As part of The Oklahoman's Life roundup of commencement advice, ‘The Food Dude' Dave Cathey asked people in the restaurant industry what they'd want to say to recent graduates. Here are some of their thoughts:
Bruce Rinehart, chef/owner Rococo Restaurant and Fine Wines, on getting into the restaurant business: Start with work at a hotel or resort
“The advice I've given over the years, especially if the individual has limited practical experience is to try to get into a large hotel and resort. They have everything, from the coffee shop to fine dining, from Garde Manger, butcher to a bakery. From banquets, buffets and catering. All kinds of different avenues to learn the beverage and service side. You can learn so much if you can move throughout all the different departments. I did four years at the famous Hotel Del Coronado 30 years ago and still call on things I learned there today.
Buck Warfield, president of Enduring Brands restaurant group: ‘Never stop learning'
“The restaurant business isn't what you see on TV. The guests, the staff and the challenges are all real and there is rarely any glory. But, like TV, if you are good at it then it's a hell of a good time and can be rewarding in every way. So if you want to get into the restaurant business, make sure that you work hard enough to be really good at it and never stop learning.”
Chris Lower, owner The Metro Wine Bar and Bistro, Big Truck Tacos, Mutt's Amazing Hot Dogs and Irma's Burgers
“Do what you're passionate about. Find something that makes you look forward to going to work each day, and the money will take care of itself. One thing I love about being in the restaurant business is that I deal (mostly) with people who are at my place of business to have a good time. The same can't be said for being a doctor, a lawyer or an accountant.”
Keith Paul, president, A Good Egg Dining Group
“Spend time getting to know your people; they are the foundation and future of a great organization.”