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Why did you decide to become a head chef?

What made you want to become a chef working in a restaurant. Did you decide to do it for the love of food or for a deeper meaning.

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Robert’s Answer

Hi Elliot,
To answer your questions
Why did you decide to become a head chef?
I always liked to cook, my grandma cooked with Julia Child and my great-grandfather was the chef for the king of Sweden. So cool ancestry. Anyways, I liked to cook as a kid, and learning from my grandma was unbelievable. I had a friend at the time, who was an owner of a restaurant in the area, and I helped him from time to time with his ice sculptures (a lost art). He was also a culinary instructor for the local college. He asked if I wanted to attend, and he would not only teach me in school, but also on the job training as well.

What made you want to become a chef working in a restaurant? Did you decide to do it for the love of food or for a deeper meaning?
Working in an upscale restaurant was great for me, I was hired right out of culinary school, and the owner who did fusion cooking taught me a lot. It was for the love of learning as much as I could and the passion and dedication that brought me to it. However, there are a lot of strange chefs out there. For instance, When I graduated culinary school, I interviewed with an Austrian chef. at the interview, I was wearing a white chef coat with a necktie under it. The chef told me at the interview to take my chef coat off since I was not yet a chef. He hired me, and for days he would be looking over my shoulder watching my every move and correcting my every move too.

Retired Chef Rob Mingus
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David’s Answer

There are a number of reasons for wanting to become a Head Chef. The simplest one is that was my career projection. As you go through this industry and its many positions you will out grow some of them. I love washing dishes, but it's not where I want to spend my career.

If I can barrow a line from Hamilton, " I wanted to be in the room where it happens!" There was always a mystique around the upper management and the decisions they made and why. I also I felt I had something to bring to the culinary table and wanted my voice and passion to show. As a line cook that will almost never happen and on occasion when the Chef allows it as a sous chef. There is very little control in a kitchen: people call in sick, purveyors don't have what you ordered, equipment breakage, customers don't grasp the theme of your tasting menu or special. Your best control in the kitchen is to be the Head Chef. Some one calls in sick or "No Calls No Shows," promote the next person in line. You didn't get the produce you wanted, make changes. Something breaks, fix it or find a work around. You have the chance to make a difference for the restaurant and in somebody's life. I have also been blessed to give back to the community by working with several charities and raising money for causes I feel are important. I also see CareerVillage and other sites like it as a gift that I am able to give back and share with the next generation of young chefs.

The last reason to want to be a Head Chef is the pay. There is a huge difference between what a Sous Chef makes compared to a Head Chef.
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