Chefs are responsible for creating the menu and directing the food service in restaurants and in most culinary establishments. Chefs are responsible for the activity in their kitchen and usually hire Sous Chefs, Cooks and other kitchen employees. In addition to sourcing the ingredients for their menus, a Chef typically specialises in one or more types of cooking and must master many cooking techniques and tools. Many Chefs also keep an eye on the current culinary trends and use their creativity to constantly evolve and create new ideas and dishes in the kitchen.
Being a Chef can be physically demanding and sometimes dangerous. Cook’s work with heat and sharp tools and spend most of their time on their feet working in a fast-paced and high-pressured environment, usually working long hours at night, weekends and holidays.
What kind of training is required to become a Chef?
Many trainees receive their training, education and experience at work under the supervision of senior kitchen staff where they will usually start as kitchen helpers, moving onto Line Chefs and Sous Chefs. Whilst working in kitchens, future Chefs learn how to prepare different types of food, learn how to keep their tools and work area clean and disinfected. From the beginning you should learn the basic knife skills and different types of cooking techniques. Chefs also learn to recognize the flavours in food and successfully combine those flavours in their dishes. Savouring and adjusting the seasoning of the dishes is an important skill for chefs.
Although not strictly necessary, many Chefs undergo training in a Culinary Cooking School. Culinary School programs can lead to a Certificate, Associate Degree, or Bachelor's Degree in culinary arts. Students in these programs learn many of the skills they need to become successful Chefs. Through practical learning and with the mentoring of experienced Chefs, students develop their palate, knife skills, and work skills with different kitchens and cooking techniques. Culinary programs can last for several months to four years to complete and usually include one or more internship or external experience in restaurants, hotels and catering services.
Even those who graduate from culinary arts or science programs often have experience working as Chefs before they start to move up the ladder.
Are there any certification or license requirements?
It is not necessary to have a certificate or degree to work as a Chef but having a Diploma issued from Chef Academy of London demonstrates that you have trained to an internationally recognised standard.
How long does it take to become a Chef?
It can take several years of training and experience before Chefs can start working as Sous Chefs in fine restaurants. Typically, Sous Chefs gain years of experience in their positions before becoming Executive Chefs or Chefs, but following one of our courses, you will become a good Chef very early on.
How much does a Chef earn?
The average annual payment for Chefs and Sous Chefs in the United States is up to $60,000. In the UK the average is up to £40,000.
What are the prospects of getting a job?
The Bureau of Labour Statistics projects that the employment of Chefs and Cooks will grow only 5 percent between 2012 and 2020, slower than the average growth of all occupations. Because few new jobs are expected to be created over the next few years, competition for work in high-level establishments must be strong, favouring candidates with more experience and training.
What are the long-term career prospects for Chefs?
With experience, most trainees can become Chefs or Executive Chefs. Some Chefs open their own restaurants or other types of food service establishments. Having a successful business requires another skill set, however Chefs who want to open their own restaurants must have knowledge in management, marketing and accounting.
How can I find a job as a Chef?
Many Chefs start in lower level jobs in kitchens and work their way up. Even if your goal is to become a Chef, taking a less prestigious position in a high-quality and well-established restaurant can be beneficial for your career due to the ability to learn from talented and experienced co-workers. As you gain experience, you should also create a network of contacts in the culinary community in your area, and this network should be a valuable resource when you are looking for your next job.
Not all Chefs work in restaurants, so you can try to expand your job search to hotel positions and other catering services. Becoming a Personal Chef can be an option too.
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