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Old 03-20-2008, 07:48 AM   #1
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Questions About Culinary Apprenticeships

I graduated from culinary school around a year ago and have been working in a local restaurant for a year. I am looking to move my skills to the next level and want to become an apprentice so that I may obtain Red Seal Certification. I wanted to pose a couple of questions to the forums to see if I can get any insight regarding the qualities and expectations a Chef would have of an Apprentice.
I can tell you that since culinary school i have been excited more and more by working in the industry. I have helped out at lots of catering events on my time off just to get the experience working with different foods and cooking styles. Every time I've done those events I have been more and more excited.
I believe a hotel setting would be the best for developing my skills in different areas and it is a position in one that I am pursuing.
So my questions are basically:

What are your expectations of an apprentice and what are some concerns a chef or employer might consider?

Is a hotel setting the best environment for developing wide ranging skills?


Is there something that I can do to show that I am motivated and a good investment to a chef?

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Also if there is anything unclear in what I have said above please don't hesitate to ask me for clarification.

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Old 03-20-2008, 10:57 AM   #2
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Having been a culinary student I would expect you to know the vocabulary, the techniques of cooking, of guarde manger, have knife skills, and be able to ask for clarification when unsure.

I would expect you to be able to use your senses of taste and smell to assist your other senses, and to tell the difference between salt and sugar.

I would expect you to know and practice the basics of sanitation and food safety.

Whether you get placement in a hotel kitchen or a restaurant, make sure it is one that actually cooks food rather than reheats food service or central processing pre-prepared foods. Find one that changes it's menu seasonally thus giving you opportunity for growth.

If you got the passion, go for it!

There are some others pros here and you are likely to get a range of responses. That's good.
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:43 PM   #3
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Thanks For the Advice!

Hey,
I just wanted to say thank you for the advice that you gave. I polished up some of the areas you outlined to make sure they were solid. It worked.
I've successfully started my apprenticeship and I'm very very excited. Everyday I am in the kitchen is excellent. I learn new things and new ways of thinking about ingredients. My chef and every person i work with are very supportive and all love to teach. I carry a notebook with me all the time so I can write down as much as possible. The biggest part of it is that I wake up in the morning and can't wait to get to work.
I'm on my way and I am excited about the challenges and success I have in front of me. Thank you again for your advice and I wish you success and happiness in the future.

Jim
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:49 PM   #4
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Glad to hear you are on the way! Also surprised that no one else chimed in here...must've been a slow day.
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Old 04-29-2008, 06:17 PM   #5
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i'm gonna see my Chefs when i graduate fer advice- at least those Chefs who hug me instead of throwing stuff.
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:17 PM   #6
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Simple Satasfies

Maybe the reason that nobody else chimed in is because what you said was all I needed to hear. That's what I figured. It seems to have worked :)



LUVS remember when you talk to your chefs, what you are looking for is an impartial opinion and guidance. When I went for my interview I was asked directly what my expectations of the institution and the chef himself were. I replied:

1) I expect you to be a guide and a teacher to me not a disciplinarian only.
2) I believe in the saying "Practice makes perfect", however I also feel that that statement is incomplete. I believe more that "Perfect practice makes perfect". If and only if I am shown the right way will I ever be successful. I expect and trust you to show me the right way.
3) To assist me in building the mental structure and disciplines that will yield the skills that will make me successful.

I had already said that I would put in whatever time and dedication was necessary. I also said that if I found myself in a position where I was unhappy about something I would discuss that at an appropriate time.

When you look for your chef make sure you do some research. Go to their restaurant and look at the plating, look at what they do and see if you like it. Ask your chef's at school and take in every opinion you can and then consider all of that intel and make your decision.

Jim
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