executive chef Career Center
How to Become an Executive Chef
Posted by: Ira Sider, July 07, 2012
Out of all of the multiple career paths in the culinary world, the head chef’s position is one of the most idealized and respected. This is because of the large number of rewards that go along with managing and maintaining your own kitchen. However, with those rewards come many duties that a person must excel at in order to succeed in this role. Knowing how to become an executive chef is important as you set out on your career path in the culinary world. This will ensure that you are taking the right steps to reach your ultimate goal of managing your own kitchen.
The following are some of the steps that you should take if you plan to one day be in charge of your own restaurant kitchen.
Complete a four-year degree program – For some cooks, a culinary degree is not required. However, the higher up you aim to go, the more competitive the positions become. The vast majority of candidates aiming for this acclaimed spot have a four-year college degree from an accredited culinary school. This will not only show employers that you have the education needed to excel in this position and create your own menu plans to bring in new customers, but it will also solidify your passion for the career.
Get experience anywhere you can – From cooking for your family to entering into apprenticeships or work/study programs, getting experience anywhere you can is important. While classroom education is vital for learning about how foods go together and how to adhere to safety standards, nothing can beat the on-the-job training received by working in an actual kitchen under pressure. If you are able to prove your ability to handle this pressure well, you will be a stronger candidate as you advance.
Avoid job-hopping as much as possible – It is costly for restaurants to employ new chefs at this level. Therefore, when they see frequent job-hopping on a cook’s resume, they become suspicious and it can ruin your chances. The person who takes the lead in the kitchen at a restaurant must be willing to stick around through thick and through thin and wear multiple hats to ensure the overall success of the restaurant. If an employer feels you may be unstable in this arena, they may not consider your application.
The position of executive chef is not an easy one, and therefore requires a strong person to take on the role. The competition for this position is fierce, as it is one of the most respected and creative roles chefs can hold in the restaurant industry. Prove your passion by getting an education and working hard, and you will have the best shot at success.