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whidiris
whidiris

Getting Started: Gourmet Shop

message posted 05-Dec-12 16:57:19
Hello,

I want to open a shop that specializes in sauces, condiments, stocks, etc, for the home cook. While I have non-professional cooking experience and currently work in the FOH in the restaurant industry, I have no formal training or experience in a kitchen. My means are limited, so I am planning on attending a junior college here in the US for culinary school. My questions are:

-Is culinary school the right idea? Is it possible to 'cater' the program to my goals (I don't have a direct use for many of the restaurant-oriented skills)?

-Where might I gain paid experience while I am developing the skills needed to start my business? I would like to transition from FOH to BOH, but becoming a line cook doesn't seem appropriate for my goals. A friend who works as a pastry cook recommended I consider working for a catering company, but I'm not sure that this would be appropriate either.

The skills I want to learn are: food safety, costing/ordering, menu planning, culinary mathematics, recipe development, and more sophisticated cooking skills (as a foundation for creating my own products).

I live in Napa, California, so obviously there are many options here...I'm just not sure what they are.

Thank you so much for any advice!!!
kman
kman
message posted 13-Dec-12 18:39:05
Hi

i just want to confirm that you intend to stock the shop with your own product, that would be the only reason you need to train as a chef.

Culinary school would probably not be the right avenue as this would be 2yrs in the making.

Starting as a line chef would also not develope the immediate skills.

I would say a catering company, these are smaller tight knit groups, where although the bottom of the line, you would have immediate access to the Head chef and manager to be able to pick their brains about what you need to know.

However, why not open the store and employ a chef part time to stock the shop.
whidiris
whidiris
message posted 13-Dec-12 20:13:37
Thank you so much for your reply.

I think I found a good fit for gaining the experience I need: I'm applying to work at Dean & DeLuca here in Napa, which is similar to the type of business I want to start (though I hope mine will be more affordably-priced). I think I will be able to gain experience there in the areas I need (in addition to offering grocery items, they cater small and large events).

The reason I want to go to culinary school is that I want to make the product myselfI love to cook and am in my 20's, so I think it is worth investing in the skillset of professional cooking. The important thing is, the program I plan to attend is at a junior college, so it is a year-long program and costs about $2000. I think it is a great option because it will give me basic training, no more, no less. I know several people who have attended the program who say they learned what they needed to without spending a fortune.

We'll see how it goes...I am also going to talk to the program head at the junior college to see if he thinks it is worthwhile.

I welcome your further thoughts! Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my post!
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