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    21 through 31 of 30 postings.

Q:I want to cultivate my interest in the hospitality industry but I don't have experience working in a restaurant or hotel setting. I am really only interested in exposure to the highest quality of the restaurant/hospitality industry, but since I don't have formal experience in these settings, I'm afraid that I will not be able to work in the finest environments. Do you have any suggestions as to how I might learn more without jeopardizing my interest at a mid-quality establishment?

Susan,
NYC
A:Hello Susan,

Thanks for writing to StarChefs. First, we'd like to note that quality comes in all kinds of packages. It's true that fine dining restaurants often draw ambitious and revolutionary chefs, but don't be too quick to discount the quality or skill of chefs and managers in casual restaurants. There's plenty of room for careful presentation, creative flavor combination, and excellent service in all sectors of the industry.

Working in a fine dining restaurant can be rewarding, but it's also a lot of hard work. The best way to learn more about working in a particular restaurant is to take a stage, an unpaid working and learning arrangement. If you would like to learn from a particular chef, contact the restaurant and ask about setting up a stage. You will start from the bottom, but you'll be able to learn from the inside how they run their kitchen. Many great chefs attribute their success to the hands-on training they received while working.

The same goes for the front of the house. If you are interested in management, wine service, or stewarding, contact a restaurant whose service you admire and ask about internship opportunities. If your interest stays strong through your initial adjustment period, you'll know the career is right for you.

Best of luck in your career search!

--by starchefs
--Starchefs.com


Q:Hello StarChefs, I have a small successful catering company in Arizona for the last 4 years. I am looking to expand into a commercial kitchen space but find my options very limited. I have the idea to open my own small commercial kitchen which would be available to rent to other professional chefs looking for commercial space. Where do I get the information I will need for licensing, insurance, etc. for such a venture.
Thanks for your time.

Terri ,
Mesa
A:Hi Terri,
Thank you for writing to StarChefs.com.
Your state licensing board should have all the information that you're searching for on their website here: www.hs.state.az.us

Good luck with your new venture!

--by starchefs
--Starchefs.com


Q:Dear StarChefs,
How much would school cost to become an executive chef?

Thanks!

Shel,
Toronto
A:Hi Shel,
Thanks for writing to StarChefs.com.

Culinary schools vary greatly in cost depending if you chose an amateur program, a culinary program at a community college, a school with multiple campuses, or a school in a major city. The costs will also vary according to how much financial aid, grants, and loans are available to you.

However it's important to point out that once you complete culinary school, you will not have earned the title "executive chef." You will be a commis, gardemanger cook, prep cook, or line cook if you're especially lucky.

The title of executive chef cannot be earned in school; it comes from a great deal of hands-on, working experience, both behind the line and in the business office of a hotel, restaurant, or catering operation. Once a chef begins to work in a serious line position, it can take ten or more years before he or she has control over the restaurant's menu and kitchen, and has been named executive chef.

When considering a culinary school, keep in mind that when you graduate you may have at least a decade of hard work in front of you if your career goal is to become an executive chef of a fine-dining restaurant. Choose the school that you feel will offer you the best networking opportunities and contacts, as well as the best financial package to allow you to grow your career.

Good luck in culinary school!

--by starchefs
--Starchefs.com


Q:Hi Starchefs,
Where can I research a salary survey for 2007 or 2008?

Thanks!

megan lednisky,
las vegas
A:Hi Megan -

We compile the StarChefs.com annual salary survey at the end of each year. The data for the 2007 survey (which will launch over the holidays) will be available in January.

Stay tuned!

--by starchefs
--Starchefs.com


Q:Hello StarChefs
Can you offer advice on what and how restaurant consultants charge? What is a typical fee for concept design, and kitchen design, as well as consultancy on setting up the business?

Thanks

MP,
RI
A:Dear MP,

Thank you for writing to StarChefs.com.

While restaurant consultant fees vary greatly according to location, size of project, and complexity, a restaurant consultant's fee can be expected to cost between 20 - 35 percent of your overall design budget.

While design consultants do not advise on the business side of restaurant, concentrating instead on interior design and flow of the space, restaurant consultants can advise on all aspects of start-up, including chef selection and menu design.

For a better understanding of restaurant consultants and their fees and programs, research local companies and consider setting up some preliminary appointments. As you interview each company, ask them what services they offer, their rates, and the time frame they require to complete your desired plans. This is by far the best way to estimate your budget and consider your needs.

Good luck with your new business!

--by starchefs
--Starchefs.com


Q:Hello StarChefs

I'M Writing because I'd like to know the requirements for becoming a culinary instructor. Any help you can offer about the education and experience required would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!

Alberto Alvarado,
Anaheim, CA
A:Dear Alberto,
Thank you for writing to StarChefs.com.
To become a chef-instructor, as culinary instructors are typically titled, culinary schools usually require a minimum of an Associate's degree - preferably in Culinary Arts - as well as demonstrated restaurant and teaching experience in the industry. This experience could range from catering to banquets, but be prepared to have at least 10 years of professional cooking experience when applying for a leadership position.

Chef Instructors should have a well-rounded knowledge of the culinary arts in general, including baking and pastry, and a strong desire to teach these skills in a production environment. Often management experience, in the role of an executive chef or sous chef, is expected. Most schools also require a SERVSAFE certification from the National Restaurant Association.

There are many career "extras" that can help you find a chef-instructor position in a top culinary school, such as publishing a cookbook, winning national culinary competitions, or writing for well-respected culinary publications. Master Chef (or pastry, etc) certification from the American Culinary Federation can greatly boost your resume as well.

Good luck with you new career!

--by starchefs
--Starchefs.com


Q:Dear StarChefs,
Our restaurant, located in Youngstown, Ohio, has recently begun the process of searching for a new executive chef. We employ about 85 people and are open for dining between the hours of 11 am to 10 pm 7 days a week. We were paying our old chef $45,000 plus incentive bonuses. We are now looking at hiring an Executive chef with 20 yrs total experience, is this a reasonable amount to offer to start? Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, Jim Thomas

james thomas,
Youngstown Ohio
A:Hi Jim,
Thanks for writing to StarChefs.com.
While your salary offer does seem low for someone with 20 years of culinary experience, there are several factors that both you and your applicants should take into account before settling on a concrete figure.

First, do more research. The best research is often free, such as the salary survey on StarChefs.com. Next, search the internet, not only on salary reporintg sites, which may have inflated figures, but on other job ads in your town, such as your local paper's "Help-Wanted" section. Find a similar job and investigate what the employer is offering. While you're not likely to find a job that's an exact match to yours, you will certainly be able to learn more about what other businesses are offering in terms of benefits. The StarChefs.com JobFinder and other large-scale job sites will also offer compensation information; even if they're not based in your smaller town, you can check out what restaurants in larger cities are paying to help you consider your scale.

Next, listing a salary that includes bonuses is tricky, both for the employer and respondent. As an employer, you need to suggest a reasonable amount that your new hire can expect to make from bonuses without over-promising. At the same time, if you don't include any bonus estimate you risk losing candidates who see only the salary number. Keep in mind that you should also list any offer benefits as part of your salary package.

Your best bet may be to include the phrase "salary dependent on experience" and ask that applicants include either salary requirements or their salary histories in their cover letter or resume. This will allow you to gage prospective employees expectations and consider adjusting your offer accordingly.

Good luck with your chef search!

--by starchefs
--Starchefs.com


Q:Dear StarChefs, I am a 26 year old lawyer living in Miami who wants desperately to change careers and enter the food industry. I'm most attracted to food PR/Media. Is there a place for me to do this in Miami? What should I do to get started? Thank you.

rachel,
miami
A:Dear Rachel,

Thank you for writing to StarChefs.com.

While law and PR may appear to be career opposites, there is no reason why you can't build a career in the food media / PR field with a law background.

Just like your summers spent interning during law school, the best way to get a foothold in the PR industry is an internship. While it may be difficult to accept an intern or assistant position after three tough years of law school, your background and passion for the field should allow you to advance without difficulty.

There are many PR agencies in the Miami area, and several are dedicated exclusively to restaurants. A quick internet search will give you a list to research. Another approach is to call up a few local restaurants that you admire and ask them who does their PR. Restaurants will typically willingly share this information - they welcome opportunities for PR contacts.

Once you've selected a few companies, research them online, taking note of their other clients and any listed career opportunities.

Don't be shy - no one in PR is! - give them a call and ask about openings and internships, where they post openings, and how you could get involved. Practice a short pitch - just as if you were your own PR person. Make sure to rewrite your resume to reflect your new career path and be prepared to send it, along with a cover letter, to follow up.

Culinary PR and food media are exciting fields that tend to grow from the bottom up, so remember that even if you have to take an internship to begin, you will still be able to make business contacts that will form the basis of your new career.

--by starchefs
--Starchefs.com


Q:Dear Starchefs, I am a chef in western NY in a small town and my restaurant just received AAA's four diamonds. My question is how does a restaurant get national exposure? How do you gain a reputation like The French Laundry or The Inn at Little Washington? I know exceptional food and consistency are essential, but how would you recommend getting my and the restaurant's name out there?

Scott Bova,
Mayville, NY
A:Dear Scott,
Outside of having excellent, consistently delicious food, top service, and a stylish decor, one characteristic that most acclaimed restaurants share is that they have hired publicists.

A publicist's job is to work as a liaison between a restaurant, chef, or other culinary professional and the press. Publicists spend their careers building the reputations of others by sending out press releases, pitching stories to the media, and generally promoting their charges.

Imagine if you had someone whose top priority was to make sure that your restaurant was mentioned on popular blogs, websites, and magazines, completely freeing you from self-promotion and allowing you to focus completely on your kitchen. The improvement in the kitchen would then be reflected in the press as well.

While a PR (public relations) person is certainly not a restaurant essential, many well-known restaurants either hire an outside company or create an in-house position for a publicist to assist them in educating the media and the public about their cuisine. This is by far the easiest way to "get your name out there."

Good luck with your restaurant!

--by starchefs
--Starchefs.com


Q:I was thinking about sending my son to Le Cordon Blue school in Atlanta. I wanted some input on the best school. Another one here is Atlanta Arts Institute. Do you have an opinion on either one? Also how do you become an executive chef and what is involved in a job as an executive chef?

Thanks you,
Clarissa

Charissa Nickelbur,
Alpharetta
A:Dear Clarissa,

Thank you for writing to StarChefs.com.

When it comes to choosing culinary schools, only your son will be able to choose which is a good fit for him. there are many factors to take into account, including cost, length of program, job placement assistance, and internship opportunities. Your son should visit each school, take a tour of their facilities, and sit in on a few classes.

He should choose the school he thinks will offer him the most benefits and should keep in mind that a great deal of what makes a culinary program successful for the student is the effort that the student puts into it. Encourage him to take advantage of every internship, program, and extracurricular opportunity that the school makes available.

Now to address your second question: to become an executive chef you must do one of two things. First, you could be promoted into the position, usually from an executive sous chef or chef de cuisine position. The second way to become an executive chef is to open your own restaurant and install yourself into the top spot. At some point in their careers, many leading chefs have done both.

An executive chefs duties vary greatly from one restaurant to another depending on the restaurant's size and goals, but generally speaking there is only one executive chef per restaurant or restaurant group who oversees all aspects of running the kitchen.

This includes much more than just cooking; in fact many executive chefs rarely cook at all. Many are in charge of menu development, overseeing the kitchen staff, and sourcing ingredients in addition to cooking duties. A large part of an executive chef's time is spent completing administrative tasks essential to making his or her kitchen function properly. You might suggest that your son consider taking some culinary business classes at school to better prepare him for this type of role.

We wish your son the best in his new career!

--by starchefs
--Starchefs.com

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