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So, You Want To Become a Chef?

Embarking on a career in food is incredibly rewarding. If you have a natural flair for food, as well as a bucket load of talent and ambition, then a career as a chef can be viable and profitable.


Image is courtesy of Olle Svensson

What Does it Take?

Years of training and professional experience are required should you want to be a chef. Chefs tend to be strong minded and must possess leadership skills, as well as strong interpersonal skills. The ability to cook food helps too. Of course, food plays a big part of being a chef, but you also need to be proficient in managing people and motivating your sous chefs to work under tight deadlines without compromising the quality of the food that is being prepared. Many chefs will undertake professional courses and training in how to operate a business as well as how to effectively keep a clean and efficient kitchen that abides by health and safety standards.

Education and Training

All chefs, regardless of their ability, need to know the basics. A high degree of training and professional experience is needed to work in this highly competitive industry. You will need to undertake courses in technical schools, culinary art schools and colleges. Some chefs even go on to do university degrees in business management so they can effectively run their kitchens with ease. Cooking plays a pivotal role in being a chef, but so does the ability to master how a kitchen works and how to manage staff. Typically, you will undertake a three year course to learn the basics, with another three years to be undertaken at an accredited university, should you want to progress your career as a chef further.

While formal qualifications are great, they are no substitute for apprenticeships and on the job training, so if you are offered a placement in a kitchen with a chef, take it. These opportunities are rare but are the perfect way to hone your craft, as well as taking on the expertise of those in the know and who are the top of their game. If you want more information on how to find a placement, check out

The key to an apprenticeship is to learn from the master. It is through professional experience that you learn how food tastes and smells so that it is appealing to the consumer. What is more, it is important to learn how to be creative with food presentation. After all, people eat with their eyes before they actually consume the food. A natural creative flair is a must, but you can learn techniques from those who have been in the trade for a long time.

Career Advancement

Chefs who have a lot of professional experience, as well as formal training and qualifications are eligible for certification. Certification is not mandatory by any means but as a professional chef with a fledgling career it can put you in good stead for the rest of your professional life. With a certification, you will have more opportunities to join prestigious restaurants and as such command a higher salary.

A career as a chef can be highly rewarding, but without the right qualifications and professional training, it can be a recipe for disaster.

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