In the most basic sense, a chef is defined as a professional who makes food. However, if you ask somebody to define “what is a chef,” you will get a variety of responses. This is because this job title in particular carries a number of variations. People in this profession can work in upscale restaurants or cater large events. They can work primarily as managers in a kitchen, or be the ones who are actually preparing the food each night. The position has many functions, and to define it can be difficult.
Chefs hold a unique position because of the number of levels that go along with this career. While all chefs are people who make food or manage food preparation for a living, the exact way in which this is done varies dramatically. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, chefs make, on average, $40,630 annually. However, this number changes quite a bit when other factors are taken into consideration.
The definition of a chef’s job – a professional who prepares food – is very broad because of the number of variants to the position. There are certain chefs who make specific types of food and others who play primarily managerial roles in the kitchen, rarely preparing dishes. So defining the exact roles of this position can also vary. While there are a number of variables in the position itself, there are certain roles that cannot be avoided with any of the many hats worn by professional cooks.
If you are passionate about the art of culinary creation, you may be wondering how to become a chef. This position offers people who love to create new dishes and work with food an opportunity to turn their hobby into a career. However, to be successful, proper training and education is required.
There are many different culinary associations, boards and professional groups for chefs. These organizations offer benefits such as education and networking for working professionals in the culinary industry, as well as for their employers and customers, because they have set up professional codes of conduct that members are expected to adhere to. If you’re planning on becoming a chef, you have a wealth of resources available to you within these various associations. These are two of the major professional groups worth considering.
Culinary school prepares future chefs with a foundation of skills, knowledge and experience. Chefs are in charge of their kitchens; they oversee a staff that may include several line cooks and sous chefs, making sure that the daily food preparation operations are running smoothly and offering a creative vision for the menu. It is a job that involves a combination of management skills, budgeting skills and culinary excellence. In addition to strong culinary knowledge, interpersonal finesse and leadership abilities, successful chefs also need to be able prove that they have formal education and professional experience. Getting into college and finishing an educational program will take a lot of work, but it will all pay off if you get your dream job.
Culinary arts programs prepare the chefs of tomorrow to create an array of appetizers, snacks, entrees, side dishes and desserts, with everything from basic knifing skills to elaborate food reparation courses. There are a variety of culinary arts degrees and certificates to choose from, though, and it’s important to find the program that will work best for you and your career goals. In order to become the chef you truly want to be, you will need to complete one of the degree programs below before embarking on your career.