My Education: AS in Culinary Arts, Western Culinary Institute
My Prior Experience: I worked in a hotel restaurant for 6 months, a high-end steakhouse for two years, and a hospital kitchen for 9 months.
My Company: I work in a kitchen at a government hospital.
Job/Career Overview: My primary responsibility is to prepare meals for the hospital's patients. These include a variety of specialized diets for people suffering from various accidents and illnesses. I also prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the cafeteria which serves hospital staff and patients' family members.
Part of the job involves keeping track of product inventory and making sure orders are placed so there is always enough product. I'm also responsible for receiving and organizing product shipments. Time management is key to making sure all the responsibilities are taken care of. Each cook is responsible for preparing all the food to cook for the following day as well as what they're making today.
More Insights: Before considering Culinary School, remember that you will be making $12 an hour for at least a couple of years. Even the highest paid executive chefs rarely make six figures. Try to take advantage of any scholarships or grants that are available to you. Don't forget to check out local community colleges, too. Many have great culinary programs and are very affordable.
I rate this career 7 out of 10.
Working as a cook can be a very stressful job. Most of the work happens right around the same times everyday. In an eight hour shift, you will spend seven hours preparing for one very busy hour.
However, it can also be very exciting work. The adrenaline rush of serving three hundred people in less than two hours is indescribable.
Culinary school can be very expensive. Spend a year as a dishwasher or prep cook to make sure this is the career you want.
Try to become friends with the waitstaff. Your life will be much better if the cooks aren't fighting with the waiters.
Tensions can run high when restaurants are at their busiest. Remember to leave all that behind when you hang up your apron at the end of the day.