too long in the tooth?

Discussion in 'Choosing A Culinary School' started by stanleyj, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. stanleyj


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    Home Cook
    This has been asked before I'm sure but every-ones situation is unique so I'll ask it again. Sorry because this is going to be a little long winded.

    Am I, at 40 years old, too old to make the change to become a full time cook? I have been a truck driver for twenty years and don't want to spend the next twenty-five in a cab rattling from place to place. I've enjoyed myself and seen places all over the world doing it but it's time I made a change. I love cooking at home. I had an opportunity when I was sixteen to cook full time but I was young and stupid so turned it down. I regret that deeply.

    I cannot afford college so the only route I can take is to work in a kitchen. I know I will have to start washing dishes and work my way up from there. I really want to learn to cook properly. Where would you suggest I start out at? I have an application in at Red Lobster though my resume is just trucking so I am not holding my breath. Or would I be better off looking at small enterprises? What would you as a full time chef/employer think of someone turning up at your door asking for a chance? At my age would I just be laughing stock?

    Sorry for all the questions but my confidence in hunting for a job is not that high.

    Thank you in advance for your time.

  2. david scruggs

    david scruggs

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    Home Cook
    I certainly hope not! I'll be 36 soon and hope to make the same change. I guess it really depends on your attitude and physical make-up. If you can do the work at speed, I don't see any problems as long as you show a willingness to learn and can do the work!  Good luck to you!
  3. duckfat


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    Retired Chef
    As long as you can physically do the work it's never too late. No need to worry about college at this juncture unless you have some serious ambition to work in management. I'd suggest skipping the chain restaurants. Your not going to learn much, if any thing there simply because most chain units are so regimented in SOP's, pre portioned and pre-cooked product that there's not a lot of skill required. There is of course always exceptions. Red Lobster is not one of them. I'd look more towards small dinners and independent restaurants.

    Don't wash dishes my friend. I hate to say it but if you do that the odds are very high that's where you will stay. Look for a job as a prep cook. If you really need to wash dishes look for a job in a bakery. At least that way you won't be working late hours and dealing with teenagers.

    Unless there's some reason that's forcing you into an employment change I'd say...Keep on Truckin. All of the stuff we so often see about doing what you love etc is a nice sound byte but it doesn't pay the bills. Even if cooking is your dream job it will not be the same as cooking at home. It's work, and it will become just as much drudgery as driving (with a lot less $) given time.

    As far as being a laughing stock how you perceive yourself is far more important than what others think. I'm always willing to give people a chance as long as I feel they are genuine. I've hired a lot of guys straight out of prison from a half way house. Every one deserves another chance.

    Looking for a job is a lot like hunting. Make sure you don't aim too low. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    Best of Luck to both of you,

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  4. chefwriter


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    Professional Cook
    Do not limit yourself to Red Lobster. If you want to cook, pick out  a nearby restaurant you would take your wife to for your anniversary. Particularly ones that seem too expensive. Go talk to the chef and explain yourself. All he wants to hear is that you show up on schedule, work hard and do what he says. You may start out doing dishes, maybe not. 

    Start reading cookbooks, preferably from professional chefs so you understand something about sauces and proper cooking techniques. Read some of the posts here on what will be expected of you working in a kitchen. 

    As a trucker you understand rules and regulations. There will be many in the kitchen as well. Different ones of course but you are already aware that they need to be followed. 

    Be aware the work may be hot, sweaty, greasy and physically demanding and you will be working carefully around hot surfaces, sharp objects, and sometimes crabby people.  

    But if you are really willing, getting the job should not be too hard.