chef Career Center
How to Become a Chef
Posted by: Ira Sider, July 07, 2012
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.
Here are some ways you can get off to a great start when it comes to becoming a chef.
Go to culinary school – A large part of any chef’s job is menu creation. Knowing the fundamentals about how foods work together, which spices work well with which foods and other basics will help you get ahead in your career. Without this basic knowledge learned in culinary school and by practice, you will have a more difficult time coming up with new ideas that customers will look forward to trying. Schooling is available in the form of two-year or four-year courses of study, and many schools offer evening and weekend courses to work around your schedule.
Get experience in a professional kitchen – Nothing beats on-the-job training to determine whether becoming a chef is right for you. Dive in head first in the culinary industry by working in a real kitchen and seeing exactly what you can expect. People with a passion for food preparation typically love the demands of constant orders coming their way. Getting into the kitchen of a restaurant or catering firm is the best way to gain real-world experience that will boost your resume and help you land your dream position.
Practice on friends and family – Don’t let the work stop at the restaurant. When you get home, volunteer to cook for family birthdays or holidays. This will give you the opportunity to test your menu-creating knowledge and practice making new dishes with your own personal twist for your family and friends. These people may also serve as a network for new opportunities, such as catering for their friends’ events, so making a good impression could be your foot in the door to your dream career.
Learn proper preparation techniques – One of the most important parts of any kitchen position is to know proper preparation techniques. This includes how to keep cooking surfaces clean, how to cut up and prepare ingredients properly and how to adhere to food safety guidelines. With the high demand and fast pace in a restaurant, it is important that food still remains safe, so no customers become ill. Be skilled in cleaning your station frequently and you will have a better chance at getting further in the industry.
Finding your dream career in the kitchen simply takes experience, an education and a passion for food. Therefore, it is important to get real-life training in a bustling restaurant kitchen and continue your craft outside of work by creating new meals for family and friends.