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Oct 3, 2013 04:09 PM

Cosentino on washing dishes at IHOP

With all the back and forth about culinary school training vs training on the job, I do wish more chefs would talk about chain restaurant experience and how it has affected their careers.

It seems like most chefs treat chains as if they don't exist or are some dirty secret, but I would expect that any cook is very likely to cook at TGI or Outback at one point or another. It really should be part of the conversation.

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  1. Jaques Pepin makes no secret of his years affiliated with Howard Johnson's (along with his 'ami' Pierre Franey.

    6 Replies
    1. re: grangie angie

      I didn't know about that. I'd actually like to know more about Howard Johnson's kitchens, now that you mention it.

      1. re: ennuisans

        You should read Jacques' biography "The Apprentice", his humble beginnings were in France. By the time he got to Howard Johnson's he was a corporate executive, designing menus for the entire chain.

        1. re: pamf

          Excellent book, that. I read it 3 times :-)

          1. re: pamf

            I just finished it. Great book!

            1. re: pamf

              Yes,I read it last year....great book!

              1. re: pamf

                He turned down an offer to work at The White House to work at HoJo as he wanted a broader American business experience. Says he earned a lot on running a mass market business.

          2. It seems like most chefs treat chains as if they don't exist or are some dirty secret,

            Really? Like who?

            5 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              I was referring to how chain experience is rarely, it seems to me, mentioned. Since I don't know who worked at chains, I have no way of knowing who is not mentioning it, you see?

                1. re: ennuisans

                  Houston's Bryan Caswell's advice to upcoming chefs is to work at Waffle House. His sous did and she's the fastest he's seen. More reasons here.


                  1. re: James Cristinian

                    He's got a point. It's been years since I hit WH but food service was always good and fast, and yes, one guy doing it.

                  2. re: ennuisans

                    It's extremely possible that chain work occurred before culinary school (or whatever higher education was pursued). Most folks don't put their youthful employment on their resumes once they've worked in the "real" world. I don't know any chef who has hidden chain work. No one should be embarrassed to acknowledge honest (and hard) work.

                2. My first job was washing dishes at Kentucky Fried Chicken. 25 years later I went to cooking school.

                  But didn't graduate.

                  I sorta wish I did