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.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            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.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 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.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            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).
            Show more [+]