Essentials of Becoming a Chef
If you are interested in becoming a chef or a cooking professional, here is a list of the essentials of professional cooking.
To make it as one of the worlds known professional chefs of the culinary arts field, you must first have a passion for food. Acquiring recognition will come, through your cooking recipes, education and hands-on experience. A college education or experience at top restaurants could make a world of difference between getting a good job, and getting a great job. Follow these essentials of becoming a chef and you are sure to kickstart your career in the right direction!
What’s it take in becoming a chef?
Professional chefs are clean, organized and work in teams. Chefs must be capable in handling stressful situation, and the stamina to support each situation. Being adaptable and thinking quickly on your feet—like deciding what to do when your signature dish doesn’t turn up on time
So, ‘if you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen’. But if you can, the rush you’ll feel from cooking meals, and having people enjoy may just what you’ve been looking for.
Having the passion
Having the passion for cooking recipes is not enough. It’s imperative to express your enthusiasm through your cooking techniques as well.
You can chat up about food as enthusiastically as you want; talking about your cooking techniques and what becoming a professional chef means to you and what your special unique cooking ideas would be if you had your VERY OWN cooking show. Just make sure you can back up everything thing you say through your every dish you cook!
Getting started by Cooking Meals
Work experience in the kitchen as an assistant or just for occasional evenings and weekends helps. It helps to see chefs at work and get a feel for the environment other professional chefs’ work in. This will also bring to your attention and may be the deciding factor of becoming a chef is really for you.
There is no specific ‘cooking recipe’ for trainee chefs; it’s not a simple math equation where you’re guaranteed an answer every time. Before handling food it’s important to get your Basic Food Hygiene Certificate first. And if you really want to reach the next cooking level like star Rachel Ray or Paula Dean, you should try working in top restaurants as soon as possible. The competition is rough but if you have motivation and commitment, you can reach that goal!
Basic Cooking Ingredients
If you’re planning a career as a professional chef, it’s good to know the basic structure of a kitchen. Most professional chef kitchens are very hierarchical; structure may change, of course, but only according to how many people a particular restaurant serves and how large (or small) the kitchen staff is. Below are some common kitchen terms that you should be familiar with.
• Aides: often trainees. This is usually the first port of call for those new to working in professional kitchens
• Commis Chef: the first rung of the ladder for newly trained chefs. The commis will usually work under a chef de partie, learning basics such as vegetable preparation.
• Chef de Partie: responsible for running sections of the kitchen. The chef de partie will make sure the food goes out during service and will also cook. All the commis chefs will be expected to help the chef de partie during service.
• Sous Chefs: essentially the head chef’s right-hand man. The sous chef will fulfill any role the head chef asks him or her to do in their absence.
• Head Chef/Chef de cuisine: the boss. Will plan menus, hire and fire staff and deal with suppliers and manage costs and budgets. Depending on their profile and other commitments, the head chef will often leave much of the day-to-day work to the sous.
• Executive Chef: larger establishments such as hotels will have an executive chef. This person may have much the same responsibilities as the head chef of a restaurant but on a larger scale. They may be responsible for planning the menu and setting the agenda for the style of the cuisine served, for example.
Chef Training and Qualifications
If you are 16 years of age, or older, you are able to apply for a ‘Modern Apprenticeship’. Here you will be able to get practical chef training along with experience learning from other professional chefs. Once you get a Level 3 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), after about 3 years of work.
Another way is you can study full-time at a culinary college or chef training school. There are a number of City & Guilds chef qualifications at varying levels, aimed at those who want to work as professional chefs and other food outlets.
If you check your local careers service, they will have more detailed information about finding jobs and courses in food preparation. Here are some organizations that maybe help. (But additional research is advised)
• City & Guilds
• The Hospitality Training Foundation
• The Learning and Skills Council
• There are several websites that make useful starting points for finding out more about Modern Apprenticeships. Scottish Enterprise
• Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland
• ELWa has information on Modern Apprenticeships in Wales
• In Northern Ireland, the Department for Employment & Learning has information on Modern Apprenticeships
• The NVQ website has information on the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in England.
• The Scottish Qualifications Agency has information on the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ).
• Springboard UK offers careers advice, events and a college finder for hospitality jobs.
• The Vegetarian Society has details of the Cordon Vert Diploma for meat-free cookery.
Make sure to check out my other blogs and articles for more information! Comment and leave feedback at http://www.talenttrove.com/SJ2009