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What is a good start for a young chef?

I've been cooking all my life and I like think I have a passion for it.

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David’s Answer

If you believe that you have a passion for cooking and would like to progress further in the culinary industry that is fantastic. The industry is always looking for passionate individuals. That being said what are your standards of living, how much are you looking to work in a typical week? You have a few options when pursuing the life of a culinary professional.

Restaurants are some of the hardest and longest hours you will work for minimal money. Your typical day will be at least 12 hours with your day(s) off based on business needs. You can forget about getting Fridays, Saturdays or major holidays off, except for Christmas. However, you will learn a lot and it will propel you quicker to your goals. You can be expected to work multiple stations and multiple services. I loved the restaurants when I was younger, but as I got older and wanted a family I went to the next selection.

Catering. Catering has a lot of opportunities from working in the main prep kitchens where 90% of the food is prepped and created to working on site in some truly unique locations. The money is better than restaurants and the hours can be too. If you work in the prep kitchen it is typically a morning/afternoon shift. Start at 6:00 am done by 3:00 pm and if the catering house is really busy you can get some extra money by going on site. The days you are expected to work are almost the same as restaurants, but there are more opportunities for overtime, especially around wedding or convention season. In a typical day you will be working with 2-3 different cuisines based on the diversity of the clients.

Corporate offers the biggest work life balance. You typically work M-F 6 am to 2:30 pm with better pay. The reasons for this are based on the clients where the food is usually subsidized to some degree because the employer wants to keep their people close to home or even at their desks during meal times to increase productivity. You will get weekends and holidays off as well as better vacation time. The down sides it is a very corporate setting so certain freedoms that are available in the other places will not be tolerated. Your culinary growth is a bit slower in these places.

Based off of these options the best thing for you to do is apply to a place and see how it feels. If it is not the right fit after a few months try something else, the culinary world is massive. Have fun, take notes.
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Robert’s Answer

Dekqature.
If you have a passion to cook and are good at it, then the sky can be the limit for you. Most places of work restaurants, hospitals, and retirement facilities wherever you apply will want you to prepare something or create a menu and prepare it in a slotted time. For instance, when applying to be a chef with compass group, I had to prepare three courses in 2 hours. Then I had to take a written exam as well. So, it depends on your ideal job. Then it will depend on your means of living. Meaning, in your area, no matter how much the cost of living is, this will impact what you start at. If you are a culinary student not much, but if you are a graduate then plan on somewhere between 18 and 20 an hour. However, you also need to look at the hours you will be working. If in a corporate setting all holidays are worked including Christmas, if you work at a restaurant, then it depends on the owners. There were instances where I saw a classmate who was asked not to complete culinary school and work for a renowned chef, so that can happen.

I hope all this helps you,
Retried Executive Chef Rob Mingus
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Sikawayi’s Answer

Hello Dekqature, I would suggest that you start off with applying to culinary school. I am told that there is more to being a chef than just knowing how to cook. Also make sure you get your financial information together, so you are able to apply for financial aid, going to culinary school can be very expensive. Best of luck
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Katie’s Answer

As a more informal means of getting started, I’ve seen price home cooks offer to cook for neighbors for a fee, contacting folks and building a network on apps like Nextdoor. I’ve also seen talented home cooks be successful with ventures like AirBnB Experiences.
^Sharing some more unique approaches to praying your passion!
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Athulya’s Answer

Hello
Cooking being an art just works different for everyone. Some are born compatible with food while some work hard for years to make their dreams come true. If you are interested in cooking start slowly cooking for yourself, you family, friends and try to understand different preferences of people. Even if you make a single dish perfectly appreciate yourself for the efforts. Try not to give up just because you are not getting better overnight or lack opportunities straight away.
Hope your dream come true 🤗
Nutritionist and chef
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