Working in a professional kitchen is one of the best jobs any young person can have. Period. There are very few jobs (readily available to young people) that can better teach the essential life skills that are acquired while cooking in a restaurant or hotel kitchen.
In Part 1 of Why Working in a Kitchen Rocks, we look at the useful skills that you will develop while working in a kitchen.
Whether you’re working prep in the mornings or line at night, a good kitchen runs like a sports team where it takes everyone pulling in the same direction to succeed. To ensure that feature entree arrives at a customer’s table perfectly to spec on a Saturday night requires everyone from the early morning prep cooks to the expeditor/server – and everyone in between – doing their jobs right. If one person messes up, the whole team fails. If you enjoy team sports, you will love the camaraderie of working in a kitchen. Plus, learning how to work in a team environment is an essential skill regardless of your career path.
Cooking as a Life Skill
Even for those whose family or friends cook for them on a regular basis, at some point you’re going to need to fend for yourself. Knowing the basics of cooking will help you save money (buying prepared food costs more), eat healthier and look and feel better (no additives, so you can better control what’s going into your body). And, it may even help your dating life (everyone loves a good cook, right?). So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, skip the frozen section and head to the fresh produce aisles!
Skills that can be applied to any job
Dealing with Unpleasant People/Situations – You cooked the steak to a perfect medium but the customer seems to think that medium is actually medium-well; tough sh*t, fire it again.
Multitasking – You won’t last long cooking one order at a time.
Organization – Your station must be clean and organized, always, to minimize movements and time spent searching for ingredients or utensils.
Communication – Without clear, direct, and constant communication, the tight workspace with hot pans and sharp tools can be a very dangerous place.
Thick Skin – Whether you’re doing a good job or not, there will always be people who say you suck. Shake it off, focus on doing your best and move forward.
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