What are the best line cook qualifications and training to get ahead?

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What is the best training for becoming a line cook? What types of ongoing training or certifications are necessary to be an effective line cook?

What do non-traditional career paths look like?

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Lance in Gilmanton, New Hampshire

85 months ago

The most important training you will do is on the job dealing with high volume restaurants.

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j in Fargo, North Dakota

75 months ago

I want Freddy Freaker to come work at my restaurant!

The only thing you really need is dedication, right out of the gate. Dedicate yourself to learning the specs and make the most of your training period. Set yourself up for success.

Be ready to work hard, everyday.
Be ready to work hard, everyday.
Be ready to work hard, everyday.

I greatly respect talented line cooks. Although much of what is needed to be an effective line cook can be taught; much of it also comes naturally. Those who have an ability to handle stress and keep their cool under high pressure situations, have an ability to multi-task and are quick with their hands (without sacrificing quality) and are good communicators will quite often perform well in the position.

As far as advancement, as long as you are performing well, your attitude and passion for the industry will get you a long ways.

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looking for advise- in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

75 months ago

I am in career transition and and seriously considering the culinary field. I manage a small food service company and have done some catering, etc.

However-I am anxious to break into the restaurant biz.

I had always assumed and noticed that experience is the key, not degree that you have (for line cook, etc). Does a degree or diploma do anything for you?

Is there a certain way to or are there any places anyone knows of in Philly that will take on someone w/o restaurant experience, but has kitchen knowledge and is eager to just learn?

I have put my resume and cover letter out there and have gotten no responses. I would imagine going in person from place to place would produce more results.

If a degree or diploma will help (if nothing else for the internships), what school has a good culinary program in or close to the city?
(I've had a hard time finding rankings and reviews on any culinary programs or school that AREN'T written by the school itself. I have met with some schools, prices ranging, and some seem like they take anyone for money and don't necessarily show top training)

Oh-also...as a line or prep cook, how much are you responsible for? In other words, are you prepping the same say...5 items each night, or is what is being asked of you continuously changing?

Would appriciate any help at all-
Thanks

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patrick carter in Lafayette, Louisiana

72 months ago

1) try to get into a prestigious restaurant that has seasonal menus and a competent chef. Offer to start washing dishes if thats all they have. It show character to be willing to do anything to want to cook.

2) Read, learn the classics and keep up to date with the trends of todays chefs. There are many great text books out there that explain technique which is the building block to cooking. Don't read fluffy recipe books because most, not all are poor techniques and don't teach you anything but how to prepare someone else's food.

3) Don't be sensative, a true professional kitchen is a psychological tester. This industry draws in the weirdest types and since we are isolated from the rest of the world we begin to get quircky. Don't be surprised if asked a bizarre question like," have you ever eaten sweetbreads naked while thinking of your sister?" Not unusual.

4) Be punctual and ready to work when the the scheduled shift has started. That means dressed, coffeed, all knives out ready to rock and roll.

5) Be clean. If your a guy, shave. A girl, eay on the makeup and perfume. Watch the excessive face piercings because they are an instant stereotype. Look presentable, Wipe your shoes here and there, keep you r shirt tucked under your apron, PULL your pants up if they happen to fall below your boxers.

6) Have fun, love what you do, learn, ask questions, interact with your coworkers, try out new foods, get out of your comfort zone, push yourself, stay focused, don't steal, be honest, have standars, avoid gossip, and love FOOD!!!!

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ner in Nashua, New Hampshire

67 months ago

hello people hwo aer we dion

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greek in Clearwater, Florida

66 months ago

j in Fargo, North Dakota said: I want Freddy Freaker to come work at my restaurant!

The only thing you really need is dedication, right out of the gate. Dedicate yourself to learning the specs and make the most of your training period. Set yourself up for success.

Be ready to work hard, everyday.
Be ready to work hard, everyday.
Be ready to work hard, everyday.

I greatly respect talented line cooks. Although much of what is needed to be an effective line cook can be taught; much of it also comes naturally. Those who have an ability to handle stress and keep their cool under high pressure situations, have an ability to multi-task and are quick with their hands (without sacrificing quality) and are good communicators will quite often perform well in the position.

As far as advancement, as long as you are performing well, your attitude and passion for the industry will get you a long ways.

J, im a line cook, among other things. Doing it fo 30 yrs, different aspects of course. dont consider myself the best but will put myself right up there with the best of them. Whats the name of your place? If i ever get your way, who knows, might stop in for a job. recently divorced and not sure if i want to stay in Florida any longer. Later J.

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Tim in Baltimore, Maryland

63 months ago

I will prefice this by saying that I've only been in the industry for 3 years. 5 if you count delivery driving, dishwashing, waiting, busing, and cooking on the line. I have to agree with Mr. Carter, be CLEAN (something I'm still working on.) Be Professional ( that means, always listening to the Executive Chef, keep proper appearances, and a good attitude ). There will be times where you will feel the world is caving in around you, and even times when you will get so dehydrated your mind doesn't work correctly. As with everything in the kitchen focus on your Mise en Place. This means that you come in to work with a clean head, and try breathing as much as possible to remind yourself to stay in the present. I find the greatest upset comes when I am thinking too far ahead ( YOU HAVE TO TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME). And you also have to remind yourself that you will not learn everything at once, take baby steps and soon you will realize that you are taking big strides towards becoming an effective line chef.

I try to ask my ancestors for help everyday, and give thanks for an amazing job that I've been given during this recession.

One thing that I noticed was left out of all of these posts was try and expand your palate. If you want to become a great line cook/ chef, you need to not only push yourself to the brink of insanity physically, and mentally, but also with the foods that you try. Go out and eat at as many good restaurants as possible as often as you can financially. It's deathly important to have a good palate for salt and pepper, While other ingredients are vastly important in whatever you are cooking I've noticed that nothing can kill as dish faster than over salting it. We use salt in almost everything including pastry.

LOVE WHAT YOU DO! Be proud in the idea that while other people are playing you are working your butt off. ALWAYS REMEMBER TO BE HARDCORE AS CRAP!!!

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Doogie in San Diego, California

62 months ago

I've been a banquet cook for seven years and switched over to line cooking. It is a different animal. There are moments when I have time to prep for the line and all of a sudden tickets are pouring in at the same time. This isn't the time to be gripped with fear. My nightmare was a ticket with 14 orders on it. You need to work fast and multitask. What will slow me down is when an item you need isn't on the line and you're running to the walk-in for chicken or other foods. I enjoy working as a line cook. It's challenging but with a good crew cooking is a breeze.

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hanzuz27 in Seattle, Washington

56 months ago

hi , i would just like to know whats the differences with cook 1 and 3 ? much appreciated : )

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tasha_s33@yahoo.com in Silver Spring, Maryland

53 months ago

What is your pay like

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stephenj in Verona, Wisconsin

51 months ago

Doogie in San Diego, California said: I've been a banquet cook for seven years and switched over to line cooking. It is a different animal. There are moments when I have time to prep for the line and all of a sudden tickets are pouring in at the same time. This isn't the time to be gripped with fear. My nightmare was a ticket with 14 orders on it. You need to work fast and multitask. What will slow me down is when an item you need isn't on the line and you're running to the walk-in for chicken or other foods. I enjoy working as a line cook. It's challenging but with a good crew cooking is a breeze.

One tip for the big orders (14 is nothing): Prioritize. I think that is absolutely the key. Read the ticket carefully and decide exactly what needs to be going first. Can that fish sit on the grill cooking awhile while you work on tossing stuff in the fryer? Things that have to be watched carefully need to go closer to last. Burgers are high priority, whereas buns are low.

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connollycook in Las Vegas, Nevada

48 months ago

In my past twenty years of experience in the hotel and restaurant industry. I've found that most of the best cooks I know started out as dishwashers like I did. Dish washing introduces you to the demanding and fast paced environment of the restaurant industry. It also hones your kitchen instincts and introduces you to the business in general. Successful dish washers then go on to become prep cooks then line cooks. You would benefit from having a genuine interest in cooking. I would strongly encourage any one interested to study cooking technique books and become quite familiar in the use of a knife.
Good fortunes!

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hmilanifar@yahoo.ca in Thornhill, Ontario

36 months ago

Hi, I live in Canada and very much like to start my career in culinary. I wonder if you can give me some idea about job market and career path.

Thank you

connollycook in Las Vegas, Nevada said: In my past twenty years of experience in the hotel and restaurant industry. I've found that most of the best cooks I know started out as dishwashers like I did. Dish washing introduces you to the demanding and fast paced environment of the restaurant industry. It also hones your kitchen instincts and introduces you to the business in general. Successful dish washers then go on to become prep cooks then line cooks. You would benefit from having a genuine interest in cooking. I would strongly encourage any one interested to study cooking technique books and become quite familiar in the use of a knife.
Good fortunes!

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hmilanifar@yahoo.ca in Thornhill, Ontario

36 months ago

Hi

Thanks for your information. You live in Ontario and i think you may help me. I am very interested to change my career and be a cook apprentice but I am not sure about career path and pay after I finish my apprentice duration. Can you advice me about job market and career path.

Thank you

Renee in Sudbury, Ontario said: Get any courses in safe food handling.
Working in a restaurant, well, you can't prepare for it. You have to just get out there and do it.
The stress WILL get overwhelming at first.
Try not to panick on the line.
You COULD get your red seal (it's red in canada *shrugs*), but then you would just be a chef, and chefs do NOT always equal line cooks.

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Elaina Walker in Los Angeles, California

33 months ago

Career as a chef is very exciting. First of all it's important to know the role of a chef. A chef oversees the daily operation of the kitchen of a restaurant or hotel and must be highly skilled, creative and able to work efficiently. Chefs are also responsible for designing menus, developing original recipes and keeping their kitchen stocked with ingredients. In general chefs should receive a bachelor degree and should have a few years of professional experience. Training can be completed at technical schools, culinary arts schools or community colleges. But in my personal opinion doing an online course is beneficial as side by side one can gain experience also by working in small restaurant or pastry shops. Following site has the list of some top ranked universities providing online culinary arts courses.

www.culinaryartscollege.org/

Later on chefs can advance into executive chef and food service management positions and some do freelance work as consultants to restaurateurs and kitchen equipment companies.

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ceeroyjenkins

10 months ago

I've been a line cook for 10 years and ill tell you honestly there is only 2 ways to survive in the industry, 1 is to he absolutely in love with food, or 2. Have nothing else to live for. This industry is one of the few that dosent care what you look like, dosent do background checks, and dosent do drug tests. So what you get is a few dedicated and talented food lovers rising to the top and leading pirate crews of criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics, people with anger problems, people with no social skills, and any other afflictions that would cause you to seek employment away from Tue general public, and you will be spending most of your time with these people, damn near all of it. Here is my week so far, I got whooped all night last night on the line during an 11 hour shift, during that shift I ate nothing, had no breaks, and didn't use the bathroom once. Then I got home finally at 3am, ate a stale cheeserger from the fridge because no way in hell do I want to cook anythingby then.got in bed at 4 am after rubbing my tired and sore legs while chainsmoking for an hour. Because I sold all my product last night I will need to be very early so that I can get all my prep done in time, so I got up at 8 (yes 4 hours is a normal amount of sleep for a cook)got on the train, wrote a prep list on the train while pounding my first of 3-4 redbulls of the day, stopped and bought some new shoe inserts because my back is killing me, grabbed a coffe, and am writing this as I chainsmoke again outside before I go in and start. Once I start I will not stop, I will rush and run around and argue with people, get yelled at by my chef, have my job threatened more than once , I will get burned, I will sweat and I will do my best to stay calm because I am experienced and I know all too well the slippery slop that comes with any level of freak-out. I will clock out at around 10pm with about 60 hours on the clock in the last 5 days.

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