My story - How I got started in the Culinary World
I began my first steps into the culinary profession when I was 15. Young and infatuated with video games, I needed to start making some money. Unfortunately, it isn't easy to find work as a young lad when you live in the middle of nowhere. I had already earned some by picking berries at my neighbour’s berry farm in the summer, but for the labor involved, I figured I could do better. On a friday evening, my father came home with a pizza from the pizzeria in a nearby town. As we ate he commented that there was a help wanted sign at the counter. Right after we were done eating, I went and wrote up my resume. I applied for the job the next afternoon. I didn't know what the job was, but it was a job and money is money. I spoke briefly with the owner and the opportunity seemed promising. Two weeks later I was a proud dishwasher.
I did this exclusively for a year and a half, skipping out on extracurriculars from high school and parties with friends. I'd rather work. The hard worker I've always been, I soon became the best dishwasher they'd had there. I always worked alone , yet somehow I managed to find the time to clean walls, floors and the dishwashing machine in the middle of a wedding service for 80 people. At about the same time, the chef got me a second job washing dishes, but also doing prep and the owner of the restaurant brought me over to the pizzeria. I dove in headfirst, absorbing all of it. I began spending less time washing dishes and more time handling food and learning basic techniques.
Not long thereafter, the chef and the owner of the restaurant had a falling out and the chef left. The sous-chef became chef and I was told I'd be helping him. I had essentially gone from glorified dishwasher to sous-chef of a fine dining restaurant overnight. I had never really considered working in kitchens as a career path, but now I was actually on the path, I saw it clearly and decided that it fit me much better than the accounting university program I'd applied to. I dropped the program and focused on becoming the best I possibly could in the kitchen. My very little spare time was spent reading about techniques or recipes. I was completely committed. When I was starting in this position, it was a little rough and frustrating, but we continued moving forward. I was almost replaced twice. The first time by a recently graduated culinary student, but I had more practical experience and I out performed her. The second had been working at the restaurant almost since it had opened, but spent most of his time in the pizzeria. Again, I had the experience, so I told the owner it wasn't a great Idea and I kept my position.
I remained the sous-chef for over a year and over time I just proved to everyone that I could do my job and do it exceedingly well. While I had a good level of technique and understanding, I decided that going to culinary school would push me ahead faster. I went to Le Cordon Bleu and studied a 9 month course while continuing to work and my skills grew exponentially. Before I was even done the course, the chef had decided it was time to move on, so I took over the kitchen and started doing things my way. There were some expected bumps in the road at the beginning, but I have been very successful as the chef of this restaurant.
Now I have finished my studies at Le Cordon Bleu, I've been focusing on my work as chef of a fine dining restaurant. I don't imagine I'll stay in this position much longer. I feel it's time to move on to bigger and better things