How to Become a Chef

This article provides in-depth information into What is a Chef? What Chef do? Degrees for Chef, Steps to become Chef and much more.

Chef

A chef is a professional cook who possesses proficiency in preparation of food. A chef focuses on a particular cuisine. A chef supervises the kitchen which includes the menu planning, pricing, food preparation, supplies, quality of service, safety, and staff. Chef receives a training from a recognized institution and enrolled with an experienced chef.

What does Chef do ?

Chefs prepare food in restaurants, cafes, bars, and hotels. They also direct other food preparers on the best way to whip together dishes-including appropriate garnishing and presentation of the dish.

  • They manage the preparation of food for its garnishing and presentation, as well as, the seasonings for a perfect taste.

  • A chef orders food or kitchen supplies and provides cost estimates to the employer

  • They monitor any staff requirements and production schedules to be sure any services are delivered on time. 

  • They need to have knowledge of customer and personal service in order to achieve customer satisfaction

  • They need to be up-to-date on public safety and security.

  • A chef should possess skills such as time management, active listening, judgment and decision making. 
  • Executive chefs tend to work outside of the kitchen in developing new recipes, planning menus, hiring or training food preparation workers.

  • Chef also preserves a record of food supplies, following a food budget, doing purchase orders.

  • Chefs job role also includes reporting to the head restaurateur and completing other administrative tasks in their office.

Steps for becoming Chef

1FIND A JOB IN A RESTAURANT KITCHEN

Applicants must have knowledge about the working method of a kitchen and restaurant and are vitally important to become a chef. Beginners should involve themselves in works such as including washing dishes and taking out the trash.

2GET A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR GED

Choose a relevant high school class, which may include computers, English, mathematics, business, food handling and safety as well as cooking. Applicants need to check on and see if your community provides a chef-training program. Students parallelly need to obtain experience in the industry, hence, one should try and get a job in a restaurant.

3GO TO CULINARY SCHOOL

Duration of a culinary school is dependent on the program student opts for. The most common result is the diploma, associate or bachelor’s degree – master’s culinary degrees are scarce in the United States. To become a chef there is no need for a prior formal education. However, specialized knowledge and skills are learned during the program can serve aspiring chefs in good stead when honing their kitchen work.

4GET PRACTICAL WORK EXPERIENCE

Establishing career as a chef requires working experience. Students can get additional training under a guidance of a professional chef. This can be attained either by an internship or apprenticeship or simply through day-to-day work and helps to heighten the skills and knowledge that every chef needs.

5CERTIFICATION

Certification isn’t mandatory to become a chef; however, it makes it easier for students while applying for high competitive chef positions. Certifications help market a chef’s cooking skill, as well as possibly lead to more opportunities for improvement.

Chef Salaries

Chef

Chef Degree Levels

Certificate

A chef certificate takes around a year to complete and provides arts training. It is the fastest way to get a cooking training and curriculum is intense and basically focuses on learning and obtaining practical skills. Programs under certificate include

Baking

  • Create dough and various bread

  • Basics of preparing pastries, pies, cookies etc

  • Baking techniques for producing on a large scale

Objectives

  • Identify and explain baking terms

  • Ingredients, equipment, and tools

  • Employ safe food handling practices

Food science

  • Focus on how ingredients react

  • Method of food preparation

  • Factors that affect the taste

Objectives

  • Understand basic food safety issues

  • Develop and evaluate the quality of food products

  • Food chemistry and food analysis

Culinary Skills

  • A detailed study of the equipment’s in kitchen

  • Specific tools and cooking techniques

  • Food sanitation procedures

Objectives

  • Common cooking methods

  • Tools used for creating a variety of dishes

  • Principals of sanitation and personal hygiene

Associate

An associate degree takes two years to complete and is one of the most popular ways to get a cooking degree. An associate degree is offered by community colleges and culinary schools. In the course duration, students would expect to gain an extensive array of culinary skills and knowledge that will provide the foundation for a career as a chef

International foods

  • Prepare international dishes

  • Using correct ingredients

  • Methods and tools used for preparation

Objectives

  • Non-conventional and culture-specific cooking methods

  • Requisitions for test menus

  • Standardized recipes

Food safety

  • Teaches the importance of sanitation protocols

  • Education about avoiding food-borne illnesses

  • Applicable local laws and ordinances will also be discussed

Objectives

  • Produce clean, safe food

  • Importance of personal hygiene

  • Prevent contamination from equipment

Food Procurement

  • How to acquire ingredients

  • Understanding of food purchasing

  • Methods to provide a steady supply of ingredients

Objectives

  • Identify proper ingredients

  • Market factors affecting cost and availability

  • Mechanics of purchasing

Bachelors

A bachelor’s degree takes about four years duration. This course exposes a student to various skills and knowledge regarding a variety of cuisines from around the world and learns about the business aspects of running a restaurant or food business. The bachelor’s degree topics include culinary topics as well as management related training and concepts.

Table Service

  • Supervision of dining room employees

  • Proper equipment and settings

  • Dining room operations and procedures

Objectives

  • Use of correct flatware placement

  • Correct glassware placement

  • How to properly greet guests

French Cuisine

  • Traditional French cooking styles and ingredients 

  • The history of French cuisine 

  • How to make classic French dishes

Objectives

  • French cooking methods

  • Express likes and dislikes

  • Order food and drinks

Introduction to Marketing

  • The basics of marketing concepts

  • Apply the above principles to the food service and restaurant setting

  • Menu development and course selection

Objectives

  • Customer service techniques

  • External marketing tactics

  • Market mix components