Some basic starting questions.

Joined Jan 6, 2007
Hello everyone my name is Mark, I currently live in Las Vegas, Nevada. Im almost 90% sure im going to the culinary institute of Las vegas, but lately I have heard something that have made me skeptical of being a chef and being in the food service business.

My first question is, going to the culinary art institute of las vegas they said its a 100% placement as getting a job, and I will start off with a high salary. THat sounds very good to me, however my friend read me an article saying chef's are having a hard time to find jobs and they are promised a high salary when they are in school and once they get the job they are getting paid diddly squat.

My last question is, there are three main culinary schools in las vegas. 1st one The art institutes(culinary institute)of las vegas which I live very close to and have heard is a very good school. 2nd one, UNLV culinary program, which is about a ten minute drive(without traffic) and is of course a university. 3rd school is the cordon blue, 30 minute drive from my house(without traffic). So now to my question, what school do you guys think is the best? and looks the best. Letting me get a job very fast, and a high paying one also.

Your help is very appreciated, thanks in advanced. I am so confused right now and need help.

Happy Chef :chef: :)
Joined Dec 8, 1999
Coming out of culinary school, you'll probably only be qualified to work as a line cook, at best. From looking at the Vegas craigslist job listings, a line cook position is paying around $10/hour. That 100% statistic doesn't tell you much, really. I'd be more interested in hearing where they are placed (McDonald's or fine dining or a chain restaurant or ???) and how long they stayed at that position.

For information on those particular schools, I'd also recommend using the search function to check if that question has been answered already.
Joined Aug 15, 2003
If you want a high paying job then don't be a chef. Out of culinary school you will be highly UN-qualified to be a chef, and will more than likely have to work your way up.

It is possible that you could find a job in a hotel or chain restaurant as a kitchen manager, but that still isn't a "high" paying job and you will most assuredly still be unqualified for that.

If you want to only work 5 days a week, 40 hours a week, have weekends off, have time to spend with your friends and family, vacations, money, girlfriends, watch prime time TV, etc, then don't be a chef.

Go be a business guy and cook for fun in your spare time.

Let me put it to you this way: Even the most high paying jobs start off on the bottom rung. Doctors get paid, yes (not as much as you might think), but they work a TON, have to be on call, have to endure college, residency (where they still don't get paid), pick a specialty, etc, then if they are lucky they make 6 figures a year and can begin to pay off the $150,000 debt they have accumulated over the years--assuming the insurance co.'s pay out all the claims they bill.

Now, in what field, I ask you, can you attend a 1-2 year school, come out with an associates degree and make good money? Not many. Chef=cooking skills, psychology, equipment repair/maintenance, construction, health laws, liquor laws, personal injury laws, name a few. Qualified after a couple years in school?

If you make 12.00 an hour right out of school consider yourself lucky. If you EVER make 6 figures in this business, consider yourself VERY top 5% (or less) lucky, and count your blessings. Hope, that you can work your way up to chef after about 5-10 years in the biz, then be making 50-80,000 a year, working about 50-80 hours (or more) a week.

Want to take that 30,000 dollar a year job at the hotel right out of school? Good luck. You'll more than likely be canned in less than 6 months for not being qualified, then have to take an $8.00 an hour job as a prep cook, if you don't say "screw it" and go to work in retail or something.

Sound harsh? It is.

Seriously, man, if money is your motivation then go study marketing or something, take that $40,000 a year entry-level salary, watch Food TV at night and cook gourmet meals for your family on the weekend. Take vacations to Spain and France, eat great, and be happy.

Cause it sounds to me like you are in it for the paycheck, and you will find yourself wondering when you are scrubbing down the line or cleaning out the stock pot at 12am after a 12 hour shift, making 10.00 an hour, "WTF was I thinking?"
Joined Jan 26, 2007
Experience = $$$
Out of culinary school i took a job for $5.50/hr with the Westin Resort on hilton head island, sc...Most of my friends were taking $10-15/hr jobs at "chain" restaurants...
What was more valuable to me was the knowledge/experience I gained by working with the best chef's at the best property I could...
Most chef jobs in this industry require knowledge, experience, and time...
Go get the knowledge...
Go gain some experience...
Go spend some time...
By working with the best chef's, at the best properties, I can almost guarantee that the money will come...
Best of luck...
Joined Oct 11, 2006
On the other hand, if you decide to go to CILV, let me know. I recently graduated and enjoyed the experience. They have some great instructors. I found a job right out of school (line cook) and 3 other CI graduates work with me. So, it's not all bad.

We also work with Cordon Bleu students, so if you go there, I can hook you up with them as well.
Joined Feb 14, 2007
Amen, brother...

I've been cooking since I was 11 or 12. I've been working as a line cook for the past 1 1/2 years. Can you say "A big difference?"... I'm currently pulling in $9.75/hour and am one of the higher paid cooks in the restaurant.

But you know, I love the work. And it is work. If you're looking for the big bucks, choose another career. Because mostly you'll face long hours, crappy owners, low pay and an unappreciative customer.
Joined Jan 4, 2006
Maybe in Las Vegas!

Salary can very a fair bit from one area to another. BUT in general, fresh out of school cook don't make loads of money in our industry. Now, it is all relative, high money for you may not mean high money for someone else.:crazy:
The best way to know about salaries, is to ask other cooks in the area you wish to work. Blogs like this can work, but boots on the ground also works.

Good luck,

PS) people don't enter this industry for the money!
Joined Sep 5, 2006
If you are looking at payscales- think small- I'm familiar with Reno, and would presume Vegas to be the same..... the average chef in a casino restaruant makes about $8-9.00 hr. Many are trained on the line, no formal training; and many are immigrants (legal and non). If you get into the industry it because you love it. And most of the time, once you graduate, the name of your school, means very little. Have been hearing a lot about cruise ship employment... many lines are hiring. The pay isn't high, but room and board are paid, you get experience and travel.
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