723 How to be a Chef


Rebecca discusses the various ways one can become a chef.

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Todd: OK, Rebecca we're talking about working in a restaurant. Now you became a chef. Can you talk about the process of becoming a chef? What do you do to get a job in a kitchen?

Rebecca: Well, there's lots of different ways, but the most common way is to become an apprentice which means you go to the kitchen and work at the bottom level doing the basic chopping - boring jobs - for maybe two or three years, and then one day a week you go to school, a cooking school. Your employer pays for you to go to the school. You do get paid by your employer but it's a really small wage, so, yeah. Otherwise, you can start at the bottom, like a dishwasher, and actually Australia's most famous chef started that way. He just was a dishwasher and he slowly climbed up the ladder, so you can do it that way as well.

Todd: So what about you? Did you go to cooking school?

Rebecca: Yeah, I did, but actually I dropped out after awhile, so I did that for about a year but to be honest I think you get more experience in a kitchen. Sometimes the stuff they teach you at school is a little bit old-fashioned.

Todd: How much actually of what you learn do you just learn on yourself, as just a creative process? Like how much do you think you learn by watching others and how much do you learn on your own, using your own creativity?

Rebecca: I think both are really important. Actually, I learned a lot from my mother. When I was a kid, I used to watch her cooking all the time, and it wasn't until I grew up that I realized how much I understood about cooking just from seeing what she did in the kitchen, but also talking about how to do things with your colleagues I think is really important.

Todd: Now, I'm curious, you know how to cook, and everybody knows you know how to cook - family members and friends - so how... do you like to actually cook for family members and friends or is cooking a job that when you go home, you prefer not to cook for other people because it's like bringing your work home?

Rebecca: Well, I know some chefs that have nothing in their fridge and they hate cooking at home, but I'm not like that. I really love cooking for people. It's really the nicest thing you can do for someone is to give them a lovely meal. The sad thing is actually that no one will ever cook for me, because they're too scared. They always apologize before I even have a chance to eat it. "Oh, it's going to be terrible. Oh, you're a cook. I'm sorry." But actually I love food being cooked for me. I wish people would do it more.

Todd: OK. That's funny. Thanks Rebecca.

 

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

apprentice

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The most common way is to become an apprentice which means you go to the kitchen and work at the bottom level.

An 'apprentice' is an amateur in a particular field who works with someone who is a master to gain knowledge and skills, kind of like an intern.

Notice the following:

  1. There are not many apprentices around any more.
  2. She trained as an apprentice, and then she opened her own cafe.

really small wage

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You do get paid by your employer but it's a really small wage.

A 'really small wage' means that you do not get paid a lot of money for the job that you do.

Notice the following:

  1. Very often the most popular jobs pay a really small wage.
  2. I had to quit my job, as I was getting paid a really small wage.

climbed up the ladder

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He just was a dishwasher and he slowly climbed up the ladder, so you can do it that way as well.

Here, 'climbing up the ladder' refers to progressing to a higher level in your career.

Notice the following:

  1. You need to work hard and climb up the ladder.
  2. He is the big boss now but he started off as an apprentice and climbed up the ladder over the years.

dropped out

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I dropped out after a while.

When you 'drop out' of school or a class, it means that you quit it before you complete it.

Notice the following:

  1. I dropped out of school at a very early age.
  2. She says that she will not let me drop out of college.

bring your work home

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Do you prefer not to cook for other people because it's like bringing your work home?

To 'bring your work home' means that you do the same activities that you would at work in your home. It can also refer to someone who brings something to work on from the office to the house because he works too much.

Notice the following:

  1. I always have to remind him not to bring his work home.
  2. I quite like bringing my work home with me.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
apprentice • wage • ladder
dropping • bring
  1. It's difficult to be a teacher and not your work home with you.
  2. He will be working as an at a jewelry store this summer.
  3. I have thought about out of school many times, but I am still there.
  4. She's climbed up the quite quickly since she started working here.
  5. This job gives him a really small , but he's making great connections.