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By Maxwellscook (Maxwellscook) on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 10:58 pm: Edit

Not sure that this counts as a good post but I just wanted to say Hi, introduce myself and ask a question.
I am getting older and have decided to go back to Cooking and Baking after a few years of College and Working toward The Holy Grail. ($)
I am what you might call a Low-end Cook, having almost nil for fine dining experience. an ex-Denny's cook of sorts who loves food and enjoys cooking and baking.
I was never lucky enough to work for a Chef who wanted to teach me anything and have spent lots of time looking over shoulders and reading books on just about everything related to the field.

I have been reading these threads for a few weeks and they have been helpful, confusing and frustrating, but mostly enjoyable.
I have decided to start this thread of my own to ask a question of the many experienced Chefs I find here.
My question is this.
In your estimations is it pure luck that someone becomes a Baker instead of a Pastry Chef? or does the personality of the person usually control where they end up? Do you feel that you have landed where you always thought you would be?

My resolve is steady and I believe in myself
and my abilities, but I am obviously in doubt about my future and where it will take me.
I just thought I would bare myself a bit and ask for advice from people who are there already.


By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 02:22 am: Edit

"My question is this.
In your estimations is it pure luck that someone becomes a Baker instead of a Pastry Chef? or does the personality of the person usually control where they end up? Do you feel that you have landed where you always thought you would be?"

well, not realy sure why your asking these type of questions, they seem a little broad and the type of which could apply to any job,or profession. Luck has nothing to do with it. I think location has a little bit to do with it. If your in the boondocks I think the chances of you finding someone to teach you is going to be a little harder. Or finding a job where someone might give you a chance to strut your stuff, out in the sticks would be a little more difficult.
Granted, you may read what is written here and think that Chef Manny is nuts, but hes always been a little off, I don't think him being a Chef made it worse or better. But, the difference between a Baker and a Pastry Chef I have always found is that Bakers not only like what they do, and the hours but also they don't want the hassles that come with running the shop. and yes, they might not have the fine detail talent that some Pastry Chef has, but so what?...if you love or like Baking, then BAKE!
Now a couple of questions for you.
1. how old are you?
2. do you live in or near a city?
3. you say you have read some books or everything you could get your hands on, ok...have you MADE everything that you've read?
At least once?
4. what kind of books have you read?
5. what level do you think your on?
6. entry? second year? maybe First Asst. Baker?
7. I started at a dennys type of place, that makes no differnce.
And last...I have landed where my feet touched the ground, and this is where I em now. If I want to go further, then I go. It's all up to me, as it's up to you. But thats like anything in life, no?
Come on back.............

By Maxwellscook (Maxwellscook) on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 12:02 pm: Edit

Thanks Chefspike for the insight.

I am 36 years old.
And live in Portland, OR. (Not too shabby)
I have made a lot of breads, pastries, and stocks, soups, etc.
Not every one but a great deal of the ones I thought were the
Important basics so I could build some stability. And get reacquainted with lost knowledge. (Or things I used to do all the time)
Books I have read have mainly been in breads and Baking
Like The Bread Bakers Apprentice and Professional Baking, all kinds of cake and dessert books as well as a great book on Sauces (big book). Escoffier I never knew about until recently so I read thru only.
The level that I am on is tough…not really sure about that, as I have little to base it against right now…maybe second year with a few gaps.

I will go furthur...just wanted to talk to some one in the industry again and decided to start with you.
Thanks again.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 11:36 pm: Edit

well, why don't you call some hotels in your city and ask the Chefs if you can go in and hang around and watch. one day main kitchen, one day the Pasrty and Bake Shop(if they have one)
it might help you get an idea if your readdy to jump to the next step.
2 books you may want to get and do some of the things in them....
1. Paula Beck, the art of fine baking.
2. Lenotre's, desserts and pastries.
if you can't do the basics, you can't do sh*t.
see ya,

By Maxwellscook (Maxwellscook) on Saturday, February 14, 2004 - 10:58 am: Edit

Well Chefspike, thank you for being blunt.
I'll check the books out and had planned to go to a few places and spend some saturdays looking around and maybe even workn..if possible.

Btw. I know a kitchen like the back of my hand and I feel so comfortable there it's hard to explain. I had great times with other cooks back when I used to expedite and even when I was a dishwasher at the tender age of 15.
I agree with you on the basics thing..
out. Max.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Sunday, February 15, 2004 - 01:29 am: Edit

ya, make sure you talk to the chef,and not some lakee(sp) even if you have to walk in through the back door and find his office. makes you look hungry, you know what i mean?
let us know how its going...........

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