Restaurant Management Schools - A Recipe for Success....."I've always enjoyed preparing and sharing food with others, however, I didn't get serious about food service as a career until I had to research several careers as a high school project," says Carol Steffey, a 19-year-old double major in culinary arts and restaurant management at Vincennes University (Vincennes, IN). "Previously I thought I wanted to pursue acting and the dramatic arts, but I feel my choice is much more rewarding because I get to use all my creativity and still entertain."
Carol attests that an education at restaurant management schools -- or schools, such as Vincennes, which offer restaurant management programs -- will help to ensure your success in the industry. "Employers are always looking for educated, eager and trained professionals," she says. "Some places insist upon a degree [from restaurant management schools] while others will accept comparable work experience, but having a degree or some registered classes under your belt will set you apart from the crowd."
Carol has already made big steps toward her dreams. Recently, she was awarded a DiRoNA (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) scholarship -- worth $2,000 -- for her academic excellence and food service work experience (over 750 hours at the local Dairy Queen). "I think I won the scholarship because they were impressed with my ambition and work ethic," says Carol. "I am very passionate about the food service industry -- I want to do this for the rest of my life!"
But, she adds, it takes more than passion to be a true success. "My parents and family have taught me that you should earn your own rewards and that ethic has created a strong drive [in me] to excel. I dream big, but I don't let my dreams stay dreams. I work to make them a reality."
Check out the following tips from this aspiring chef:
o Get comfortable shoes! The restaurant business is not a normal 9-5 job -- you'll most likely be working ten to twelve hour days.
o Get cooking! There's no time like the present to start getting your hands dirty. Ask friends and family if you can try a new recipe on them or try serving mom and dad a nice meal for two. Friends and family make the best critics and they will most likely still eat your mistakes!
o Don't be afraid of hard work and don't get discouraged. Everyone has to start at the bottom before they can rise to the top. You may not begin work as the executive chef for a five star restaurant, but pay attention to those above you and work hard, and soon you'll climb the ranks.
o Do your research! There's a lot of history in this industry so crack open a few cookbooks, check out some chef biographies or research some favorite restaurants on the web. If an ingredient or name is used often, look it up. Familiarize yourself with the wonderful world of food and all its history.
If cooking is something you think you're cut out for full-time, then find out more about restaurant management schools and programs today!
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Elise B. Zito is a frequent contributor to The CollegeBound Network. Learn more about finding a school or career that's right for you!
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