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-— by Bourdain - Michael Ruhlman

-— by Bourdain - Michael Ruhlman

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Translating the Chef’s Craft for Every Kitchen

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Michael Ruhlman

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So You Wanna Be a Chef

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So You Wanna Be a Chef — by Bourdain
By MICHAEL RUHLMAN | Published: SEPTEMBER 20, 2010 Welcome to Ruhlman.com where I blog about food, cooking, recipes and technique, because the world is better when we cook for ourselves. Thanks for visiting and I hope you’ll join the conversation.

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More from BlogHer Chocolate Chip, Toffee and Potato Chip Cookies Kicked-up picnic Seven-Layer Strawberry Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing Food Blogging Flops and Kitchen Misadventures ©photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman (click photo to visit her blog)

Side Notes
[Note: Shuna, aka eggbeater, has covered this subject well and honestly in many posts, notably the culinary school question. I address it in the intro to the new paperback of Making of a Chef and on my FAQ page. But when I read Bourdain's take in his most recent book, Medium Raw, I wanted to make sure it reached as many people as possible. The kind folks at Harper Collins rarely give away more than 500 words of a book they're charging money for; I'm very grateful to them, and to Tony, for letting me reprint it here (I've bold-faced piquant ideas in lieu of call-outs to keep the unmotivated enticed). I'll review the book later in the week. But this chapter is for all the people ... thinking. Moms and Dads of young cook wannabes, you need to read this, too, and you need to make sure your kid does too.]
Devil & Egg A magazine editor and mother of two who shares her adventures in the kitchen, via Devil & Egg. (0) Original Party Girls Zelda Fitzgerald, Vivienne Eliot, & Lucia Joyce; wives & daughters of famous writers who all danced and inspired, via Independent UK. (0) Baked Crab Harold Dieterle, of Top Chef shares memories of catching and

So You Wanna Be a Chef
by Anthony Bourdain

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dreamers young and old. via WSJ.(from Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook) I am frequently asked by aspiring chefs. unsuited for The Life in any case. It surely is not. have watched them encounter triumphs and disappointments. In many cases. or delusions of Food Network stardom. nobody hiring in the big leagues is going to give a shit. Glaze Offal Good Phillip Foss Sourtooth Studio Kitchen Two Sisters Bakery Well Done Chef Blogs To Read Accidental Hedonist open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. I have met and heard from many culinary students on my travels.com . You’re planning on taking out a student loan and taking on a huge amount of debt. Ask yourself first: is this culinary school even any good? If you’re not going to the Culinary Institute of America. (0) Recent comments ruhlman nails it | on Food Fascism Darius on Food Fascism Emporio Armani eyeglasses on Chicken Curry: Teach Kids To Cook Chef Blogs Andrew Little Chadzilla Dr. I was in the restaurant business for twenty-eight years —much of that time as an employer. from lenders associated with—or recommended by—your local culinary school. BBQ Ideas in Food John Mitzewich Kevin Shinn Laurent Gras Line Cook Michael Laiskonis Michele Niesen Ms. reading this. I am myself a graduate of the finest and most expensive culinary school in the country. because the fact is. you should investigate this matter even more intently. right now. in all likelihood. Don’t get me wrong. when you graduate from the Gomer County Technical College of Culinary Arts. attracted by the lure of slowly melting shallots and caramelizing pork belly. I’m not telling you that culinary school is a bad thing. and qualified answer. But the short answer is “no. A of catching and preparing crabs with his mother. if they should go to culinary school. I’m saying that you. Particularly if you’re any kind of normal. thoughtful. and am as well a frequent visitor and speaker at other culinary schools. I usually give a long. and— more frequently—I have seen the dream die. or the French Culinary Institute. I have seen the dream realized. But let’s say you’re determined. Over the last nine years.” Let me save you some money. would probably be ill-advised to attend—and are. the CIA. Johnson and Wales.

000 to $60. the less likely you are to ever run off and do a stage in the great kitchens of the world. Time cooking at Applebee’s may get you paid—but it’s a period best left blank on the résumé if you’re planning on ever moving to the bigs. requiring that you work immediately. Go to my Open Sky store.000 in debt training for an industry where—if you are lucky—you will. If you perform well. The more money you get paid straight out of school.com Should you be fortunate enough to be among the one-in-a-million young cooks taken on at a famous and respected restaurant like Arzak. ability. is rarely an option. Two nearly unpaid years wandering Europe or New York. You’re about to take on $40. and great connections deemed worthy enough to recommend you to one of the great kitchens of Europe or New York for your post-school apprenticeship—you will essentially be making nothing for the first couple of years. Accidental Hedonist Alinea at Home Bob del Grosso Cheese Underground Chewing the Fat cook eat FRET cookblog David Lebovitz Dorie Greenspan Eggbeater Foodie at Fifteen Honest Food I Heart Farms Matt Bites Momofuku for 2 Orangette Pioneer Woman Sassy Radish Stay At Stove Dad ruhlmanphotography.com . But the minute you graduate from school—unless you have a deep-pocketed Mommy and Daddy or substantial savings—you’re already up against the wall. for whomever will have you—once you embark on a career dictated by the need for immediate cash flow. for the first few years. be making $10 to $12 dollars an hour. once living expenses are factored in. if you are really. probably be paying for the experience. the investment of all your time and money and hard work will have paid off. It’s a good living—with (unlike Info on Donna's Ratio Chart and Photography Kitchen Tools Click here to see my favorite kitchen tools. this will truly be time and money well spent. In this case. The Amateur Gourmet The Gurgling Cod White On Rice Food Sites Chow Recipes Select Year Eater Epicurious Leite's Culinaria NYTimes food blog Serious Eats The Hungry Beast (Daily Beast) Category Archive Select Month open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Country clubs? Hotel kitchens? These are likely employers straight out of school—and they promise a pretty decent. in Spain (for example). had you been out there in the industry all that time. it never gets any easier to get off the treadmill. You need to make money NOW.degree from the best culinary schools is no guarantee of a good job. learning from the masters. really lucky—one of the few supremely blessed with talent. you will return home never again needing a résumé. In fact. If that imperative prevails. You will. A degree from anywhere less than the best schools will probably be less helpful than the work experience you could have had. relatively stable career if you do well. It may just as well have never happened.

Observe their behaviors— as if spying on animals in the wild.com . it’s unlikely you’ll ever leave. by the way. but I will: If you’re thirty-two years old and considering a career in professional kitchens? If you’re wondering if. To real chefs. With jobs and lives that are widely viewed as being cushier and more secure. Once in—rarely out. But know that for people in the industry. If you’re planning on spending big bucks to go to culinary school at your age. perhaps. Immediately. It’s where the goofs who wasted a lot of money on a culinary education only to find out they couldn’t hack it in the real world end up. you are too old? Let me answer that question for you: Yes. the eyes of the pack will glaze over a little bit at the point of introduction. If it matters to you. watch groups of chefs at food and wine festivals—or wherever industry people congregate and drink together after work. you’d better be doing it for love—a love. A glorified butler.most of the restaurant business) reasonable hours and working conditions—and most hotels and country clubs offer the considerable advantage of health insurance and benefits. the words “private” and “chef” just don’t go together. opt for the “private chef” route upon graduating. You are too old. period. Notice the hotel and country club chefs approach the pack. shunted to the outside of the alpha animals. You could. (Daily Beast) Trusted Recipe Blogs 101 Cookbooks Homesick Texan Simply Recipes Smitten Kitchen Steamy Kitchen Charcutepalooza Charcutepalooza Food 52 Mrs Wheelbarrow The Yummy Mummy Gluten Free Blogs Celiac Teen Gluten Free Easily Gluten-Free Girl Wasabimon Photo Blogs Abstract Gourmet Appetite Chubby Hubby open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. A private “chef” is domestic help. such a concept doesn’t even exist. But that sector of the trade is like joining the mafia. Once you enter the warm fold of their institutional embrace. The hotel or country club species will be marginalized. Somewhere slightly below “food stylist” and above “consultant” on the food chain. almost without a doubt. unreciprocated. How old are you? Nobody will tell you this. of course. they enjoy less prestige—and less respect. that will be.

By the time you get out of school—at thirty-four, even if you’re fucking Escoffier—you will have precious few useful years left to you in the grind of real-world working kitchens. That’s if you’re lucky enough to even get a job. At thirty-four, you will immediately be “Grandpa” or “Grandma” to the other— inevitably much, much younger, faster-moving, more physically fit—cooks in residence. The chef—also probably much younger—will view you with suspicion, as experience has taught him that older cooks are often dangerously set in their ways, resistant to instruction from their juniors, generally slower, more likely to complain, get injured, call in sick, and come with inconvenient baggage like “normal” family lives and responsibilities outside of the kitchen. Kitchen crews work best and happiest when they are tight—when they operate like a long-touring rock band—and chances are, you will be viewed, upon showing up with your knife roll and your résumé—as simply not being a good fit, a dangerous leap of faith, hope, or charity by whoever was dumb enough to take a chance on you. That’s harsh. But it’s what they’ll be thinking. Am I too fat to be a chef? Another question you should probably ask yourself. This is something they don’t tell you at admissions to culinary school, either—and they should. They’re happy to take your money if you’re five foot seven inches and two hundred fifty pounds, but what they don’t mention is that you will be at a terrible, terrible disadvantage when applying for a job in a busy kitchen. As chefs know (literally) in their bones (and joints), half the job for the first few years—if not the entirety of your career—involves running up and down stairs (quickly), carrying bus pans loaded with food, and making hundreds of deep-knee bends a night into lowboy refrigerators. In conditions of excruciatingly high heat and humidity of a kind that can cause young and superbly fit cooks to falter. There are the purely practical considerations as well: kitchen work areas—particularly behind the line— being necessarily tight and confined . . . Bluntly put, can the other cooks move easily

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around your fat ass? I’m only saying it. But any chef considering hiring you is thinking it. And you will have to live it. If you think you might be too fat to hack it in a hot kitchen? You probably are too fat. You can get fat in a kitchen—over time, during a long and glorious career. But arriving fat from the get-go? That’s a hard—and narrow—row to hoe. If you’re comforting yourself with the dictum “Never trust a thin chef,” don’t. Because no stupider thing has ever been said. Look at the crews of any really high-end restaurants and you’ll see a group of mostly whippet-thin, under-rested young pups with dark circles under their eyes: they look like escapees from a Japanese prison camp—and are expected to perform like the Green Berets. If you’re not physically fit? Unless you’re planning on becoming a pastry chef, it is going to be very tough for you. Bad back? Flat feet? Respiratory problems? Eczema? Old knee injury from high school? It sure isn’t going to get any better in the kitchen. Male, female, gay, straight, legal, illegal, country of origin—who cares? You can either cook an omelet or you can’t. You can either cook five hundred omelets in three hours—like you said you could, and like the job requires— or you can’t. There’s no lying in the kitchen. The restaurant kitchen may indeed be the last, glorious meritocracy—where anybody with the skills and the heart is welcomed. But if you’re old, or out of shape—or were never really certain about your chosen path in the first place—then you will surely and quickly be removed. Like a large organism’s natural antibodies fighting off an invading strain of bacteria, the life will slowly push you out or kill you off. Thus it is. Thus it shall always be. The ideal progression for a nascent culinary career would be to, first, take a jump straight into the deep end of the pool. Long before student loans and culinary school, take the trouble to find out who you are.

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Are you the type of person who likes the searing heat, the mad pace, the neverending stress and melodrama, the low pay, probable lack of benefits, inequity and futility, the cuts and burns and damage to body and brain—the lack of anything resembling normal hours or a normal personal life? Or are you like everybody else? A normal person? Find out sooner rather than later. Work—for free, if necessary—in a busy kitchen. Any kitchen that will have you will do—in this case, a busy Applebee’s or T.G.I. Friday’s or any old place will be fine. Anybody who agrees to let your completely inexperienced ass into their kitchen for a few months—and then helpfully kicks it repeatedly and without let-up—will suffice. After six months of dishwashing, prep, acting as the bottom-rung piss-boy for a busy kitchen crew—usually while treated as only slightly more interesting than a mouse turd—if you still like the restaurant business and think you could be happy among the ranks of the damned? Then, welcome. At this point, having established ahead of time that you are one fucked-up individual—that you’d never be happy in the normal world anyway—culinary school becomes a very good idea. But choose the best one possible. If nothing else, you’ll come out of culinary school with a baseline (knowledge and familiarity with techniques). The most obvious advantage of a culinary education is that from now on, chefs won’t have to take time out of their busy day to explain to you what a fucking “brunoise” is. Presumably, you’ll know what they mean if they shout across the room at you that you should braise those lamb necks. You’ll be able to break down a chicken, open an oyster, filet a fish. Knowing those things when you walk in the door is not absolutely necessary—but it sure fucking helps. When you do get out of culinary school, try to work for as long as you can possibly afford in the very best kitchens that will have you—as far from home

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I was neither. It is also one of my greatest regrets. I was having fun. Suddenly it was ten years later. For better or worse. I got. convincing myself that I was quite brilliant and talented enough. and. by the standards of the day. What limited me forever were the decisions I made immediately after leaving culinary school. That was my moment as a chef. More to the point. Right away. I got out of culinary school and the world seemed my oyster. as well. and the Beast that needed to be fed got bigger and more demanding—never less. And where I fucked up mine. getting high. No possibility of making less money. At worst. This is the most important and potentially invaluable period of your career. and it is something I will have to live with. on close inspection. getting laid. in general. I was working with my friends. set me on the course I stayed on for the next twenty years. when I had the chance. There is. I got older. The list of things I never learned to do well is still shocking.com . to go work in really good kitchens—I casually and unthinkingly doomed myself to secondand (mostly) third-and fourth-tier restaurant kitchens forever.as you can travel. the decisions I made then about what I was going to do. and I had a résumé that was. what seemed to be a pretty good paying job. whom I was going to do it with and where. If I open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Rather than put in the time or effort—then. in retrospect. There’s a gulf the size of an ocean between adequate and finesse. The simple fact is that I would be—and have always been—inadequate to the task of working in the kitchens of most of my friends. and I let it pass. as a potential adult. it told a story of fucked-up priorities and underachievement. unimpressive at best. a big difference between good work habits (which I have) and the kind of discipline required of a cook at Robuchon. Soon there was no going back.

Let me repeat. Learn from them—wherever you go. Keep at it. A year working at Mugaritz or L’Arpège or Arzak can transform your life—become a direct route to other great kitchens.com . with a mouthful of looming dental problems. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. that I did none of the things above.hadn’t enjoyed a freakish and unexpected success with Kitchen Confidential. never wavering determination. all the great chefs know each other. A three-star chef friend in Europe reports receiving month after month of faxes from one aspiring apprentice cook—and responding with “no” each time. hungry to learn and be better. physically fit. and an ever more rapidly declining value as a cook. I’d still be standing behind the stove of a good but never great restaurant at the age of fiftythree. a mountain of debt. Which is to say: if you’re lucky enough to be able to do the above. If you’re twenty-two. I urge you to travel—as far and as widely as possible. by the way. Like I said. Sleep on floors if you have to. still uninsured. again. It’s a little sad sometimes when I look out at a bookstore audience and see young fans of Kitchen Confidential. But finally he broke down. A culinary degree—while enormously helpful—is only helpful to a point. Do right by one and they tend to hook you up with the others. All the great chefs know each other. Money borrowed at this point in your life so that you can afford to travel and gain work experience in really good kitchens will arguably be better invested than any student loan. Use every possible resource you have to work in the very best kitchens that will have you —however little (if anything) they pay—and relentlessly harangue every possible connection. do not fuck up. impressed by the kid’s unrelenting. for whom the book was a validation of their worst open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. I would be years behind in my taxes. every great chef whose kitchen offers a glimmer of hope of acceptance.

com . late-night coke jags. the crazy camaraderie that seems to come only in the busiest hash-house restaurants—or failing ones. I like that they relate to the highs and lows. can look back—with a mixture of nostalgia and very real regret—on sexual liaisons on cutting boards and flour sacks.natures. But I’m a little more comfortable when the readers are late-career hackers and journeymen. thousands and thousands of them—new generations of them every year. of course. If you’re anything like me. and being constantly broke-ass. to put me on TMZ. humiliation. I understand it. that they. too. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Yet. then God bless you. I wrote the book for them in the first place. But the young culinary students. like I was when I wrote the book. I am frequently the inadvertent recipient of small packets of mysterious white powder. though. you freak of nature you. The white powders because I’m a recovered fucking addict—and the weed ’cause all I need is one joint. And it’s too late for them anyway. angel dust– laced by some psycho. And I’m happy they like me. that I can find. running buck-naked down some Milwaukee street with a helmet made from the stretched skin of a butchered terrier pulled down over my ears. carefully rolled joints of local hydro. fat. Smoking weed at the end of the day is nearly always a good idea—but I’d advise ambitious young cooks against sneaking a few drags mid-shift at Daniel. one would think it almost a cautionary tale. does it say that cocaine or heroin were good ideas. These inevitably end up in the garbage—or handed over to a media escort. pressed into my palm or slipped into my pocket. resplendent in their tattoos and piercings—I worry that some of them might have missed the point. At no point in Kitchen Confidential. at readings and signings. you’re probably only good for a bowl of Crunchberries and a Simpsons rerun. In fact. the frustrations and absurdities. If you think smoking dope makes you more responsive to the urgent calls for food from your expeditor. bindles of cocaine. given the book’s many episodes of pain.

On the other hand. I’m just saying.” I saw them as some very bad choices that I walked knowingly into. I guess. There’s those who do—and those who don’t. but if you look around you at the people you work with. I’m extremely skeptical of the “language of addiction. And I saw that I wasn’t going to be doing shit when I was spending all my time and all my money on coke or dope—except more coke and dope. And I’m not going to tell you here how to live your life. Treating despair with drugs and alcohol is a time-honored tradition—I’d just advise you to assess honestly if it’s really as bad and as intractable a situation as you think. I had other things I still wanted to do.com . many of them are—or will eventually be—alcoholics and drug abusers. There was and is nothing heroic about getting off coke and dope. All I’m saying is you might ask yourself now and again if there’s anything else you wanted to do in your life. had to work hard to get myself un-fucked. eventually. I fucked myself—and. and it’s been a very long time as well since I found myself sweating and grinding my teeth to the sound of tweeting of birds outside my window.” I never saw heroin or cocaine as “my illness. Not to belabor the point. that I got very lucky. I haven’t done heroin in over twenty years. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. if you’re stuck heating up breakfast burritos at Chili’s—or dunking deep-fried macaroni at TGI McFuckwad’s? Maybe you need that joint.

I wish him all the success that a open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.And luck is not a business model. Absolutely. Link Quote Dale September 24.com . I am glad he found a typewriter when he did. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed. culinary school. Bookmark the permalink . chefs. 2010 at 2:36 pm Woa! Seldom has the hard edge of cutting reality been served up with such graceful humor! Link Quote craigkite September 20. This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Anthony Bourdain. His short entry regarding his first marriage and the similarities to Bob and Diane in Drugstore Cowboy explained a lot. 2010 at 7:26 am Medium Raw is a compelling read. « Sweet Potato Fries: CSA Week 16 Some Subjects Demand To Be In Black & White » Comments Micah September 20. It amazes me how popular he is for the narrow audience that can truly appreciate all the crap and glory from the food world. 2010 at 6:57 am Excellent.

Reading Kitchen Confidential (and a whole bunch of Ruhlman books) gave me a huge respect for chefs and placed me firmly open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. and “succeeded” by most standards (being mostly accepted and considered a full employee/cold appetizer line cook). 2010 at 10:01 pm I loved this excerpt. Link Quote San September 20.middle aged smart ass can get. Bourdain is absolutely right that loving the job doesn’t mean you will love the business. Really good read. The hours and lifestyle can really wear a person down. Link Quote View the reply to San's comment Julie September 20. seriously debating whether to pursue professional cooking or medicine. 2010 at 9:13 am I’m one of those 22 year-olds that saw it as a challenge. Link Quote David September 20. I worked my way into an upscale kitchen in DC. but disagree with you.com . but I have recently decided to leave the business. I was that pie-in-thesky 22-year-old. AB is on point and brutally honest. 2010 at 7:26 am As per usual. not a warning. but I guarantee that pie-in-the-sky 22 year-old kids will just see it as a challenge. That’s life though. Last year.

open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. The cost for 15 weeks was more than a year at that college he went to. And a steamy restaurant kitchen. Thanks for the heads-up. Definitely too old and keeping myself happy cooking for family and friends. He can now pretty much work where he wants to work. I’ve also always wondered if those chefs who went into the business with a passion for food came out the other end with that passion intact. 2010 at 7:29 am A few years ago. Luckily he went to a program that gave him a great start (SFBI) and he has continued to work for great and well known bakers (among them. But I decided my knees couldn’t take it. I flirted briefly with the idea of going to culinary school. Michael. but the pro chef’s lifestyle is not for me. After the obligatory backpacking tour of Europe (on his hard earned dimes) he wanted to go into a baking program. was Didier Rosada who was also his chief instructor at SFBI). AB! Link Quote View 2 replies to Julie's comment Abigail @ Sugar Apple September 20. Or does cooking professionally for 20 years suck the love and does cooking eventually becomes just another job? (I hope not. 2010 at 8:02 am My son dropped out of one of the very best (read expensive) liberal arts colleges in the nation.on the path to med school. But the quality of one’s preparation and who one works with/under are everything. I’ll always cook for fun. hot flashes and me armed with a big knife didn’t seem like a good mix.com .) Link Quote Paul September 20.

and comedians have about the same delusional attraction and the same dismal prospects. Link Quote Tags September 20.” open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Link Quote Britt September 20. cartoonists. 2010 at 12:51 pm ditto.Link Quote Liz September 20. BTW. 2010 at 8:49 am Must be a “c” thing. actually. I think this passage has the potential to be both a motivator and reality check for everyone–with or without culinary ambitions. Link Quote cleek September 22. I am now strongly compelled to read a book that I very likely would have passed over. Thanks for sharing. There’s a reason that the rules stipulate that they’re not responsible for lost transmissions. you have until September 30 at 5 pm EDT to submit your essays to http://bourdainmediumraw.com/ although it’s not a good idea to wait that long. to allow you to publish this on your site.com . It’s called “last minute overload. 2010 at 8:02 am He had me at Milwaukee…. 2010 at 8:15 am Rather smart of them. cooks.

I’m perfectly comfortable just cooking and learning at my own pace.com .Link Quote Hmmm September 20. I could never hack it and I know it. we don’t need any more restaurants in this country (in my opinion). 2010 at 9:00 am A follow up question while I’m thinking about it: Do you trust people who write about food that DIDN’T go to culinary school? Are we cheating somehow? Link Quote View 2 replies to Nick (Macheesmo)'s comment open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Besides. Great post. I usually tell them to take a hike. 2010 at 8:59 am People always tell me I should become a chef. Link Quote Nick (Macheesmo) September 20. We need a home-cooking revival. 2010 at 11:12 pm hmmm – chiropractor might be another “c” word…… Link Quote Nick (Macheesmo) September 20.

Just brilliant. I’m usually not shy about answering truthfully: I have no interest in it. 2010 at 12:56 pm Amen. he’s going to be pretty useless as a chef. Link Quote View 2 replies to Patrick R's comment Krista September 20.com . open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.Patrick R September 20. But. Nick. I feel I’m a competent and ambitious home cook. but at this point in my life (29. and got a pretty decent gig. I always found that interesting. 2010 at 9:01 am Wow. and I can’t echo enough how important it is to “get out there” and travel as far and as wide as you can. married. Link Quote Dan September 20. Ages ago. a buddy of mine graduated culinary school. and this is one of his best pieces yet. maybe. Have always loved his honesty and candor. and how they reconcile those differences. home-owning) it’s just not happening anymore — and I’m totally okay with that. 2010 at 9:10 am Fascinating piece. There was a time when I daydreamed about it. I’m pretty sure I would be miserable working in a professional kitchen. and people like to flatter me by asking when I’ll be opening a restaurant. one of the gnarled elders of the kitchen told him that if he didn’t travel to learn the difference between what it is people in different cultures want to eat as opposed to what they have to eat. Thanks so much for sharing.

You can only make more money. I am developing skills that I can utilize outside of one day opening a restaurant. but now I can afford them (and then some). I have an excellent job. The bottom line is: restuarants are for eating at.Link Quote Thomas September 20. Another works at L2. Success is not scalable in hospitality. and has many more options (even more then the promotional videos for the CIA would suggest if I stayed on the hospitality career path). I too consider fools. I moved to the FOH immediately and never cooked professionaly another day in my life. not working in. I work in Healthcare putting my hospitality skills to good use. My student loans persist. etc. I have some friends who are still behind the stove here in NYC. These individuals. One buddy went to El Bulli for a season. DB. I consider them all fools. My future is bright. another went to Robuchon in Vegas. Many of my classmates went on to very successful FOH positions as well: Oceana. by doing more work. excellent benefits and excellent pay. I fell prey to the issues he speaks of in this chapter: graduated to an $11/hour job with $500/month student loans. 2010 at 9:18 am I met Tony at the CIA when I was a student. Link Quote Stecky September 20. 2010 at 11:36 am Fools! Fools! Fools! open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Frankies. and another still is almost-chef at a Danny Meyer place.com .

Link Quote John September 20. Link Quote Martha September 21. other people make their choices. how can you eat at a restaurant with no one working there? That is one stupid piece of advice. You sound like a fool. who the fuck do you think is working there? Elitist idiot. 2010 at 5:40 am Your exactly the type of weakling Bourdain refers to. Link Quote Solution September 22. 2010 at 12:36 pm Thanks for telling many people that read this blog that they are irrelevant. Very few things worth doing involve security.. 2010 at 1:54 am I have to agree.Listen to you. You make your choice.com . 2010 at 2:52 pm Do you want a medal or a chest to pin it on? One man’s fool is anothers sushi! Link Quote Jeddrick September 22. If restaurants are just for eating at. There’s more to life than security. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.

2010 at 9:55 am Just one small part of a great read.Maybe yer just mad cause you couldn’t stick it out. Your opinion is absurd.com .lol Link Quote Jd September 24. I really enjoyed the book. inequity and futility. probable lack of benefits. I’m sure you’ll get some world-class training at the hospital though. But 1 month away from 34 and a private chef? Oh dear ha ha. As long as you enjoy what you do that’s all that matters. Good job I’m not infatuated with money though. the low pay. lots of fun!) Link Quote open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. 2010 at 12:50 pm Healthcare isn’t for everyone either. the never-ending stress and melodrama. the mad pace. Link Quote James September 20. I know a lot of nurses that are stressed out and depressed from the demand of hospital life. the cuts and burns and damage to body and brain—the lack of anything resembling normal hours or a normal personal life?’ >>>> Yes. (I also entered the essay contest mentioned above. Link Quote rockandroller September 20. 2010 at 9:35 am Harsh/ But true ‘Are you the type of person who likes the searing heat.

So I too consider myself an Enthusiastic Hobbyist. Talented amateur at best. even having devoured Ratio/Elements of Cooking/Making/Reach/Soul and then onto McGee. Still. I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship to Culinary school.Bob September 20. Enthusiastic hobbyist is closer to the mark. I’ve no illusions about changing careers or mistaking myself as a chef. Link Quote Mantonat September 20. 2010 at 10:35 am this was a really timely article for me. Thinking about it now. 2010 at 1:57 am I agree with you. I read just about all of Anthony Bourdain’s books and was afraid to come to the conclusion that I am right now. Link Quote corey September 20. but I am glad that I did come to it before it was too late.” Bourdain’s dash of cold water in the face is refreshing.com . It’s rare that you’ll be both. I realise that I enjoy cooking as a hobby rather than a career because working in the kitchen and putting up with all of the shouting and shit took the LOVE out of cooking for me. 2010 at 3:24 pm …and it is most frequent that you will be neither. Link Quote Jeddrick September 22. i’ve been a graphic artist and IT open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. 2010 at 10:15 am An instructor once said. “You can be job happy or money happy.

just to keep that feeling going. and that combined with the toll night shifts and low wages were taking on my marriage. started dumbing down the food. if nothing else. making $10-12/hour for the next few years when the wife and i are considering starting a family isn’t too appealing. i opted to get out and go back to having nights off.com . i still think i need to be in the kitchen and to work with food though to maintain my sanity. i don’t like the “normal” lifestyle and would much rather be in a kitchen full of miscreants listening to metal and butchering pig heads. it was daunting and one of the most challenging things i’ve ever done. i’m going to try to keep on staging around town maybe once a month or so. i wish i had started a little younger. I’ve done almost the exact thing you describe. truly loved it. after about 6 months things got a little sour. i truly. they let go of the head chef (basically for having food that was “too complicated”). in Chicago no less. 2010 at 12:01 pm Hey. and a very respectable place at that. health insurance and being able to pay my bills on time. however. it was the hardest i’d ever worked in my life but i’d also never been so happy at a job. i got offered a job at the first place i tried.most of my adult life. We should get together sometime over a beer and talk about trading open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. i’m not entirely happy with my decision. but alas. but i don’t think at my age (29) and marital status i could sustain that lifestyle. but i freaking loved it. it’s like a drug! need to chase that culinary dragon… Link Quote Matthew September 20. and after being laid off last december i decided to give cooking a try. Corey. i skipped school and used my unemployment checks as an excuse to try staging around town (Chicago) at different restaurants.

The kitchen life can be very addicting. Link Quote View the reply to ChefMI6's comment open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. And I love blackbird and publican Link Quote Valerie September 20. and instructors are still using technique from the dark ages.office work for the fry station. Now I live vicariously through books and blogs: I love it. 2010 at 9:01 pm There is some great advice here on the school of hard knocks in the kitchen. Link Quote Jd September 24. 2010 at 2:24 pm That’s the mentality that a lot of people don’t understand. But keep staging once in a while. rare. Trust me. Link Quote ChefMI6 September 20. and my feet don’t hurt. Not every restaurant kitchen has psycho’s in it. and a great schedule still cooking. very rewarding.com . I’ve just been fortunate now to make a decent salary. In the end its experience and passion and desire that count. I’ve done it for 20 years. 2010 at 11:10 am Making of a Chef convinced me not to go to culinary school. free benefits. I visited an unnamed Culinary School in the northeast part of the united states (not CIA) not only do they charge through the nose but the equipment and facilities are circa 1983.

Forme of Cury September 20. I got the life I wanted instead of spending tens of thousands on one I’d hate. here you go: http://bit. and I always say no way. Link Quote Serene September 20. Link Quote Tuscan Foodie in America September 20. And I wrote a post about the pros and cons of culinary school. 2010 at 11:29 am My friends and spouse have inquired whether or not I should go to culinary school.” So if anyone wants the behind-the-scenes story from someone who has attended culinary school. for many of the reasons Tony listed. I have bought the book immediately after reading this… Link Quote Liz @ Butter and Onions September 20. I already work in the food industry. 2010 at 11:11 am I am a recovering culinary school student (finished my externship last year). but not a restaurant.com . and because I followed it (got a catering job shortly after high school to see if I wanted to do restaurant work — I didn’t).ly/9cRQpN Whatever you decided. called “Should I go to culinary school from someone who has been. 2010 at 11:16 am Absolutely phenomenal reading. best of luck to you. 2010 at 11:14 am Excellent advice. I already open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.

Link Quote Carri September 20. 2010 at 11:39 am I feel I should also state that my husband often refers to Anthony Bourdain as “my boyfriend. I am done.com . I do love to cook. don’t do it. 2010 at 7:54 pm I’m a bit confused. After 5 years of it. Seriously. Link Quote open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. 2010 at 5:31 pm Oh. in some masochistic way. Is Bourdain your boyfriend or his? Either way it could be a rather kinky sort of fun. it’s fun alright.stand on my feet all the time and lift heavy things and do a lot of repetitive motion. but I have no desire to be a chef. If you think it would be fun.” Link Quote Cali September 21. I feel the same way about people who think it would be FUN to open a restaurant. If it weren’t fun. Link Quote Brooke@foodwoolf September 20. many of us wouldn’t be here! Link Quote Liz @ Butter and Onions September 20. just the super hard kind. 2010 at 11:29 am This is great advice.

but am offended by one phrase: “Unless you’re planning on becoming a pastry chef…” It’s both demeaning and untrue (in context). sometimes up and down stairs. I’d say enthusiastic home cooks should think one thousand times… Link Quote Sara Adams September 21. Not to mention stirring 10-liter batches of pastry cream and carrying the 60-quart mixer bowl. 20kilo boxes of chocolate. even as a baker. that. and stacks of sheet pans. All that. I lift 50-lb. though. So. 2010 at 4:16 am Amen to that! Baker and pastry maker here. Whatever happened to “Never get in a fight with a baker?” Link Quote Paola September 21. and it’s no piece of cake (ha!) even not counting the early hours (which is a whole another chapter…) It’s true. wholeheartedly agreeing with AB. and never have I thought that it would be acceptable to be fat and out of shape. 2010 at 5:34 pm right on! open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.Camille September 20. bags of flour and sugar. In the course of my day.com . I would think it twenty times before accepting to move to the restaurant business. I’ve been working as a pastry chef (mostly in bakeries/pastry shops) for seven years. plus a typical day involves about 4 miles of walking. 2010 at 11:48 am I agree with the grand majority of this piece.

Link Quote Joel September 20. It did supply me with a great deal of respect for all those with the dedication and love to work their way from the scalding burns of the dishwasher.Link Quote Maven September 20. but knew a long time ago that I wasn’t a lifer.com . trying to avoid sliding into the stove top when running to open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. 2010 at 11:54 am My son started in the dish pit of a busy restaurant when he was 15 and worked his way up to cooking by the time he was 17. 2010 at 12:01 pm Where was the photo taken? Link Quote ruhlman September 20. 2010 at 12:06 pm I love to cook. I wondered if he might want to continue after highschool but the experience apparently cured him of any further desire to become a chef. 2010 at 10:03 pm chinatown Link Quote Chris September 20. A dishwashing job at a mid-scale restaurant long before I was really into cooking was a lesson learned early. Bourdain is always a great read but I particularly like this because it provides a hearty serving of reality for would be chefs with stars in their eyes.

even hospitals.com . right here online. It’s enough for an interested. because it looked like too much work and too much flac from inside and outside the kitchen. curious outsider and home cook. but in different ways. and all places are different. and scary! I never had a notion to even be a waitress when I was going to school. like yourself and others. 2010 at 1:23 pm I am one of those chefs who worked in all types of kitchens. country clubs. and has enhanced my skills plenty. including the hotels. and leaving at night covered in burnt fish skin and filled with hope that my fingerprints would eventually grow back. I lasted 21 years in the restaurant biz! open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. The hands on work proved successful.dishwasher. but I did admire them for continuing to grind it out in 21+ day stretches. no. Did I always put all my cards in gaining the respect from the restaurant four star chefs. and no insurance. I too went to culinary school. where you worked 5-6 days a week and went to “school” 1 day a week. Link Quote Cajun Chef Ryan September 20. And there is a certain level of respect with each. trying to avoid sliding into the stove top when running to grab dirty pans. but ours was an apprenticeship. 2010 at 12:09 pm Excellent read. God bless them one and all! I’m learning more than I ever imagined possible from industry professionals. I thank you all for what you share with the rest of us. 12 hour days. Viewing an open kitchen from the dining room told me all I needed to know about the stress of cooking at a restaurant. But I love that there are those who thrive under the challanges they face in that the business. as well. Link Quote Susan September 20.

informed. grow up. Link Quote Andra@FrenchPressMemos September 20. Bourdain’s writing is stellar. entertaining. but. Do a little linguistic research before getting your knickers in a twist.well-thought-out. He may wash his hands before going into the kitchen – but he should have his mouth washed out with soap. and honest. you’ve never worked in one). the word “fuck” has a rich and extremely long history in English. by most accounts. That honesty includes language that may seem inappropriate to some. Also. 2010 at 3:07 pm I have to disagree. 2010 at 1:33 pm If the frequent use of the terms “fucking” “fucked up” etc. This isn’t Sunday school. it simply fits perfectly into his message.Bon appetit! CCR =:~) Link Quote Fucked Up September 20. is any literary indication then this is a completely fucked up commentary on the use of the English language. Link Quote open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.com . Surely the adults reading the book can deal with it without getting the vapors (and if you think there isn’t swearing in kitchens. heavens. Link Quote lq September 20. 2010 at 9:21 pm Oh.

2010 at 1:38 pm I was. It was that book that made me want to get a more intimate feel for working in “The Life”. Link Quote Michael McCullen September 21. as AB puts it. that helped me make my decisions about discontinuing the pursuit. Ironically. He speaks the truth. 2010 at 11:11 am If you don’t like the language used. While it had only been a few months. Unvarnished. I of course grabbed it right away. the chef suggested I read Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential during a meal I was having there (prior to interning). I’ve long had the desire to open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. When I saw Medium Raw come out. at 45 (ugh ) smack in the middle of working for free at a local restaurant. Period. And it was this chapter. earning power. I wasn’t concerned about the physical aspects of the work. but started looking at the finances. Like many.com . 2010 at 2:37 am or you should just shut the fuck up.View the reply to lq's comment edward fortyhands September 21. If you can’t take it. etc. Link Quote James D Kirk September 20. People in kitchens swear. posted here. I had befriended the chef/owner and he allowed me to work in his (extremely) small kitchen (for no pay. don’t fucking read it. Never read Tony. just dinner). when I read Medium Raw. you don’t belong. it is one of the few outlets still available that is legal and harms noone but those of tender sensibilities.

go to culinary school. Almost done with Making of a Chef right now. And I don’t know that I’d have ever felt the same way about life in the kitchen. and through it all have learned a greater appreciation of what is plated for me when I do go out to eat. Personally. Link Quote Chris September 20. Honest enough that the struggle open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Now. Some time next year I plan to start touring the country bringing in depth articles and video segments to my website that reinforces how incredible and yummy local foods can be cooked and enjoyed. 2010 at 2:18 pm I worked my way up from dish washing to line cook and worked in a bunch of places over the years. however. Northern Italian to French to House of Ribs BBQ to tourist seafood menus. I’m content with simply learning on my own (I read a ton of food related books. in fact. This concept I’m very passionate about. There is NO way at 42 that I could be doing that today. blacking out in August smaking my head on the line in 130F temps with the head chef shoving me away from the fryers. Anthony Bourdain is really who I have to thank for that. learn more about food. It felt like I was back in the kitchen again. I’m hoping to take this appreciation for the extremely hard work and sacrifice restaurant folks make and combine it with a desire to bring more attention to locally grown and produced foods. Reading Kitchen Confidential.) I do a lot of cooking at home. Medium Raw was a good read as well.com . it was _so_spot_ on it actually made me miss the business at times. and possibly become a great chef. drinking too much.

lousy supplies etc. with the possible exception of Typhoid Mary which I have yet to get a copy of. I still miss it but I’m no fool. Link Quote Emilie September 20. 2010 at 10:22 pm Like you. It was what it was — hot. I contemplated culinary school but refused to settle for less than the CIA and couldn’t afford that. family and the reality of leaving The Biz behind really hit home. The most interesting places to work have the most grueling conditions. I’d rather hate my job in an air conditioned office. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. crazy. I worked in kitchens for many years and read KC with nostalgia. corp cafeterias etc. I’ve talked so many people out of culinary school over the years and it’s essentially what is outlined here in this snippet. places someone with a love for cooking would just hate anyway. comfortable kitchens are just jobs. cramped lines.. Bad ventilation. Maybe not as ‘exciting’ as Kitchen Confidential was. So at age 34 i got out.. drug-riddled and more fun than anything else I ever did.com . I basically tell people to go burn themselves for a year in a kitchen first and then decide if they want to blow the money on school. “Medium Raw” is my favorite book of his to date. but as a post-script to it.. 2010 at 2:49 pm Tony is truly a great and talented writer.with middle-agedom. I can attest to AB’s description of The Life. hospitals. The survivable. Link Quote Rhonda September 20. the honesty hits home. Chris.

for money. I missed that book and I still do. 2010 at 3:09 pm The wisdom of Anthony’s words aplies to restaurants and many many other fields as well. 2010 at 2:56 pm Thanks. Now I’ve got to get the book and read the rest! I find cooking fun. 2010 at 3:07 pm Medium Raw is Tony’s best writing yet and this piece is a perfect example of why. 2010 at 3:04 pm I read this book cover to cover and was so sad the day I hit the last page. But doing it full time. that way. has never sounded appealing. Link Quote Natalie Sztern September 20. fulfilling and I really enjoy it. Link Quote luis September 20. Delighted to hear there’ll be a new issue out. It’s a lot like sex. Both Making of a Chef and Soul of a Chef are two of my other top cooking-related reads.com . It was a fantastic read. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. For aspiring cooks. ones that I have gifted to many and books that informed my cooking.Link Quote dharmagal September 20. how do you write a better chapter than this one? Link Quote Betsy September 20.

2010 at 3:24 pm Beautiful execution as always and a very real and raw take on the reality of what working in kitchens is really like.. Off to get this book. Link Quote Natalie Sztern September 20. Folks that do this develop serious colesterol and heart disease. freshness and healthines. You need to learn to like food that is healthy and fresh and screw the presentation thing. Although they may win on flavor due to sugar fat salt overkill.com . The thing Rhulman has taught me is to cook great food with the best ingredients and when I do 90% of the restaurants out there I can afford can not compare with my food in quality.adventure etc….I recently wrote a letter to my nephew upon his graduating high school and starting his college career saying much of what Tony rants about but applied to the specific career choices down to working in goverment vs working for private industry. Link Quote Elizabeth September 20. You can seriously affect your health and your longevity by eating out frequently. Then I advised him to consider the family strength (where his family makes their living from…) so he can have the support needed as he runs into the tough spots…Then and only then he is ready to choose his career path. Marriage and family vs. I concluded that he must FIRST choose the life he wants to lead. that’s first. 2010 at 3:30 pm The unsung heros are always behind the scenes…what I know best is open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.

com .when you go behind stage at any major theater be it Broadway or Toronto or Chicago…the beauty in front is the exact opposite in back…you can’t find more dirt. and the first year of college.theater – this because it is what my daughter does best: being an actor…. 2010 at 4:17 pm When in high school.believe me the John Lithgow’s and the Nathan Lanes or David Hyde Pierce’s don’t get the star treatment behind the curtains – and you know what…when they are at work they don’t want it. Link Quote mind's MIND September 20. the dingiest of dressing rooms and bathrooms that everyone shares…. A shorter version might not have convinced me. When my daughter announced she was going to acting school I vomited all weekend and kept crying why couldn’t she just want to be a cook. 2010 at 4:02 pm This is more fire for me!!! Thank the both of you! Link Quote Sam September 20. I worked in kitchens. Link Quote Ben Orenstein September 20. where she could have a salary…. more unfinished unglued wood. everything is relative. I open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. 2010 at 3:43 pm To the Harper Collins folks: I just went and ordered this book after reading this excerpt.

com . Sex drugs and alcohal are everywhere and can bring even the most talented to thier knees. I really enjoyed it. and was talking about my future with one of the chef’s. and glad I did. as it felt like a new experience each night.LOVE to cook. It is a great job for the young and single but if you have little or no self control don’t do it. But that life is not for me. so I was leaning towards going to culinary school. I like normal sleep patterns. 2010 at 4:53 pm All of Mr. but also considered going into engineering or computer stuff. you could almost celebrate. Mr Ruhlman. you have my favourite food blog at the moment… I just wish we had a CSA in our ‘hood Link Quote open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. and having a fairly normal family life. I can see the look in a chef’s eyes on TV when people sample and enjoy his/her work. And I can still cook. I’m living on the other side. Now. He was right. The weird hours. I still get the day-dreams about opening a restaurant. he kinda looked at me funny. I think my wife married me because I was willing to do all the cooking But really. By the way. and having a fairly sure job. and all the glory and pride that comes with it. and cursing in the kitchen never really bothered me. almost 30. As nasty as some of the jobs were. In fact. As time went by. and pretty much told me I was an idiot if I went to culinary school instead of engineering. Link Quote Mike September 20. I cooked but got out before I had any delusions of grandeur. hard work. AB is right on here. Bourdain’s writing is stellar. and at the end of the day.

In addition. 2010 at 6:41 pm Bourdain has the right message but he’s the wrong messenger for the people who would listen to him. I’m open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. classes on technique (knife skills. A better messenger is Daniel Boulud. They offer stand-alone classes in specific cuisines (French. It says in a much firmer.com . He wrote a book called Letters to a Young Chef a few years back. not a warning. there are two places – Cook Street and Mise en Place – that offer hands-on cooking classes. Italian. and series classes as well. I recommend it to all the young bucks out there. but I still want to cook like one! Is there anywhere that offers classes for yuppies that just want to be able to throw a fantastic dinner party for friends and family? There seem to be places around me that will let me watch a pro chef cook some fancy food. Link Quote billb September 20. As has been said. in addition to taking the well-stated advice above.). many of them led by professional chefs from area restaurants. people will take his words as a challenge. but I want a hands-on experience. Link Quote Mantonat September 21. Bourdain is saying here. 2010 at 7:10 pm I’ve never wanted to be a professional chef (especially after reading Ruhlman and Bourdain’s books). more fatherly and constructive tone what Mr. Cook Street offers actual tuitionbased curricula for those willing to drop some serious money. bread making). etc.JW September 20. 2010 at 2:12 pm Where do you live? In Denver.

com . a ’91 CIA grad. maybe then can work at the Food Network (sarcasm intended!) Link Quote Michael McCullen September 21. For the ones that don’t make it. Those choices have haunted me. and now. Link Quote View the reply to Mantonat's comment brianna hoffner September 20. I think Michael’s book also gave a very clear objective view of the chef’s life. absolute home run. 2010 at 7:20 pm thanks for the excerpt — went out and immediately bought the iBook version after reading this. is when is Ruth Bourdain’s book coming out Link Quote Randy September 20. I think this should be required reading for everyone thinking of this lifestyle…and it is a lifestyle. I’d bet most larger cities have similar programs. what i REALLY want to know. I’m 43. I made awful choices coming out of school. 2010 at 9:54 pm I think Tony sometimes loves the sound of his own voice. it’s probably a pretty good thing. but this is one time where he hit it right over the fence.guessing they are what Bourdain considers as the “not worth the money” kind of school. Tony just described my life. and I have skills. because I needed to get paid. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. 2010 at 11:31 am Amen. but for a serious amateur with a few extra bucks.

We called in Cash In Advance back in the day. and hating every minute of my existence. I wouldn’t have the family that I have now. otherwise I would be in a 12 step from what the Life did to me and make no mistake.because I know that I have more talent than my resume speaks to. living in a sewer and being devastatingly poor. and where I ended up. and says. never worked in a top flight kitchen. I am a lifer. It was an amazing two years in my life. The CHOICES you make when you get out. both harder and easier than I had thought it would be. Two roads diverging in a yellow wood.thanks. make all the difference. I was far more advanced than many of my fellow students who looked to me for help and explanations when they hit a rough patch. and it remains the same today. I never traveled in Europe. country club. my wife and my daughter. so I knew what I was getting into. this is not what you wan’t for a life if you like the idea of children. the blood. If you can afford it. questioning my existence. But for me. family. I am now unemployed. People ask me all the time. A few of the chefs will be honest with you and tell you. and any Chef running any kind of decent restaurant looking at my resume sees CIA. You’ll never see them. we’ll call you. sweat and tears shed along the way to where I am now? open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. I have a litany of health problems. even working in the shitty places I put myself into. I chose the hotel. and eventually ended up in corporate chain restaurants churning out awful food that I detested. was going to school worth it? I can’t answer them in a yes or a no. or finesse. yeah. or butchery. and school put me on the path to those things. and wondering what happened. and the benefits and the cushiness of it. that I could do it over. no insurance. I never got hooked on Coke or Heroin. I’m allergic to alcohoI. the sacrifices I made. I knew nothing of chemistry or wine. holidays spent with loved ones.com . I worked in Hiltons for 5 years before school. golf resort life. they’ll take you. I wish for the life of me. Unlike Tony. Now. instead of going to NY. if you will. It would have been better than what I chose.. no paycheck. and make a 30 yolk hollandaise with my eyes closed. I just smoked a lot of weed. I am unemployable. I could rattle a pan.

Anthony and Micheal keep pushing our buttons! Bravo! Always your truth! Love it. MI and you both know how much that school rocks. This is one path. From Dan Hugelier to Brian Polcyn to teach her a few things. what a world. Now that rocks. because there are very few Thomas Keller’s and Ferran Adria’s in the world. My niece is going to school at Schoolcraft in Livonnia. suffering and disillusion. Link Quote ruhlman September 20. super athletic and about to go into debt for culinary school. 2010 at 10:08 pm thanks for these amazing comments. One thing that is for sure. 2010 at 10:21 pm I grew up in a multi-generational family restaurant business and know first hand how complicated the business is.com . there are many different types of jobs in the food industry. passionate. Link Quote Ken Albala September 20.Absolutely not. I’m not. Don’t go to school unless you are ready to commit 30 years of your life to pain. You are likely not one of them. It will be all paid for by the “Kalamazoo Promise”. I did send the article to him to “fuck with his head” a little. My son is 23yr. 2010 at 10:52 pm open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Link Quote Elizabeth September 20.

I hate to say this. Huge costs. 2010 at 2:25 pm I had a choice early on too and I chose to get away from the professional kitchen. as you say.com . And if it’s not Ivy. but I wouldn’t want them back. but I could substitute most of what he says with the story of anyone seeking higher education. bad choices. The thing the young need to do early on is decide what type of life they want to live and what sort of talents and support system they have and take their best shot. I don’t have trouble keeping up with my younger peers. Any publishers listening? Link Quote luis September 21. I totally agree with you. even if modestly. my life at that time would have involved illegal substance. I may not be the Thomas Keller of my profession (closer to the aging hack that Bourdain claimed to be). 2010 at 7:01 am Exactly. If I were open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. little payback. but I don’t have physical health problems. But sucess is NOT guaranteed by any means. I have health insurance and retirement savings. long hours in the trenches. The difference is now. I could write a much scarier Academic Confidential and reveal far more death and destruction and use the f word with much more panache too. it’s part time adjunct at McU for you. I have fond memories of my restaurant jobs. Drugs and sex and serious perversion. and odd hours even without the restaurant jobs. and I have a fairly good inkling that my salary can continue to rise. Link Quote View the reply to luis's comment Mantonat September 21. Trust me. But.

There will be people who aspire to be stars. Link Quote open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.com . this really isn’t the case. The glamour side of being a chef has the same attraction now that the music and movie businesses have always had.still cooking at my age. but the benefits to those of us who don’t aim for celebrity are the things well-known. heat and stress are not. respected chefs have championed since Julia Child’s first TV lesson: knowledge of good technique. access to great ingredients and desire to confidently explore culinary traditions different from the ones we grew up with. be talented. so would I. a dead-end job. Now for many reasons. cooking is a prayer. I would probably have none of those things but I might have a bad back.” I never thought of it that way before. Being a home cook for people I love is bliss — chaos. and never have anything to show for it but memories. I left and never wanted to work in a restaurant again. music. Over the years I wondered if I missed out. A friend told me once. My friends and family would rather eat in my home than just about any restaurant around and truth is. and I’m so grateful that being in the kitchen has always been and is. “For you. Link Quote Sharon September 20. but for most who go to college for professional careers. including the ones Bourdain points out.) where you can toil away. 2010 at 10:59 pm Brilliant. I know I didn’t. etc. a source of nourishment for body and soul instead of a chore. and the prospect of living off a miniscule SS check once I am too old to be of service in the industry. pro sports. work for next to nothing. In my 20s I did as Bourdain suggested and after one day in the insanity. Sure there are other industries where the prospects are similar (acting.

Fresh. Still. 2010 at 9:03 pm I don’t doubt your comment about your fam loving your food is true as the day is long. I can make a wonderful pie full of health and swetness and folks in my family will say it’s crap… never sweet and fat and sugary enough.. I think that Anthony states his case very well that working in the culinary open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Can we get someone to go in and clean up all his fucked up grammar and things? I kept getting distracted by the “whether or not” and the “$12 dollars an hour” and the millions of instances of “planning on” in this excerpt.they could give a…you know what. thanks. healthy and locally grown . I enjoyed it tremendously. But for me the journey to find health and happiness with food is and was a search for something different. My point is that there is a right way to cook and eat and there is a wrong way and it comes down to hearding cats in the kitchen. I could defat a pork roast shoulder and braise it on low heat and crisp it up under the broiler and come up wiith something worth eating but… no one in the fam would compliment me on it. Link Quote Mo_PETE September 20. I am not totally bummed out though because plenty of folks love the way I do cook fish and pizza and other things… even though I don’t have everyone on board just yet. 2010 at 1:28 am I’m very glad that you posted this. 2010 at 11:41 pm Very interesting. Link Quote Felisha Wild September 21. I am resigned to be the last one left standing even though I would rather be the first to go.luis September 21.com .

. most of the folks looked at me to say “ah. I knew then that the commercial kitchen was no place for me. Michael. When I started my campaign to eat & cook with fresh local ingredients. I live on the West Coast for 30+ years & always used fresh local ingredients. for showing all the way to cook & produce a quality product. Now if I only could find some fresh Alaskan red prawns.arts is madness. Doubtful that normal will ever really apply. halibut open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. just that West Coast thing”. 2010 at 5:19 am Wow! My first job was cooking for a chain restaurant back in 1970. For a multitude of sins I ended up back in central OH where I grew up. I will never get to eat his cooking or go to the Far East. 2010 at 5:32 am Ruhlman is wonderful by allowing another chef to use his blog. It was a brutal 6 mos. I’m certainly above that 32 year old mark.com . It can be brutal truth or sarcastic wit. One can rely on his ability to share his perspective with an audience that loves his wit. Thank you. I too am looking for that niche that I can be in and still be considered normal. but his writings & tv shows will get me through the night. Thanks for sharing. My career after college put on a technical expert path. Chef Felisha Wild Link Quote MJ Harbage September 21. Anthony has an incredible ability to go straight to the point & usually with his unique wit. I’m trying hard not to drink the cool-aid. Link Quote MJ Harbage September 21.

I mean still quivering from the boats! Link Quote Salty September 21. I liked the part about the Country clubbers and hotel chefs being looked down upon by the “alpha animals”. you should be a chef or you should start a catering company. Thanks Michael for all! Link Quote Barbara | VinoLuciStyle September 21. Been chefing for over 35 years. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. I have heard on regular occasions. ‘You have got to be kidding. It’s so true. without this article. I’ve been cooking for a very long time (I’m older than you Michael and starting helping in the kitchen in my teens) and love to entertain and feed others. 2010 at 7:55 am As a joyful consumer and ever-happy-in-the-kitchen home body this along with Ruhlman’s and Bourdain’s full library raises my level of appreciation for great cooking yet another bar.& salmon in OH. Without those books. 2010 at 7:29 am Just when I thinkl AB has gone to the dark side he nails one. Link Quote Kleinperson September 21. By fresh. Yeah. Like my cooking. I’ve said. right.’ more times than I can count. Thanks for the validation and I’ll just send the romantics to read this article in the future. For fun.com . 2010 at 8:43 am I’ve enjoyed Kitchen Confidential and will most like buy and read Bourdain’s book.

I’m glad I don’t have to do it any more. 2010 at 10:05 am I worked as a line cook through college and loved it. I worked my way up to saute’ and we were a very tight night group. but the prospect of working the long. with no sick days. It was grueling work. 2010 at 11:00 am I’ve always had the thought of culinary school in the back of my head. but I’m open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Link Quote Wayne September 21. B tells some truths which may be unpopular to the dreamers out there. I bit my tongue when my friend bragged about it … I’m not about to squash anyone’s dreams. rather than burn out and end up jaded and poorer for it. especially as I barely know the girlfriend. I’m already having a hard enough time making ends meet with my degreerequiring desk job! A friend’s girlfriend just started culinary school this month. I made some of my best friends in my entire life. late hours on my feet day in and day out. I’d much rather enjoy the food and appreciate the people who do get into the business. Link Quote Mari September 21.Link Quote Dan September 21.com . It may dash some ambitions or give pause but should be considered a great service to any of those contemplating a formal culinary education . 2010 at 10:10 am I think it great and commendable that Mr. have kept my feet on the ground.

unlikely. Link Quote Chuck Shaw September 21. flakey staff who will rob you blind as soon as look at you. I may break down and read it before then. Link Quote open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Long hours. He’s glorious to read. I’m hoping for her success but hoping it doesn’t turn out to be a mistake. it’s a hot and dangerous place if you don’t know what you’re doing. No thanks. but that seems like an awful amount of debt to rack up when there are cheaper resources out there if you want to learn to cook at home.com . she has a minor disability and has a hard time making it up a small set of stairs by herself. Of course she likes food. Link Quote Leslie September 21. 2010 at 1:09 pm It is interesting that Bourdain still thinks of himself as a chef first. instead of a writer. I completed a local culinary program in San Francisco twenty years ago and as I like to tell people I learned one thing – don’t go into the restaurant business. Running around a kitchen for hours on end seems.honestly wondering why she did it. well. Additionally. 2010 at 11:30 am I bought Tony’s book and was saving it for my trip to Hawaii in November. As for going into the business. I have qualms about her potential in the industry. I luckily got to learn at age 15 about the shittiness of the restaurant business at my father’s restaurant in D’town Cleveland in the mid-70′s.

You know you only have to replace “chef” with “engineer” and CIA with IAR or SAE in this article and you pretty much have the audio industry in a nutshell. uncles. own my own restaurant or be running my own kitchen as a Chef in five years or I would find something else to do. 2010 at 7:04 pm I was 39 when I went to culinary school. Link Quote SBS September 21. I was in a position to make a change and I did. I would. my Father and my Grandfather both talked me out of it. I’m in the music business.Mark September 22. Link Quote Tony Spagnoli (aka: chef4cook) September 21. Chapter 8 aptly titled Lust is beyond inspired.com . Link Quote Chris September 21. 2010 at 6:20 pm While I enjoy cooking immensely. aunts were chefs of one sort or another. when I lost my first career. I knew I had a open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. I made myself a promise that. due to allergic reactions to chemicals of my business. My Mom and Dad were waitress and bartender respectively. 2010 at 1:25 pm I LOVED this book! AB’s writing style is so brutally honest. My Grandfather was a chef. graduate on the deans list (I did) and either. Almost all of my cousins. I had always wanted to cook professionally but. 2010 at 7:46 am It is the same as a retired military man always thinking of himself as a soldier. So.

more to the point. Barring any major health issues. Maybe not as much for the next few days after the excerpt from Tony’s book but proud. Link Quote Rhonda September 21. nevertheless. I think. You are as young as you feel. I love cooking. you dark bastard. Am I as fast as I was? No. does not hold a drivers license and fucked up three marriages because he did not have personal time. He then turns around.Do I regret doing it? No. Marco Pierre White goes into the kitchen at 16 without a formal culinary education and then goes on to become the youngest Chef ever to be awarded 3 Michelin Stars. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. But. I love the atmosphere of working on the line. Cautionary tales aside. Come on Tony! Where is the Disney happy story in you.time element. still have fun doing it. I am very proud to wake up every morning and feed people. in 1999 he gave back the Michelin stars that cost him his life. But. Fast forward 15 years…………. …Like when a young Chef – let’s say. I can still keep up with my boy’s and girl’s and. a person can very well continue far past any assumed age of being useless in a position. In four years I was running my own kitchens.com . I resent it when people assume that. as a Chef. realizes that he never had a personal life. because you reach a certain age you are no longer useful in a given career. cannot read. 2010 at 7:23 pm These comments are fantastic but Tony forgot to include the “Happy Side” of this vocational choice. All of this was accomplished without drugs and alcohol! Then.

. 2010 at 1:10 am I can tell you this is true 100% Except maybe that if you have to pick1 just go apprentice at a great restaurant and skip school altogether. Link Quote Kimber September 21. and doing it wrong can (and sometimes does) kill people. either. These heartfelt stories and realistic revelations should spur a reaction and inspire a choice to go the food route or not. Just remember some kind of wonderful can come from the process and struggle on vocations path and the realizations gained there can lead to pinnacles of success such as Anthony:)) BTW. in words “well-done” rich in flavor with his special ingredients make his reads a pleasure to devour. Doing it right isn’t easy. 2010 at 3:03 am And you should feel proud!!! Feeding people is serious business.cooks. But there are certain nights.Link Quote Cali September 22. It may only be one night in a hundred. I appreciate the effort. while I’ve had good and bad. 2010 at 11:48 pm AB type positive.and all involved in the dining and food service experience.service. Good use of salt. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. special nights when you get it all exactly right. but that “high of perfect service” makes it all worth it. thank you chefs.com . and great food creations you provide! Link Quote Solution September 22.

you can cook. but you mention things that has nothing to do with cooking. either. gets taught how to do prep-work) has backed up 90% of everything I’ve ever read in Bourdain — and taught me UNEQUIVOCALLY that I did not want to do this for a career. indeterminate. “right” depends on your industry. that was a little disappointing to say the least. 2010 at 2:54 pm OK. conservative. undecided. 2010 at 1:49 am You say the kitchen is the last meritocracy. gay. Straight. Not because Tony’s open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. liberal. from dishwasher to “utility” (this means. you’re in.com . 2010 at 10:07 am Seven years working back-of-house. If you can code the right way. in deference to Hubert. Now. guy who does every dirty job plus. yet will hamper the wanna be cook. and vice versa. Sales doesn’t care. game industry people won’t like the enterprise environment.Link Quote Hubert September 22. We don’t care if you’re 10 or 50. Link Quote View the reply to Russ's comment Art September 22. you can sell — or you can’t. That’s not meritocracy. if he’s not a moron.) Link Quote Russ September 22. if you’re 90 lbs or 300 lbs. (Of course. above. there’s also Sales. The last true meritocracy is software. we don’t care. You can code.

Link Quote Jason September 22. When my company eliminated my job. Johnson & Wales had a campus in my hometown of Charleston. I fell in love with the lifestyle. and I will graduate near the top of my class in the Spring. & comprehensive benefits when the economy crashed. I listened to what others thought best for me. and I know I’ll probably never work in any of his “great” kitchens. If I didn’t need student loans to pay living expenses such as rent. Now. We gave it up because I was absolutely. When I was 22 years old. I also don’t care. if I listened to his advice. I’d graduate debt free. with excellent pay. Link Quote Jason September 22. soul shatteringly. I guess not. I. I had the opportunity to go. I can keep up with anyone half my age in the kitchen. I’m also a diabetic. 2010 at 3:10 pm With all due respect to Mr. I have a family. I wouldn’t be following my dream right now. and knew this was what I wanted to do. At the time. happily gave up a secure career.not correct (I’m sure). Bourdain. I’m 36 years old. and my wife beside me. I’m not attending any of his “top 3 schools”. don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I started working in kitchens. retirement accounts. but like a fool. & I’ve regretted it ever since. fucking miserable. & I hated my job. SC. So I missed that opportunity. but because I’d been contemplating a career change. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. I hated my life. 2010 at 3:11 pm If it’s what you’d love to do. and thought cooking might be the direction I’d go. & my financial future.com . we took advantage of a program that would send me to school to pursue my dream. my family.

I want the veg I pulled out of the ground today to be a different expression than the one I’m going to pull out tomorrow. Even at the highest end. Bourdain. I’ve looked at a couple in the Indianapolis area.com . But of course. source. I’m just not interested in being that anal. Bourdain should use his position to build them up. 2010 at 7:15 pm I didn’t go to cooking school because I realized I didn’t want to cook the same thing day-after-day. They’re good enough to let me achieve a dream I thought was lost years ago. Link Quote Art September 22. if you don’t mind me asking. I’m not good enough to say that. Good god! One side of the apple tastes different than the other if you’re paying attention. Link Quote open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. I positively want tomorrows meal to taste different that today’s. Link Quote View the reply to Art's comment Kim Graves September 22. or my health aren’t good enough for Mr. As a pro cook it’s your job to do that. according to this excerpt.I’m sorry if my school. never mind the vagaries of season. or the night before. people want “the dish” to taste exactly like it did the first time they had it. Maybe instead of trying to discourage people. Mr. my age. 2010 at 4:45 pm What school did you attend.

They sure look good to me… Link Quote T September 23. Not in a kitchen’s eyes anyways!) The only thing is that it’s something that I fear I will regret never pursuing (and you know how the saying goes about regretting more the things you did not do than the things you did do). I want to absorb knowledge. I’m no longer considered young. months about whether or not I should give up what I have and go to culinary school. Everyone that I’ve talked to so far has been nothing but supportive of the idea. Not that I want to work in a restaurant kitchen (I already know that I wouldn’t last a day and even if I did I probably wouldn’t enjoy it)... intensive setting with real feedback from pros.. but because I want to learn everything I can in a disciplined. but none of them are in the business so this is some very refreshing insight and provides a good balance to the “Do it while you’re young!” enthusiasm. I’ve found a few ways to start to make cooking a more regular and fun open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. bullshit!. 2010 at 9:06 pm OOh. 2010 at 12:14 am Thank you for posting this! I’ve been mulling for days. And how do you guys feel about the genetically engineered Salmon? I hope Michael Rhulman weighs in on this issue at some point….aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!! I am so NOT worthy! fresh clean crisp veggies from frozen. limp… factory grown crap… That much I think I can do….luis September 22. that does it Kim… I can barelly begin to appreciate fresh and organic from frozen…. weeks. full time.com . (It’s also good to know that at 27.After that all bets are off.

Listening to Anthony Bourdain ‘tell it like it is’ as if he’s the shithead poet laureate is pathetic and insulting. Don’t listen to this guy. hard. 2010 at 2:22 am You gotta be kidding me.part of my life without the risk. Not everyone goes to Culinary School with the intention of becoming a Chef and education of any sort has many life benefits far beyond the skills one open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Link Quote Bon September 23. fat. grueling road with any life you choose. It’s a long. Be who you want to be. simultaneously romanticizing and denouncing it so he can seem both BADASS and WISE. young. I’ve been a chef for nearly a decade now.com . Link Quote baker_bear September 23. 2010 at 9:45 am Thank you for pointing out that the “Emperor” has NO clothes. non-student. thin. And on the subject of school… excellent chefs are just like any other human being who seeks greatness in his or her profession. drugaddicted. Remember that he gets paid lots of money to perpetuate this persona. commitment and potential heartbreak of dreams crushed. Bourdain’s latest book is yet another forum for him to wax philosophical about his drug use and ‘wild’ lifestyle. I’ve dealt with old. what you gain from it and how you implement it is entirely up to you. That was the biggest load of BS I’ve heard in a long while. sober… it really doesn’t matter. rich. poor. and I’ve learned that there is NO definitive guide to who thrives in a kitchen and who doesn’t. it doesn’t matter if you’re Daniel Boulud or Ernest Hemingway. student. Schooling in any facet IS and always WILL BE a personal (and expensive) decision. And they’re looking like mighty good options right now while the battle rages on in my mind.

Mr. Link Quote SlobDog September 23. Perhaps it’s just the difference between the east coast and the west but folks here in san francisco are already sweating on the floors and not trying to create a food resume anyway. The reason that is that people are too afraid to get out of their own way and actually strive to attain that level of success. Food Stylist. Bourdain’s experience is ONE man’s experience and it does NOT have to be your experience.acquires. his comments here I have to disagree with. Someone earlier posted that there can be only so many Thomas Kellers or in the world. Unfortunately. 2010 at 3:31 am Whilst I’m a big fan of AB. He is very bluntly not recommending his life choices for others. We have built a food culture in us that can cook well – hotel – minivan door – or – m-star rated OR in open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. even though he words in a manner that could easily be misconstrued. 2010 at 11:41 am You have to do a lot of sifting to get to the root of his message. Country Club or Personal or Private Chef are all valid career paths. He is absolutely correct about going for the high quality education. Link Quote View the reply to baker_bear's comment Jack September 23. people tend to love him for what he writes at face value. no different from that of Food and Travel television personality. and then following it up by working in the absolute best kitchens that will take you.com . making the most of it.

park ranger or sweating it out in the “back of house” hell! And here I am “retired” in Mexico City after 40 years in the business from Greenwich Village/SoHo to Princeton NJ/ back to SoHo and then here. 2010 at 8:18 am All of it true and applicable to any career choice to be made – either you have the frevor and intense passion or you don’t. Civilization needs more people who simply cook not more returning to conventional jobs worrying about food competitions and show offs. In fact a few people are finding ’boutique’ food as a new way to make a little money and gain notoriety on the street and food blogs. The idea that those in the top don’t respect others is ridiculous. a James Bread House apperance/ first Chef’s Night out midnight party …… And from having “no life” as some “normal” people would put it I look back and find myself nostalgically roaring at some of the things that I’ve lived. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd.our families. A dead end rather than an opening to a new American food culture. Twice two ** New York Time mentions. from New York magazine to New Jersey Life. Link Quote Ruth Alegria September 23. be it office work. Maybe being on FoodTV and living in Manhattan has left AB a bit jaded towards the powers that be – verses good respectful food and what makes a chef special – hotel – apples bees’ or el bulli. Still love the guy! Controversial but should bring us all back to the point – the state of American Food. Get real. I find this opening negative and insulting.com . get honest and appreciate locally crafted food no matter where it came from.

but open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. the young and equally as passionate apprentices that I dissuaded from staying and the ones who listened and did travel and learn and now own their own places…. He says things that we all think but rarely have the guts to say out loud. 2010 at 10:48 am I just love Bourdain’s brutal honesty. Link Quote Brendan September 24.From having Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin as guests. I would try to dissuade them and talk about some of the points Anthony mentions. 2010 at 3:55 pm The great part of Anthony’s genius is in his balls. Having been a former Culinary Arts School instructor. the young crazy Russian sous chef I so loved working with because he knew what he was doing. Donald Sutherland having a few changes made to his dish. having Julia Child sign a cloth napkin when I forgot my book becuse I’d been working with Didier Rosada all night. Now what do I do? I tell my friends I’m devoted to just eating …. as well as I can in as many GOOD restaurants as I can knowing I don’t have to do it! Link Quote Paolita September 24.com . I have often felt that many of my students would never last beyond a year in the industry. Link Quote Andy September 25. Maya Angelou asking me please for a table. 2010 at 2:37 pm Hmmm…sounds a lot like law school.

If you have time to waste. Jacques Maximim. When I told my chef. Thanks for sharing this chapter. I am not bitter about my career in the food business as some people I read in these postings. Anthony is an amazing writer and I can hardly wait to read his latest contribution. He told me at the time that I was going open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Gaston Lenotre as well as Wittamer in Brussels. I was a young and ambitious pastry chef and although I never became as famous as another Roger Verge alumni. I feel he missed a huge point in not mentioning the Apprenticeship option. His advice to new graduates is almost word for word the same I gave my new graduates. 2010 at 6:40 pm As much as I appreciate Chef Bourdain’s candor about his experience and feedback on Culinary Schools throughout this country.sometimes the only way for people to learn is to make the hard and costly mistake. feel free to Google my name and see what comes up. We all have to deal with our choices and decisions and with what life throws at you on your way up and down. Link Quote Alain September 25. My name is Alain Braux and I am a Certified Executive Pastry Chef.com . a Certified Master Baker and have a degree in Holistic Nutrition and am Macrobiotic counselor. Mark Debailleul (the youngest master pastry chef at the time) that I accepted a job in New York city. A little background on me: I am one of these European chefs that came to a food-deserted America in the late 70s. Some heeded the advice and their career paths have grown accordingly. Daniel Boulud. I came from and trained in such houses as Roger Verge. he dishoned me and refused to talk to me for the next 20 years.

Who said a good chef makes a good businessman? All through my career. I never stayed in the restaurant business long enough to make a name for myself the way younger pastry chefs do now. While in school.00 an hour they earn when they come out. one thing that kept on infuriating me was the undue influence of the Culinary Schools in this country. FL. I folded my business. no benefits without Holidays and vacation time. my wife and I opened our own shop called Amandine French Bakery and Cafe. Although I worked as an executive pastry chef in some of the finest establishments at the time. They seem to have a lock on “training” the up and coming new generation of chefs. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. At the time. I used to work for one. Sarasota. It is a huge business and a highly profitable one at that.00 to $10. they are lied to and told that when they come out. Forget about pastry chefs. After working in New York. The only authentic French shop like that in Austin at the time.to waste my talent and in a way. he was right. It was a hard decision but I did not have a choice. The Food Network did not even exist then. After 10 years of hard work and untold frustrations (mostly caused by unqualified help). Every time a mom would approach me and told me her son/daughter wanted to go to culinary school I would ask her to send them to me before they made their decision. TX. What they don’t tell you is that there are millions of pour souls out there straddled with huge student loan they cannot afford to pay back on the $8. It is not only a big lie but a disgusting way to take advantage of poor (literally) suckers that believe everything they see on the Food Channel. European chefs were only starting to make their mark on the American culinary landscape.com . My foot! (sorry but my French is not as colorful as Tony’s). they will make tons of money. By then I was married and had a child and family to support. I know. No more of these crazy hours. That came only a few years later… too late for me. Austin. Houston (for Lenotre).

They’d been told they would make this or that amount of money. I decided to further my pastry education and started to seek out reputable chefs and learn from them for almost nothing for another 10 years. You get to learn what the REAL LIFE in the kitchen is and are getting paid while doing it. a good recommendation. after I passed my apprenticeship exam in Nice. if you’ve done a good job with that chef. Believe me I know for two reasons: when I had my own business a lot of applicants came to my door to work for me. some of them became professionals and open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. When you have to pay back big loans you make bad choices based on MONEY. I also know because I was a pastry/baking instructor in one of these schools (needed to get a job at the time) and as hard as I tried to teach my students as much as I knew. What a deal! You come out with real kitchen experience and.com . Bull! Any boss or chef worth it’s salt know very well that the VAST majority of culinary student are worth NOTHING.What I would tell them is “don’t go waste your time and your money in this place. Usually not a good combination. From then on you could make real money without having to pay back enormous loans or decide to further you kitchen education by working for even more knowledgeable chefs up the ladder. I never lied to them and drove them hard. But I did not care. I only had 6 months to prepare them for the real world of production. and I did not need to earn a lot at the time. France. How can anyone expect to learn how to be productive in the real world of cooking or baking when all they have been taught is how to do ONE thing ONCE and then move on because there is so much to cover. You’d be better off finding a good and reputable chef and sign an apprenticeship contract with him/her for 2-3 years. Personally. I loved my job. You will take any job that pays a decent amount because you have to pay your bills and your loans. I learned a lot. One of two things would happen: they could find out really fast how hard this work is and quit right away or love it and found a new career with their eyes wide open. Some of them quit.

After I lost my business. I believe that nutrition is one of the future of this country’s food business. So I did odd jobs for a while while I started to study nutrition. What I believe needs to be done in this country is what has existed in Europe for centuries. High carbohydrates and so on. I know because I was one of these chefs. Sugar. Since I have started working there I have been more and more involved with the health aspect of food and how it can help people with food allergies to open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. I am now lucky to have found a job as a chef and nutritherapist (see my web site) at a small chain of alternative pharmacies in Austin. They control this industry and not enough is done on the local or state level to encourage apprenticeship. I do feel sorry for all these kids that could have but don’t have a chance at learn our beautiful and creative trade. We chefs are NOT trained in nutrition and that is why this country is slowly killing itself through malnutrition. What also needs to be done is to pry the culinary/pastry education from the greedy hands of these culinary schools’ CEOs. which happened to be the head of the largest culinary schools in this country. the kind that kills Western people by stuffing them with the WRONG kind of food: Fats. a decent apprenticeship program supported by chefs willing to teach eager kids that do not have the money to spend on a wasteful Culinary School. Not the kind that kills famished children in Africa and India. I was completely burned out and wanted nothing to do with food production.com .I am proud of them but they still have to pay off their loans. TX. Not having money does not mean you are not talented or eager to learn Most likely you will work HARDER because you know how tough it is to be poor and you want to succeed even more than some kid whose parents are paying for school and don’t care that much. When a group of pastry chefs within the American Culinary Federation tried to create such program they were shut down by the head honchos of the ACF.

Alain Link Quote pgym September 26. Link Quote open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Sincerely. I hope my few words start a healthy discussion on the merit of an serious apprenticeship program in this country and the importance of thinking of food as a healing element of our life. he’s addressing the question of whether a person who is considering a career as a chef should go to a culinary school. not just to stuff our faces. 2010 at 4:56 pm All you have to do if you can’t cut it as a chef is open up a food truck nowadays and put some fancy logos on it with catchy internet memes as your brand or slogan. but apparently you missed the point of AB’s post. I am about to self publish my second book Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food to help people with gluten and dairy allergies as well as kids with Autism.com . I have already written one book on How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food to help people to lower their cholesterol without the help of toxic drugs. Link Quote xericx September 27. The reason he did not mention apprenticeship is because he is NOT laying out the range of educational options for would-be chefs. 2010 at 4:31 pm Hate to say it.feel better and healthier. Alain.

Very human. He possesses a special humorous cynicism (or is it?) that only few people master well or even understand. living hard lives because that’s all they can/know/want to do.Jamie September 30. 2010 at 5:17 pm I read this when the book came out and I have the same reaction now as then: you can apply this to every and any career. Vastly appealing. Good advice is good advice. He’s very good at delivering no bullshit. Sure. 2010 at 3:47 pm Anthony Bourdain ‘s books and tv shows are very entertaining. open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. It’s the same admiration and respect I hold for soldiers or cops. can produce something so convenient.com . Link Quote Jeroen October 1. the food snob or whatever… I see parallels with myself and my profession (software) but with many others too but nothing is as satisfying as eating a great meal (well . the gourmet. honest opinion with balls. there’s spectacularly good and brutally honest advice there for nascent chefs. Plus the rich cultural aspect of food and beverages worldwide. thought provoking and inspiring. but it applies just as well to my own career field (science). wonderful and sometimes even an experience of a lifetime for us : the consumer. A unique and rare personality. I hold a deep respect for an industry that provides a world for the underdogs of society or anybody who feels at home with a passion for food. maybe preparing one). satisfying. To me he represents the dark romanticism of this walk of life (gastronomy) that I find alluring and inspiring.

This is what makes it so special to me. All Rights Reserved. sometimes). open in browser PRO version Are you a developer? Try out the HTML to PDF API pdfcrowd. Beautiful life (for everybody who is lucky enough to enjoy good food regularly). Hard life (for the people who produce. I guess I should count myself lucky but sometimes it does feel like I missed my true call.com . Chapeau! Link Quote Trackbacks Show trackbacks Copyright © 2012. I would and could go into foodservice/gastronomy if I were younger and hadn’t “wasted” my life on Link Quote Jeroen October 1. food gives us life… Good life (a nice meal with nice people). 2010 at 3:51 pm … slaving away in software / similar unhealthy habits that are associated with The Life.Food has something special. Ruhlman Enterprises. It’s life.

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