Vegetarian..pursuing career as a Chef?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by blisseh, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. blisseh

    blisseh

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    I'm sorry if this is in the wrong forum, I couldn't find one I thought fitted properly.:)

    Basically, I've been a vegetarian for half of my life, and I'd like to take a chef apprenticeship.I

    I'd much rather not eat meat, but I'm aware it would give me an advantage.

    My question is, should I try get an apprenticeship that accepts me being veggie, or do I start eating meat and go into it as a meat eater?

    Thank you!
     
  2. chefhow

    chefhow

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    I have worked for a couple of chefs who were vegetarians and would always taste just not swallow the meat. 
     
  3. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    That really is up to you and your aspirations.  I guess the big question is how "anti meat" are you?  I have to be honest, I wouldn't hire a cook that was a vegetarian and refused to taste the food he/she was putting out because it contained animal products.  How can one know if the food is prepared properly if they don't taste it.  If someone has a food allergy or dislikes a item or 2 I can work around that but to tell me that you would refuse to taste 3/4's of my menu then I would have an issue with that.  Of course, there are lots of vegetarian restaurants out there (although not sure about your area as I don't know where you are at).  While there is nothing wrong with being a vegetarian, I think in this business you will find your options become very limited (again depending on where you live).
     
  4. blisseh

    blisseh

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    I went vegetarian when I was 9 because of the ethical side of things. I'm a huge animal lover. That's still the main reason I am, but now the thought of meat physically makes me feel sick..that said, I think I'd be able to eat it again, with a lot of guilt. I'd probably have to have it once a week at home to get used to it before I started the apprenticeship, then just have whatever I taste in the kitchen I suppose..I can't see me  choosing to eat meat over a veggie option if there's a way around it.

    By the way, I live in the UK :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  5. blisseh

    blisseh

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    I'd much prefer to do that, although wouldn't that get me in some sort of trouble if it was seen I was spitting my food back out?
     
  6. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    The other thing is that you might have trouble finding a chef (outside of the vegetarian community) that is willing to take you on as an apprentice if you make it known that you are a vegetarian.  Just one question though (and please don't take offense because the question is not meant to be judgemental, just interested in your mindset).  If you have stopped eating meat because you feel it is unethical how can you justify, to yourself, the preparing (and sometimes killing) of animals to support yourself?  Wouldn't that be as unethical, or at the very least, supporting the unethical treatment that drove you to becoming a vegetarian in the first place?
     
  7. xerp

    xerp

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    I would go in as a meat-eater, or go into cake making.. Basically get a Pantry cook or Baking job and thats all you would ever be if you dont want to eat meat.. But I cant see any chef grow unless they taste everything they make.. I Dont let my cooks get away with it even if they tell me they dont like to eat it.. If you cant taste the food and give yourself or another chef your opinion you need to stay within your boundaries and avoid jobs like that if you cant get over vegetarianism,
     
    bodhran1965 likes this.
  8. blisseh

    blisseh

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    I've considered pursuing pastry/baking, although I assume I'd have to go through a basic culinary course that includes meat , since I can't afford a specific course at a culinary school, I'd be going to a local community college that offers a cookery course. Thanks for your answer :)
     
  9. benway

    benway

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    Absolutely do not make yourself eat meat just because you think it'll help your career as a cook.

    My advice is to start in pastry.  I have a close friend who worked at Citronelle in DC where the chef, Michel Richard, starts nearly every new cook on pastry as that's where he started.  Its tough to argue the good habits one learns by starting in pastry where precision and ornamentation are requirements.

    You might try sending an email to Amanda Cohen who is a well known vegetarian chef/owner of dirtcandy in NYC.  She could probably give you some terrific advice.  You can find her email on her website.  http://www.dirtcandynyc.com/
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  10. chefhow

    chefhow

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    This is quite possibly the most insane/rediculous thing I have read on this website in a very long time, especially coming from somebody who says they are a Sous Chef.  I bet you are a disciple of either Gordon Ramsay or Anthony Bourdain, although Gordon has seen that even a vegetarian menu done right can have some soul.  Dont get me wrong, I am a meat eating, bacon loving, incisor using chef, but I dont hold peoples beliefs against them, especially people looking for a start. 

    Did you know that Charlie Trotter has offered a 12+ course full vegan tasting menus in his restaurant for 15 years, as has Grant Achatz, Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adria along with several other top name chefs, there are even some full vegetarian restaurants in the US that are exquisite.  You may be well served to seek some out and give them a try, it may be an educational experience for you.
     
  11. amy83

    amy83

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    Interesting forum topic. One of the things that draws me to a particular chef and the restaurant they run is their personality, conviction and style. The best chefs in the world can not be separated from who they are as a person; think Thomas Keller, Alice Waters, Ferran Adria, Joel Robuchon, Grant Achatz, Eric Ripert, etc. If your personal beliefs make you a vegetarian, then you need to stick to your guns because that's who you are, and there's no seperating the person from the chef, at least not if you want to be great. At least, that's IMHO. 

    I think to be good at anything you do, you have to be passionate. How can you work so hard towards something you don't believe in (learning how to cook animal flesh)?
     
  12. xerp

    xerp

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    Sorry I guess I will be more clear next time.. I was talking about "Realistic" Job opportunities... Especially for someone just starting out.. If they can make a name for themselves freelancing and become famous so be it.. If my opinion is ridiculous than so be it. I don't really care that was just my opinion.. If the Starter of this forum did not want my opinion then so be but I am pretty sure they were all for since they asked in the form of a question. To Judge me and throw my title out there and tell me I have to open my eyes for stating my view on the subject is an insult and I am sorry your to narrow minded to see that.. Everyone should do what makes them happy as far as im concerned but with the job market today cooking is definately not what its portrayed to be which things like the Food Network have manipulated everyone into thinking its something fun and glamorous... its fun as hell if your downright crazy, and addicted and passionate about it... if its just a job most people cant handle the pressure of it especially in high volume situations.. I am sorry if I insulted anyone myself but I just would like people to know what they are getting into especially pursuing something of this sort.. it was never meant to insult.. Only tried to be realistic.
     
  13. danielissabey1

    danielissabey1

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    Brother I am 28 years old and became a Vegetarian back in 2010 6 years ago. My reason was as yours, purely moral. I have always looked cooking since I was a kid and as my Vegetarianism grew, I began cooking for myself much more. I now cook my meals every day. DO IT!! Become a Vegetarian CHEF not a regular chef man! God bless you my fellow animal lover and compassionate being.

    Greeting from Chicago, IL USA

    Daniel Issabey
     
  14. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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  15. lagom

    lagom

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    @chefbuba You cruel person, not free range!!!!!😢
     
  16. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    @chefbuba  you still shouldn't eat that.  Think of all the chemicals in that dish.  It probably contains chlorine and fluoride and who knows what other chemicals.
     
  17. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Not if you make it from distilled water!
     
  18. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Finally, something everyone can consume!!!  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif
     
  19. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    I'm just guessing mind you. Knowing the Chef and how he painstakingly seeks out the best quality possible. I would say the water was harvisted from the slopes of Mount Rainier with a splash of Snoqualmie Falls mist......Wonderful presentation Chef!
     
  20. laurenlulu

    laurenlulu

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    My advice would be like others, go to a vegetarian restaurant or maybe even Indian. Many of their dishes are vegetarian and if you can taste the sauce separately before adding meat to know that t is correct, that would be of benefit. I worked with a vegetarian sous chef the first and last, it was traumatic for all parties involved