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Vegetarian Chef: My very young son has expressed an interest in becoming a chef, however he is a vegetarian.?

Answers:1   |   LastAnswerAt:2010.01  

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Mom2Skippy 
Asked at 2010.01.02 06:08:03
He was watching Top Chef today and saw the contestants digging out clams, etc. and cooking lamb and pork. He said, "how can I become a chef if I don't want to cook meat?" I said, "I really don't have any idea about that I'll ask on yahoo answers." He smiled real big, so, anyone have feedback for him.
answer departed lime wraith  Answered at 2010.01.02 06:08:03
(I'm assuming you aren't veg)
How young is very young? Pre-school? High school? He needs to start out by learning how to cook in YOUR kitchen. Are YOU teaching him cooking? As a veg he needs to know how to cook anyway as an important survival skill for living veg in Texas<g>! If he's old enough to read get him a "Fannie Farmer cookbook" and also a copy of "The new Farm Vegetarian cookbook". Fannie will get him familiar with *all* the basics of cooking, The Farm will get *both* of you familiar with 'down home' veg cookery. The skills he builds now will help him later on whether or not he sticks with the idea of being a chef!

His options for 'professional' schooling in Texas are limited (esp. since it seems y'all are around New Braunfels) but don't sweat that, if he's already a good cook by the time he's ready to work in a restaurant (or better yet, start his own<g>) not having that piece of paper won't matter.

This next part is going to get me slammed, but it really IS important for coping in a meatish industry (and world<sigh>) but it's important because the most successful veg restaurants are the ones that attract more than just the veg market, knowing what (and how) omni's eat are important skills<arg>.

He won't like it (I sure didn't!) but he does at some point need to be familiar with cooking carrion (animals). No need to start with it and he most certainly does NOT need to taste it! If he learns what goes into cooking the stuff and pays attention to what it looks and smells like he won't have to taste it to know when it's done 'correctly' (cooked animals are never correct but you get the idea (I hope)<g>).
But it'll also teach him to cook by feel, which is a skill that school trained chefs almost never develop. It's an *instant* edge over anyone else in a kitchen (and classmates if he does eventually go to culinary school)!!

One other thing, if he's old enough drag him over to one of those two decent veg friendly health food stores in town<G>! They've got a lot of the ingredients you need to do good veg cooking!!

Edit:

To the folks upset that I suggest teaching the kid about carrion... This family is in Texas (NOT Oregon, California, New York, New Hampshire, United Kingdom or any other relatively veg friendly place) and they aren't even in Houston, Dallas or Austin (the best of the worst in an anti-veg state). This boy is growing up in an area where meat is ubiquitous and if he learns about how it's cooked he'll never be put in the spot of having to taste the dreck to know it's prepared the way some omni wants it cooked.

It's a matter of knowing your 'enemy' and NOT selling out!

Edit:

It *is* much easier to be a 'tex-veg' than when I was a kid and nowhere near as odd<G>. You can avoid the 'tex-mex' problems by heading up to Casa De Luz in Austin (even though that does mean fighting I-35<LOL>) and (call ahead) they might be willing to talk to him a bit about running a veg restaurant in Texas (or at least show off the kitchen).

Since he's already helping out in the kitchen, work him up to leading in the kitchen (that also gets you a break from the kitchen<G>). Drag him to the library for cookbooks and N.B.s used bookstore (Book in Time (if it's still there) for cookbooks (also abebooks.com or amazon)). Once he gets the option he should take home ec in school (good way to meet girls too<g>). When he hits his teens he should also start taking business and marketing courses! Most chefs never develop business and marketing skills and that's a big part of why most restaurants fail within 5 years!
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