Chef Salaries Tips

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What does it take to become a restaurant manager?

Managing Your Restaurant, Inside and Out

If you're taking cooking classes in New York City with the main goal of eventually managing your own restaurant, you're going to need to learn some business skills. Luckily, you've got that option if you're taking courses at the French Culinary Institute.

There's a lot to do when it comes to managing your own restaurant. As management, you'll need to know labor laws, finance, marketing, and human resources. If you're interest is in managing your own restaurant, chances are you've seen some successful establishments that you'd like to mimic. Take a step back and evaluate what makes those restaurants work. What do they do that stands out from the others? In places like New York City, competition can be fierce, so you'll need a business plan that is truly unique. More than that, you'll need a strong sense of the economy, who your client base will be, an understanding of new trends in the culinary industry, and realistic expectations for your first couple of years in the business.

Even if you're goal is to run the restaurant, not cook for the restaurant, it's still important to take cooking classes. The main reason restaurants succeed is the food. If the food is sublime, people will come back. As a restaurant manager, you'll have a vested interest in making that business a success. In order to efficiently manage your chef staff, you'll really need to know what's going on in the kitchen.

How can I be sure that my chef salary will grow as my experience does?

The More You Give, The More You Get

It might sound like a lot of hooey, but there's some truth to the philosophy that if you're working in something you love and are passionate about, the money will follow. There's a simple and logical explanation for that. When you're actively engaged in something you truly love, you tend to work a little harder at it. Your mind is open to creative energy and it's likely you'll come up with innovative new ways to market yourself.

Let's say you've graduated from cooking classes in New York City . There are lots of jobs in the city; some are full-time, some are part-time. You're just thrilled to be working as a chef. That enthusiasm is going to come across in your culinary creations. It's going to play out in the way you interact with others and fuel your desire to learn new and exciting things. Maybe you'll continue your learning by attending seminars and conferences. You might be more willing to take on new responsibilities, or branch out to become a private or personal chef. When you love what you do, you'll grow as a person. Your career will flourish and with that, comes higher chef salaries.

Is it really that important to find a specialized culinary niche?

The Give and Take of Culinary Magic

Okay, so you've got it all figured out. You're going to take cooking classes in New York City . Congratulations! Do you have any idea where you want to be in five years? That's always a hard question to answer. Before you have to answer it in a job interview. Give it some consideration on your own time. Working in the culinary field can be as broad or as specialized as you want. You could focus your energies to pastry, chocolate, breads, gourmet cuisine, or keep your skills open to all of these things. For now, let's talk a little about what it means to be a pastry chef.

There's something sinfully joyous about going to the bakery. Eavesdrop on conversations and you might hear it in someone's voice, the way they say bakery usually sounds more like baaakereee. You can almost hear the mmmmmmm sound behind it. Visiting the bakery is a wonderful experience if you've got a sweet tooth or if you're a carbaholic. First, there's that heavenly assault on the senses. Your sense of smell is heightened, the mouth salivates and your eyes practically squint against the colors and creations behind the counter. It's enough to make you weak in the knees. Experiencing that reaction in people must be worth its weight in gold to a pastry chef.

So where do you want to put your culinary energy? Pastry doesn't have to be your "thing" to experience and witness the same kind of wonder in your customers. All you need to do is put the passion into your cooking. Whatever you put into your specialty, you're sure to get back. The important thing is to find your niche, then knead a little magic into it.

How much money will I make as a chef?

Chef Salaries

As with any career choice, you have to start at square one and work your way up. Unless your father's last name is Trump or Hilton, you're probably not going to start out as a star chef on a primetime reality show. Even taking cooking classes in New York City won't guarantee an illustrious career. But it helps. Salaries for sous chefs (the second in command on the kitchen scene) make an average of $45,000, give or take. Naturally, salary earned depends on position, experience, and where you're employed.

You may have to start out doing voluntary work or intern with a restaurant in order to get your start. Eventually, you'll work your way into a position, probably somewhere around the bottom of the totem pole. Stick with it though! Work hard, keep your eyes open for new positions that showcase your talents, and align yourself to be able to accept more responsibility, and eventually, more pay.

The number one question culinary students, or people thinking about getting into the field, want to know is how much money they'll make. That's a hard one to answer because it isn't precise. Chef salaries really depend on where you work, your experience, reputation, etc. It's not unreasonable to expect to earn anywhere from $40,000 upwards of $70,000. Again, it all depends on a number of variables. A chef with an entrepreneurial streak could make a lot more by finding a niche market for their services.

Is there any way out of my current job?

Making A Career Change

The question to ask yourself right now is "how happy are you?" Are you motivated to go to work everyday? Do you feel challenged? Valued? Appreciated? The answer is for your ears only, and it may vary depending on what day of the week it is. Still, there's a core answer in your heart that only you can know for sure.

If you're not happy with something, change it. What's that? Not that simple? Get out of the negative voice and start thinking about constructive ways to turn your life and career around. Let's say you're interested in pursuing a culinary career. If you were to attend cooking classes in New York City, you wouldn't even have to quit your day job. The French Culinary Institute in New York City offers a full time, 9 month cooking program that students can take in the evenings. By offering this alternative to full, daytime studies, it opens up a world of opportunity for people who might feel “stuck” in their current jobs.

It's important to remember that there are always solutions to life's problems. At first, they might not seem obvious, but by doing a little research you can find your way to a new reality.

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Guru Spotlight
Lynne Christen