"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > General Cooking
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-18-2008, 10:34 AM   #21
Assistant Cook
Spicy Meataball's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: East Islip, NY
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by VeraBlue View Post
...I never went to culinary school, (always wanted to...) yet managed to find work in a kitchen 17 years ago. It was the lowest job on the totem pole, with the exception of straight utility. I had self taught talent that the chef noticed. As a result, I was taught everything she knew about running a kitchen. I moved up in the levels of positions available, as soon as something became available. It was the chef who started calling me 'sous chef' two years later. When we parted professional company, I was offered a position as 'chef' at a large account, with a staff of 7 to oversee, and 500 meals a day to produce. I was responsible for everything from preparation to inventory control. I've continued to rise during the years, overseeing staffs as large as 50 and as small as 4. I read everything about the business I can get my hands on, and practice in my home kitchen on items I'm not perfectly skilled at.

I've seen culinary graduates that couldn't cook their way out of a paper bag, and I've seen men and women qualify for positions without sitting a day in a culinary classroom. It's about rising up the ladder at any speed, and about business, and about a love of the art. While I always feel that someone with a degree may be better than me, I'm still the one out there, doing the job, day after day. I have the respect of my staff and peers (both 'educated' and not), the respect of my clients and my vendors. The customers are happy. ...
Ah but I think in this situation, your experience and passion to rise the ranks of the kitchen totem pole is the certification. You applied what you learned to th tasks ahead that needed to be completed and in by doing so you proved your skill, knowledge, and judgment to be of an "acceptable" level. That's more or less what my take on Culinary school is. You learn the ways to do things, pick up food knowledge, hone your skills, and then plate and present your dish (es) to a group of people who will judge it and decide if you meet their expectations. So while you don't have a diploma from an ACF school, I'd say you meet the qualifications of a chef in my book any day.

"I didn't start cooking until I was 32. Before that I just ate." Julia Child
Spicy Meataball is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2008, 10:52 AM   #22
Master Chef
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 5,296
Definately a cook, with a sprinkle of chef!... yes, I think there is a difference.

sattie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2008, 11:00 AM   #23
Master Chef
Constance's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Southern Illiniois
Posts: 8,175
You're kind of like Abe Lincoln, Vera...self-taught.

It's been interesting to read all the in-put. Thanks for your responses.

6000 posts? Good Grief! I had no idea. Do I get a prize or something?
We get by with a little help from our friends
Constance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2008, 12:25 PM   #24
Head Chef
David Cottrell's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Norwalk, Ohio
Posts: 1,194
Me, I'd like to make it to a halfway competent cook. My son is a chef by training and responsibility - low level, low run on the ladder, just one step above cook, but he works hard and deserves for me to call him chef.
David Cottrell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2008, 01:25 PM   #25
Executive Chef
ironchef's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Location: The SPAM eating capital of the world.
Posts: 3,558
I guess I should have been less ambiguous in my post. I meant to say that being certified by something like the ACF is just another way that one could be considered a chef, but it's not a requirement.

But VB is right about the culinary degree. Having one just makes you a graduate of a culinary school, it doesn't make you a chef. I've worked with CIA graduates whom I've told to their face that they wasted their money going there.
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
ironchef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2008, 09:53 AM   #26
Executive Chef
AllenOK's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: USA, Oklahoma
Posts: 3,463
Same here. I've worked with "kids" that earned a Culinary Arts degree, when all they really earned was a degree in BS (and that's NOT Bachelor of Science). I've also worked with people that had no formal training, and that can outcook me in just about every situation you'll encounter in a kitchen.

To me, a "chef" is someone who is in charge of a kitchen. I'm just a cook, and the only thing I'm in charge of is my line, and the food that I produce. As long as my food looks and tastes good, and the customers/members like it, then I'm happy.
Peace, Love, and Vegetable Rights!
Eat Meat and Save the Plants!
AllenOK is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2008, 10:51 AM   #27
The Dude Abides
TATTRAT's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Bermuda Native in D.C./NoVA
Posts: 5,324
Send a message via AIM to TATTRAT Send a message via Yahoo to TATTRAT Send a message via Skype™ to TATTRAT
a cook reports to a Chef.
TATTRAT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2008, 08:42 PM   #28
Senior Cook
meshoo96's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: I am home at last in SC!!!
Posts: 426
Send a message via AIM to meshoo96
i have an idea....you can all give me your $40K to go to culinary school and I will call you chef....gladly
No beans unless they are green or jelly...
meshoo96 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2008, 08:49 PM   #29
Senior Cook
SixSix210's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: NJ for the moment, heading south next spring to be with my family.
Posts: 421
A chef is a cook who manages THE kitchen, a cook is someone who manages IN the kitchen.
Cookies = Love
SixSix210 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2008, 10:26 AM   #30
Executive Chef
VeraBlue's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northern NJ
Posts: 3,683
Originally Posted by SixSix210 View Post
A chef is a cook who manages THE kitchen, a cook is someone who manages IN the kitchen.

uh....not quite. I'm the executive chef, answering only to the account director...and I'm attached to the equipment in the kitchen all day long. I've heard that some chefs never leave the office, but I've never been like that. It's my belief and experience that to be the best chef I could be, it's imperative that I stay in the kitchen, cooking, along with everyone else.

It's better for quality and it's better for employee morale to see me working with them, especially when I have to give constructive directions.

How can we sleep while our beds are burning???
VeraBlue is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:36 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.