Hi there all I am posting today because of my current job situation.

To give some information I am an training chef and have been cooking since 2009. I attended a culinary arts program at a local trade college and have worked in 4 kitchens over the past four years. Even tho that may sound good I have never stayed at a single kitchen for more than three months; That means over the past four years I have been unemployed for 3/4ths of the time.

I am twenty now and have a great girl who I am trying to start a life with but cant seam to hold onto a job in the kitchen. I have washed dishes, I have cut veg and meat and sliced & portioned more ham than I would care to admit but I cant seam to progress in my field.

I have never been fired, I always lose the job from lack of hours or my inability to commute so when I get an opportunity to move up I find I lack the skills to work on the line and my employer has no time to teach me. I lost my last job due to the fact that the kitchen was so small they had no use for me when they found a more experienced cook.

I don't know if I should keep cooking; If I cant hold down a job how can I support a family. But I dislike the idea of being anything but a chef.

Sorry for the rant and if I missed anything just ask what you want to know.

Thanks for your time-


Tags: chef, cooking, employment, food, help, kitchen, learning, skills

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    I work offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and I know that Cooks make a good living out there. We have a cook that is badass and can cook some damn good meals. I know you are in Canada but if you have any opportunities like that it would be a good job. I have even been on a platform where the cook would build sculptures out of fruit cuttings and cook some gourmet meals.

   Most jobs are 14 days out-14 days home. Sounds harsh but you actually get 14 days of quality time with your family. I know there are a lot of opportunities in South Dakota and Alaska. Just throwing ideas your way dude.

From what little I know of trade work like cooking, it is really an apprenticeship situation.  The only way to really learn is to do.  You need the resources to do so you need to work as a cook.

I think you may be over expecting of yourself in terms of advancement.  One person I met has a simple rule he works hard for 3 years at his job.  If he does not advance in terms of pay or position he finds a new job.  He has been at the same company for 16 years.  The point is that he sets a clear line in the sand and works hard until he reaches that point.  If he passes the mark without advancement he knows he needs to move on.  Between time points he does not worry with if he is advancing fast enough, if he is worthy of the work he is doing.  He just works hard, his limit is 3 years.  It is simple, focused and produces results.

If you really want to be a Chef, get into a kitchen, work hard for 3 years, learn all you can and be exceptional at what you are tasked to do. if you have not advanced in 3 years, then and only then can you seek a job somewhere else.  

Lose the job from lack of hours?  What does that mean?  If you are consistently having your hours cut is everyone else?  If not you're being laid off in a nice way.  If you're having your hours cut when it's slow and then quitting stop.  When your hours are cut take the cut but keep working.  You'll never learn while you're unemployed.

Take the time to look for a really good job.  Don't just take the first one that comes along.  Find a place that will work with you to help you improve.  There's nothing wrong with a busy restaurant that doesn't have time to train you, but it's not for you.  Do a lot of work on the front end for finding a job and you'll spend less time overall compared to finding a job and then getting in there only to need to find another job.

Thank you all for your advice.

Labove: In British Columbia I hear a lot about 'camp jobs' for the forestry industry here. While it pays 300 a day the fact remains that I lack the experience to get hired by one of the companies and even if I did I would know be skilled enough to last there... Yet.

Dave: I like the idea. For whatever reason I have not been able to hold onto certain jobs I am sure given enough time at one I WILL see the advancement {Not in position but knowledge} I am seeking.

Mike: You are correct about my last job. They where a small operation with only four cooks. For a while I was one of them but after a while it became clear I needed more training and they could not provide it for me. The owner was unwilling to pay an additional crew member so when they found someone who could replace me they removed me from the schedule. I like the place and have no hard feeling, it is the nicest kitchen I have yet to work in; Not in scale but the people who I worked with.

I started out my working life (at 15) as a dishwasher in a restraunt that was more bar than anything.  Just me and the cook in the kitchen.  Maybe two cooks if it was the weekend, and if one of them didn't call in drunk.  I busted ass doing the dishes (because it sucks, so do it fast and you won't have to do them that often, right?) so when my sink was empty, I'd hop over the line and get the cook to let me make something.  That's how you get training in kitchens, by doing.  Six weeks later the cook walked out and the manager ponted at me and said "you're cooking now, get over there." 

Point is, don't blame your employer for not providing you training to what to them is an entry level job.  Make your own opportunties for training.  Watch cooking shows.  Try out stuff at home.  So you've cut veg and meat until the cows come home?  Knife skills are the most basic thing to learn in a kitchen - now research how to make a rose out of a tomato peel or a swan from an apple.  Do a couple of those here and there when the boss (or boss' wife) is having lunch.

I just received a job offer from Moxie's here where I live and it sounds like a great and fast paced kitchen. I will be doing orientation this weekend and I am going to work myself raw and try to do a better job then I have ever done or am even capable of.

I am worried I wont be able to keep up and an anxious about starting a new job but hopefully this will be a great job that I can improve myself in.

Thank for the advice everyone.

Unless you're working a temporary job, reducing someone's hours until he quits is a "gentleman's firing".  So while you may not be called in to the office and formally dismissed, you are being shown out the door.  You need to figure out what's going on and why they are doing this.

Look at your employment through the eyes of your employer...do you make a good hand?  Do you VERY RARELY call in---only if you are truly sick or under extremely rare circumstances?  It should be practically unheard of for you to miss work.

You mentioned transportation problems---look at your JOB and your CAR as two of the most valuable assets you own---have a Plan B (someone you can call for a ride...ANYTHING...) so you never have to call in over that.


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