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What is a good starting position for someone interested in cooking?

I have been in cooking club and cooking class so I have some knowledge of cooking and it sparked a interest in maybe having a cooking job.

But as someone whom is uncomfortable with the idea of college. I don’t know a job that is a good starting point for a cooking career
#career #cooking #starting-point


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Alan’s Answer

There are a couple of ways you could pursue a career in cooking. Most of them will require hands-on experience. A good local restaurant would be a place to start while you are in high school. Don't be discouraged by the position(s) you may have to start at. It may be as a dishwasher or waiter. However, being around a kitchen that has an experienced chef will be beneficial.

You then can either work up through the positions there, or pair that with some more formal training at a Culinary School, like the Culinary Institute of America as an example. They will require experience before they accept you. However, you can learn all the aspects of running a restaurant there, from being a chef to the front of house, to management.

Being a Chef/Cook has many opportunities, but will require lots of time and effort to realize a career. You have to remember that you need to transform from making food for yourself to making it for others...which can be difficult for a lot of people. The earlier you give it a try the more you can decide whether it is the right path for you.

Good luck!

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John’s Answer

Taryn though a professional chef doesn't require formal training, many chefs get their start in culinary arts programs, while others may choose to begin building their experience needed to be a chef immediately after earning their high school diplomas. To land a chefs position, you'll typically need 1-5 years of experience. For some, the best chef study program is on-the-job experience. Those new to the culinary field will typically take entry-level kitchen positions as kitchen assistants or line cooks to gain work experience. After gaining several years of experience, they may be considered for promotions to chef positions. Another option for an aspiring chef is an apprenticeship program. Key skills for chefs include business skills, leadership skills, creativity, manual dexterity, time-management skills, experience with kitchen tools, a refined sense of taste and smell, and computer skills.

Training to become a chef is usually provided at trade or vocational schools, colleges, or culinary institutes. Some culinary arts programs have the advantage of also teaching the business and management skills useful for executive chef or restaurant owner positions. Courses to become a chef may take include nutrition, culinary techniques, butchery, pastry preparation, and regional or specialty cuisine topics. Undergraduate certificate and degree programs are the most common for this field. Earn multiple certifications. Potential employers may find a chef with several different certifications to be a particularly attractive job candidate. Earning multiple certifications shows that a chef has versatility and can assume many roles in a kitchen environment.

Bon Appétit Taryn

John recommends the following next steps:

Seek out internship opportunities. Some programs offer internships or cooperative education programs in which students can apply knowledge that they learn in the classroom in real-life settings. These programs can be great additions for students' resumes, as well as good opportunities to gain confidence in the kitchen.
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Samantha’s Answer

I'm not sure if you're also interested in baking, but working as an assistant in a bakery could be a great way to gain some experience. I know a number of people who were hired at bakeries for summer jobs or part time jobs without any experience. You may also want to look into working at a chocolate shop, which is also often possible for people with limited experience. You can then leverage these experiences when you apply to cooking jobs in the future.

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Atul’s Answer

I will share two perspectives about the dream you want to accomplish.

If you want to pursue this field, check out the following website and it will give you a perspective of what is required to get admission.
Be aware of many schools are out to make money vs educating students.
https://www.culinaryschools.org/cities/
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/dining/icc-ice-cooking-school-merger.html

Secondly, my colleague's son pursued his dream of becoming a Chef in the New England area and he could not take it after few years.
The primary reason was that long hours and have to work every weekend. Practically, his social life was taking the toll.
Also, when you start out, you do not get to do what you enjoy, unless you start your own.

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Simeon’s Answer

There are entry level cooking positions that you could look into for school cafeterias that would get some experience under your belt of working in a kitchen workplace and you'd be able to list that experience on your resume to boot. The sooner you can get some sort of relevant experience, the better.

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Yumi’s Answer

I met someone in the past who was working at cooking school, not as an instructor but as set-up / clean-up crew for various class. He told me that he enjoyed learning varieties of cooking from many different chefs as he interacts with them on a daily basis. He was able to take a free lesson too when he had a free time. I thought it was a great idea.

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Keith’s Answer

Pick a reputable restaurant that has entry-level cooking positions to learn the kitchen basics. You can eventually express interest in catering companies or even hospitality (hotels) to build a network of industry professionals with whom you will leverage throughout your time to help your career. Everything is about relationship, but also about building a solid foundation and demonstrated work ethic to succeed in that role.

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Richie’s Answer

In today's day in age, I'd recommend beginning a food account on a social media platform and connecting with others in the same space in order to gain exposure and learn some of the trends that are going on in the culinary space. In addition, a position at restaurants gaining experience cooking and making dishes will be invaluable experience.

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Mariana’s Answer

As someone who is uninterested in going to college, I would recommend you to keep on taking courses, this will fuel your passion and give your cooking many technical aspects that will enrich your experiences and help you get a job opportunity. Recruters are not always looking for a Harvard-Diploma-Cook, but someone with the skills needed. A good start point would be to volunteer at a church or social project, to put your knowledge into practice, or even at a restaurant. You can ask to be an intern and then get hired. Or you could apply for an assistant job!

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