Those who enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen have probably thought about a career in the culinary industry. Indeed, becoming a chef is a noble profession. But it’s not an easy route to take. It requires long hours of hard work and a lot of skill-building.
Generally, you can land a job in a restaurant without any formal requirements. But a culinary degree or certification opens the doors to more opportunities. So if you’re thinking about pursuing a culinary career, here’s what you need.
Everyone knows that the educational attainment recognised in the industry is a degree in culinary arts. But before entering culinary or cookery school, you need a high school diploma. If you already secure one, you can begin applying to culinary school, which typically takes one to four years.
The period of education and the result would vary depending on the program. For example, a year’s worth of training to become a natural chef would award you a healthy or organic cooking course certification instead of a bachelor’s degree. This is where it becomes important to choose your niche and speciality when applying for culinary school.
Although formal education is not necessarily required to land a job as a cook or chef, it will serve as a significant asset. Many restaurants prefer an employee who has obtained professional and specialised knowledge and skills from a culinary institution.
A culinary degree is, indeed, an asset for aspiring chefs. But it’s not the ultimate thing that employers look for. What they want to see in a new hire is how they work around the kitchen, considering that a big part of the profession involves working with other chefs. Knowing the ins and outs of the culinary industry is vital to becoming a successful chef.
If you enrol in a culinary program, there would typically be an internship requirement needed to be fulfilled. This would require you to spend some hours working in a restaurant, which would gain you first-hand experience. Working in the kitchen will allow you to apply what you learned and gain more knowledge about the industry through immersion.
Experience is vital when pursuing a career as a chef. And often, you won’t get to cook at all in the first few years. Many chefs start as dishwashers or prep cooks first. But once you gain enough experience, you can easily work your way up the ladder and achieve higher rankings and positions in the kitchen.
As you study the ins and outs of the culinary industry and gain work experience, you’re going to pick up a lot of lessons and learn new skills along the way. Build your expertise by refining your chef skills and honing your talent.
Knowing how to cook is not enough. Soft skills like creativity, work ethic, physical endurance and manual dexterity will all pay off in the profession. So as you build your CV with work experience, make sure you’re also developing your skills and specialisation throughout your journey.
A career as a chef is no easy feat. But anyone who is dedicated and committed to it will surely thrive and excel in the culinary industry.