It's back to school for this professionalism

Chef Walter Potenza is a good chef and entrepreneur. In addition to being director of Chef Walter Cooking School for Adults, he teaches culinary art in the Providence Career and Technical Academy (PCTA), which combines university graduate planning with technical training so that graduates can attend a university or technical organization.

He tells of his role as a secondary school teacher: "This is another opportunity to work with children because I believe that when they are 18 years old they can no longer be good chefs. I think good chefs have to start at 14 "

No, it was not a font. He said "fourteen."

"A typical European study group starts at 14," says Potenza, who comes from Italy. "It's also the age that a young palate transforms, when they move away from parents of food monitoring of friends and effects and the environment."

In PCTA Potenza, an industry-standard textbook for gastronomy and advanced cooking texts is used to teach classics ("We do not allow changes to these recipes", but he believes the best cooks "cook with impetus." In his opinion, he is accused of mysterious basketball (where chefs have to make a dish – or only – only from ingredients included in a basket and sometimes some stock) is the best way to stimulate creativity, but also allow him, as a teacher, to study the students' taste.

Potenza acknowledges that in the first year, he works clean to "eat ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard."

Potenza himself never went to college to to cook but started working at the age of 18 with the best state cookie in Rhode Island at the time. After 24 years of age he was a restaurant chef and opened his first restaurant at the age of 28.

"I am a self-catering cookie that fell into the business with absolute necessities.

Listening to Potenza talks about the Art Museum, it seems that "research and research" with him was not very reliable in textbooks, which can be useful tools, but not among the most necessary requirements for success. "Life cook, it's very little about cooking," says Potenza. "It's about discipline, it's about self-esteem … Being a chef is a technical thing, but there are many other factors behind it. I teach them a lifestyle … It's not just about cooking. Can teach those who walk through the door. But to become a chef, [students] needs to rediscover their own lifestyle, their own personality. "

Which is a much easier task if a person to say 14.

"I disagree," says Joe Pitta, leader of the teacher at the Minuteman Career and Technical High School at Lexington, Mass. Before Pitta came to the school to build the cooking bases for the cooks in the future, led he colorful his cooking life, which began at the age of 20.

"I always liked food and cooking, but I did not start my career seriously until about 20. The main reason I wanted to cook was because I wanted to travel. "And he did. Pitta benefited from jointly funded staff who coached people into the necessary aspects of hospitality on flight attendants and passenger ships on the West Coast, yet he was even a food scientist with a train station. Sometimes Pitta felt that some formal training would be necessary to continue the field successfully. A few certificates later were his travel days behind him and he was a chef at Ritz-Carleton Hote l, Boston, before moving to Stouffer Bedford Glen Hotel, in Bedford, Mass.

Pitta recalls, "The times were greedy and did not contribute to family life, and I had a family. Then I went to the hotel to become a volunteer."

He acknowledges his times are now enviable ("Really, you can not finish teacher program, "he says), especially in the summer when the school is out. But that does not mean that Pitta stopped working. Indeed, it's exactly when he starts his second job: Cook for one of Red Sox owners and their guests in the owner of the solar system. [19659002] It has been 24 years since Pitta made a decision to change jobs and he is still pleased with it. But at the outset, he admits it was difficult to change his mind. As a chef everyone listened to him, he asked "How high?" When he said "jump!" The kids, however, had "no respect" for him.

And like Potenza, Pitta must work hard every year to encourage children to try out foods that are different from what they ate at home or at fast-food restaurants where so many of them eat often. "Even those who say they want to be cooks, tell me, I do not catch fish." But this lack of experimental activity is common in children: I'm a 17 year old home who mainly eats chickens. "

Another cooking challenge, and one that is relatively new, is the fact that the children are more active these days than they were when Pitta became his first teaching career. "The school tries to deal with it, let's telly build a coalition with local farms for production and dairy products. ready food. "

Minuteman Tech has a highly organized program that also uses industry standard text for hospitality and food services. The technology focuses on the program and are the main cooking methods, although "recipes they can find online," says Pitta. leave school, their hygiene certification is very important because, as Pitta says, "we want them to be safe no matter where they are." And with 400 hours of work-related education in the classroom, students complete

"In this industry there is nothing for everyone: sports, nursing homes, restaurants, carriers, talk bars, you name it," says Pitta. "So if [culinary] a student is 14 and knows exactly what he or she wants to do, well, it's a gift and it's rare."

But even if a student is young when he goes to a career in culinary arts, he will succeed. Nobody knows this better than Christopher Koetke, the departmental school at Cul Inary Arts of Kendall College in Chicago. Koetke has been a professional since 1982 in some of the best restaurants and sweetshops in France, Switzerland and the United States and has received numerous industrial prizes.

He acknowledges that he once had a fairly established idea of ​​a "right" person who would succeed in the food industry. But this view has changed and continues to change its 13 years of experience in higher education.

"I recently went to a restaurant where a former student was a chef."

Who knows how the transformation took place, but most likely, this cookie was successful in adapting to industry, for their expertise and personality.

Koetke says, "There are chefs with a big personality and for them the TV is a great career. We tell students that there is a real place for anyone interested in food and serving people, because finally this company is happy, congratulations with great service. "

To help students reach this level of service, Koetke emphasizes the importance of their professionalism. "With pride in industry, respect for the ingredients, the places you work for, work hard and give 100% – it's all about doing a good job … Students must have a professional education to succeed."

Of course, students & # 39; Basic skills also need to be trustworthy.

"Every day, I reminded the critical need for students to get the right information and training as soon as possible to perform most of each level of their education." An Experienced Chef / Entrepreneur] and I recently wrote The Culinary Professional to prevent future chefs with a foundation in modern cooking and help them start their self-confidence work that is fully understood, and their applications for modern food services. "

In addition to using a textbook containing a tutorial sheet that also includes foodstuffs and worksheets, standard recipes and activities to add students math and vocabulary as they refer to the industry, Koetke says:" They can read the skills of knives all day long, but they have to do it to own it. "

Although Potenza, Pitta and Koetke may not share many bodies where formal education is concerned – getting one or giving one-they all agree on one thing: the most important factor that a chef must create to succeed a passion. Koetke may sum up the best: "If the fire is not there, it will not work. "


Rick Smilow, President and CEO of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, writes about education, including in his recent book Cooking: How To Get Your Dream In Food With Advice From Culinary Experts . "He writes," To teach others about food is the career with increased opportunities, thanks to the growth of the food market over the past two decades. "

Whether in professional projects that offer students some form of formal credentials or In outdoor activities where students do not search Jobs in professional cooking environments are full-time and part-time work with wages and experience conditions that are as common as the jobs.

The Cooking System consists of experts thinking about their work in these diverse fields, including advice, descriptions of typical day, hours, guarantees, skills required, wages and employment prospects, including subjective issues like the most similar and mostly about their jobs. The book hopes to be a tool for those who want to get an idea of ​​what to expect in various places, whether they are interested in getting into the food industry or experiencing growth and looking for growth opportunities.


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