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How to Survive Culinary School

Andrew Garrison | Chef's Blade

Create Some Friendly Rivalries

This is an extension of being self-driven. Find some classmates who are around your skill-level and compete with each other to see who can do the best. I found three other guys who were pretty hardcore, and we managed to push and challenge each other quite a bit. Most of the time was fairly friendly but sometimes it got a little ugly when egos started to clash, but even then, that brought out a lot of creativity and some great lessons on how to work with other equally driven people. The four of us are easily the most successful out of our graduating class: one is cooking at Spago in Beverly Hills, CA; one just left Cosmos at the Graves 501 Hotel for an Executive Chef job at a super swanky retirement community; one is a cook at La Belle Vie (owned by Chef Tim McKee – this year’s James Beard Award for Best Chef – Midwest); and I’m headed to my first Executive Chef gig at a historic resort in Wisconsin starting in May. Find some classmates who will challenge you, encourage you, and check your ego when you need it — it pays off huge!

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