WanaBe a ChefWork experience with no experience?

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WebFoodPros.com: WanaBe a Chef: Work experience with no experience?
By Cgharoth (Cgharoth) on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 05:22 am: Edit

I'm currently a 19 year old college student, but so far I don't see any career I could be happy spending the rest of my life at. A few weeks ago I was eating dinner at a nice restaurant and thoroughly enjoying myself, and had the thought, "I wouldn't mind being a chef." I guess that sounds pretty pathetic, but it's the closest I've come to wanting a career so far, so why not give it a shot?

I've looked around at sites for culinary schools, read message boards and the like, and everyone seems to recommend at least 6 months of working experience in the industry before deciding to do it as a career, which I heartily agree with.

So, my question is - I have an extreme lack of experience cooking. I've enjoyed the very small amount I've done, but I'm nowhere near what I would call experienced. Where should I go to look for work, considering that I likely don't know how to do many basic tasks? There are many chain restaurants nearby, like Olive Garden, but again I don't know how much if any experience is expected if I go hand in an application to be a line cook.

If I find somewhere to work reasonably soon, I could have 6 or more months of experience by the time fall semester arrives, and if I still wanted to go to a culinary school I'd be all set - but where should I start?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

By Snuffaluff (Snuffaluff) on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 10:51 am: Edit

start whereever you can. Any experience is good experience. At olive garden you'll learn how to ladle sauce on top of noodles. ;)

By Flattop (Flattop) on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 06:25 pm: Edit

I started cooking as a line cook at a Village Inn (Dennys type joint) I you'll do everything pancakes, omletes and crepes, salads, sandwiches and steaks. While you won't get a lot of experance making sauces or stocks (those you can do at home) but you will learn what it's like to be a line cook deep in the weeds and you will find out if you want to do it as a career. I loved it and learned how to work fast and clean. The wife threatened to kill me if I kept coming home with pancake batter plastered to my legs.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 09:12 pm: Edit

deep in the weeds=behind, with no light at the end of the tunnel.
2. running out of stuff and having to make stuff as you go.
3. behind in orders with, a. manager, waitress, ect. asking "how long for table ?"
( 3 times in 5 min's )
and on another note, read everything about cooking you can get your greasy, pancake caked hands on.

By Cgharoth (Cgharoth) on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - 12:30 am: Edit

Sounds good, thanks! =D

By Bkdingo (Bkdingo) on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - 06:40 pm: Edit

I suggest finding a Chef owned restaurant rather than a chain. You'll have to work for peanuts but will most likely get more one to one training. Please be aware you may be required to scrub a pot or two. A willingness to do this will get your foot in the door sooner.

By Jonesg (Jonesg) on Friday, June 25, 2004 - 12:49 pm: Edit

Getting started is easy if you have enough humility to do what is called for, I started as a dishwasher and worked ny way up,
first as exec pastry chef after 12 years,
5 yrs later to saucier,
then chef owner 5 yrs later of a french restaurant.
I look for those who want to be a prep cook first , not instant chefs.

By Andapanda (Andapanda) on Thursday, July 01, 2004 - 12:22 pm: Edit

I suggest that you find the fanciest hotel/resort/restaurant in your city and apply for a job there. There would be many stations for you to see how they work.
It can seem to be a rather daunting task to sort through nearly 700 cookery programs in the U.S.A. to find the program which best suits your needs.
Nevertheless, I concur with Chefspike. I also recommend Schoolcraft College: <http://cookingcareers.shawguides.com/SchoolcraftCollege/?ci=62.22879&pi=1&q1>, & <http://www.schoolcraft.edu/pdfs/guides/CulArts.pdf>.
However, if it is impracticable for you to relocate to Michigan, then check the ACF website:<http://acfchefs.org/drctaccr.html> & <http://acfchefs.org/drctappr.html>,
for a school or apprenticeship program near you.
I strongly advise against wasting your money and time attending a "Culinary Institute" or "Blue Ribbon" school.
If you are considering the apprenticeship route, I recommend the apprenticeship program at The Balsams Hotel:
Good luck.

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