What Are Some Part Time Culinary Jobs Available to Profession Cooks?
One of the things we commonly hear when discussing a culinary career is how long and grueling the hours can be. Restaurant kitchens are notorious for being hot, full of fast-paced action, and dangerous—and often for shifts that last from eight to twelve hours at a time.
While this is often the scenario you can expect—especially as an entry-level cook—not all culinary careers require a huge time commitment. There are several types of part-time cooking jobs that you can enjoy, especially if you’re in it for the love of cooking rather than as a way to climb the career ladder.
Retirement Communities/School Cafeterias– It might not be as prestigious as working in a five-star restaurant in the heart of New York, but facilities likes schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and other types of cafeterias require skilled cooks to prepare and serve meals. In many cases, you can sign on for part-time work, either in the morning to help with breakfast or for a few hours around lunchtime.
Culinary Associate/Prep Cook– Different organizations define “culinary associate” in varying ways, but this is basically the person most often associated with the grunt work in the kitchen. From chopping vegetables to breaking down cuts of meat, the prep cook or culinary associate usually comes in before the restaurant opens for the day, getting everything set up for meal service. If you want to only work a few hours in the morning, this can be a great way to make connections and earn a living without giving up the better part of your evenings and weekends.
Chef Instructor– Many of the individuals looking for part-time culinary work have already put in their dues and are looking to scale back their hours. If you have on-the-job experience, a culinary degree, and a passion for teaching, you might be best served working as a chef-instructor at a culinary school. You can teach a few classes during the day or even provide amateur-level training in the evening to people hoping to boost their cooking skills at home.
If you want to build a lifelong career in the culinary world, you’ll most likely have to work long hours. It’s the nature of the job (especially if you have your sights set on management-level work) that you have to put in the hard work first before you can reap the benefits.
Fortunately, with jobs like those listed above, it is possible to enjoy what you do without going overboard.
Read, Read and Read Some MoreOne of the best suggestions I have for anyone thinking of going to culinary school or just getting into the restaurant industry is to read everything you can get your hands on. Learn from professional chefs who have worked in the industry and those who have taught in culinary schools.
There are many great books available to get you started in your culinary education and I suggest you read as much as possible before making that big decision to make sure this is the right move for you. Below is just a sample of books you might be interested in checking out.
For a much more comprehensive list of books for aspiring culinary, baking and restaurant management students, I suggest checking out my post on books for future culinary students and chefs.