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Mizu-Kun Offline
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Chef Apprenticeship? - January 8th 2009, 11:38 AM

I'm thinking of becoming a chef. Getting paid a lot to work in a field I enjoy. (Or so i think) I enjoy arranging foods in creative ways and enjoy watching people enjoy the things I create. My fiancee was overjoyed when we found an apprenticeship for becoming a Cook, but I'd rather be a Chef. heehee... I hope I can get into "Chef-ship" without being a cook first... Anyways, my dream, and such. I just wonder if anyone else has any tips or stories about Chefs, the schooling behind it, and such. ^^
   
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Re: Chef Apprenticeship? - January 8th 2009, 02:53 PM

I'm not really sure what your definition of "chef" vs. "cook" is, but my understanding is that a "chef" would have more creativity, while a "cook" literally just... cooks. Just like any job, you probably have to start with the boring stuff (being a "cook") before you can do the exciting stuff ("chef").
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Re: Chef Apprenticeship? - January 8th 2009, 02:58 PM

I'm going to be doing the same thing after I've finished my A Levels. I spoke to career counsellors at my school and they said that you spend time working for a real chef/cook and learning skills off of them but then 2 days a week you spend it in a classroom learning the theory side of cooking.
   
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Re: Chef Apprenticeship? - January 8th 2009, 03:01 PM

My friend has just become a chef at a really swanky restaurant in town! He started doing a catering course, it was like an extra GCSE and he loved it so much that he carried it on at college. He's in his final year now and he has enjoyed the course so much! The restaurant where he did his placement paid for him to go on day courses as well, where he learnt about wine tasting amongst other things. I think it'd be such a good course for you if you enjoy cooking, and there are so many aspects to it as well! Good luck with it, and most importantly, enjoy it! :]
   
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Re: Chef Apprenticeship? - January 8th 2009, 03:49 PM

I've worked in a real-deal restaurant for pretty near five years now. The chef/owner has won several awards, including a James Beard award. Most of the cooks I work with went to culinary school (mostly CIA graduates).

Traditionally a chef is in charge of the food a restaurant makes. They control the presentation, ingredients, decide what is going to be a special or verbal, etc. Cooks traditionally execute the chef's orders. A cook has to make what the chef tells them time and time again exactly the same way.

The vast majority of chefs started as cooks. Like in any other industry you start from the bottom. In restaurant where I work it usually goes prep (usually interns) > cold appetizers (externs)/desserts (externs) > hot appetizers/oven > grill > sautee > pasta. We have more stations than most restaurants I believe.

Most of those people, however contend that the only requirement in their eyes to be a chef is to be someone who likes to play with different flavor combinations and presentation of food and whatnot. I agree with this, but it's not totally relevant to you, since you're looking for a career.

You can become a chef in a traditional sense without going to culinary school. It'd take a lot more hard work and you wouldn't necessarily have the doors open to you that you would if you went to school. I know a guy who wanted to get serious about cooking, so he applied for a job with a quite well known chef (one of the "best" in the northeast). He was turned down, but told the chef that he would work for him for free for six months. He took out a big loan so he could pay his bills. After that he got a job where I work, and from there he is how a sous chef in the Boston area at a pretty swank place. The next step up on the ladder is chef for him.

I highly doubt there is a course out there to put you directly into the position of a chef though. A lot of the requirements of being a chef (both official and unofficial...for example a chef who hasn't paid their dues as a cook might not get much respect from their cooks, which is crucial) require that you have spent at least several years as a cook.
   
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Re: Chef Apprenticeship? - January 8th 2009, 04:10 PM

I'm currently in my 3rd year of culinary school. Being a Chef is alot more then just making food look good, you really need to start from the ground and work your way up. Like cover the basics of stocks, sauces and soups, and what not. Your most likely going to start off as a line cook, or cold food prep anywhere you work if you dont have any time in the field or schooling. And as for being a Chef, thats a title that takes years to work up to. I would recomend looking into culinary schools near where you live, or tech schools that offer culinary classes, and see how you like it.

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