Chefs?
#21
Paloma Wrote:
Satori Wrote:Okay, I've never known a real "chef." I've known lots of professional "cooks," including one really good one who had worked in a couple of rather good restaurants and knew some fancy-pancy tricks. I also have no idea who these people are you all are talking about -- Bourdain? I guess I just don't watch enough TV.

It all sounds terribly disheartening. People should go into the restaurant business because they love good food and want to share a good thing with others; that's why I'd do it. Then again, Gwalberg, you'll be happy to know that my choice would be to be a pastry chef because my life's goal is to make people happy with sugar.

But why would there be more jerks in the restaurant business than in other businesses? Unless it's because, as Gwalberg says, anybody can get a job in a restaurant and get raised to a high position if they go long enough without being fired. Although I should think that would be a strength of the business, being able to get in on the bottom and not having to jump through a lot of arbitrary hoops first.

I think there is some truth in the fact that anybody can get a job in a restaurant. BUT...not everyone survives in a restaurant. It's fast paced and emotions/tensions run high. It's usually the nice ones that get weeded out because they can't cut it. It's a high stress job. Seriously. You don't always have the time (or patience) to say "Excuse me," or "Good try, but let me take over so I can show you." Both those situations usually end up in a "Get the :censored: out of the way!" I've made many a hostess cry and my boss told me that 1/2 the cooks were terrified of me. But it made me one of the best employees in the whole company and it probably explains why I lasted so long. A lot of it was walking a fine line between being respected and feared but not hated.

If you just love cooking...you need to treat it as a hobby. Restaurant work is one of those jobs where only the aggressive survive. Those that take it personally or those that are too nice either decide it's not for them or get shoved out.

I actually miss it.

This must be why Gerard said cooking, as a profession, is not for women.
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#22
Satori Wrote:This must be why Gerard said cooking, as a profession, is not for women.

Women are more likely to take things personally.
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#23
Satori Wrote:But why would there be more jerks in the restaurant business than in other businesses?

From what I've been told the answer is "illegal stimulants." 
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#24
frerejacques Wrote:
Satori Wrote:But why would there be more jerks in the restaurant business than in other businesses?

From what I've been told the answer is "illegal stimulants." 

And illegal depressants.  :)
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#25
antimodernist Wrote:
Baskerville Wrote:
antimodernist Wrote:Anyone else on FE a chef? Just curious.

I love cooking Ill be going to culinary school this fall.

I'll be honest with you, if you haven't worked in a restaurant, you might want to before going to culinary school. You'll be suprised how different culinary school is from the restaurant business in the real world. It's a tough line of work, and a lot of the time it's a harsh enviroment for a Catholic.
Iv'e never worked in a "star" restaurant before just fast food gigs in High School. But at home I love to cook. Maybe I should apply at a restaurant before I go into it. You really wouldn't recommend it even for someone that loves cooking. How is it harsh for a Catholic? Just curious. Maybe I should stick to history and be a teacher.[Image: shrug.gif]
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#26
antimodernist Wrote:
WhollyRoaminCatholic Wrote:It should be noted that a Chef is a person who has graduated from a Culinary school or otherwise carries the certificate (like from an apprenticeship).  It is a title, not a hobby.  And when I speak about chefs categorically, I don't refer to pastry chefs whose temperament (from my experiences) is more of a quiet perfectionist.  Pastry chefs are artists whose medium is sugar.  Bless them, I love pastry chefs.  But they are the minority in the culinary world.


You a partially right. Going to culinary school doesn't necessarily make a person a chef though. There are many great chefs that never went to culinary school. When it comes to culinary arts, experience is all that truly matters. I have seen many people come and go from restaurants. Kids fresh out of culinary school who can't handle the pressure of restaurant work. I personally do not have a degree in culinary arts, but I graduated from a culinary arts vocational school and have 4 different certifications plus the years of experience I've cooked in various restaurant settings. Just about every chef I have worked for has told me experience is the most important thing when it comes to becoming a chef. But like I said, I am about to start a new chapter in my life as soon as I get my degree. I am pretty much fed up with the restaurant biz. It's kind of funny. I'm going from Culinary arts to Computer Information Technology. Go figure.
My brother worked for many years in the restaurant business. He got fed up, too. He went to culinary school, he's has held various positions. Each time he was hired with all sorts of lovely promises for promotion, but then get passed over for someone new. He'd get angry, quit, go work somewhere else, and then it'd happened again. The pattern was always the same. The last straw was when a boss fired him for breaking his leg.

Now he's a residential superintendent for a large complex. He's happier with that.
"Not only are we all in the same boat, but we are all seasick.” --G.K. Chesterton
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#27
I have worked for many chefs.  Cooked in many kitchens.  Yes, most of them are puercos (pigs, even the women) it is a kitchen culture thing.  If you want a really good idea on how restaurants are run behind the scenes READ Anthony Bourdain's book "No Reservations" and watch the movie "Waiting" they are both very offensive but really do reflect the culture in the kitchens.  My first Chef I worked under had a dragon tattooed on each forearm.  I asked what they were about and he said without reservation that his boss before he got into cooking was the biggest cocaine dealer in Chicago and he demanded that all of his "employees" get tattooed to identify themselves.  Strange world.

Almost all of the cooks that I worked with, either line, or sautee, all went to culinary school, but would have never called themselves Chef.  At that time, middle 1990s in Chicago, you had to have the top job AND be recognized by your peers to be called Chef.

If anyone wants to hear or share more stories about working in a kitchen, I would be happy to share just start a new thread.

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#28
My husband likes to watch "Hell's Kitchen." I think reality shows are inherently evil, but I watched snips last night while he had it on. Ugh. What a lot of vulgar, conniving, arrogant, foulmouthed, backstabbing, shamelessly self-promoting twerps. I realize that kind of show brings it out in people, but my goodness. Are these wastes of oxygen typical of the restaurant business?
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#29
Satori Wrote:My husband likes to watch "Hell's Kitchen." I think reality shows are inherently evil, but I watched snips last night while he had it on. Ugh. What a lot of vulgar, conniving, arrogant, foulmouthed, backstabbing, shamelessly self-promoting twerps. I realize that kind of show brings it out in people, but my goodness. Are these wastes of oxygen typical of the restaurant business?

This is why we are better off cooking at home, my dear, where food is love.
"Not only are we all in the same boat, but we are all seasick.” --G.K. Chesterton
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#30
Jacafamala Wrote:This is why we are better off cooking at home, my dear, where food is love.

Speak for yourself, Jackie! I eat out every chance I get.
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