Where have all the trainees gone?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by gogs, Oct 8, 2005.

  1. gogs

    gogs

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    :chef: Hello all chefs !

    Just a quick question is it the same in America, Canada etc, etc... as in Scotland that there is no young commi chefs anymore. i found that most want to be running the sauce corner before they can control their knives to any great degree. If you do not lean to their demands they wish to move on or leave catering completely. And because the demand is greater than demand we struggle to replace them.
     
  2. mikeb

    mikeb

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    Cooks in general are getting hard to find. Competent cooks are almost non-existant. I'd suggest going to the local culinary school and trying to get some interns. Usually they're pretty cheap (often quite useless though). I blame modern culture - young cooks are delusional - they think the second they walk into a professional kitchen they're going to be a chef.
     
  3. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Sadly, here in Canada, everyone wants to be a "Chef" but the word "cook" is a dirty word. There are very few apprenticeships here, although there are some excellent community colleges. But to find a competant cook, one that can saute, poach, or roast properly, is pretty hard to find...
     
  4. even stephen

    even stephen

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    Hello,
    For years most of the kitchens in which I have worked have been staffed
    almost entirely by Hispanics. I am as patriotic as the next person,
    but, how can anyone expect an individual born into a culture of
    fast food, microwave ovens, and pre pre pre prepared food, to
    have any sort of natural talent in the kitchen. True talent on the line
    seems to come from growing up in a home where three meals a
    day are actually prepared in that home. I have had young immigrant
    workers at 16 or 17 years of age run circles around culinary grads in
    the kitchen. Of course they had been cooking at home since the age
    of 6 or 7. Most countries around the world have a certain amount of
    immigrant population that, sadly, are low on the financial totem pole.
    This is attractive situation for all concerned. Take interest in
    thier culture and language, be fair, and continue to teach. Remember,
    not everybody can be a rocket scientist, there will be ditch diggers in
    this world. If anyone is less than loyal, fire them.
    When choosing a line cook, I look for a sense of loyalty, natural talent,
    the ability to follow, and some sort of intelligence.

    One could also make thier kitchen a desireable destination for young
    cooks. Create a learning atmosphere that is never meant for permanent
    employment. Create a kitchen where the majority of the hourly employees
    cycle through every station in the kitchen and leave within a year taking
    with them a strong letter of recommendation, and strong wellrounded work
    experience.

    Any how, if you are having a real hard time with committed line cooks
    and prep cooks, find some people who really grew up in a culture of
    food. nuff said.

    even stephen
     
  5. panini

    panini

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    All good posts.
    MikeB, one of the problems is that the culinary schools of old are now called chef schools.
    even stephen, you're right on about creating an enviornment in which to attract people. Not bragging, but I have them waiting to get in.
    pan
     
  6. newbiecook

    newbiecook

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    I want to say that the apprenticeship program for cooks is slowly growing here in Ontario, I'm currently finishing my hours to write my papers and I do agree that a lot of young cooks think that they will jump from school right in to being Sous Chef's and I think that a lot of them need to start further down the line and work up to that through experiance.
    However I think that the industry has changed to the point that there are no longer very many sauciers, or other starting positions in hotels and large restaurants.
    Personally I want to learn as much as possible before I take on the responsibility of a Sous Chef, so if there is anyone who is offering good paying jobs to a soon to be journeyman in Canada let me know
     
  7. markco

    markco

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    Sadly no one want to work very hard anymore, a Cook,starting out has to listen to instruction,follow one more experience cook,work hard,ask questions,not talk back,say they know it but don;t.I see this everyday at my work, university campus,food services,I teach most of the new Cooks,the cooking schools are teaching lots of theory,little cooking.when a cook passes there course,its not a quick jump up the ladder to chef,lets cut the b.s.you have to learn to manage a kitchen,cost a menu,budget food cost,train staff,7 years is the normal life up to chef.The life of most chef;s today,me for one is 10 to 16 hours days,meeting .menus,costing labor,shifts,its lots of long days,functions to help,plating up a dinner for 700,banquet for 500,cooks quit,walk out,fights.This is the real world,let not sugar coat it,not one become a chef over night.
     
  8. spritzer

    spritzer

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    I am 22 now, i started my first apprenticeship begining of last year, i had worked as a kitchen hand for a year previously so i was not totally ignorant to the goings on of a kitchen, at first everything was good, i enjoyed what i did, and of course there was the usual first year apprentice's " jobs" like packing away things cleaning etc. but then there came abuse, being yelled at, food thrown at me. i didnt mind the long hours (9am till 12 dam split shifts) but after about 6 months i lost it, what was the point in trying my hardest when no matter what i did i would get shouted at and all the chefs kept going on about was " back in my day" so i left. in my break, i only regret one thing and that is how i left, i have no regrets about working there as i learned alot about the industry and about myself. The thing i found was that if the chefs had it tough when they first started out they have this pre-conceived idea that the next kid has to have it hard, i have now been at another place for nearly a year, and last month we won our second gold plate award, i have alot more responability now, orders, menu design ,general runnings of the kitchen ,and i do all the short orders ( it is a small restaurant). In australia there is currently a shortage of apprentices and i think it is because they think its gonna be easy and that there is lots of glamour in it ( like jamie oliver) i think they dont see how much effort and sacrifices go into it.
    anyways just thought i would add my two bob.
    cya
    spritz
     
  9. wyoming

    wyoming

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    I agree with all of the posts and have and continue to have the same experiences. I started in the business as a dishwasher, became a dishwasher/prep cook, then short order cook, line apprentice, etc. During that time I got my education. I often came in on my own time to work with the Executive Chef to learn and I stayed after hours for the same reasons. Kids today do not have the same work ethic. To a degree, I understand that it is more important to them then it was to my generation to have a life. They have to understand that in this business, graduating a culinary school with a degree does not make you a chef. Education and experience does. To solve my problem, I went to approximately 4 different schools before I found one that I could work with as far as hiring their graduates. So far, it's worked out pretty well and these kids quickly learn the realities of real life in a kitchen, not the protected environment of culinary school. IMO, you have to bend a little as times and kids are not what they were, but you do not reduce your standards.
     
  10. kitcook

    kitcook

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    I am the only cook in my kitchen that doesn't flinch at being called a cook, for them, cook is a dirty word, they all wanna be chef. I went to culinary school, but I loved to cook before I got there. Chef was so impressed with my efforts when I was commis, that he hired 2 more from my school. These two embarass me everyday. They just dont have the passion for it. That's why you cant find a good side kick to help ya out. Even if on paper they look fabulous, high end culinary schools/ref's, did you ask them what they cook at home? What type of food do they enjoy most? Who is their culinary hero?

    When I am chef, those are the questions I will ask.
     
  11. vertigo

    vertigo

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    while im sick of this countries cultural deficiencies, your comment goes a bit far. infact it is totally without base. talent comes from love of the art and the craft, not whether or not you grew up in a dollhouse.
     
  12. even stephen

    even stephen

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    Perhaps I was a little to hard with my post. I spent part of my youth
    growing up in the country. Here is an example of what I was trying to
    say. I got a friend who loves horses. I have another friend that grew
    up with nothing but land, horses, and cattle. My friend who loves horses,
    has learned so much about horses and still loves them today. My friend
    who grew up with horses knew more than my other friend will ever know
    by the age of 16.
    All I was trying to say, was, that food is a really a cultural thing. When
    you grow up around a home where food is one of the most important things,
    you develop earlier and will have a backround that might be more solid than
    someone who came to love food and has taken the time to learn about it.
    Love is not always talent when it comes to food. Imagine already knowing
    how to make pasta, or, how to make a stock, or how to cure meat, or how
    to make dozens of soups. Imagine already knowing what oils burn at lower
    temps, or, that salt pulls liquid out of foods. Imagine already knowing these
    things and more at the age of 16. Granted it is not classical training, but,
    you have to admit it is a head start. Someone must agree with this form
    of thought or at least come from a strong culture based on food. Kuan
    perhaps? Please let me know what you think.

    Stephen
     
  13. (13)

    (13)

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    Food is what you make of it...
     
  14. vertigo

    vertigo

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    exactly...
     
  15. txacoli

    txacoli

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    My son just finished a stage at a Michelin rated place in Spain. There were 30 chefs and only one or two incompetents like were being discussed in the posts. Everyone else was ready, willing and able to move instantly. These are guys with major experience and low income expectancy.

    If your kitchen is busy and creative there should be a crowd of guys available. In the back of every Michelin rated restaurant there are at least 30.
     
  16. even stephen

    even stephen

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    Its always been this way and probably won't change.
    Food will change, but, the plain truth is I just have
    not seen the workplace change. Management and
    hourly staffers will continue to be the hardest working
    people in showbiz, and the compensation will be
    mediocre at best. Its a sad story, but I love doing
    what I do.
     
  17. 100folds

    100folds

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    Although I believe precisely in what you are saying, I do not think you understand what we are sacrificing. First off, michelin stars have no actual criteria and the ones laid out are mostly based on decor and service. Not food.
    Second, I don't believe there is anything wrong with wanting to be able to eat at the end of the month with a little money left over.
    Passion is important and creating an environment for that passion to thrive in is just as important, but why is it anytime we place passion in the work place we suddenly find ourselves with a decrease in pay.
    Congradulatiions to your son and I hope that he is fulfilling his ambitions. But don't tell us what it is to be a cook simply because he is working in a restaurant that some regard as elite.
     
  18. evil-gal

    evil-gal

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    I can tell you it's the same in Ireland. I recruit chefs for a living and it's an uphill climb...
     
  19. cheesecake

    cheesecake

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    in relation to the shortage of trainee's and decent commis chef's. Australia is short thousands of cooks/chefs. and worse we're short even more of GOOD PEOPLE. not that i can talk about this so much, i'm a first-year apprentice at a restaurant in sydney. Australia's workplace relations laws are very strict, and, as such, the old French traditions of assaulting apprentices and throwing things around the kitchen has died, but its now so regulated, that terrible cooks are still qualifying, and so as intake falls, standards drop, and we all get to work with drop-kicks. as the first-year, i expect to be screamed at, insulted, given the dirty jobs, because everyone else has DONE IT ALREADY, and i have no tollerance for youths with no work-ethic, the said individuals who want to be saucier, sous-chef, whatever the second they walk through the door in a white jacket.

    from teh examples i've seen, i think kitchens need fewer men, but better. there are 3 people working the cold-larder section where i work. 2 is necessary, but 3 is a crowd, occasionally 4 on at a time! it's insane!.

    anyway, that's my rant...i hate lazy co-workers.

    and i dont mind being treated harshly, the harsh treatment i've recieved, has taught me well, i'll never cut a fat julienne again....
     
  20. sacon

    sacon

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    Trainees, are there any of those anymore ?? I have worked with a few of the culinary school super "chefs" and I can tell you that most of them weren't worth a dam. I have worked in a few different countries, Brasil and currently Turkey,to name a few, and I can tell you that I had people with little or no experience do a fantastic job. These people wanted to learn because they knew if they didn't listen and watch that they could be back out on the street in a matter of no time. They were like machines, very consistant, always hard working and very respectful. These cooks I admire because they saw a chance to learn a skill, improve and possably move up the ranks and make some better money. New cooks in our culture are a bit harder to train, they lack the respect needed to improve and learn from someone with alot more experience. They look at the old hands as hasbeens and they don't take advantage of the skills that the old timers have to offer.