I have been to culinary school, worked in restaurants, and had my own business. Here are five things I wish someone told me before I embarked on my culinary odyssey. I encourage everyone to go out there and rock the pastry world, just know what you’re getting into before you expend all the time, energy and money.
1. Working in a kitchen is hard. You will be on your feet all the time, moving around at top speed and multi-tasking like a maniac. Time is money, and restaurants are tight on both. If you are not a good multi-tasker, this is not for you; multi-tasking may be the single most important skill needed to work in a kitchen. And it’s hot. And the line cooks won’t think twice about moving your delicate custard off the stove if they need the burner or opening the oven when you have a soufflé going.
2. The money stinks. No previous experience equals minimum wage. If you have restaurant or formal training, you might get lucky and get several dollars over minimum wage. Of course, there are exceptions: TV chefs and those who have shed sweat and blood to make it into a head chef position. And it is rare that a pastry chef becomes an executive chef. Pastry Chef Average Yearly Wages.
3. Culinary school is expensive. Graduating from culinary school does not mean you get to skip over the hard work and go straight to the cushy creative pastry position. If you can pay for it upfront, then by all means do so, but if you are considering taking out loans to go, be very cautious and be realistic about how you are going to pay them back. Culinary school is great to learn a wide variety of important skills in an expedited manner, but monetarily it hurts. 2013 Culinary School Tuition
4. You will be making the same desserts, all the time. To put it simply, menus change infrequently. People like knowing they can get their favorite dessert whenever they patronize your establishment, which means you need to make the same things, every day.
5. Knowing you made someone’s life a little brighter through the sweetness of dessert = priceless. If this is something you truly love, than you can make it work for you, either through creative culinary enterprises or understanding that if won’t make you a millionaire. Or famous.