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While you're in culinary school, you'll have an opportunity to work your own kitchen station, work at different departments, and eventually create your own restaurant menu. Students at The French Culinary Institute in New York City have the added benefit of working in the school's own Zagat reviewed restaurant, L'Ecole. It's here where the students really get into restaurant management. Students have a chance to develop their own menus, based on their own recipes and culinary creations. If you're a student, keep all of these things for your portfolio. When it comes time to look for restaurant jobs, you should have those things ready to show. Depending on where you work, you may be able to quickly incorporate some of your recipes into the restaurant's main menu.
Keep in mind that as you go to work in your first restaurant job, the owner may not be interested in letting you take over the kitchen with your own recipes. At least not right away. Build up a reputation in the business, make suggestions, and pay attention to any constructive feedback you get on the job. Remember, if this is your first restaurant job, it's important to start at the bottom rung and climb your way up. If you're lucky, you won't even start at the bottom. A good culinary education might get you on the second or third rung of that ladder!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|