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So You Graduated Culinary School – What Now?

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Food is a much-loved thing in America, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The department states that there is a rise in demand for culinary specialists, with the field expected to grow by 9% in 10 years. There’s also 129,370 head cooks and chefs in the US alone, according to a survey done by them in 2015. Yes, Americans love their food, and they love the chefs that cook it.

But if you’re a recent culinary school graduate, you might be thinking “now what?” You spent years studying the culinary arts at the best culinary schools you could find and need a job. But what do you do?

Hopefully, you were smart enough to go to technical schools or technical colleges, instead of paying top dollar at a university. That’ll save you tens of thousands. That’s not to degrade traditional universities, it’s just a fact of life that they’re more expensive.

The first thing you should do as a graduate is know what you don’t know. You might have studied a tremendous amount of information in college, learned a great deal many things. A lot of it probably stuck with you, but a lot was probably forgotten, as well.

The truth is that only experience will allow the important things to stick. Only time and active work will make it sink in, make you the chef you want to become. Classrooms are good for learning the basics, but you need to work to become a master.

You also have to be humble and accept your current position. You’re not the most amazing in the kitchen, yet. You’re not the head chef, you’re the cook. Start and grow with the intent at being the best cook you can be. Then work your way upwards, being the best at everything beyond.

Being exceptional at these various positions will allow you to be the best chef that you can be when the time comes. Don’t get discouraged at not being the greatest chef alive at the start, or being at the head of your restaurant. You can work there.

Keep these two facts in mind as you progress in your career. You may have to start at the bottom, far cry from when you were the best student in culinary school, but that can build character. And that’s good.

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