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I've been working in a 5 Star Hotel for about 4 months
now, and in that time I've moevd from being a simple dishwasher
to being our resident Sous Chef and Executive's Chef's lackey
for our banquets, from setting up platters to creating food
designs. During this time, I've learned to cook better food,
and I'd like to expand my skills a little farther. Sooner
or later I'll be moving to Canada, but would it be better
for me to go here in the USA, or somewhere in Alberta? I'd
assume here, mainly for the fact that I've got a pair of great
chef's above me that I can learn from at the same time while
going to school, but I figured I'd ask someone a bit more
knowledgeable about it.
Howdy, it sounds like you are getting some good experience,
finish up school and drain your chefs of their knowlege and
the pursue a J-1 visa this is what will get you into the US...
Read this Working In America
I have an 18 year old son who has completed 1 year
at Lake County College during his Senior year of high school
and is looking for an apprentice program in Europe. Are there
any programs the you would recommend? If so, how do we get
information about them?
I do not know of any organisation that helps with appreticeships
in Europe. I would suggest that your son decides which country
interests him most and then write to select 20 hotels and
see what shakes...
I am doing a career project and how much education
i would need to start my own resturant to cook?
A minimum of two years cooking education and at least five
years expereience - at least!
Hi, I am currently 25 years old. I recently heard
of a culinary school in Pasadena named California School of
Culinary Arts. I was wondering if you could provide with inputs
on the school's reputation.
Hi wes, thanks for your question, I am afraid that I do not
know anything about that school, I am familiar with this organization
as they have a school here in San Fran', it is a pretty good
school and the students that I have worked with seem to have
a good handle on things. The key thing with education is it
is really the enthusiasm of the person teaching and the commitment
of interest from that student that makes the big difference...
I love to cook, and I have always wanted to open up
my own restaurant. I just don't know what type of training
should I to after. Should I take the Culinary Arts or the
Restaurant & Hospitality Management training at the Western
Culinary Insitute in Portland,OR?
It depends on whether you want to be the chef and run the
restaurant or work the front and be the boss. If it is to
be the chef... go for the first one if it is to be in the
front of the house then do the second....
How much will I earn in my first position when I have finished
It depends on where you live in the country. You can look
at $10 if you are in a less expensive area upto $18 - 19 an
hour if you were in San Francisco, New York of Vegas. As for
experienced chef salaries you might want to read this - Big
Also--- You might want to consider getting this book, it is
a little on the expensive side but a worthwhile investment
as it explains all of the different chef jobs a culinarian
can work they way into, talks about a day in their life etc.
it is very good... here is a link So
You WAnt To Be A Chef?
I am 34 years old with a wife and 2 children (1 &
3). I have read many of the responses here and from other
resources and the theme of "the first 8 years will be a finacial
struggle" seem to common. I have looked at a local Vocational
School with an accredited Culinary Arts program and feel like
it is a good program. My concern is this...is it unrealistic
to expect to make a salary that will support my family in
the years following completion of the program? I live in Oklahoma
so the cost of living is a little below the national average
I believe. While I do believe I would be successful in the
industry I am afraid to put a large "burden" on my family
while I "find my place". I realize this may be somewhat an
ambigious question, I appriciate your time and look forward
to your response.
I do see a trend with "older" graduates (sorry we are are
only a year or so apart in age but we are not 18 anymore!)
... The trend is because they are or can be mature, reliable,
genuinely interested they progress quicker so the burden may
reduce by a couple of years or even more. If I were in your
situation I would be looking at my current financial situation
(if it is horrible now it will not get any better - can I
afford to press ahead? And talk to my wife, if a partner supports
a dream anything is possible, if she is the kind of lady that
gets upset if I am an hour late home from work etc there is
going to be a challenge, but if she is independent and supportive
and can deal with me not being around so much and working
wierd hours then I have got what I need...
Have you ever worked in a restaurant? If noe before you move
ahead on this go and work in one for free for a few nights
a week to check out the reality. This might be all you need
to realize this game is for you, or that it is not... Good
I am interested in becoming a chef but would like to know
what the average income for a chef is.
Well you can start out at $8 or $9 and hour and go up to about
$125 000 in a good hotel, some earn even more (read this http://www.globalchefs.com/career/current/coj025big.htm)
Im doing research on my future career and I chose this
one I need to know what are the duties, the alternate job
titles or levels , the salary range, the best geographical
location, how much education needed, and ways to move up in
this career as a chef? Now if you could provide me with some
of this information and also where can I find it.
Yazmin, you choose an interesting one. Not sure if I can answer
all your questions as there is far too much info that you
are asking for, so let me try to answer the basic stuff.
Your career as a chef generally starts with an apprenticeship
in one form or another, different countries have different
systems. In the US I would suggest you get yourself into a
good culinary school for a 2 or 3 year course first. During
your time there do as many extra work as you can in good restaurants
or hotel kitchens in your free time.
After that the best thing to do is apply to join an international
hotel chain or a very good restaurant to learn the basics
(yes you won't be a star chef right after school), you generally
start as a commis chef or another title might be cook b or
cook a, really depending on the property you are working at.
In terms of career path it work normally like this
Chef de partie
Junior Sous Chef
Executive Sous Chef
The vocabulary comes from the traditional French kitchens
and is still present today in most if not all establishments.
It will generally take you about 10 years after the apprenticeship
to work your way up to Executive sous chef, Executive chef
position will then depend on you and your qualifications that
you gained along the way.
If you start at the age of 17 you can aim for being an Ex.
Chef by the time you are 30 or 31, that is a stretch but possible.
I am of course talking only of a luxury hotel and restaurant
bracket, if you want to be an ex.chef of a hamburger joint
or a fast food restaurant you can reach that at 24.
As for location, any major city is ok. If you can do your
apprentice ship in Europe, especially Germany, England, France,
Switzerland etc it would be best as the basics are thought
well and the industry standards are very high.
Also it would be advisable that you are flexible and not focused
on one particular city. I have been in this industry 23 years
and am now living in my 9th country, this is not for everybody.
Salaries, depend entirely on your knowledge and your level
of experience as well as on the type of establishment you
are working for.
I can tell you that good Ex. Chefs make above 100k a year
and there is some that make 250k a year, but one thing is
for sure for the first 8 or so years you won't be able to
afford anything, as the salaries compared to the hours you
put in are dismal. so really it only gets financially viable
if you are good and if you are at the top or close to the
A good sous chef will make anywhere from 25 to 40k a year
and a good ex. sous anywhere from 36 to 60k a year. Working
abroad especially Asia is still the most lucrative, but if
you are not a sous chef it will almost be impossible to obtain
a work visa.
Anyway I hope I answered most of your questions. If there
is anything in particular you still want to know send me an
email. Regards Rainer Zinngrebe
Can you tell me if there is such a thing as a professional
qualification for Chinese Chefs and if so where can it be
obtained? Is there a course one needs to take or is it a school
or what? (Answered by Rainer Zinngrebe)
Mainland China is the only place where there is full proper
certification of Chinese Chef. Very complicated process that
is mainly bureaucratic in nature,those that is certified as
"Te Yi Ji" or supergrade Chefs are old guys like 60 years
old and ready to retire. Moreover, it is not internationally
reconised nor it is up to standards in my personal opinion.
For example, one of the test subject is vegetable carving
and the old Chinese presentation of dishes that we don't even
dream of these days anymore.....
Shatec in Singapore and the trade association in Hong Kong
does that too, but again, they are much more smaller in scale,
and engage people like us to do the teaching and certification
when I have never gone to a proper school myself.Although
the National Trade Certificate (NTC2/3) courses offered by
Singapore is a government sponsered and reconised one. (I
have taught part-time when they started these courses long
time ago, but one still have to plan to work from the bottom
when he goes into the kitchen after the course.)
Hi Ciaran, Can you please explain to me why it seems that
Michilan star experience is so important when seeking an international
placement as an Ex. Sous Chef. I have 17 years post exp working
throughout Australia and New Zealand in International 4-5
star Hotels / Resorts / and Restaurants in the capacity of
both Ex Chef and Ex Sous Chef. This form of rating is very
rarely seen here and I am finding this a big draw back for
my future advancement. Most positions advertised with International
agencies seek M.Star exp or equiv? I am wishing to further
my knowledge in a career than I enjoy abroad and would appreciate
your advice as to how I would approach agencies without this
extra qualification. Cheers Pete
It may be that the specific placements you are going for will
require this Michelin experience , it has always been a way
for the receiving Hotels to ensure the standard or the aplicant.Its
strange to me however that with you obvious experience that
Hotels especially would need this.My advice to you would be
to maybe side step the agency and try to make your own contacts
and develop your own contacts.Try applying to the Hotel chains
directly and I am sure your experience will stand you in good
stead.Michelin experience is nice but it is not a must.
I am 24 years old and living in Istanbul. After receiving
an education in politics and having worked in an advertising
agency for two years I have found out that what I really want
to do and earn my living from is cooking. I have been attending
some ameteur cooking courses in the evening while contuning
with my job at the agency. I am also trying to get information
from the professional cooks about how to enter this profession.
What I have been told is either I should be attending a school
abroad or get a job in some restaurant in Istanbul (as no
hotel would hire someone in-experineced like me.) However;
I have no financial backup to get an education abroad as the
cookery schools are very expensive and being a Turkish citizen
(non EU) creates an obstacle in receing any possibble scholarsips.
Being a female, it seems quite hard to get a job in the restaurants
of Istanbul. I am also not very sure whether the atmosphere
of the restaurants offering a job for a beginner would be
convenient for a female. After such a long introduction, my
question is would the hotels in Istanbul (like the Swiss,
Çırağan, Conrad, Hyatt Regency, etc) offer jobs
for inexperinced ladies? And would you bother to lead me in
searching? There are merely not many women cooks, especially
in Turkey. As I do love cooking and would like to get professional
I see this obstacle as a challenge. And at the moment I would
be greatful for any kind of help.
Irem , your situation seems to be more and more common here
in the city at the moment.The answer is yes the hotels here
would hire you with out experience and being Female is less
and less a problem here,The only drawback you would have at
the moment is the levels of business are quite slow and not
many hotels are hiring.The only thing I would think of at
the moment is wait till the summer when all the hotels hire
trainees for the summer Season , this is usually a good step
in the door and may lead to permanent employment. If you need
more help you can feel free to call the Hotel here and speak
to us in person.
Hi, I am a high school student, could you please answer
some questions for me? (answered by Jeremy Emmerson GlobalChefs
How long have you been a chef?
I have been a chef for 14 years. I made the decision to be
a chef when I was about thirteen and never work any other
(full time) job.
How has your family been affected by your career?
My family has been effected greatly by my career choice. As
a chef you work over the holidays and weekends so you live
a different sort of life. You have to make your own holidays.
On the upside I do not have to start work until about 10:30
so I get to spend time with my daughter most mornings.
How long did you go to school?
I went to school for three years and then took some more classes
a couple of years after I graduated (one day a week for two
Did you ever want to be something else?
No not really, I thought about being a policeman but that
was as far as I got.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up just outside London (England. I came to work in
the US for eighteen months (that was seven years ago).
How old are you?
I am 33
Do you like your job?
Yes I enjoy cooking more now than at any other time in my
life. Now I have my own family I do not really enjoy spending
so much time at work, but that is the way it goes in the hospitality
Do you have a TV show?
No but if you know anyone that is looking for a TV chef, I
wouldn't mind having a stab at it - I am dead cool.
What's your favorite food to cook?
Anything really but I must say that I really enjoy making
bread - but cooking is fun no matter what you are doing.
Who's your favorite chef besides yourself?
I have a few, Gordon Ramsay (a British chef) has really set
new standards in the world of cooking, Jamie Oliver (AKA the
Naked Chef) has brought some fun in to the business he has
been very successful and broken the media mold. Until Jamie
came along you had to be a head chef or own your own restaurant
to get on TV. He was just working in a London restaurant when
he was discovered. My other favorite chef (or should I say
chef that I most respect) is a friend of mine Simon Scott.
He sold his house in England an bought a restaurant in France.
It is great to see someone take a risk and do well. He works
Do you own a restaurant?
No I work in a large Chicago Hotel. I am the executive sous
chef (which means I am second the number two guy. We have
a team of about forty cooks with four restaurants and banquets
- every day something new is happening.
I'm wondering what are the advantages of being a chef?
The best thing about being a chef is that you are in a job
that is creative and always changing - you never stop learning
and quite prestigious (in some people's eyes). You rarely
get bored and can travel the world! How's that?
Hello. I just got my first job in a restaurant three months
ago and I love it. I'm playing with the idea of cooking school
at the moment...I believe I'm interested in Italian food and
method, rather than a cooking school grounded in the French
tradition. Do you know anything about the cooking school APICUS,
in Florence, Italy? What are your impressions, if any? I'm
looking for 1-2 years program in culinary arts and baking,
which is respectable. Know any other schools I might be interested
Evan I have to say its not often we hear of someone heading
to cooking school only for one style.The school you spoke
of has a good name and I am confident you will gain a lot
from it.They are I think involved with the Slow Food movement
which is a good thing , they concentrate on quality and tradition.Make
sure that this is what you really want as you will narrow
your options for later if you have experience in one cuisine
only.Check out Divinacucina.com , this is Italian food taught
in English, it may be interesting for you , good luck.
My question is what is the next logical step? Dedicated
to my chosen profession, I need advice from one who has been
there. I attended a two-year culinary course at a reputable
school in Canada. I have been cooking in professional kitchens
(large hotel chains, and under chefs who compete at an international
level), for the last 5 years. Obtaining a green card I relocated
to New Orleans for 1 year to expand my culinary skills and
knowledge. Since then I moved back to Canada to take a chef
de cuisine position at a 5 star fishing lodge. It was very
fulfilling to exercise the skills and knowledge I have acquired
over the last 5 years. I believe in a build break build process,
where you learn, exercise what you have learned, then learn
again. I now want to get back into a challenging, creative,
reputable establishment somewhere in the U.S. to break it
down again and to maximize learning. Do you have any suggestions
on any places that would offer such? Thank you, Sean
Sean you are well aware of the standard of the places you
have worked in the past or are currently working, so now it
is time to go a little higher and find somewhere one level
above on the culinary chain. Generally speaking freestanding
restaurants offer the best opportunity to concentrate on food
and creativity away from the administration duties of a large
hotel. Find the highest rated restaurants in whatever city
you had in mind and push until one of the hires you. Without
a doubt you will have to drop several positions but this is
the price you will pay to polish your cooking skills. I cannot
be specific as regards an establishment as the choice is so
huge, you will find the one that suits you best and the style
of food you want to learn, but with your strong background
you will not have a problem being hired.
At present I am the Executive Sous Chef at a 5 Star hotel
in Wales, UK. Working for a large International Co. My present
Exec Chef is leaving at the end of the month and my application
has been automatically put thru for the post, unfortunately
when I applied before for it I was turned down, I can do the
job but for some reason all the knock backs are beginning
to dent my confidence and I am starting to have doubts myself.
What can I do to get my confidence back up, as they say in
the Industry "who motivates the motivator" In anticipation
of your help.
At your level the answer to your question is primarily "yourself".
Coming up you will always have someone over you to keep you
going and constantly push you (if you're lucky), now this
has to come from your own desire to do well and succeed, to
show off your skills, to compete with the other restaurants
in the market. This is how i have generally found this business
to be. If you are lucky you will have a demanding boss who
challenges you on a daily basis so you don't forget that it
is creativity that drives chefs and restaurants in general.
We tend to loose sight of this as we are in the daily grind
on kitchen management, which as you know takes up most of
your day. i think that the one of the best ways to re assure
yourself is to go eat in your own restaurant and have your
dishes cooked by your brigade. When you are done, generally
speaking, (unless they mess up) this should restores your
faith in the operation and your own ability as a 5 star chef,
ability that is obviously there as your owners have automatically
put through your application…
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