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"What Seems Not Seems To Be...
What surprised me the most about my profession, is that I studied business, to end up working in a hospitality business." (Concierge; 2014)
"Restaurants Aren't About Food; They're About People."...
I thought liking food was important. I was wrong. Liking people is the key. Employees, suppliers, customers, they all need your time and understanding." (Manager; 2014)
"The Real Dirt In A High End Kitchen...
I was most surprised at how restaurant owners treat their workers. From poor pay, to unpaid hours, and a constant flow of alcohol after hours. There is a lot of cleaning involved in being a chef, you have to do it, there isn't anyone who doesn't do it, we all do it. You also have little control in what you cook, even if you know it's bad, you can't change it, and it can be very depressing." (Chef; 2014)
"Ill Preparedness For The Realities Of The Food Industry...
My school did not entirely prepare me for the demands of the joy. For me, I had to relearn almost everything once I started working in the industry from a different perspective. The industry was much faster paced than I was used to, much more demanding. There were details, such as certain knife skills or just ways to cut corners that I was never taught. I was taught to do everything by hand so transitioning to jobs where everything was done by machine was difficult. I didn't know how to work half the machines. Some of it was the program I chose, but for the publicity Le Cordon Bleu has, the quality of their instructors, and their connections to the service industry, they could have done a lot more to prepare students for the culinary world." (Private Chef; 2014)
I was surprised about how many meetings and office related work I had to do. I worked in kitchens for years before taking this job, and suddenly having to function in such a massively different setting was jarring." (Executive Chef; 2012)
"It surprised me that a culinary education left considerable skill gaps that can only be learned in a business setting (real restaurant). There is so much focus on flavor and presentation ideas that aspiring graduates easily lose sight of the bottom line, and how to work with what you got. Also, I was surprised by the degree to which excellence is a result of habit, just like Aristotle said. There are so many subtle reactions to sense perceptions that combine to trigger a person's actions. These things are only mastered by repetition. Similarly, the ability to read and direct people is gained in the same way, to a lesser degree." (Chef; 2012)
Catering Manager: "The best part of my job is that I am a part of a huge corporation that has the resources to help out when needed, I also love working with different types of people and being a part of the small community here on campus. The worst part about my job is the long hours, the sometimes physical toll that it takes to get the jobs done. When there is a employee dispute and there is no right or wrong answer to it and the worst part is when you didn't do your job properly so that the dispute came to light." (2011)
Restaurant Manager: "I would like to think that the best parts of my career are getting to meet new people frequently and not having the same routine exactly set out every day. Also, having cash on hand is always a good feeling when I leave work on the days when I am behind the bar. I think that the worst part about my career is knowing that I cannot put in less than 55-60 hours a week and feel completely comfortable that everything at the restaurant is OK. Things need to be closely watched." (2011)
"How To Do It The Right Way...
start low, work your way up the ladder. just because you have a degree, it does not mean you will be on top." (Concierge; 2014)
"Kitchen Workers United...
Do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of, there are a lot of people who make promises, but if you don't have it written down they will try and take advantage of the situation. Also, build enough seed money before you open your own place, don't shut down one month after open because you don't have reserves." (Chef; 2014)
"Food Service Woes...
If you want to get ahead, stage in restaurants ahead of time so you get a feel for the industry. Spend all of your time outside of school with chefs who work in the industry, taking cooking classes, networking, and improving skills. This will prepare you better for the world that is coming. And speed is everything. The faster you are, the better." (Private Chef; 2014)
"Learn How And When To Fire People...
Focus on getting people to work together. Employee friction will be the most taxing and time consuming part of your day if you don't. Learn to identify and fire people who like drama." (Manager; 2014)
"Culinary Ed Good But Experience Better...
It's an exciting world when you really dive into it and there are so many opportunities. Get your bachelor's degree, but at the same time it really is experience over education when it comes to food service. Many food service jobs will require 3-5 years experience before they require a bachelor's degree. Do an internship with a large corporation like Disney, employers love to hear about that experience! Make sure you diversify with your resume to include all aspects of the hospitality world. Work in hotels, food service and with a large corporation." (Catering Manager; 2011)
"Long Hours And Hard Work...
Don't go into the restaurant management career expecting not to work hard or not to lose sleep. Some people can not handle the long hours or time away from the family. Always keep in mind that the best people to have managing with you should have started from the ground up. Learn to be patient with everyone surrounding you. If you are the boss in this business, you have to hear everyone tell you why everything is wrong on a daily basis." (Restaurant Manager; 2011)