Saturday, 3 August 2013

A letter to the young, aspiring baker/pastry chef.


First off, in life you should do you what love, and love what you do. If it is baking bread, teaching third graders, creating websites, or fixing computers that you love doing then do it. We spend numerous hours and time AT WORK...... unsure what to do? Great, I love it when people say this. Why? Because you get to TRY NEW THINGS IN LIFE. Try a new hobby, sport, or activity. Met new people, go out to a new restaurant/bar/coffee shop, and find out about new industries, companies, and positions in your community.

Now, you have settled it: you want to cook/bake for a living. Good news: WE NEED FOOD TO LIVE, thus there will ALWAYS be positions/jobs for you. Bad news: The food industry can, well, be crazy and hectic. Most restaurants/cafes/bakeries are open 24/7 and require hard work and long hours.

My advice?  My top 5 tips…..

- First off, find a company/business that you truly like and care for. Note: most food small businesses are so small, they cannot offer health benefits, paid time off, or 401(k) plans, keep this in mind when searching for jobs. Note: some cooperate food businesses, can get very cooperate and less artistry is required for the job.

- Second, find a position that you like doing and can expand. Doing anything over and over again can get monotonous and boring. Can you learn new skills? Move up? Possibly learn something besides cooking and baking delicious food? On a better note, ask your brand new co-workers if they like working there. They will be honest.

-Third, get used to wearing a chef uniform: chef pants, non-slip clogs, hat, and chef jackets.  Oh yes, and working on weekends and major holidays. (Boo.)

-Fourth, to all the young women: From a girl’s girl point of view, working in professional kitchens is a very masculine industry, but I never let that change me. I am who I am, and still enjoy the color pink, 4 inch high heels, and lip gloss after working nearly 8 years in the industry. Your hands and nails will become very dry, you will have oily skin, and your feet will ache after work.  This just means you have to take extra special care of yourself , don’t let the job GET YOU. You are better than that.

-Finally, find an outside hobby outside of cooking/baking. Why? This will keep you sane, I promise.

 Don’t limit yourself to just restaurants for food jobs. There are numerous outlets for us: cafes, bakeries, gourmet grocery stores, cooperate dining, catering,  wineries, coffee shops, etc.  Find what fits YOU, not the person sitting next to you.

I find it very rare that a person cooks/bakes their ENTIRE career. Most of us move on: management, admin, sales, etc. We are still dedicated to food, but our lives, dreams, and goals change. We desire softer schedules and lifestyles. Keep this in mind while you are young: don’t be afraid to learn a new skill set beyond culinary and pastry.

Don’t let anyone get to you because that is their problem, not yours. Keep your chin up, positive attitude, and everything will come in place.



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