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Monita_photo

Monita is a recipe tester for Food52 and a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 1 year ago

I'm a culinary professional but not a chef but I can tell you that working as a chef in a restaurant will require long hours away from your child and the pay will never be enormous. Being a personal chef or working in catering would give you better hours but the pay isn't much better. Unless you feel driven by your passion to cook, not sure this is an ideal career move to achieve the goals you've stated. Don't know what city you live in but you might want to go talk with a professional culinary school and have them give you the lay of the land in your market

Dscn2212

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 1 year ago

Before making the commitment to culinary school, I suggest that people find a restaurant, or type of restaurant, where they think they would like to work, talk to the chef honestly, and work there for a while to see if it is what you really want to do. I've mentored 2 young people this way, and they both ultimately did decide to pursue a culinary education and are now working in their chosen fields.

Melusine added about 1 year ago

I'm from a restaurant family -- 3 generations of my family managed hotels and country clubs at various times, and for 20 years, my parents owned an exceptional restaurant -- it had multiple awards and was included in the DiRoNa guide for most of those 20 years. I substituted as the chef/owner for the last year of my step-father's life. Even though the restaurant was only open for dinner, my husband and I started at 8am, had a break from 3 - 5pm, and on slow nights, left the wait staff to close up around 10:30pm. Busy nights -- much later.

The point: Growing up, I rarely saw my parents on Friday and Saturday nights, even when my mother only managed a hotel's restaurant. Later, the only way to spend any time with my parents when they owned a restaurant was to work along side them in the kitchen. When I was responsible for the restaurant -- I crawled home with barely enough energy to pet the cat. Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy nothing more than preparing a wonderful meal for people I love, and am deeply grateful for the tradition of really good food I grew up with. But -- in my family at least -- the restaurant always came first.

Jampro
Bevi added about 1 year ago

Growing up I had a very similar experience, although our family's resort operated during the summer only, with the cabins and apartments converted to 9 months rentals the rest of the year. The only way I spent time with my family was by being a part of the work force from a very young age. Although I am grateful for the experience, when my parents asked me to take over the responsibilities, I was quite ready to leave the fold. It's hard work, and the days are exceedingly long. You would would have to be prepared to see very little of your son.

Jampro
Bevi added about 1 year ago

Growing up I had a very similar experience, although our family's resort operated during the summer only, with the cabins and apartments converted to 9 months rentals the rest of the year. The only way I spent time with my family was by being a part of the work force from a very young age. Although I am grateful for the experience, when my parents asked me to take over the responsibilities, I was quite ready to leave the fold. It's hard work, and the days are exceedingly long. You would would have to be prepared to see very little of your son.

Jampro
Bevi added about 1 year ago

Growing up I had a very similar experience, although our family's resort operated during the summer only, with the cabins and apartments converted to 9 months rentals the rest of the year. The only way I spent time with my family was by being a part of the work force from a very young age. Although I am grateful for the experience, when my parents asked me to take over the responsibilities, I was quite ready to leave the fold. It's hard work, and the days are exceedingly long. You would would have to be prepared to see very little of your son.

Zester_003

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 1 year ago

Another point on culinary school, a shockingly low percentage of graduates ever actually become chefs. Depending on where you live, the better the school the better you odds. I respect the profession. But it's almost like a guild. The schools turn out skilled craftsmen. After that it's up to you.

Waffle3
ChefOno added about 1 year ago


All good points above, I don't have much to add except to emphasize what Cynthia said -- make sure you take a good, hard, realistic look before you leap.

Stringio

Nancy is a food writer, historian, and author of many books, her most recent being The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. She also raises olives and makes oil in Tuscany, providing firsthand experience for her forthcoming book about olive oil.

added about 1 year ago
Voted the Best Answer!

How old is your child? How much money do you have in your savings account? My suggestion, always, for people considering culinary school is to take the money it would cost and travel the world instead. Eat in hole-in-the-wall and upscale restaurants, haunt markets, patrol farms, stick your nose into pots and your fingers in the food, hang out in restaurant kitchens, even tiny ones, until they give you something to do (not at El Bulli, however, they charge YOU to work in the kitchen--or did, before they closed), and if your child is the right age it could be an extraordinary education for him or her, much more valuable than a year in elementary school. And much more valuable for you than three years at culinary college where you'll often graduate not really understanding that carrots grow in the ground--which is fundamental knowledge for any chef. Sorry to rant but this subject leads me to ranting!

Gobblegobble
Elizabeth Rex added about 1 year ago

I don't regret going to culinary school and working in the industry, but I can tell you I'm sure as hell not well off, and neither are my peers. Most of them have to live with roommates, and the ones who have made it to the point where they can live comfortably, it took them a long time to get there (like 10 years). None of us have kids, though. I imagine if you tried to dive into it, it might be more difficult for you and your son. Like Mesuline, I also come from a restaurant family, and I didn't get to see my parents until I was old enough to work alongside them. Hours are long, the pay is usually just meh (especially when you start), and you'll probably be paying back school loans until you die. (I'm speaking from my own personal experience, which may or may not apply to you). Just as ChefOno says, definitely take a long, hard look before you leap. The experience will be rich, but most likely, you won't be.
May I suggest coding or some computer science? It wasn't for me, but a friend of mine (who's also a single mother), went in that direction and she likes it (she also has a higher salary than me, with better benefits/perks).

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ZombieCupcake added about 1 year ago

Thats what I thought had my fingers cross. Thank you for your guys time on the subject matter guess I will just keep it a hobby.

Photo_squirrel
LE BEC FIN added about 1 year ago

zombie, i agree wth all the many comments here that are warning you. from what i have seen, a smart motivated cook can get themselves quicker up the culinary ladder by starting prep in a smaller kitchen(caterer or restnt) where your focus and talent can be noticed and quickly given more opportunities.but if your child is young, it is very tough to balance home and work.

Buddhacat
SKK added about 1 year ago

My brother-in-law is a chef and has a restaurant. My nephew went to culinary school and is a chef. As far as I can tell, being chef is 24/7. Being a Dad is 48/7. It is not the path to easy riches, and if you love to cook can be very satisfying.

Buddhacat
SKK added about 1 year ago

And there is a lot to be said for intergenerational living. Please enjoy the time you all can be together and be proud of it! Your son can only benefit.

Dscn2212

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 1 year ago

I went to culinary school a year after my husband died. It was the last big plan we made when we still thought we had time to make big plans. My son & daughter lived with my sister & her family while I commuted to San Francisco during the week, then returned home to Northern California on weekends. When I finished, I returned home and opened a restaurant. Ultimately, I employed my children and several of their friends. Many, many people were involved in making a big dream come true, while none of it was easy. Circumstances and the stars all aligned to make it possible. As SKK says, you are a model to your son in many ways.

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Aliwaks added about 1 year ago

I think being a chef is like being an artist, you do it because you can't imagine not doing it, and certainly not for the money. I went to culinary school and have the outstanding debt to prove it, I found that I learned more doing a stage than I did in school (granted I chose my school impulsively and poorly). And unless you are going to go to really really well respected school, buy James Patterson's Sauces and a few really good baking/pastry books and go do a stage at a restaurant you love, intern with a good butcher and a fishmonger. I think the most valuable things you can learn in school are how to butcher fish & meat,how to bake and how to work a saute station. Knife skills are practice practice practice. They can teach you how not to burn stuff but they can't teach you taste.

If you cant imagine not being a chef put away the money you would spend on culinary school, do a couple of stages and work your way in, you'll learn and earn just as much if not more and in the end if you love it, you'll have some money put away to augment your income and or one day open your own place. I found that while I have an unending drive to create food, write about food, and be involved with food for a living, I am not cut out to be a restaurant chef, though there are other ways to work in food without being a Chef.

Pasta--fresca
ChefManuela added about 1 year ago

Do you enjoy cooking and when you cook do you have a natural talent?

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ZombieCupcake added about 1 year ago

I love cooking, when you see someone with enjoyment of something you just made, the smells that fill the house, to the people it brings together. Oh on the second question my friends wonder where the food s when I show up, unless they are just being polite but I know none of them are that nice

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ZombieCupcake added about 1 year ago

But realistically I must think of my son first so I will take a different path. Cause I am not looking to be rich, but I would like for my son to be comfortable and know that he is well taken care of. I grew up around things and had struggles I don't want for him.

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