The steps in how to become a chef are challenging but, indeed, very rewarding. In order to become a chef it is important to have a good understanding of the cooking industry as well as undergo a comprehensive training program. The following steps are your guide to fulfill your dream of becoming a chef.
Know the Culinary Industry
The chef, also called the executive chef, refers to the head of the culinary staff. The sous-chef is next in command. He takes charge of the kitchen when the chef isn’t around. Majority of kitchens have a chef de partie, or the station chef / line cook. Every station chef is in charge of one kitchen station. Big kitchens can have many station chefs such as the pastry chef, grill chef, and sauté chef. There are chefs who choose to be personal chefs. Some prepare meals every week for different clients, while others work full-time for only one client.
Complete a Training Program
To become a chef you should undergo training from colleges, vocational schools, or culinary institutes. Cooking schools also teach management and business skills that can prepare you for positions such as a restaurant owner or an executive chef. In spite of the different educational and training options, a lot of chefs start by becoming a kitchen assistant or line cook and learn on the job. You may also enter apprenticeship programs provided by professional cooking institutes, trade unions, and industry associations. Many big hotels even run their own training programs. Though curriculum differs, you will mostly spend your time learning food preparation through practice.
Obtain Work Experience
The next step in becoming a chef is to obtain work experience. A lot of culinary institutes, cooking schools, and colleges that offer two-year and four-year degree programs will often sponsor training programs. These culinary arts programs allow students to take classes and train in professional kitchens in order to obtain hands-on experience. To earn work experience in the field, the newbies in the culinary industry will usually assume entry-level positions in kitchens as apprentice chefs, station chefs, or kitchen assistants.
Even if there is no existing federal or state mandate when it comes to chef certification, higher education as well as certification can give you a competitive advantage when you are hunting for a job. The American Culinary Federation grants several levels of culinary certifications, such as specialization certifications for personal and pastry chefs.
Know Your Employment Options
The final step on how to become a chef is to consider your employment options. As a chef, you require a place to demonstrate your skills and talents. Generally, it will take many years to advance in the executive chef position. You also need to work at several different levels in the kitchen. Often, chefs will need to work for various restaurants before they are eventually be offered the position of an executive chef. There are also chefs who, in the long run, plan to run their own catering businesses, restaurants, or personal culinary services.
It takes a lot of patience, hard work, and talent to undergo each step on how to become a chef but once you have acquired the proper training and education, numerous job opportunities await you.