, at least, it was a move forward.
I graduated a while ago but the system was basically set up with progressing levels of skills training, than to things like stocks and soups. You then went on to meat and fish fabrication, product identification and then to basic kitchens. From there it was cuisine specific kitchens along with a externship and some time and baking and pastry. You would end out the training with mock serving, and then rotating front and back of the house of real restaurants. I am sure I am missing some things but the point is you are taught a lot of basic and refined skills and I can't imagine that the basic standards of knowledge for the field would be so drastically different between culinary schools that a government would have to set standards.

I understand what foodpump is saying about those in the field that have not had any formal training being akin to a contractor who is unlicensed that is doing work for you. But I still do not believe it is a direct comparison. I believe that is in part to the creativity side of culinary that is not found in other trades as much. You could have a person who has no formal training but is a creative genius with food open up a business but you plumber is going to do his job based on codes and simple math and working mechanics. There is no creative outlet for these other trades and cutting that down with mandatory regulations and training would be a detriment to our industry.

Plus on my last and least important note, I don't want the government telling me what to do and having any more power than it already does.
 
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It's funny I should stumble upon that thread, I just had that the same discussion with a friend here in France: you need a state diploma to exercise as a hair dresser but even though the corresponding state diploma exists for culinary arts it's not required to cook professionally or even to open a restaurant.
 
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Hi Seoulfood,

I understand many are unwilling to agree with certification in the kitchens, but I don’t understand why.

I also don’t understand why you feel qualifications would limit a cook’s creativity. In my case, and in many of my colleagues, qualifications have upped the game not only in creativity, but in utilizing new techniques and ingredients. So please elaborate why you feel qualifications would hinder creativity.

Look, both you and I have a driver’s license—a certification, if you like. This does not guarantee that I won’t blow through a stop sign, nor does it mean I will follow the 4-way stop procedure. Yet both you and I would be reluctant to drive in “other countries” where a drivers license is obtained by bribing an official or bought at an open air bazaar. What the license does is guarantee that I can’t claim ignorance if caught not following the 4-way stop procedure. Which is why I can’t get insurance without a valid driver’s.

I work p/t at a caterer’s. They pay x$ for normal prep work, and y$ for those with a valid driver’s license, and z$ for those with a class 5 driver’s that enables you to drive trucks over 5 tons or vehicles with air brakes. Most of the trades will base their salaries on qualifications, and many of the trades provide their own schools, or work closely with trade schools for their members to achieve higher qualifications.

The common complaints in kitchens are that you can’t find good cooks, the ones that you do don’t know anything, and the schools don’t know what’s going on
Well, anyone with brains has figured out that kitchens pay crap, and they go to other industries. Granted there are a lot of cracks and crevices, and there are jobs that actually pay well, but these are far and few. Union places do pay better, but these positions are based on seniority and not merit, so you could wait years working p/t until some chronic alcoholic finally throws in the towel.

The schools don’t have a qualification for their students to achieve
so anything they teach is fair game, with no official body to hold them accountable for what they teach.

The above problems can be addressed with qualifications—-something most other trades have done. Which is why you’re paying a plumber 75$/ hr to fix your hot water heater.

I feel you’re quite wrong about trades and creativity. All trades (and this includes cooking) rely on a) materials, b) techniques, and c) budget. A cook uses skills, techniques, and ingredient knowledge to exercise creativity, but s/he is governed by budget—a duck entree that is wonderfully executed and doesn’t sell is pretty much useless. A plumber can be extremely creative in how they utilize technology, techniques, and choice of material while meeting or exceeding budget or time allowances. You can’t have creativity until you can master the skills, techniques, and ingredient knowledge.

I also understand your reluctance to have a govt involved, I get that. But as I said before, the only thing our industry has done to further itself in the last 100 years has been to introduce tipping wages. And since the hospitality industry is one of the biggest-if not the biggest industry in terms of employees, shouldn’t a govt protect it—since it can’t protect itself?
 
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The bottom line is that a piece of paper does not ensure anything. There are always going to be those who wander away from the code of professional conduct and standards regardless of whether or not that code is written. In other words, some lawyers who go to the best law schools still get disbarred. Some doctors who go to the best medical schools commit malpractice and some cooks and chefs who go to the best culinary schools still cut corners. Most, however, do not. It does not matter where they work. It can be in a hotel, fine dining, a fast food joint, a casual dining chain restaurant or a "mom-n-pops" diner. We have all encountered people in this profession who are willing to cut corners. I am happy to say that thanks to the self policing aspect of this industry, people like this tend to be labeled quickly. This is largely because kitchen employees in a city or town tend to know each other and they talk. So, if Joe Blow gets fired from a place for bad kitchen practices, it won't be long before everyone knows it. That doesn't guarantee he won't get hired somewhere. But, that's just the way it is. There are no laws that I am aware of that would legally prevent Joe Blow from working in a kitchen somewhere unlike the lawyer who is disbarred or a doctor whose license is revoked for malpractice.

There's a great question posed in this thread: should the Federal Government get involved with enforcing standards? My answer to that is no. I think it would become a complete sh*t show and wildly expensive given the number of restaurants there are in the US. I think this sort of thing is best left up to the individual states and counties who generally have the resources and employees to at least maintain some sort of presence.

Another good questions was asked: If there were no regulations or guidance, how would we train new employees or develop a curriculum for culinary school? Simple. The same way we teach our employees - by passing on what we have learned. The state sets forth the standards in terms of safety. We decide how that is applied to our day to day operations. There was a time when state health agencies didn't exist. So, how did cooks train their apprentices in the absence of written laws and codes? By passing along and enforcing good food handling skills and cooking techniques. Granted, over the years, those standards have changed with the advancements in medical knowledge and technology, i.e. bacteria, sanitation, refrigeration, preservation and so on. However, the responsibilities of the chef has not changed all that much. We still set and enforce the standards in our kitchens even those standards have changed over the years or are decided by codes and laws. We are still responsible for training our staff and making sure they meet these standards regardless of whether those standards are set by the state or by us.

Cheers :)
 
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I'm not sure how you could set a standard for Chefs. I've seen many Chefs that couldn't polish the shoes of other chefs. I owned four Food services at the same time without even going to Culinary school.
This is the kind of business that if you can do it, you got it. The proof is in the pudding. You can bulls-it all you want but your going to have to show your stuff pretty quick........
 
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Okay.....all good points. My bottom line point would be that getting the government to set standards for restaurants would, in the end, thin out the field and only those that choose to follow the codes would remain.
This doesn't necessarily mean that Mom and Pops would close either.
Yes, even though you are certified and licensed, you can still break the rules.
Plumbers and electricians screw up, as do lawyers and doctors.
It's life. "Caveat Emptor." As you would with anything else.
 
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I ran a few homeless feedings over the years. It started when I volunteered to help. I figured I world peel potatoes for a few hours and take off. I got there and no one new what the heck was going on. The guy in charge handed me an apron and aid it's all yours. This was a feeding for 2000 people for Thanksgiving. Needless to say my few hours turned into three days.
The reason I bring this up is, a lot of food coming in, that was donated, was kind of sketchy. I roasted off a lot of turkeys but we also had people dropping them off. When someone walked back with a turkey I thanked them and when they left I ripped it apart. You would not believe how many raw/half cooked turkeys came through the door. So nothing got served from the public unless it passed the smell and sight test.
As far as Chefs in restaurants go, I think the Health Dept sets standards with inspections that s/b good enough to keep the public safe. Food service cards are issued after all employees pass a basic test on reheating, temps of foods, cross contamination and so on. The funny things is as a Chef/owner I never had a health card, Go figure.
Like I said, after seeing how the public cooked food for the homeless I would worry more about being invited out for a holiday meal.
We are talking about some kind of certification for Chefs. What would that actually accomplish ????????
If I go to a fine dining restaurant and the quality is like a Denny's I don't think that Chef will last very long. The public will decide if the Chef matches the Cuisine. A certification will only show what the chef knows on paper. If you have a Chef stage before he/she is hired that would show a bit more in real time...........The Best.....ChefBillyB

P.S. A famous person " In his own mind" once said " This Ain't Rocket Science"
 
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Hi chefbillyb,

As stated in each post I’ve written in this thread, certification for other trades does two things.

It provides a baseline for cook’s salaries.
I think everyone here can acknowledge that cooks are the worst paid tradespeople— which does nothing to attract new talent.

It provides a baseline for the culinary schools to design a curriculum.
I think everyone here acknowledges that the culinary schools do a poor job of preparing students for the workforce.
 
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Hi chefbillyb,

As stated in each post I’ve written in this thread, certification for other trades does two things.

It provides a baseline for cook’s salaries.
I think everyone here can acknowledge that cooks are the worst paid tradespeople— which does nothing to attract new talent.

It provides a baseline for the culinary schools to design a curriculum.
I think everyone here acknowledges that the culinary schools do a poor job of preparing students for the workforce.
While I understand that food service would fall under the broader umbrella of trade skills labor I still do not think you can equally compare them with skills like plumbers and electricians. The reason these trades can get away with a $75/hr rate is because the average consumer does not need them that often. I also don't really want to set a standard for chef salaries as this should be dictated by locale, supply and demand, individual skill, ect. not a government mandated training.

I will concede that other trades can utilize creativity in problem solving but finding a creative way to pipe a toilet is not the same as being creative with a food dish in my opinion.

The other problem I have is that government run certification agencies have a (high in my opinion) chance of becoming overbearing and counter productive, not to mention somewhat corrupt. As soon as they figure out they can make money off of this it will be endless certifications and continuing education credits and license renewal fees and the like. While some higher paid chef positions may find the time and money for this type of stuff how is the basic line cook going to get the resources for it.

The big point for not having to have a certification lies I believe in the fact that while food poisoning can happen, we are not dealing with medical issues like disease treatment, electrical or gas issues that could kill someone, or CLD trucking that could also end in death. In short the risks associated with our field do not line up with others which may have something to do with the other fields requirements for education and certification.

Like some others have mentioned as well we have internal policing from health departments, fellow colleagues and training institutions. I don't think the pros of forcing government certification out weight the cons for the industry and the individuals at this time.
 
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I've had hundreds of cooks over the years work with me. I don't know any that said they wanted to be a cook all their lives. In many cases these are stopping points or stepping stones in a young persons career. If you make it to difficult you won't have anyone cooking. In fact in many cases if you put to much bulls-it on the cooks the'll say screw it. It's up to the Chef to train their cooks to accomplish their needs in the kitchen and front line. In many and almost all cases in my operations it was more of a fact of hiring a person with a good attitude rather than experience.
As far as comparing a Cooks experience to a construction trade is not even close. There is only one way to wire a house not a 1000 ways. The restaurant kitchen has a 1000 different ways of making the same dish.
The point of the Chef in the original post was that he left his safety to untrained or uncertified people. As soon as I could charge $75 for that meal that a person doesn't come to my restaurant very offend. Then I could pay a cook much more money for what they do. Kitchen wages never justified the amount of work that a person gave in the kitchen. I never worked any job as had as I did working in a kitchen. That being said, I never planned on being a cook all my life.....ChefBillyB
 

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