My godson Kevin has just graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Hotel Administration and a degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America!
When I first found out about my godson’s aspirations to become a chef, I proudly thought, “Wow, my godson takes after me!” But then I told his mother my cousin that she may not like the results and lack of grandchildren. Even the executive chefs work long hours from before breakfast (even if your place doesn’t serve breakfast, somebody has to start the stock simmering) to long after the dinner service planning menus, checking on food orders, profits on menu items, managing kitchen staff, etc. So what kind of women are available to socialize long after the restaurant & bar has closed or before the breakfast or lunch crowd? Barflies, cocktail waitresses, strippers, and hookers. I like to think that I helped plant that seed about going to the Cornell University’s School of Hotel Management.
Some people, including some aspiring culinary students, don’t realize that being a chef is not all glamour and media accolades. Earning your chops in a restaurant is a bit like being in the military. However, at least in the military, a college degree will get you a start as an officer. Even a B.P.S. in Culinary Arts from the C.I.A. will have many starting out as a garde manger in some restaurants. Not only do you work long hours, but also plan to work all weekends and holidays – – the big-ticket days for restaurants. And with the economy these days, it’s getting even tougher. I spoke to a chef yesterday (he was cut after 12 years of service) who said that many chefs are getting sous chefs cut out from under them, and have had to get back on the line themselves as well as their office duties. Another chef he knew of, was cut after 17 years of service! So I am definitely glad that my godson chose the route of a chef AND a scholar with a degree in hotel/restaurant management.