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Old 07-21-2012, 09:29 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Coballs View Post
^ not sure what OP means.

And I understand the crappy hours and pay, but right now in my life it is the only thing I am strongly interested in pursuing.
OP would be you, the original poster.
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:34 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Coballs View Post
^ not sure what OP means.

And I understand the crappy hours and pay, but right now in my life it is the only thing I am strongly interested in pursuing.
OP is Internet for "original poster" i.e.. the person who started the topic/thread/discussion.

I was just wondering what you spent 4 years on that you're willing to discard now.
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Old 07-21-2012, 09:52 PM   #23
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I would be happy to fill you in on aspects of the industry, that may not be appropriate to go live on the board with. . . feel free to PM me. I have been in the industry for about 17 years.

One thing to keep in mind: it is NOT a glamorous job, like the Food network would have you believe. Be prepared to say good bye to nights, weekends, holidays, family, and take on a "New" family, those you work with.

With no training, be prepared to work LONG hours, for crap pay. . .especially in FL, where there are 5 other people(immigrants) willing to work TWICE as hard, TWICE as long, for LESS pay. It will NOT be a creative outlet until way later in the game, so be prepared to make the same things, over, and over, and over, all for someone else.

Don't go into it thinking you will get rich. Be prepared to deal with a LOT of ego's. Be prepared to get broken, and rebuilt if you fall under the tutelage of a capable Chef.

If I had spent 4 years in University, I would focus on THAT, and take up cooking as a hobby, maybe get a part time gig in a kitchen, do a week long stage somewhere on your own time/dime.

Being a better cook than most students doesn't translate to much in the industry. . .for the 4 years you have been in University, someone else has been getting a 4 year heads start over you. . .It is a labor of love. If you are NOT passionate about it, and on your game 100%, it shows in the food, and reflects in your product.

. . . not saying it can't be done, but there are a LOT of unrealistic expectations out there because of the raging popularity that being a "Chef" has become. It is NOT like on TV, at all.
Tatt's is the straight talk. What he says is absolutely right.

I have an incredible passion for cooking and good food, but I would not last 15 minutes in a professional kitchen. I've cooked in fast food, median range restaurants and college cafeterias...I much prefer behind the line, than out on the dining floor. But, I do things my way, I don't really care that much about presentation and I hate doing the same thing over and over.
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:16 PM   #24
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All I can say is listen to Fiona and Tattrat, and Janet .. they all have the right ideas and I'd bet they would gladly welcome a PM from you anytime.
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:16 AM   #25
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Let me throw my 2 cents into this.
First. Tattrat, Janet, and Fiona know whereof they speak. They give good advice. You will learn that this is true, whether you believe it now or not.
Second. It might seem that folks here are trying to talk you out of your dream. This is simply not the case. While I do not know anyone on this board personally, I have learned that there are many knowledgeable people here who only wish to share their experience and wisdom.
Third. I admire your desire. I think you should go for it. The good thing is that you have got some background and education to fall back on if you need to.
I would like to wish you success!
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:40 AM   #26
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My Grandmom Margherite immigrated to Manhattan Island in 1920, with my dad who was 4 years old, and his twin brother and a younger brother.

She slaved in hot kitchens in downtown Little Italy, numerous years, until she finally entered into a business partnership with a successful restaurateur. She washed dishes, prepped vegetables and prepared home made pastas and sauces for years, before she became the head chef of a fairly well known Trattoria during that time.

My father and mother would not hear of my becoming a Chef and thus, I started to study Journalism at the NY School of Journalism and had started writing about gastronomy and interviewing Chefs.

Superb and satisfying Italian cuisine was just the thing that my Grandmom and co-owner of the popular trattoria did best. However, she worked almost 20 hours a day.

During my University days, I had worked as a Hostess, Bartender, Receiving Clerk for the Orders of liquors, food, spices, table linens etcetra that were delivered and saw first hand, just how hard the restaurant business could be. I handled the front of the house, my Grandmom, the back of the house which is the Kitchen.

I was inherited with all her recipes in Italian, which I am now in the process of translating and her restaurant, which my dad and I had decided to sell.

Today´s chefs and cooks, have numerous modern electric appliances which do what was done by hand many years ago. However, it is still tough work and long hours, for underemployment salaries.

Do a SWOT, the strengths, the weaknesses or negatives, the opportunities and the risks ... Are you prepared ? Do you have a specialty ?

Can you afford to take a job at low end ?

This is a huge decision that is only your´s ... Best of luck,

Ciao, have nice wkend,
Margaux Cintrano.
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:11 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Greg Who Cooks View Post
OP is Internet for "original poster" i.e.. the person who started the topic/thread/discussion.

I was just wondering what you spent 4 years on that you're willing to discard now.
Criminal Justice degree from Penn State. It just isn't for me, I'm not cut out for anything within the degree. What I really got from my degree was the Liberal Arts aspect. I learned how to interact with people and communicate in a professional way.

Also, I appreciate all the input and hope people continue asking me questions so we can delve deeper.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:07 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Coballs View Post
Criminal Justice degree from Penn State. It just isn't for me, I'm not cut out for anything within the degree. What I really got from my degree was the Liberal Arts aspect. I learned how to interact with people and communicate in a professional way.

Also, I appreciate all the input and hope people continue asking me questions so we can delve deeper.
I have been cooking professionally since the mid 80"s. I have been in and out of the profession many times. Right now I am working with a friend in his carpentry buisness. I will say this, cooking is a skill that will always provide for you and you should be able to find a job just about anywhere. Especially as you gain experience. But, as said before, the best cooks end up working the busier shifts which is evenings and weekends.. I got very tired of this over the years. I had my own place twice, for about 15 years total. I sort of lost touch with all of my friends, never went to a wedding, or a party, weekend getaway, or any of the like. When I did go on vacation, it was usually after New Years when everybody was back to work after the xmas hollidays. Vacaitons are cheaper then and the spots are less crowded, so that's a plus...
Now I am 50, I don't regret the path I took, but do wish I was better off financially. Especially when some of my friends are eying retirement, buying cottages and traveling the world. But, then again, I've got my own thing going too...

I never really decided to make this my career, I just sort of fell into it, My first wife was Italian and we went to Italy to help her parents run their hotel. I couldn't speak the language so I got tossed in the kitchen. Other than a stint with The Colenel Sanders cooking chicken, that was my first exposure to real cooking. Since then I have been going back everytime some other job didn't work out. I got my papers along the way through apprenticeship programs. I am thinking about it again. Just got a call from a new owner of a Best Western lookin for an executive chef...Now that my kids are all grown up, weekends off aren't such a big deal to me anymore....we'll see.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:12 AM   #29
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Where in Florida are you moving to? I just moved from there less than a year ago. I may be able to connect you with some people.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:42 AM   #30
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Where in Florida are you moving to? I just moved from there less than a year ago. I may be able to connect you with some people.
I will be living in Fort Myers. Not exactly sure just yet because I am moving down with my friend into his condo in September. But I could find out the exact location if you are nearby.
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