Words by
10 Things You Didn't Know About Getting Into Professional Cooking
  1. “You are a blue collar worker, and this is a physical job you will do every day. It’s an honorable career. Have pride, but don’t go in thinking it is easy.” -Maureen Cosgrove, Rogue Restaurant, Southwest Harbor, 33 years experience.
  2. “Put out a fair, honest plate. Start small. Pay attention. Read.” -Bret Baker, 76 Pleasant Street, Norway, 15 years experience.
  3. “Understand the mechanics of cooking and also how a restaurant operates. If you haven’t done well, find out why.” -Paul Landry, Fishbones American Grill, Lewiston, 40 years experience.
  4. “Cooking is not just about making a name for yourself. Be true to yourself. Nix the ego.” -Eloise Humphrey, El Camino, Brunswick and Salt Pine Social, Bath, 35 years experience.
  5. “The dirty stuff, like peeling potatoes for three hours, comes before the awesome stuff. Be dedicated. Persevere. Then you get to the good stuff.” -Mel Chaiken, The Fiddlehead Restaurant, Bangor, 10 years experience.
  6. “Cooking is a ribbon that ties communities together. Get involved. Make your restaurant feel like an extension of home. That is what a restaurant should be.” -Melissa Kelly, Primo, Rockland, 30 years experience.
  7. “A restaurant operates well when things are clean. Embrace washing dishes. Everything you are going to do in life revolves around that.” -Josh Mather, Joshua’s Restaurant and Bar, Wells, 18 years experience.
  8. “When you are sourcing food, ask the question, where did that come from? Look at ingredients in the supermarket. Go to the fish counter. Get answers.” -Evan Mallett, Black Trumpet, Portsmouth, 28 years experience.
  9. “Experience a cuisine you are not familiar with. Set goals and hold yourself to them. You are the only person who can do that.” -Courtney Loreg, Woodford Food & Beverage, Portland, 20 years experience.
  10. “A lot won’t work right off. Start slow. Be willing to sacrifice everything. It takes everything.” -Nick Sandon, Zapoteca Restaurante Y Tequileria, Portland, 23 years experience.

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