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Old 03-13-2008, 06:32 PM   #11
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All of what has been said(typed) is pretty spot on.

Be prepared to spen LONG hours working, and being on your feet. If you want to go into the management end, be prepared to spend those SAME long hours on your feet then ADD a few more hours onto that doing the boring but essential paper work, i.e. schedules, payroll, P&L, menu planing, ordering, inventory, and a million and six other things.

Also know, it is one of the lowest paying professions(depending on where you might be), and one of the most demanding, physically and mentally. The reason Chefs ARE chefs is because of passion. If for ANY reason you are turned off by the thought of the demand, I do not recommend it as a career choice, but that is just me. You need to be either 110% or not at all.

I have a great job as an Executive chef and some of the lightest hours I have EVER had but still manage on average 50-60 hours a week, compared to 90 a week when I was with Crowne Plaza Hotels in the same position.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:01 PM   #12
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If you want butter hours, get a job at a hotel or catter company. I worked for both at one point as a manager. The chef only worked when he was needed to cook something fo a party, or a banquet. When I was at the hotel, that chef only worked 4 days a week, sometimes 3, and sometimes 5. He pulled about a four or five hour days. I felt so sorry for him, while I was working 12 or 14 hour days


When I was at the Catter Company, that chef only worked about 2 days a week, while we did all the set up, and prep work, along with the driving, tack down, and cleaning up. To top it off he got paid out the yahoo for his job, like 6 figs
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PastaKing View Post
If you want butter hours, get a job at a hotel or catter company. I worked for both at one point as a manager. The chef only worked when he was needed to cook something fo a party, or a banquet. When I was at the hotel, that chef only worked 4 days a week, sometimes 3, and sometimes 5. He pulled about a four or five hour days. I felt so sorry for him, while I was working 12 or 14 hour days


When I was at the Catter Company, that chef only worked about 2 days a week, while we did all the set up, and prep work, along with the driving, tack down, and cleaning up. To top it off he got paid out the yahoo for his job, like 6 figs
I have NO idea where this was(or where the spell check was) but this is NOT realistic. Even in the most professional settings, this statement seems to be a falsity.

NO successful culinary operation has people that are there "just when needed", bottom line. Perhaps I am just sheltered to the uber corporate, but NO chef I know...or have EVER known, has had a couchy 4 day work week...and if they DID...is it any reason that their business is suffering...
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:33 AM   #14
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Am not a cook or chef. My only bonafides to be on this site is that I signed up and I like to cook and eat.

But there was a time when I had to make a choice. I could have picked one career that would have paid more but I would have worked all the time. Or I could have picked a career where, yep, on call half the time, but only work about 40 hours a week.

I decided the home/family was more important than the money/job. Am glad I did. If there was a magic switch that would put me on the other path, would not touch it.

But that is me. You have to decide what you want. Know professional cooks and they are always at work. And they love it.

Only you know who you are and what you want. Some folks get tossed into jobs because they need food and shelter whether they like it or not. Others can choose what they want to do to keep themselves in groceries and a place to sleep. Sounds like you have a choice.

If you are young and curious, get a job, any job, at a restaurant. Wash dishes, buss tables, do anything just to take a look at the process. If that is where you want to be, go there. If not, find something else to do.

Just my two pennies worth of thought.

God bless.
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TATTRAT View Post
NO successful culinary operation has people that are there "just when needed", bottom line.
Not true. In fact, just last night a friend of mine told me, that the restaurant that he works at, is sending almost everyone home around 3pm, and having them come back at 5pm. Needless to say, he is pissed off at this.

I can understand how you might not think it true. Sounds like you have worked in a few places, and they worked you long and hard. Just know that not every place is like that.

And about the spell check comment. Tattrat, you have egg on your face
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:45 AM   #16
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Pasta King:

Tat is right for the most part; long hours come with the territory. There may be the odd exception, but not as a rule.

It sounds as though your friend works hourly and was sent off duty between service rushes. I've never seen that before. It's the sign of a very cheap owner.
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:01 PM   #17
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There are so many things to quote here that I will just add my two cents, which applys to Marko, Tat and Pasta King and of course, Little Italy.

When I worked for a catering company it was true - our "Executive Chef" (and owner) did only come down when needed or when she wanted to check on things or to do certain dishes. However, she spent the rest of her time working on the menus, paperwork, finding new clients, shopping for new ingredients, etc. She would also stay late after we all left to work on new recipes. We worked 5 - 6 days a week, and while she wasn't around all the time in plain view, she worked 7 days a week.

In the resturant, we worked very hard, and our chefs worked even harder. I too worked as a prep cook and started early and would take a break during lunch service, only to continue on until dinner service when I would leave.

You mentioned, Little Italy, that you might just do some work on the side.

With having my own part time business, I spend a lot of time preparing the menus with the clients, doing prep work and then creating time sheets and procedures for the day of so that if one of my helpers takes on a dish they know exactly when and how in case I am not available.

I also do wedding and other cakes and while yes, you can do them at home, again there is more work than just baking and decorating the cake. Sometimes the client comes in with a definite design, and other times I have to work with them on it. Also, I keep mini cupcake samples in my freezer all the time for flavour testing. If you make decorations ahead of time, you have to keep that allotment of time in mind as well.

The food industry is a demanding one no matter what aspect of it you are in, but if you have the passion, it can be rewarding. And also if you have the passion for food, and passion for your family, you CAN make it work.

Wow, that was a hefty 2 cents!
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:26 PM   #18
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Little Italy... some food for thought I can relate to a bunch of stuff here…

You have mentioned that you are a college student...
many people I know worked in restaurants during college.. a summer job or part time job could be the thing to give it a try... also you really can try stuff out right after college and change later on so don’t feel you HAVE to decide your entire life right now.

A love for food and cooking does not necessarily translate to being a chef.

My first love was Architecture… It is what I studied it is what I do for a career but the job really can be just a job. I find much less interest in Architecture now than I did as a student. Working has made me a bit more cynical and jaded (not enough to get me to give it up yet though)

My brother and his GF (share my house) both work at decent restaurants she is a sous-chef he is a line cook. They like their jobs but they have no real love of food or cooking (or all that much experience really) it is just a job they would do something else just as easily. Also because they cook for work they really are not into cooking at home all that much. They generally eat whatever I cook.

I like to cook when I get home from work because it is a creative outlet that is immediately satisfying (my job not so creative all the time)

You mention English teacher… that is what my folks do… they have a nice deal. Home early.. summers off to pursue other things or work at different jobs. I could see that path as very compatible with cooking (for both joy and possibly as some sort of side business)

Anyway good luck and if you really want to do something with your life do it you can always change your mind.
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:44 PM   #19
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I teach HS English, and that comes with its own time constraints. I'm also a private chef with a moderate sized regular clientèle. The days before holidays I am busiest as that's when I prep for my clients. TCE (Thanksgiving Christmas Easter) So right now I have hams, lambs, and various sausage and fish items preping, as well as a ton of various veg and a few pastas. All will be delivered this Saturday in a heat and serve readiness.

I love doing this as I only take on what I can do well. New clients right now are freezer folks: food preped a week in advance and frozen. If an opening occurs I can move them into the "fresher"domain. All my product comes from local organic, free range, and Amish farms, and the major commercial Chester Cty mushroom and Philly seafood wholesalers. My staff, when I need to employ others, comes from local vo-tech programs. For baked goods I've hooked up with a fellow CIA grad who has a bakery 20 miles away.

So, such opportunities do exist out there. Follow your passion!

(oh, so why do I teach? mortgage, health insurance, retirement plan, June July and August!)
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:00 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the helpful feedback!

I am at a early life crisis... I am extremely fed up with school, although i have a high GPA and a good student. I like the idea of teaching, but i do not know if i would be good at it or not. I have taken all of my core classes and about to start on my major classes, and I have no idea if this is what I really want to do. The big thing holding me back from cooking is the hours. I love my girlfriend and plan on marrying her after college. But right now she is not being to much help with what i want to do in life and i know it is something i have to decide, but being 19 how am i suppose to do this? I am torn in between two passions, cooking and my true love. Of course i love her more than cooking, but i am hesitant to go to a culinary school because of the hours. Thanks for listening and i thank you all the feedback.

-Derek
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