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Now what? Well, I am going to Culinary School! I have decided that I was not going to let anyones opinions on my decision affect my career; even though I have gone through multiple people telling me to go to school for a different career and me thinking that I should. No one ever said going to college was going to be the easiest of tasks, but I know with confidence and the ability to do what I love.
I get my degree in culinary and become the best chef in town. Some people ask “why do you like culinary?” I usually just tell people, that it is fun or different and that is why I like it. But, it is more than that. When I was younger, I remember my dad used to watch the cooking channel. No matter how terrible they always sounded or looked, he always had his go at it.
Surprisingly they turned out better than anyone would think. My dad’s favorite chef to was Emeral Lagasse (A&E Network Television); he could watch him for hours. Unfortunately, in the early part of 2001 we lost my dad to a tragic accident. I never got over losing him, but I always remembered him cooking, and I thought maybe if I learned to cook like him, that would bring a little more closure and make things feel as normal as possible after that.
Although, it seems impossible, it got easier to cope with, and it felt like every time I would cook, my dad would be right there beside me.
Even to this day, I still feel that way. Why would I want to be a chef? As far as why I like cooking and why I would make it my career, I have two different reasons. Most people absolutely regret the saying “Your career should always be something that you love.” while that may be true in some cases, I completely believe it. Why would I do a career I do not love for the rest of my life? I would much rather make delicious food and know I am doing what makes me happy than work an average nine to five job making minimum wage and hating my job. Yes, being a chef will never be the easiest job with the most normal hours, and I may or may not be going home with tips some nights, but no matter what, I will always love being a chef and cooking as my career.
The benefits of being a chef probably are not the number one reasons anyone would choose to be a chef. On the other hand, they are not super terrible either. As stated, “About 15 percent work in institutions such as schools, universities, hospitals, nursing care facilities and airline catering establishments. The remainder worked in deli shops or grocery stores, hotels and convenient stores (What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Chef?).” If cooking in a five star restaurant does not work out or become my first option, I always have many different options to work at. I would not mind working in a hospital to even high quality deli’s. Also, the pay depending on how a person perceives it, it can be really good. “As of 2009 a chef can expect an average salary from $32,000 to $86,000 per year depending on their ranks. Some who work as executive chefs for 5-star hotels and first-class restaurants can earn an annual income that approaches or exceeds the six digits (What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Chef?).” Since starting school, I have heard that I do not need a degree to be a chef. Although that is true, it is also not. Without a degree can be so much different than with a degree. The pros of being a chef without a degree are: tuition; no crazy debts to have to pay back, a different lifestyle; not having to worry about a deadline, and learning on my own. The cons of no degree are, not getting too far, most people look for the basic knowledge of a student, knowing the basics and being able to do the arts and the mixings that I would learn in culinary school (McKeever, Amy).
Being a chef with a degree definitely brings me a lot more opportunities. Businesses would be very pleased with seeing some schools on my resume, and that guarantee me a position in a kitchen. Also when I am cooking at a restaurant or a place of quality food, my employment and customers would like to know where I learned how to cook from and what my background is in cooking, most people like to see a college degree and depending on the college or the length of time they tend to be quite impressed and would like to try my food. I can also make more money as a chef with a degree; I can make up to $100,000 a year if I work for the right company and make the right kind of food. Working with a degree also shows my experience, so with classes I take in my culinary career, I learn new techniques and dishes. Now, it is up to me whether or not I want to take some of those experiences with me or not. But I have no doubt in my mind a chef will come up to me and tell me “I need you to make me 12 Coq au Vin with the dipping sauce on the side” knowing I have not done that since my second semester of school, but I will have to remember my hardest because they know I have a degree so I should be able to cook that. There are multiple con’s as well, such as being held to high expectations; for most this is an “own opinion” statement.
Being a graduated student I will be expected to know more than the newbie right off the street, and I will have to set the bar high. Then, I must know my worth. I will have a degree and experience, working a low end job barely working in the kitchen, is not worth my degree or the time I spent getting it. Speaking of low end jobs, another con would be not being a head chef right away. Although having a degree can guarantee me a position in the kitchen, it was never said that I would not start out at the bus boy beforehand. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of work to get into the big leagues. I guess you could call that “the big chef appeal (The Future Of Culinary Arts Education).”
With my degree I plan to go bigger and better, and continue my dream of becoming a chef and being able to what I love as my career. I do believe that with all my hard work, I can get into a five star restaurant, It would be a dream to cook for someone famous, or even just be appreciated for my cooking by people who do not know me and who are not afraid to give their opinion on food. I am going to culinary school! Going to college was never said to be the easiest task. Although I have gone through a lot of my own mental breakdowns and heard multiple different people’s opinions on my career choice, and I have chosen to go on and follow my career of being a chef and doing what I want to in school and patiently with the rest of my life, I know with the confidence in myself and my strive in the ability to do what I love and get my degree in culinary; I can be the best chef in town.
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