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In the culinary arts field, what steps would you recommend that I take to prepare to enter this field?

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Mark’s Answer

There is no simple answer to this question because there are so many facets to the industry, which is what makes it so fascinating. Before going to cooking school, I would give some thought to what sort of career you really want. Do you want to be a chef? Do you want to work in a restaurant? Hotel? Country club? Cruise ship? Or maybe a food stylist? This is something to think about. Do you want to travel? See the world?
Once you have an idea of what you want to do, look into maybe volunteering or asking a chef to let you spend time in the kitchen to see what a typical day looks like. Some chefs might even hire you as a prep cook. But the point is, see what working in the industry is really like before you decide to spend the money to get a culinary degree. Most chefs seek hard workers more so than people with tons of experience. But every restaurant is different, so look around and maybe see if there is someone willing to let you work in their kitchen for awhile. You might find that it's not what you expected. If you do find it rewarding then maybe getting a culinary degree is for you. Most jobs require a culinary degree, but it's not mandatory. Working in a kitchen can be a very challenging environment, but rewarding at the same time. If there is a particular restaurant you like maybe start there to see if there are any opportunities. If not start looking for jobs online and see if anyone is willing to give you a shot. Honestly many wont, but you can find some place if you are persistent.

Thank you Mark! This is very helpful! I’m currently a job corps student who is going into culinary. I will definitely take your advice!! maile R.

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Kathy’s Answer


Marks gave some great advice. I was a culinary instructor for job corps and it is a great program to get into like Mark said it is very challenging at times and nothing like school. I starting cooking first before I went to school for culinary arts so I already knew what I was getting into and let me tell you it is not for everyone.
So I agree with Mark and try and find a place to work first before deciding on a life long career.

Wow! Thank you so much! I’ll definitely take your advice! And that’s awesome that you were a job corps culinary teacher, you definitely add a new insight and I appreciate it! maile R.

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Robert’s Answer

maile R.,

I believe Mark and Kathy, had great comments as well.
find out what you want to do in the field since there are so many different facets of the business.
But, you can also decide when you are attending. for instance i wanted to become a pastry chef, it is what I excelled in. but instead decided to expand my knowledge and challenge myself.

so you should do research on the institution that you will be attending. talk to the dean of culinary, and perhaps the instructors,
study on your own, food 52 is a great place for different recipes. the NRA, ACF, and CIA all have an amazing amount of knowledge you can look for before you get into school, and during as well.
work in the industry under a chef that will listen to your ideas, someone whom you can talk to while working, or I would be happy to answer anything for you.

Chef Robert Mingus

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foodwinetour’s Answer

1.- Study
2.- Investigate, read and travel
3.- Practice with great Chef
4.- Fly alone
5.- Study

Good luck my friend, I thing it could be the hardest job, but the most gratifying.

my best!!

Thank you so much! I’m just starting to realize that traveling is a big part of the culinary field! maile R.