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How difficult is it to become a chef after completing school?

I am in Job Corps and I am planning on joining culinary. How difficult is it to get a job as a chef after completing school?

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Connor’s Answer

Hi Yakov!

While I may currently work in the tech field, I have worked in countless restaurants. I have talked with many chefs as I have a passion for cooking, and the answer was always the same. "Do not expect to start out as a chef after completing school."

Chefs know the restaurant, the menu, and the processes inside and out. It would be very difficult to start out as a chef having not worked in the restaurant, cooking any of the meals, and learning any of the process. Your best bet would be to find a restaurant or cuisine that you like to cook and start out as a line cook or prep cook. This would be your "in" and would allow you to start learning the process, learning the menu, and learning the people. As you prove your knowledge, you will be able to move up the ranks.

If you do not want to do this, then the only other option I am aware of would be starting your own restaurant or food truck. This would allow you to start out as a chef, but would carry a lot more responsibility as you have overhead, people to hire, and customers to bring in.

The culinary industry is a lot of work, and I applaud those that work in it. Do not be scared to work, and do not be discouraged if you do not start out as a chef right away. You got this!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for your response! Yakov
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Tyler’s Answer

It depends on what establishment you work for. If it's a fine dining restaurant.. you prob won't get a chef position unless you know someone and can cultivate an amazing team, prepare all proteins like you've done it a thousand times, enhance efficiency when it comes to systems of operations right away, and gain respect from your staff. I will say right out if school... you will be schooled from people who haven't gone. In this case.. only experience and earning your stripes will allow you to become a chef. Right out of school, you will probably start off as a cook depending on how desperate the business is. Likely on pantry.
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Dale’s Answer

How difficult is it to become a chef after completing school?
To become a Chef has several steps involved and many years to hone ones MULTITUDE of necessary skills.
School alone will not prepare you to be a Chef.
While there are many types and levels of Chefs there are the same amount of avenues to get there.
Most schools can help prepare you to become a valueable asset in the kitchen and then you continue to learn day after year after decade.
I have been in the kitchen for 40 plus years and at the Chef level for 20.
I still learn something about the being a Chef most everyday.
It is a hard-knock often brutal profession.
If you dont learn to love it after a short time, it is probably not for you.
Please feel free to ask more if you like.
Thanks much
Dale
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Elizabeth’s Answer

To become a chef in the culinary industry, you must;
1. Work your way up
2. Get involved in other activities and organizations that surround the culinary arts and put your self out there
3. Continue educating yourself and experimenting with recipies and ingredients
4. Be diligent and know that as long as you're passionate and have love for food and the industry and before you know it you will be head chef but it is extremely physically, mentally and emotionally demanding a good portion of a 24-hour day if not an entire 24/7.
So depending on your definition of "hard" and your love of the arts will determine how quickly you get to head chef.
Hope this helps! Good luck!
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