May 26, 2010
The hospitality industry by the book

Let's say you've got the "kitchen gene" and love to cook for a crowd. Or you can grow anything in your backyard garden. You can even make beer in your garage. Your friends and family tell you all the time how talented you are.

Could the next step be a full-time job in the hospitality industry?

If you're curious, consider the new "Culinary Careers" by Rick Smilow. He's the president of the Institute of Culinary Education, a cooking school in New York City.

His book offers a heaping plate of solid, first-hand advice from real people in the business - chefs, restaurant owners, caterers, food company managers, bartenders, food writers, food stylists, artisanal farmers, wine importers, sommeliers, cooking academy instructors and the like.

But beware: Among all that advice is this recurring theme: "Make sure you like it, because it's long hours and hard work."

Especially helpful are the numerous how-to strategies for entering food- and drink-related businesses - from raising capital and creating a business plan, to getting licensing and hiring associates. Not to forget the lists of national culinary programs and professional organizations.

"Culinary Careers" is $17 from Clarkson Potter (368 pages).

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