May 14, 2013
One of my “food jobs” was “consultant” to the venerable restaurateur, Joe Baum.
When he was CEO of The Rainbow Room, he created The Rockefeller Center Club where its members could, (as restaurant critic Gael Greene would say), “eat lunch in tax deductible splendor.”
At the time, it was considered a step up the evolutionary ladder to invite one’s friends to dine at an exclusive club whose main purpose was to exclude those less fortunate. The initiation and annual membership fees hovered in the realm of what could be considered grand larceny.
My task was to invite speakers to entertain the folks. Monstrously huge “honorariums” were paid to seduce to the podium such notables as Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger, Tom Wolfe …. and Barbara Walters.
I got to do the (usually irreverent) introducing.
Barbara Walters arrived a little late. She surveyed the head table. Already seated were a very elderly gent, a very (very) large young man, a guy speaking loudly with a foreign accent, three others and — of no interest whatsoever — moi.
Ms. Walters took one look at the assemblage. A flicker of “not on your life” expressed her clear determination to make a fast get away. She spotted an acquaintance and seated herself at another table thus missing the opportunity to chat with the old guy, (David Rockefeller), the fat guy (who wrote the cover stories for Time Magazine — and the noisy fella, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
April 16, 2013
I am often asked by my students and a number of career changers: “Should I go to culinary school? Do advanced degrees, like a BPS (Bachelor in Professional Studies) degree in culinary or pastry, really make a difference in my job prospects in the food industry?”
HERE ARE FIVE Reasons NOT to Enroll in a BPS Program
- It’s a waste of time: I already know everything.
- I already have a degree (though not in a hospitality-related field).
- It costs too much to get a BPS degree.
- I’ve been offered exactly the kind of job I would hope to get without having a BPS degree.
- A BPS from a culinary school is not as prestigious as a BA or BS from a “real” college or university.
AND FIVE (or More) Reasons to Continue My Education
Let me begin by saying that only one person knows everything and that person is your mother.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently wrote:
“Today there is no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skill job.
Now, high-wages are paid only to those with high-skills and higher education.
Every middle-class job today is being rendered obsolete or replaced faster than ever. That is, it either requires greater technological skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being made obsolete faster than ever. Technology has replaced many jobs that will never come back.”
Have you ever seen how fast a robot can chop an onion or make sushi?
So, let me offer my observations to your continuing your education concerns:
- Yes you have gained experience but on a balance sheet, a tangible degree counts for more than experience even if you have worked for one of the Masters of the Culinary Universe.
- You say you already have a degree from another school. Great. Only 30% of the population has one degree: having two degrees makes you more marketable. The more skills, knowledge and experience you bring to the table, the more attractive you will be to a prospective employer.
- You say a BPS degree costs too much. How much is too much? If you invest in the stock market, there may be a crash. If you invest in real estate, a hurricane can destroy your investment. If you invest in yourself, you keep the power in your own hands.
- A BPS degree will almost certainly guarantee you a higher entry-level salary. Over your working life, you will earn, on average, between four and five times more money as an employee without a graduate degree. However: It’s not just what you have learned but what you can do with your knowledge.
- IF you agree with the idea that knowledge is power, you may agree that the more knowledge you have, the greater will be your opportunities for success.
If you were your own best friend, (which I hope you are), would you advise you to make the decision to shut the door to your future?
April 11, 2013
All American Banana Split
Telling Tales: On the first day I came to America, I met Fred. He invited me to have lunch in a small restaurant in the Village (in NYC). I wanted to have a banana split as I had seen one on the movies.
When it came, I thought the waiter was just showing it to me and would take it in the back and serve a small portion. I gasped when I realized the whole thing was for me. I declared I could never eat such a huge thing.
And then I did.
I didn’t share but maybe I should have.
Food Job: Childhood Obesity Researcher
First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Let’s Move! Initiative before a gathering of 800 invited chefs in the Rose Garden of the White House. She said, “This is an initiative to reverse the devastating long-term consequences of childhood obesity and to improve the quality of the food served in public schools.”
She encouraged all invited guests to join in the challenge by saying, “You are all at the heart of this initiative . . . You know more about food than almost anyone—other than grandmas—and you’ve got the visibility and the enthusiasm to match that knowledge.”