Becoming a chef can be very rewarding, but it requires dedication and a lot of hard work. Chefs do much more than just create signature dishes. They must also be good at managing people and coordinating different meals and events. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in this field will be slow in terms of new jobs created from 2008 to 2018. Despite slow growth, job prospects are expected to remain good.
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Complete your high school education or general education degree. Most chefs receive post-secondary training at a culinary school, technical school or community college, which requires completion of your high school education prior to acceptance. If possible while in high school, take courses in home economics that stress cooking and household management skills. These classes provide some relevant knowledge before entering culinary school.
Enrol in courses at a culinary school. In some cases, you may be able to do this before you finish high school; some culinary schools offer classes to the general public. Culinary school stresses fundamental kitchen skills, cuisine knowledge, kitchen management and dish creation. Some of the more well-known schools are the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, the French Culinary Institute in New York City and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, which has campuses nationwide.
Gain experience working as a cook and a waiter while attending culinary school. To be a professional chef, you need to understand all aspects of running a restaurant, from front to back. Knowing the ins and outs of the food industry can provide you with insight for running a kitchen or even an entire restaurant in the future.
Practice constantly. According to Mark R. Vogel, Ph.D., chef and food writer, it is not sufficient to simply learn about a dish and execute it once or twice. Instead, chefs continue to increase their physical skills through a process of repetition. The more times you put a dish together, the more proficient you become in making it.
Seek a position as a sous chef. Sous chefs work under the supervision of the head chef and supervise the kitchen when the head chef is not present.Two to three years of experience working under a highly regarded professional in the field can provide you an opportunity to learn essential kitchen management skills through on-the-job training and through the mentor-student relationship.
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