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Old 07-21-2012, 01:35 PM   #1
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Unconditional Advice Wanted

Hey everyone so I am new to the forums and just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Dan and I am graduating college in about 3 weeks (THANK GOD IM ALMOST DONE). Took me about 4 years to realize I didn't want to do anything in my major, but rather go in the food industry. I love everything about it, and cooking keeps me out of my head and occupied. I'll be moving from Pennsylvania to Florida in September and will be looking for a job in the kitchen working the line.

Now I have no former experience working in a kitchen, but I am a better cook than the average student. Does anyone have advice for me not only for working in a restaurant, but just for refining my skills or things to read up on before I delve into this field that I so badly want to give a shot. Thanks!

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Old 07-21-2012, 02:19 PM   #2
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Wear good supportive shoes (floors are hard).

Always show up for work early, ready to work and in a great mood.

Never drink on the job or at the place you work (even after service) - ever.

Regardless of the position you get, learn as much as you can about that position and then about other positions. Be ready to fill in as needed. You will be remembered when a better position becomes available.

Kitchens can be high stress at crunch time and tempers flare. Always be polite.

Learn to cook eggs.

Experiment with foods you don't usually eat or like.

Study about ingredients and their preparations.

Brush up on your Spanish

Kitchens are hot - avoid polyester clothes and keep your hair short

Practice knife skills

Avoid chain restaurants if possible - not too much cooking goes on in many of them (lots of heat and eat)

Acquire nothing not directly related to your pursuit! Owning stuff ties you down. If you are serious about the food industry you may be moving regularly for a few years. Learn to live light.

Stay single. (see above)

Go to used book stores and buy the classics. (Larousse, etc.) Study them.

Have fun :)
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:23 PM   #3
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Read ( online or via book ) all you can on the vast subject ...

Best of luck,
Margaux Cintrano.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:35 PM   #4
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Where in Florida are you going? Does "better cook than the average student", indicate culinary training?
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:53 PM   #5
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Have good knife skills and be able to put up with a good amount of crap. Know what you're doing. Long, hot hours and no holidays. It's a great business to be in. :) Good luck.
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:11 PM   #6
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I'll only say this. Keep in mind that turning something you enjoy into a profession can often make it no longer enjoyable. Make sure you are truly passionate about it, or it may simply become a "job".
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
I'll only say this. Keep in mind that turning something you enjoy into a profession can often make it no longer enjoyable. Make sure you are truly passionate about it, or it may simply become a "job".
This ↑
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
Where in Florida are you going? Does "better cook than the average student", indicate culinary training?
As I stated I have no former experience so no culinary training. But from people I know at my age or students in college, I can make a pretty unbiased judgment that I can cook better than most.

Now I know a lot of basics and can only cook a small portion of foods, but there are some things I can cook very well. I really want to learn a lot more and experiment a lot more with different foods.

One thing holding me back is my budget. I'm hoping once I move to Florida, Fort Myers by the way, I will be able to find a job where I can buy all the necessary accessories. Also could someone give me a list of some necessary accessories. Like I don't have a food processor but I know that would come in handy, plus how expensive roughly each accessory may set me back.
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I'll only say this. Keep in mind that turning something you enjoy into a profession can often make it no longer enjoyable. Make sure you are truly passionate about it, or it may simply become a "job".
I understand what you are saying, but I've realized the more I learn and the better I cook the more enjoyable it is for me to do. I want to expand my skill set and really develop it.

I am about to graduate with a criminal justice degree that I will have no use for. By the time I realized I didn't want to that, and realized I rather cook it was to late to just stop. I have never been the academic type and I think I have horrible undiagnosed ADD. When I am cooking I can concentrate and stay out of my busy head.
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:27 PM   #10
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Get good with seafood! Grouper is big over there, red snapper and shellfish. Ft. Myers beach is a big tourist trap, but the locals will always be interested in a great seafood place.

Get a quality set of knives! They will set you back, but if cared for, are something that can be passed to the next generation. Just like quality cookware.
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