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Where do you make the most money being an chef

hi my name is DJ I want to become a celebrity chef and get paid 50,000-100,000 a year.

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Matthew L.’s Answer

Hi DJ. This is a really good and interesting question.

By "Celebrity Chef" I assume you mean a famous chef who appears on TV and perhaps hosts a TV show or appears on cooking shows as a judge or contestant, and not a chef for celebrities (like a personal chef for movie stars).

Most of the celebrity chefs you see on TV have worked VERY hard for the spots they earn. Most (but not all) have taken a traditional route to becoming a chef. Depending on what country they are from, they likely went to culinary school where they spent from 1-2 years learning the basics (how to prep food, all about the various cuts of meat, cooking techniques, sauces, different cuisines, food safety, restaurant management, and all the rest). You are very lucky living in California, because your state has more than its share of fantastic restaurants and amazing chefs. You are also in luck in that you have a number of well-respected cooking schools near you. A few of the most famous ones are Johnson and Wales and Cordon Bleu.

From cooking school, most professional chefs then begin working in restaurants. You will start out at the bottom doing a lot of prep and grunt work until you have the experience to work up to a position like sous chef or eventually head chef. Many aspiring chefs work at many high-end restaurants to learn from different chefs and about different cooking styles and cuisines.

In Europe it is also common for chefs to skip culinary school and go right into the kitchen where they literally learn from the ground up and work for years until they know enough to be hired as s chef for a restaurant.

Most famous chefs worked in restaurants for many years eventually as head chef or started their own restaurants and became well known for their amazing food and unique point of view.

I assume you love food and love to cook (so do I). So to start getting your feet wet, read everything you can about food, cooking and the restaurant business. Learn about different cuisines to see what you like. Practice cooking at home for your friends and family. You can also (with your parents' permission of course) explore working in a restaurant. You should be able to get a job and start learning the business while you are still in high school. Once again, you are really lucky living in California in that you have literally hundreds of world class restaurants there. Identify restaurants you are interested in with all different cuisines and see if you can shadow the chef for a day to see what they do. You can also contact culinary schools and meet with the teachers and probably sit in on classes if you want. Your school guidance counselor can help with this.

If you work very hard and eventually become a head chef at an excellent restaurant or start you own restaurant, then you might be able to get some recognition and become a celebrity chef someday.

One thing that all really talented chefs have in common is that they are absolutely dedicated to their craft. They live, eat and breath cooking. And they are meticulous. Watch people like Gordon Ramsey, Bobby Flay, Ming Tsai, Marcus Samuelsson, Antonia Lofaso, and Michael Symon. These people have amazing technique and are absolutely driven.

One other thing I would add is that celebrity chefs also have another important characteristic. They are incredibly good on camera. I don't think most of them took any acting or broadcasting classes. Most are just naturals. Chefs like Guy Fieri, Ina Garten, Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay are just naturals and they are amazing, smart, incredibly knowledgeable and just fun to watch. I would suggest you also take some classes in college in broadcasting or theatre. They all have big personalities and the audience loves them. Watch great cooking shows like Top Chef, Youtube and some of the ones PBS. They showcase great technique and many cuisines.

Being a chef is very hard and demanding profession. You will work long hours for not much money when you start out. Even becoming a head chef will still mean long hours and lots of nights. Chefs typically earn between about $22,500 and $105,000 per year according to the government labor statistics. Even the head chef at the White House earns less than $100,000 per year. The average is more like $50,000.

I would agree with what Rahul said. You will always have people who want to tear you down and fail. It's just the way people are. Ignore them. If this is what you really want, make a plan and go for it.

Matthew L. recommends the following next steps:

Start by reading everything you can about cooking and cuisine, spices and cooking theory. Practice, practice, practice cooking at home for friends and family.
See about shadowing chefs at great restaurants near you. Visit culinary schools and sit in on classes. Watch good cooking shows (Top Chef, PBS).
Take some broadcasting, acting, and communications classes in high school and when you get to college so you can learn how to communicate with an audience.
Develop your point of view. Create and refine your own signature dishes and make them until they are perfect. Read every cookbook you can get your hands on.
Write out a plan for you future. Map out each step. Use it as a blue print for you career and refine it every few months.
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Matthew L.’s Answer

Hi DJ. This is a really good and interesting question.

By "Celebrity Chef" I assume you mean a famous chef who appears on TV and perhaps hosts a TV show or appears on cooking shows as a judge or contestant, and not a chef for celebrities (like a personal chef for movie stars).

Most of the celebrity chefs you see on TV have worked VERY hard for the spots they earn. Most (but not all) have taken a traditional route to becoming a chef. Depending on what country they are from, they likely went to culinary school where they spent from 1-2 years learning the basics (how to prep food, all about the various cuts of meat, cooking techniques, sauces, different cuisines, food safety, restaurant management, and all the rest). You are very lucky living in California, because your state has more than its share of fantastic restaurants and amazing chefs. You are also in luck in that you have a number of well-respected cooking schools near you. A few of the most famous ones are Johnson and Wales and Cordon Bleu.

From cooking school, most professional chefs then begin working in restaurants. You will start out at the bottom doing a lot of prep and grunt work until you have the experience to work up to a position like sous chef or eventually head chef. Many aspiring chefs work at many high-end restaurants to learn from different chefs and about different cooking styles and cuisines.

In Europe it is also common for chefs to skip culinary school and go right into the kitchen where they literally learn from the ground up and work for years until they know enough to be hired as s chef for a restaurant.

Most famous chefs worked in restaurants for many years eventually as head chef or started their own restaurants and became well known for their amazing food and unique point of view.

I assume you love food and love to cook (so do I). So to start getting your feet wet, read everything you can about food, cooking and the restaurant business. Learn about different cuisines to see what you like. Practice cooking at home for your friends and family. You can also (with your parents' permission of course) explore working in a restaurant. You should be able to get a job and start learning the business while you are still in high school. Once again, you are really lucky living in California in that you have literally hundreds of world class restaurants there. Identify restaurants you are interested in with all different cuisines and see if you can shadow the chef for a day to see what they do. You can also contact culinary schools and meet with the teachers and probably sit in on classes if you want. Your school guidance counselor can help with this.

If you work very hard and eventually become a head chef at an excellent restaurant or start you own restaurant, then you might be able to get some recognition and become a celebrity chef someday.

One thing that all really talented chefs have in common is that they are absolutely dedicated to their craft. They live, eat and breath cooking. And they are meticulous. Watch people like Gordon Ramsey, Bobby Flay, Ming Tsai, Marcus Samuelsson, Antonia Lofaso, and Michael Symon. These people have amazing technique and are absolutely driven. They are also life-long learners and NEVER stop learning new technique, ideas, and cuisines.

One other thing I would add is that celebrity chefs also have another important characteristic. They are incredibly good on camera. I don't think most of them took any acting or broadcasting classes. Most are just naturals. Chefs like Guy Fieri, Ina Garten, Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay are just naturals and they are amazing, smart, incredibly knowledgeable and just fun to watch. I would suggest you also take some classes in college in broadcasting or theatre. They all have big personalities and the audience loves them. Learn how they do it. Watch great cooking shows like Top Chef, Iron Chef, Youtube chefs and some of the ones on PBS. They showcase great technique and many cuisines all while entertaining their audience.

Try out for some plays at your high school. Take debate and especially forensics, or join a mock trial team, if your school offers it. Learn to play to an audience and how to speak in public and think on your feet.

Being a chef is very hard and demanding profession. You will work long hours for not much money when you start out. Even becoming a head chef will still mean long hours and lots of nights. Chefs typically earn between about $22,500 and $105,000 per year according to the government labor statistics. Even the head chef at the White House earns less than $100,000 per year. The average is more like $50,000.

I would also add that some business classes or a business degree would not hurt. First and foremost, a restaurant is a business. If the business is not solid, it does not matter how good or great your food is, your restaurant won't last. Many of the great celebrity chefs have gone bankrupt or their restaurants went out of business. Rocco DiSprito who owned the Rocco's on 22nd restaurant went out of business (fight with his partners). Geoffrey Zakarian also went bankruptcy when he got sued by former employees. So it's a rough business even in the best of times. A solid business background will help you understand the business angles so you own or operate a real business that is set up for long-term success. Some culinary schools offer business courses so you can run a restaurant when you graduate. It takes longer, but learn business. It's very expensive to learn business on the job with your first restaurant.

I would agree with what Rahul said. You will always have people who want to tear you down and fail. It's just the way people are. Ignore them. If this is what you really want, make a plan and go for it. And above all, make sure you love what you do. Don't pick a career because you think it is glamorous or highly paid or cool. Pick it because you love the work. In this case, make sure you love to cook good food for people. If you don't love that, all the money in the world won't make you like your job.

Matthew L. recommends the following next steps:

Start by reading everything you can about cooking and cuisine, spices and cooking theory. Practice, practice, practice cooking at home for friends and family.
See about shadowing chefs at great restaurants near you. Visit culinary schools and sit in on classes. Watch good cooking shows (Top Chef, PBS).
Take some broadcasting, acting, and communications classes in high school, or try out for a play and when you get to college so you can learn how to communicate with an audience.
Develop your point of view. Create and refine your own signature dishes and make them until they are perfect. Read every cookbook you can get your hands on.
Write out a plan for you future. Map out each step. Use it as a blue print for you career and refine it every few months. Learn business and how it works.
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Rahul’s Answer

Well! you have to first set your mind and think about the things you really want to do. Learn that one specific thing that you like to do the most with your heart. Some people go to Paris to learn how to cook. I don't think all the celebrity chefs went to Paris to learn how to cook . You can start from anywhere. Master cooking some dishes, make something to eat for your family and apply for jobs in your area as a chef. Some reality TV shows can help you too. Go as a contestant, and try to win the show. Once you win that everyone knows your name. And one last thing, don't share your dreams with others . If you want to do something then just go for it and do it. People will always try to demotivate you but you listen to yourself and do it and show all the people that you can do it. Celebrity chef demands a lot. If you become one then there is no turning back.
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