Becoming a Chef

Question: Is apprenticeship still important?

Scott Conant: Absolutely, absolutely. I’m- when I was- when I was-- you know I started, like I said, professionally cooking at 15. And I don’t know why my parents let me do it, but I was working 60 hours a week plus going to high school, and I just loved it. And I think the reason why- you know, they knew I was safe; I wasn’t out in the streets. I was spending time in a kitchen, you know, working; I loved it. And I- I think it was a-- you know, it’s- it’s interesting because it really made me focus on a- it was a goal, you know, there was a camaraderie in the kitchen that I’d never really kind of found elsewhere. And I think when you’re young and kind of impressionable like that, those are positive influences. And I- and I think as you-- even if you choose to go to culinary school, afterwards, you know, that- that doesn’t mean you’re prepared and ready to take on chefdom, so to speak. You know, there’s more- there’s a different level of apprenticeship that goes- that goes into it afterwards, or so it seems, yeah. But it is very important in anything, when you apply yourself and, you know, focus on it. I think that’s the important- the important thing, whether it be school or apprenticeship, and if you could do both that’s even better.

Recorded on: 03/24/08


If you can balance work and school, that’s the best training.

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