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Old 07-21-2004, 05:18 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: [censored]
Posts: 5,338
What is the best way to become a chef?

So I'm considering a rather drastic career change...

I was hoping that there might be a few chefs, or people that know chefs, that could provide some insight.

After 8 years of university my instinct tells me that I need some sort of diploma. This forces me to choose between either a private college or the local community college. How important is the school I train at?

But I'm a bit too tired and a bit too poor for more school, so are there other options? Should I try to start at the bottom by working as a sur chef or a cook?

Any thoughts on what would be the best approach?
Old 07-21-2004, 05:29 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 39,145
Can't do much better than here.
Old 07-21-2004, 09:20 PM
Carnac the Magnificent! Carnac the Magnificent! is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Netherfield Park
Posts: 3,021
Originally Posted by emacknight
But I'm a bit too tired and a bit too poor for more school, so are there other options? Should I try to start at the bottom by working as a sur chef or a cook?

Any thoughts on what would be the best approach?
I know quite a few chefs, so my impression is that you shouldn't take that path without really, really having an interest in cooking. Production cooking is hard, hot, unforgiving work. The median starting pay ain't great and the hours aren't for the faint of heart.

If you're interested in learning the fundamentals of cooking, a culinary academy is THE way to go. It will be nonstop learning. But maybe you don't want to walk the typical path, as a chef. Maybe you want to become a food stylist, a food writer/reporter, food photographer, or merely a foodie. If you want to work in one of the hot & hip kitchens, it helps to have gone to a great C school, intern somewhere really hot, and wow the EC.

I wish you the best, but it sounds like you could benefit from talking to an industrial-strength career counselor. Before setting out on a path, know your destination.
Old 07-21-2004, 11:37 PM
Teelo Teelo is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 647
Do not become a chef!
I worked as a dishwasher and had close relationships with all the chefs I have encountered and NONE of them were extremely happy people. They always bitched about their pay, their hours, their boss, the people they served... it just goes on on and on.

It will turn you into a very sour person. Unless you enjoy making food for other people, and getting none.
Old 07-21-2004, 11:44 PM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Somewhere in the Middle.
Posts: 21,387
There are only two school of Chefery:

Speak with an outrageous french accent and throw lots of snits.

Speak with an outrageous Swedish accent an fling salad in the air.

Chose wisely.
Old 07-22-2004, 10:04 AM
SaxFace SaxFace is offline
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 1,040
A friend of mine took a three month class at Le Cordon Bleu here and paid around 5000 euros. He would only earn a diploma after 6 more months of school, which would bring the cash total to 15,000 euros for school. (I think 15,000 euros is around $20,000)

He did get a job at a bakery but was fired after burning 150 croissants. He's not interested in cooking or baking at all anymore.

Since you say you're tired and poor, I probably wouldn't recommend becoming a chef, unless you want to flip burgers or something. You probably have a better chance as a sous chefs but not from off the street with no experience/schooling.
Old 07-22-2004, 02:48 PM
Snickers Snickers is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 5,391
Shirley, thanks for that. It was just what I needed.

Flinging salad! Bork bork bork! <snort>


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