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What are some important things i should know about being a chef?

essential tools of the trade? advice for how to handle the job? anything important to keep in mind

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David’s Answer

Hi Gracie, I would recommend that you read Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and also The Making of a Chef two great books that even after I read them I still wanted to pursue a life in this industry. In the beginning everything will hurt from the cuts on your hands to the burns on your forearms, the hours that you work are a lot, the pay you receive does not reflect the hours you worked. Until you understand the rhythm of the kitchen and just what your place is in it, you are not an asset.

Nobody is too high up on the food chain that they can't wash dishes and that goes for most jobs in the kitchen. I have never heard a chef or anyone working for them that a task is beneath their pay grade, if somebody needs help those that can chip in.

You will see the people working with you more than your own family. You will celebrate holidays, expect to work doubles on Mother's and Valentine's Day, Fridays and Saturdays will be with them. You might get a pastry from the pastry department on your birthday, but that's because you are working.

Unfortunately some hazing still goes on in the industry, some of it is good natured. However, harassment also happens. You are a young woman and you have to watch out. This industry is especially tough on women as far as sexual harassment, verbal abuse and passive touching. Kitchens in general are tight spaces and I have seen dirt bags use those spaces to touch a female cook's chest or butt. I have also seen those same dirt bags get what's coming to them. I am not saying this to scare you out of the industry, but I don't want you going into this without knowing the worst parts of this industry. If you ever you feel that you are being harassed you need to speak up or take matters into your own hands.

Your journey will be different, but also very much the same. If you have a thick skin, love food, have a passion for working with the world around us, enjoy being stressed out, can multitask then hopefully I am talking with the next Alice Waters or Julia Child.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with further questions.

David recommends the following next steps:

Read those books
Check out the Culinary Institute of Anerica
Get a job in a kitchen
Take lots of notes
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Mark’s Answer

I love to cook but i am not a chef. A few friends of mine went to culinary school to master their skills at being a chef. What I do know is it is often a nighttime job, working holidays and weekends. It is a rewarding career and my friends love it but it requires hard work and dedication, good luck!
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