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Old 03-07-2005, 04:40 AM   #1
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Smile How To Become a Top Chef

Anthony Bourdain, the executive chef of Brasserie Les Halles in New York and bestselling author of Kitchen Confidential, and A Cook's Tour, has a tip for all the wannabe chefs out there: Work as a dishwasher for six months first.

A stint as a prep cook would also cut it, he says, but the point is to step inside a kitchen and take a long look around before shelling out the big bucks for a formal culinary education.

"It'll help you make that all-important decision 'do I really want do this?' And, 'do I have what it takes?'" Bourdain says.

Think of it as the first phase of your schooling. In addition to helping you figure out whether this is really the life for you, you'll come to know your way around a kitchen and have a good feel for how things work before you're being evaluated by professors.

------> http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/depart...rticle=topchef

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Old 03-07-2005, 06:27 AM   #2
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if i ever get free time, i'll let you know how it goes sush. at the repast luncheon after my mil's funeral last summer, i befriended the owner of an italian restaurant in my town. dw and i have been to his place a few times since (repaying his kindness since he opened his restaurant for us that day, when they were normally closed), and he seems like a really interesting guy. he goes back to visit family in milan and tuscany every year to learn new dishes, and really seems to know his stuff. the last time we were there, i struck a deal with him to work in his kitchen; wash dishes, sweep, take out garbage, etc., if he and his chefs would teach me how to cook. i'm hoping to get a few friday nights free this spring to go down there, do my kp duty, then learn some good italian dishes.
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Old 03-07-2005, 03:00 PM   #3
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That's actually a good introduction to any professional kitchen. If a person is serious about pursuing a career in the culinary industry, then the more high volume the restaurant, the better off you'll be because it gives you a better look into what getting slammed in a restaurant kitchen feels like. It doesn't have to be as high volume as say, a Cheesecake Factory or Olive Garden, but a restaurant that routinely puts out 200-300 dinners a night would be a good start.
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Old 03-07-2005, 08:08 PM   #4
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I agree. My introduction to the restaurant world was a fast food ice cream/burger chain. Slammed is S.O.P. for the ice cream line in the summer as soon as the sun goes down. Sometimes the line would go out the door!

When I was in college, one of my instructors said the best place to work after college was a major hotel. Any place that does parties for several THOUSAND folks at one time has to have great time-management skills. Not to mention the kitchen is probably also making meals for Room Service, and 2 - 3 restaurants, the employee cafeteria, all at the same time. Once you can handle that level of business, any small restaurant's Friday night rush is child's-play.

For the record, I haven't worked in a large hotel, yet. I'd like to, at some point.
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Old 03-08-2005, 04:29 AM   #5
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Hotel Kitchens

Allen, hotels are....interesting. I've been working in strictly hotels for the last 6 years and like anything else it has it's pros and cons. The only thing is that most hotels (or the hotels that I've worked at anyway) have multiple kitchens for the tasks that you mentioned. Banquets is so huge that 90% of all banquet foods will come out of the banquet kitchen. While some restaurants may do double duty by cooking for room service, the majority of them have their own kitchen. I'll use the Hilton Hawaiian Village for example. It is by far the biggest hotel that I've ever worked at (3000+ rooms) and did the most banquet volume I've ever seen in person.
  • Banquets - Two Main Banquet Kitchens, one for the Coral Ballrooms, and one for the Tapa Ballrooms. They also provide the food for smaller functions on the lawns and in smaller banquet rooms.
  • Bali-by-the-Sea Restaurant - Specialty fine dining restaurant, has own kitchen. Open for dinner only.
  • Golden Dragon Restaurant - Specialty Chinese restaurant, has own kitchen. Open for dinner Only.
  • Village Steak and Seafood Restaurant - Has own kitchen, provides food for PM Room Service. Open for dinner only.
  • Rainbow Lanai Restaurant - Open all day, has own kitchen. Provides food all day for Room Service, as well as food for smaller banquet functions close by
  • Tapa Cafe Restaurant - Open for breakfast only, has own kitchen. Provides food for AM Room Service.
  • Village Cafe (Employee Cafe.) - Has own kitchen, utilizes unused leftovers from Banquets.
Small hotels that have maybe only one or two restaurants probably operate differently, but the larger resort-type hotels have pretty much self-functioning kitchens for every outlet. I would highly recommend you trying to get into a hotel somewhere, not only for the experience but for simple economics. Hotels in general pay much better wages than independantly owned establishments, and the employee benefits are usually extremely better as well.
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Old 03-08-2005, 03:04 PM   #6
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I also forgot the Tropic's Bar kitchen which serves food all day and does Room Service for the Hilton's luxury tower.
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Old 03-08-2005, 11:19 PM   #7
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yea, i liked his kitchen confidental book, ive done my 6 months on dishes, ive done trash at 3 in the morning covered in food, ive been from the bottom to the top cook stations, gotta love the lifestlye, now im in school to role with the big boys........
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