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Old 01-17-2008, 05:33 AM   #1
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Question Getting Into The Industry

Hey Everyone..

I live in NSW, Australia, I'm going into year 10 this year, I love cooking and I want to become a chef [Not sure in which area yet tho.]. But I was wondering if anyone could give me advice on the best way to get into the business and get a good paying job. Any advice/opinions would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance !!

SaMMi_xx

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Old 01-17-2008, 07:29 AM   #2
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Welcome to DC SaMMi! Not in the industry, but I would have thought one of the first things to do is to try to work out where your interests might lie. You can always change your mind once you have experience but most employers regardless of the industry, like to see a bit of drive in a person. As to getting a good paying job, from what I have heard of apprentice wages - choose another industry!!!! Matthew Evans wrote a book recently "Never Order Chicken on a Monday" (or something similar to that). He was the editor of the Sydney Good Food Guide. It is a good book and while it was some years since he did his apprenticeship, a lot of what he says probably still holds true.

Good luck!!
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:36 AM   #3
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I havent read it.. Shall look into it.. Thanks..:) Well I was thinking something in a restaurant..? Thanks again !!
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:43 AM   #4
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I did kinda guess you meant restaurant! LOL I meant like desserts, baking, that sort of thing. Get a book or look on line at the different types of chef you could become. Might to help eliminate some of the areas.

You could try logging on to some of the restaurant sites and seeing what they have to offer, or even drop them emails and see who responds to your requests for direction. Rockpool (Neil Perry) Press Club (George Colombaris) are two that immediately come to mind. Would also talk to a TAFE counsellor when they start to do enrolements.
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:49 AM   #5
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Sammi, you might try getting a job as a dishwasher in one of your local restaurants. Good luck!
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loprraine View Post
Sammi, you might try getting a job as a dishwasher in one of your local restaurants. Good luck!
Lorraine's right, SaMMi, getting into the kitchen, at whatever level -- and the dish pit is the entry level position -- will give you firstg hand knowledge of the way a restaurant kitchen works. That is to say, the pace, the heat, the intensity. Cooking professionally is very different from making a dinner at home for your family and friends. The hours are long, the pots are heavy, the temperature is HIGH. You work on pretty much ALL the days when other folks are home having holidays with their families, because the restaurants are open, providing those celebratory meals for thise who don't cook them themselves...

Many culinary schools will not accept an applicant who has not spent at least 6 months in the back of the house. It's a good policy, because school alone will not give you the tru picture of life in the kitchen.

I would recommend two books: "Becoming a Chef" by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, and "The Making of a Chef" by Michael Ruhlmann.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:53 AM   #7
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My son started as a dishwasher in high school at a Japanese hibachi restaurant. That was 4 years ago. He was willing to do anything that was asked of him and always showed up when he was supposed to. The owners liked him so much they taught him to cook. Now he is the senior cook one notch below the head chef! He went to school and got an associate's degree in computers system management but never got a job working with computers and is still enjoying the chef job. He's considering going to culinary school to expand his repetoire and would eventually like to own his own restaurant. so start off with a job in a restaurant in the kitchen.
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:21 AM   #8
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Thumbs up

Thanks so much everyone !!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabbur View Post
My son started as a dishwasher in high school at a Japanese hibachi restaurant.
Do you mean as an after school job? Or work experience? I'm looking into the books.. I've read reviews and they sound really helpful. A culinary school would be an extention of the TAFE apprenticeship course wouldn't it? Or is it a different path all together?
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:02 AM   #9
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Cool I think it would be all done through TAFE Sammi

Probably the best bet would be to ring DEET (Department of Employment, Education and Training) in Sydney and ask for one of their advisors. There probably would be culinary schools run by private establishments but these would be extremely specialised and probably cost quite a bit. DEET should be able to let you know or steer you in the right direction.

You might even like to try posting an email to one of the Australian "chefs" websites i.e. Ben O'Donoghue of "Surfing the Menu" or Toby (15 Melbourne) and who knows you might get a reply back. Both Ben and Toby worked with Jamie Oliver in London but both trained here to start with.

Worth a go, you never know where something will lead you until you try.

Hope it helps.
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:06 AM   #10
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PS I don't think the money is too good, but it is not too bad due to overtime. BUT ... as everyone says the hours are long, it is heavy and hot work and working part-time at the bottom would be a great grounding and give you an idea as to whether it is your cup of tea..
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