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#1 YAMracer754

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 12:04 AM

Wasn't sure where this would be best to post so I posted it in a couple spots. I am wondering what it would take to become a chef without much prior "formal" training, other than H.S., but very much self-educated as well as pursuing information, techniques, practice, etc. vigorously.
Have never been on the cooking side of things but have worked in a restaurant for 1.5yr as busboy, dishwasher when needed/short, and understand from a perspective how it all works. College grad in public health and minor in bios/Chem, still have not used it and been in a bad spot for few years.

HOW would I go about getting into this as a good means to make a living or is it not there? Also learning on how to market this garden grown stuff with recipes of spice powders, hot sauce, etc. Maybe I'm just dreaming but curious how it works out for lot of you people that are IN the field as far as cheffing it up or prepping/preparing for catering, etc..?

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#2 Edmick

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 10:27 AM

I'm not a chef but have known quite a few. A good start would be enrolling in culinary school. Some chefs are self taught and never had any formal education but it's a pretty competitive trade nowadays and having a degree will definitely help get your foot in the door. Another thing to consider is your location. Most chefs with big dreams end up relocating to larger cities or areas with a strong food culture, so depending on your geographical location, you may end up needing to relocate to an area with more potential. Staying in a small town will usually leave you either unemployed or using your degree at the local diner tossing fries.

#3 The Hot Pepper

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 11:17 AM

I would definitely look into a cooking school that offers French classical training just so you know the basics. If someone asks you to whip up a bernaise and you don't know how, you won't get too far. If you get the opportunity to train under a chef that could work as well but that usually only happens when you already know a lot and that chef sees potential in you. This often happens after cooking school. You know your basics, have your degree, and look for a job on the line possibly as a sous chef. Jumping in as the chef in a smaller place would not be as fruitful. The restaurant experience under a good chef is gold.

 

Where do you live?



#4 YAMracer754

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 07:16 PM

I would definitely look into a cooking school that offers French classical training just so you know the basics. If someone asks you to whip up a bernaise and you don't know how, you won't get too far. If you get the opportunity to train under a chef that could work as well but that usually only happens when you already know a lot and that chef sees potential in you. This often happens after cooking school. You know your basics, have your degree, and look for a job on the line possibly as a sous chef. Jumping in as the chef in a smaller place would not be as fruitful. The restaurant experience under a good chef is gold.
 
Where do you live?

Very good points! I live in central/east Tennessee atm(which sucks in more ways than I can count on both hand and both feet, but originally from DeKalb Northern IL, 60mi west of Chicago born, bred, schooled, raised until 3-4yr ago, and there was more higher end joints all over and everywhere around. Here it looks like ya gotta go to Nashville or Knoxville to go to any fancy high end joints that have "luxury culinary experience" factories like I'm used to back home. Yeah it would be awesome to learn all the principals and fundamentals as you mention!! It would definitely be some of the more interesting higher education classes I could say I have taken in my lifetime!

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#5 The Hot Pepper

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 07:24 PM

Night classes + restaurant job
 
Doesn't need to be college, it's more about training and learning the basics.
 
Assuming you live near Sevierville this is ranked #2 in the state for cooking...
 
Rel Maples Institute of Culinary Arts At Walters State Community College-Sevierville, Tennessee
Culinary Program: Associate Degree in Culinary Arts Baking and Pastries; Associate Degree in Culinary Arts Hot Foods; Certificate in Culinary Arts Baking and Pastries; Certificate in Culinary Arts Hot Foods

 

If you live more near Chattanooga:

 

Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College Chattanooga, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Tennessee
Culinary Program: Diploma in Culinary Arts; Diploma in Baking and Pastry
 
Chattanooga State Community College-Dunlap, Tennessee
Culinary Program: Hospitality and Tourism Management AAS-Culinary Arts Concentration
 
Or Middle Tennessee:
 
Middle Tennessee State University-Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Culinary Program: BS in Nutrition and Food Science

 



#6 YAMracer754

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Posted 21 November 2018 - 09:16 PM

Night classes + restaurant job
 
Doesn't need to be college, it's more about training and learning the basics.
 
Assuming you live near Sevierville this is ranked #2 in the state for cooking...
 
Rel Maples Institute of Culinary Arts At Walters State Community College-Sevierville, Tennessee
Culinary Program: Associate Degree in Culinary Arts Baking and Pastries; Associate Degree in Culinary Arts Hot Foods; Certificate in Culinary Arts Baking and Pastries; Certificate in Culinary Arts Hot Foods
 
If you live more near Chattanooga:
 
Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College Chattanooga, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Tennessee
Culinary Program: Diploma in Culinary Arts; Diploma in Baking and Pastry
 

Chattanooga State Community College-Dunlap, Tennessee
Culinary Program: Hospitality and Tourism Management AAS-Culinary Arts Concentration
 
Or Middle Tennessee:
 

Middle Tennessee State University-Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Culinary Program: BS in Nutrition and Food Science
 

Damn informative! Thank you for your time, chattanooga is probably the closest, like 1hr from where im at currently. Sevierville is about 2-2.5hr but I do have a friend who lives an hr away I might be able to room with. Murfreesboro is about 1.25-1.5hr

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#7 MikeUSMC

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 07:46 AM

I'd briefly thought about looking into becoming a chef, or getting into the food truck business (BBQ), when I finally blew my lower back out from Ironworking a couple years ago. Then, I quickly realized that you can practically kiss all of your free time on weekends and holidays goodbye. The same time that I'd like to be "off" was likely going to be the same time everybody else is "off," leaving me stuck in the kitchen, lol. That was enough for me to rethink that "new career," haha

Best of luck, if you end up going for it though!
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#8 The Hot Pepper

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 11:59 AM



#9 Ashen

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 01:58 PM

Pointing out the less glamourous aspects is pretty important.

If you are looking to get into it to be a celebrity chef or make lots of money, I would say, look to another career. Those kind of things in food service are like lightening strikes or lottery wins.

Food TV has done a disservice to many youg people, making it look easy. I have heard of and know personally a few that have spent massive amounts on culinary training, and then have to compete for minimum wage line jobs after graduating.

Expect to work twice as hard and twice as long as other careers for a living.

On the other hand if it is an avocation for you, and you love what you do, it won't matter.

I have looked at it seriously in the past, pretty much everyone in my family and friends that have eaten my food try to convince me I need to open a restaurant.

One, who I think is serious, said he would put half the money up any time I wanted to pull the trigger.

I love cooking and I am scared that doing it for a job would suck the enjoyment from it.
A wise man never  argues with a skunk, a mule, or a cook.

 


#10 The Hot Pepper

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 02:08 PM

Yuuuup. Being head chef and/or owning is dedicating your life to the restaurant.

 

You could always get a job at a chain restaurant for a set schedule and continuity, but I would not go to school for that!

 

Catering is one avenue where you would have an everchanging menu, get to be creative, but may have more free time. You could start out working for a caterer setting up chairs, work your way up to service, station cooking, kitchen, etc. There's a lot that goes into menu planning and good catering companies are revered just like good restaurants. 



#11 Scoville DeVille

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 02:35 PM

I worked in restaurants for a time out of HS and LOVED it! I started out as a dishwasher, worked in to prep cook and then as a fry cook on the line at a 4 star restaurant in Seattle, all in about a year and a half. Anthony's Home Port at Shilshole. A renowned seafood restaurant still to this day. If you show ambition, interest and discipline, your higher-ups will nurture and encourage you. The kitchen has a camraderie like few other workplaces which is what I loved the most. Having a beer and some food at midnight with the kitchen staff after 700 covers was almost euphoric.

That said, 30 years later, I own my own business in construction. I am a licensed General Contractor specializing in Tile. I am married to my work. After the day is done of setting tile, building mortar pans and grouting, I come home to more sets of drawings, Proposals, Invoices and ordering. Much like the restaurant business. The one difference is that If I want a week off, or the weather is shit, I don't go to work, I can schedule time off between jobs and am flexible with weekends and holidays. Restaurant work is strictly weekends and holidays, and you can't just close up for a week here or there. Regardless, I love what I do and wouldn't give it up for anything, so if you find your passion, or calling, you won't notice the hardness of it all. "A man who loves his job, will never work a day in his life" as the saying goes.

It would be good to start in the kitchen and work it for a year or five and see how far up you want to climb. The whole time you'll be learning the food end as well as the business end, especially if you're a sponge and absorb as much knowledge as you can. Even if someone isn't "teaching" you, observation is a hell of an instructor.

Good luck with whatever you do and just remember, no one will knock on your door offering you your dream but if you show ambition and aptitude, you will recieve help from just about everyone. Go get yours!!!

#12 Ashen

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 02:44 PM

Definitely, food trucks, catering, farmers markets, pop up's, if you work hard and get a good reputation, you can make a decent living.

I won't tell anyone not to chase their dream but if it is just pie in the sky musings it, take serious look at it before you drop any money on training.
A wise man never  argues with a skunk, a mule, or a cook.

 


#13 salsalady

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 03:23 PM

I love cooking and I am scared that doing it for a job would suck the enjoyment from it.


I love making new products, getting creative, making sauces that people seem to enjoy. But once it becomes a requirement to get done, it's not fun, it's a job. After making salsa even just once a month for 20+ years, I got to the point of loathing making salsa.

We are self employed like Scovie. It has its benefits and drawbacks. May not be applicable for what you are looking at doing. As was previously mentioned, when working in food service, you will be working nights, weekends and holidays.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
All the best~
SL

Edited by salsalady, 23 November 2018 - 03:24 PM.

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#14 Ashen

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 03:34 PM

There are actually online courses through some pretty prestigious schools if you decide you want to take the plunge. Le cordon blue, CIA .


At the bottom of the page at this link lists a few with contact info.



https://www.cookingschool.org/canada/



This link is for a free online course offered by Harvard. I think they charge a fee if you want a verified certificate.

Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science (chemistry)

https://www.edx.org/...oking-chemistry

Edited by Ashen, 23 November 2018 - 03:48 PM.

A wise man never  argues with a skunk, a mule, or a cook.

 


#15 The Hot Pepper

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 06:15 PM

HOW would I go about getting into this as a good means to make a living or is it not there?

 

I have a question. Is there a passion behind this? Do you tinker with food and dream of recipes, do you dream of restaurant names and ideas, etc? Or are you looking for a career and are just asking if this is lucrative? If you do have a passion what exactly is it? Thanks



#16 YAMracer754

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 11:00 PM

 
I have a question. Is there a passion behind this? Do you tinker with food and dream of recipes, do you dream of restaurant names and ideas, etc? Or are you looking for a career and are just asking if this is lucrative? If you do have a passion what exactly is it? Thanks

Yes I'm big into cheffin have been a science man my whole life hence the bio/chem/science schooling I did to get my B.S. but food creations and new recipes (as well as a lot of improvisational cooking and methods) have always been something I've loved and been able to have a direct connection with.. I'm still addressed as chef Tristan when I see old family and friends back home lol!

So yes, to your original question there is definitely a passion to/behind this.. I'm no fool thinkin being behind the kitchen in the trenches is gonna make me a Donald Trump , that's for sure! I'm passionate and grew up building/tweaking/performance enhancements/motorcycles/motocross/sport bikes/cars/modifications/racing/competing/etc for passions but honestly my biggest passion was furthering my knowledge of *everything*, not to sound cliche.. But loved learning new knowledge, skills, and techniques; as well as useful information
I already got a name for my company a year ago-GGR (Gourmet Garden Rarities). Now, nobody go and steal that!
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Edited by YAMracer754, 23 November 2018 - 11:07 PM.





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