A Lesson Learned

When I first went to culinary school at the Culinary Institute of America, I had grandiose dreams of one day being an executive chef. My mind was filled with ideas for restaurants, menu designs, and plans for my future. Since I took my break for back surgery back in May, I never imagined that even before my graduation that I’d attain such an honor in my young career. Yet, due to some strange people and multiple chefs quitting, here I am, an Executive Chef at the age of 24.

The lessons that have been taught to me in these short few months could not have opened my eyes more to the true reality of being a head chef. In school, its something you idolize, but in the real world, its not nearly as exotic or fun. It takes a great deal of patience to deal with all of the issues on the line, the drama of your cooks, staff, and of course, the owners. You need to spend each day thinking about specials for the week, delegation of prep work, timing everything down to the minute and second. Inventory constantly runs out, and precise ordering is always so critical. Is your mind tough enough to handle the constant pressure of cooking and devoting all of your free time, your social life, to the restaurant?

No longer does the day just end when I clock out at work. I’m forced to think about the day ahead, sometime even weeks ahead, triple and quadruple check everything in my head just to make sure we are prepared for the forthcoming days ahead. Restaurant Week, where multiple local fine dining places offered their very best for only $20.10, taught me true patience. Orders never stop coming in. No lull, no end till the nights over. My attention only is on my work.

If you would ask me, to do it all over again, I would tell you that time and experience are a chef’s two greatest allies. No lesson I could learn over and over again that doesn’t deeply educate you on what it really takes to run a good place. Do you want to work 6 to 7 days a week, work long hours doing back breaking labor, only to do it over and over again each and every day. I learned so much about responsibility and leadership, what it takes to rally morale, to care about each personality of each guy on the line. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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