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So you Want to Become A Chef?
The Hospitality Actor
Can you Handle the Truth? I think you can…it all starts with a memory
What are the prospects for fresh graduates from hospitality/culinary institutes?
The courses at these institutes does not allow students to specialize. They train students in general aspects of hospitality / culinary management.
Students have to decide which section of the industry would they like to join.
Accordingly, they participate in training programs in various hotels. Most of the hotels have a kitchen management training designed for aspirant chefs.
?? One of the things that you hear is that the young culinary students have totally altered their expectations of the business, and have gone from food to celebrity, and by definition have become less effective as employees.
AB: First let me say that I would hire an experienced dishwasher over a culinary school graduate, and I don't say this disrespectfully. I was a culinary student myself, and I had to find out the hard way what this business is really about. The schools are great, but you have to experience the real world before you have any shot of becoming successful in this business. I always recommend to anyone interested in the restaurant industry to spend six months as a dishwasher. It will tell you all you need to know.
Chef Bourdain on Dishwashing…
?? You just introduced the subject of labor, and maybe the answer is to entice the culinary students to spend some important time doing things like washing dishes.
AB: The truth is that there is no such thing as an American dishwasher. The American mentality is such that most of the critical restaurant jobs are beneath them-but believe me no job is. You will do them. Better to do them when everyone is happy then when everyone is throwing knives at you. It is about respect.
Chef Bourdain on respect…
RR: On another subject, talk to me about the conflicts in terms of the back of the house vs. the front of the house. How serious is this problem as you see it?
AB: This conflict that you call it is very much overblown. I'm not suggesting that are no problems, because there are. This business can get crazy, and during the heat of battle people are screaming at each other, and the chaos of the kitchen can result in conflicts. The back of the house sees the front of the house making too much money, and all too often, working conditions in the kitchen make them all the more resentful. I can see it when the cooks hold the power over the waitstaff, yet I still see the cooks and the waiters leaving work hanging out together, and I believe that a restaurant is really a team concept and everyone has to work together to make it successful. For the most part, they do work together surprisingly well.
Chef Bourdain on the BOH VS FOH
In 1998 the U.S. Census reported that annual incomes are greatly affected according to the level of an individual’s education. The results were as follows;
High school graduate’s annual income $28,307
College graduate with an Associate’s Degrees annual income $36,392
College graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree annual income $50,056
In the 2001 Compensation for Salaried Personnel in Restaurantsconducted by the National Restaurant Association, among Chef positions, the median base salary for the Executive Chef is $48,000; for a Chef, $35,000; for a Sous Chef, $30,000; and for a Pastry Chef, $30,000. These positions require more often than not, a minimum of an Associates Degree, experience and certification by the American Culinary Federation.
Some hard and fast guidelines: