So you want to be a chef?
To finally decide the answer to this question, you need to take a step back.
The first question you need to ask is: Do I enjoy working in a kitchen in the first place?
Don’t take my word for it though.
Because my answer to this question was no. The kitchen turned out to be a little too full of misfits for my taste.
The ideal progression for a nascent culinary career would be to, first, take a jump straight into the deep end of the pool. Long before student loans and culinary school, take the trouble to find out who you are. Are you the type of person who likes the searing heat, the mad pace, the never-ending stress and melodrama, the low pay, probable lack of benefits, inequity and futility, the cuts and burns and damage to body and brain—the lack of anything resembling normal hours or a normal personal life? Or are you like everybody else? A normal person? Find out sooner rather than later. Work—for free, if necessary—in a busy kitchen. Any kitchen that will have you will do—in this case, a busy Applebee’s or T.G.I. Friday’s or any old place will be fine. Anybody who agrees to let your completely inexperienced ass into their kitchen for a few months—and then helpfully kicks it repeatedly and without let-up—will suffice. After six months of dishwashing, prep, acting as the bottom-rung piss-boy for a busy kitchen crew—usually while treated as only slightly more interesting than a mouse turd—if you still like the restaurant business and think you could be happy among the ranks of the damned? Then, welcome.
-Anthony Bourdain, Medium Raw