I didn't choose cooking as a career, it chose me. This common phenomenon brings many who answer the call to dive head first into the industry. When you get a taste of the work and the feeling of camaraderie, the experience of making something for someone else to enjoy and getting that immediate feedback is addictive early on, It's the sort of thing you don't experience in other jobs. Culinary becomes more than a job. As you get deeper, it becomes a way of life. Those who get drawn to the industry will usually turn to culinary schooling, buying into the idea that you need to get that classic training in a school environment. This isn't true though. You can become an excellent chef and go far in a career without ever needing to go to culinary school. Don't get me wrong, culinary school has its advantages, which I've detailed here, and expanded on here, but it's not a necessity like they would have you believe. Through independent study and on the job training, you will build the same skills as anyone who's gone to culinary school, with the benefit of having a ton more practical experience in professional kitchens.Read More
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While culinary school isn't necessary to have a long, fulfilling career in the industry, most cooks will have gone through it. By going through culinary school, you gain a broad understanding of techniques and cooking styles In a compressed, organised format. These things could be learned independently, but, with a school pushing the curriculum, you're forced to learn at a faster pace. While culinary school is beneficial, it is also expensive. When you consider what you'll be earning through work after culinary school, it can take a very long time to finish paying for school. When the cost and commitment of culinary school are taken into account, you want to make sure that you get everything you can out of the experience. It's not uncommon for people to have gone through the schooling and gain the credential, only to be worthless in an actual kitchen. By putting in the effort while you're in culinary school, you can catapult your learning and progress in your career. Here's how to get the most out of culinary schoolRead More
Multiple times throughout any career, there comes a time to move up into a higher position. This is exciting, but it can also be a frightening experience. Taking on a new position means facing new challenges that you may not be ready for. The new position will come with a host of benefits, but the easier thing to do is to avoid the fear and stay where things are comfortable. Waiting in comfort until you feel safe making the next step is detrimental to your career though. To go far, you need to tackle the frightening things while they're still scary. Being afraid to take that step means that it's a meaningful challenge for you to face. Being afraid to take that step means that it's what you need to do.Read More
Working in kitchens, you learn quickly that it's a frantic environment. There's always so much that needs to be done in so little time. Often working in tight, small teams, everyone has to pull their weight or the whole operation may suffer. If one cook is a little off of their game after a rough night out, then others need to work harder and pick up the slack. For the ambitious and hard-working among us, efficiency is a good measure of progress. It allows you to grade yourself against where you want to be. This can guide you to improve and become even more effective in the kitchen. By working on your efficiency, you become more valuable in the kitchen, while increasing your skills.Read More
Mentorship is fantastic. I've gone through it myself, but it can also become detrimental to the ambitious of us. It's one of the best ways to learn and grow as a chef at a rapid pace. For those of us who aren't sociopaths, it leaves a sense of indebtedness towards the mentor. Over time, your mentorship will get to the point where you've learned about all you can, so you aren't benefiting from the relationship as much as you used to. Meanwhile, your mentor has a solid, dependable worker who can replicate his own work. You get to the point where you're very valuable to them. When you start to look elsewhere so that you can continue learning and growing, your mentor may try and pull you down.Read More
In the day to day of a professional Kitchen, it's easy to lose track of the larger picture. You can lose your motivation and your work will suffer for it. The goal is to always be improving. Not in leaps and bounds, but slowly, day after day. Making consistent, small progress will lead you to realise your larger goals. Without paying attention to your goals, you will lose sight of how you're progressing.Read More
Anyone who's learning to be a better cook will be focusing on learning new recipes. People often find recipes they like and then integrate those into their cooking rotation. When you're starting out, this is a good way to try new things in the kitchen. Yet, you won't be getting the full benefit if you aren't focusing on the techniques behind the recipe. Techniques are where the real learning happens. Techniques are where you pick up and learn a skill that you will use forever. Techniques guide you when you cook and can even help you make your own recipes.Read More
Working in kitchens, like with any profession, it can be easy to settle into a routine of mediocrity. To succeed and achieve great things you need to push yourself further and continue learning. By making an effort to get better, especially when you don't feel like it, you'll be able to make great advances in your career and get to where you truly want to be. There are many different ways you can do this. Here are some to get you started.Read More
Working in the kitchen is hard. You're on your feet all day, maybe all night too, running around the place with very little down time. For many it's the passion that drives them, but over time that can wear out. The motivation becomes drained. The cook forgets why he's going through hell every day for only small sums of money. Why is he still working his ass off, still dealing with all the bullshit? Why has he settled with being yelled at constantly? Why does the heat seem almost intolerable now? Maybe it's time to get out the kitchen.
When these feelings strike, it's time to take a step back. Breathe. Think of the customers and what they get to experience because of your hard work. Look at the good things you're doing. Sure, it may be rough for you right now, but weather the storm. Clear skies are ahead. Put on a brave face and focus on the good.Read More
There is a certain joy and pride that comes from cleaning the kitchen at the end of a shift and resetting it for the next one. Things may have been crazy earlier, you may have lost your cool and you're most surely exhausted. Still, though, the kitchen must be reset so you can do it all over again next time.
Restaurant workers know all too well the craziness that is the holiday season. Already used to working when everyone else is having a good time, this is never more clear than during the holidays. Pulling extra shifts, sleeping irregularly, eating poorly - all much a reality to the restaurant worker during the holiday season. But, we're past it now. Congratulations! you made through yet again and the kitchen is reset for things to go back to normal.
As we move into the new year, take some time to reset yourself too, as you would the kitchen. The past weeks, if not months, have been crazy for everyone. Now, when things are a bit quieter, take a bit of time to reset. As a restaurant worker, you may only get a few short days of repose after everyone else is already getting back to their regular work. Make them count. Decompress fully. Do something you love; something you haven't had the chance to do lately and enjoy it. This time is for you. Take it! You need the time to reset or next time you get to work, everything will be chaotic. You'll have a hard time finding order. Always take the time to reset the kitchen.