WanaBe a ChefShould I or shouldn't I.......

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WebFoodPros.com: WanaBe a Chef: Should I or shouldn't I.......
By Homerrulz (Homerrulz) on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 11:34 am: Edit

I'm sitting here reading through all of the thoughts of the supposed "industry voice", and wonder, is it really that tough out there in this industry?

It seems a lot of the people posting here are doing nothing but complaining about how bad it is, and yet they continue to go to the same job day in/day out. So what gives? Yeah yeah yeah, I understand the whole passion thing, but what about your aching backs? Are the only ones complaining the ones who didn't go to school and are stuck at a certain level in their careers because they never went to school to learn a different aspect of their job or what?

I want to know -- Is taking up a career in the culinary arts a viable career choice for a 32 year old looking to go back to school? I mean, I spent a year going to a trade school to learn about computers because "the average starting salary for a Micro**** Certified Systems Engineer is $70000". Sounded like a good idea, and I must admit that I graduated 3rd in the class and it still took 18 months to find a job and I still wound up here working Help Desk for next to nothing. I didn't have any background in the computer field, and don't have any backgound in a professional kitchen, but I do have more of a love of cooking than of staring at a computer monitor.

What gives? If the technology field is this bad, that I'm considering trying something completely new at this stage in life, then why all of the bitching? You guys either like it or you don't and I want to know why some of you dislike it so much, that you don't feel like taking to the next level. Now this isn't suggesting in any way that you all want your own TV show, but this industry seems to be getting very exciting and moving in new directions, and I just want the no holds barred opinions from both sides of the aisle. Should I go or shouldn't I ?? Thanks

P.S. Given my situation, working in a restaurant is a short term thing, where as I would be considering B & B and/or Catering because the opportunity exists......

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 01:09 pm: Edit

You sure are making some bold statements for someone that doesn't know what he's talking about.

I've got new for you pal. If you couldn't get passed the help desk then forget about foodservice.

I don't think you've really read any of the post concerning this business. The subject has been talked to death and your no bringing anything new to the table.

By Corey (Corey) on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 02:04 pm: Edit

As one one my teachers said many times, It's a love/hate relationship, if it's in your blood.

By Chefrev (Chefrev) on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 03:49 pm: Edit


Yeah, passion's important but you've also got to have the skills and the attitude to make it work for you long-term. No, I didn't go to culinary school, but 15 yrs in the business tells me I stayed around for some reason. It ain't the money that's for darn sure; it's the chance to create and do something you love, and occasionally, bitch about. Find me a field where everyone is happy all the time and I'll apply for a job in it. Obviously, that ideal job isn't in computers!

Maybe it'd be good for you to do one of two things: 1) Work at a GOOD restaurant for a while. Start at the bottom, maybe dishwasher. Then work your way up to working on the line. THEN come back here and ask if it'd be a waste of your time to go to school for a culinary degree.

2) Make your present job field work for YOU and don't come in here whining about it anymore. If you're not happy in your present job, what makes you think it'd be better in a field in which you have no real experience?

Just my .02.

By Ladycake (Ladycake) on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 - 06:27 pm: Edit

As a career changer at the age of 33, I have found that the culinary field is wide open... if you are willing to give it your all. Sound familiar? I do not think that this career is the only one that demands the most of its' devotees.

My advise to anyone considering going to culinary school is to work at least a year, preferably two, in a good restaurant first. Find out if it is the lifestyle you want, because it definitely is a different lifestyle. Don't waste your money or time without that much of a commitment up front.

I found that I loved the food, the people, the pace, and the excitement. What I didn't like was missing every (and I do mean every) important event in the life of my family: every holiday, every week end and celebratory event in the lives of my friends and family. I got tired of working every fun event instead of attending them. I got tired of never being invited to the homes of casual friends because they were afraid I would be critical of their cooking, yet being expected to bring exotic and expensive fare to every event I attended.

I had a weekly newspaper column for years in the local paper and I would be stopped by people I didn't know in the market for advise on how to prepare food for their dinner parties and how much food to buy, etc. I wore me out!

The answer to your question? Yes, it is a viable choice. I have had a good career, and a lucrative one. Now I find that I am tired. Schlepping food all over the place is physically tiring. Catering??? Read some of the other posts regarding that. You are okay for now, but consider that in about 15 years you are gong to start wearing out. The old body won't be able to do what it once did. You will need to have the infrastructure in place to have others doing the leg work for you. I thought that would be my situation, but my community is too small for that. Get your ducks in a row, put your pride away, know that you are in for a lot of hard work, and if you still love it >>>>>GO FOR IT!!!

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 - 08:56 pm: Edit

screw the restaurant idea!
go get a job in a hotel, there's more to learn in every field or aspect of cooking.
hotels produce more food every day than resturants, and more of a selection.
you can learn how to...
butcher, fish and meat
parties, parties, parties...close to that catering biz
food cost
cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning so your not a slob.
do that for a couple of years under a good Ex. Chef and then maybe you will know if you want to stay in the culinary field.
And as much as I enjoy this web site and the Chef's and people on it, I don't think this is the voice of Culinary Arts.
What you will get here, more so than on suzie hgomemaker sites is Chef's that have done everything and been through the thick of it for a hundred years.
Oh and as far as school...going and getting a degree in this field would only help you in the long run.
So make a descion and do it.
then let us know how it's going with that aching back.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 - 08:58 pm: Edit

and we'll be watching you....
so do a good job.

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Thursday, December 19, 2002 - 08:37 am: Edit

What many people forget is that there are lots of jobs in the culinary field that do not involve restaurants or hotels. Generally, they are better paying jobs with more reasonable hours as well. Unfortunately, most of them are only available in large metropolitan areas.
Check out a book titled "Careers for Gourmets & Others Who Love Food" by Mary Donovan. It has a good reference guide in the back to get you started. If you are any good at Photoshop, there are plenty of food photographers that need retouchers and color-correcters.

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