We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's a tough but interesting career. I've learned all about it from a Chef friend (now an Executive Chef).
First, you attend, if you can, one of the top US (or French) culinary trade schools - Johnson & Wales, The New England Culinary Inst. (in NH), the CIA (Hyde Park, NY), the Cornell Hotel School, or the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas. Cordon Bleu in Paris if you can swing that.
When you graduate, having learned all the culinary basics, plus the economics, costing, buying, staffing, etc. you get to get a job as a lowly line cook. You are not a Chef - you are just a cook and not even an accomplished line cook yet.
Then the apprenticeship begins. A few successful years as a line cook (mastering all stations) and you could become a Sous-Chef. And then a fully-fledged Chef of the kitchen. That's a big deal, because you have to be a master of everything: Pastry, sauces, soups, meats, produce, salads - and presentation skills. You know the Chef from his or her Toque.
Some ambitious Chefs seek to become Executive Chefs. More money. They get to make the menus, manage and hire staff, do the buying, train staff, and run the business profitably. A high-hassle, high-complexity job. So-called "front of the house" and "back of the house."
My Chef friend gets so tired of fancy healthy food that he just likes a Big Mac, fries, and a couple of beers to escape it all.
Eldest son says culinary schools are a really big waste of time and money. Why would he say that? He started out as a waiter. Went to the kitchen and ended up as Sous chef. Then moved on to run all the kitchens for a successful restaurant company. Then he went out and started his own company and has been very successful in his part of the food world. He says have goals and apply yourself to reach your goals. And be prepared to work a lot of hours every week.
Yeah, this whole expensive schooling thing and long road up the pecking order sounds like a load of useless bull to me. More likely to produce an effete dilettante than someone who knows how to prepare good food.
I'm always amused when someone describes themselves as a 'chef'... because they can make a choux pastry, or some other, perhaps complex dish. "She's a Chef!!", I have heard proclaimed about a neighbor who has written a couple of cookbooks.
Well, as I like to say, I am a 'cook', my friend Joe is a chef, although he calls himself a cook too - a Private Cook. Works for a very wealthy man in New York the City, and takes care of all things culinary for him, including very large parties and private dinners.
Well, you are so correct, being a chef is so much more than knowing which sauce goes on what plate. Far more than food, it is everything to do with a professional kitchen. Hard work - far more work than I would ever want to take on. I'll stick to engineering!