WanaBe a ChefFlorida Culinary Institute & a Wannabe

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WebFoodPros.com: WanaBe a Chef: Florida Culinary Institute & a Wannabe
By Lorraine on Monday, March 22, 1999 - 11:35 am: Edit

I am just about to start classes at the Florida Culinary Institute (4/99) and would like to get some feedback from other students or grads from this school. Also, I have no actual work experience and know I want/need to get some. I realize I have to start out on the bottom rung, but I want to start in fine dining establishment, where I can really learn from my surroundings, not a Friday's or some steakhouse. I need advice/help on where and how to get a job. What kind of a job do I say I want? Prep cook? Dishwasher? I really don't know. Anyone with an opinion or answers would be appreciated.

By George Cook (George) on Monday, March 22, 1999 - 12:07 pm: Edit

Don't rule out any opportunity.

Sure you are not going to see many fresh products at a Friday's but they do have incredible systems. The most important thing is to get into a kitchen. I started as a dishwasher, but if you can get a prep job all the better.

Identify all of the food businesses around you, clubs catering halls chains what ever. Start with the best and work down until you get an offer.

Tell them you are looking to get experience, and are going to go to a Culinary Arts Program.

Also find out where and when your local
ACF Chapter meets, go to a meeting and ask about and entry level positions available.

By Michael Scherzberg (Mscherzberg) on Friday, March 26, 1999 - 05:29 pm: Edit

Don't rule out the casual dining chains etc. I started with them and I feel it was a great place to learn the basics and pick up speed and a sense of urgency (two traits that employers love). After you get into a kitchen and get up to speed and see how things work and pick up a few tricks of the trade, then you will have an easier time getting into nicer restaurants. If you have your mind set on a fine dining establishment, try hotels with fine dining restaurants, they tend to hire students and work around their schedules, and they have tremendous knowledge to share. Best of luck to you

Michael Scherzberg

By Steven (Steven) on Thursday, June 08, 2000 - 08:36 pm: Edit

Actually, Starting out in a high volume casual chain is a far better idea than jumping into fine dining.
I hear alot about food and preparation and work habits and a dozen other topics on this forum but what I don`t hear much about is systems.You can be the greatest cook to ever walk the earth but if you don`t have a good solid consistent system of operations in place , your kitchen you will fail.
-You`re food will be poor because it`s inconsistent (no system in place to easily train your staff how you wish things prepared).
-You`re kitchen will be unclean (no system in place to rotate cleaning or use of proper sanitation)
-Your cost will be high (no system in place for proper purchasing and pars nor inventory)
-You will work even more ungodly hours because you`ll have a high turnover of staff who can`t deal with the confusion or inconsistencies.
A chain such as Fridays or Bennigans will not teach you much about fine food, but it will teach you organization, sanitation, and proper staffing and cost procedures . These restaurants are successful they have been around a long time and will most probably stay around ...the reason is consistency, they have it.
Learn what they can show you....then move on.
If you have no experience in my kitchen you are likely to get a dish job but if you show me you can be worth more to me elsewhere you`ll be prepping in a heartbeat, if you are consistent and hardworking and eager you`ll have no trouble moving up fast.
These are the people I love to teach.

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