Chef Career - Do You Have What It Takes For A Successful Chef Career?
Author: Chef George Krumov
Becoming a chef can be a good career move, but only for those of you who don't mind working on evenings and weekends (and almost any other time when the rest of the people are not working), standing on your feet for long hours, working under pressure, enduring burns and cuts, hot environment, smoke and fumes, noise and heavy lifting. To become a good chef you need much more than the knowledge how to cook different kinds of food. A good chef has many qualities and most of those qualities have more to do with management than cooking. He/she should be very familiar with food cost, labor cost, public health regulations, fire code, have great interpersonal skills, be able to plan and organize all kitchen work, develop new menus, cater for customers with food allergies and so on. I should stop with the heavy staff here, because my article started to look like a job posting in a government web site.
But, if you have the right kind of personality, becoming a chef can bring you many rewards, some of which are not necessarily monetary rewards. For example, the satisfaction of the job well done at the end of the night, the good comments of your customers, the camaraderie and team work in the kitchen, the possibility to apply your creativity, the life-long learning and the prospects of advancement.
If you are aiming to become an executive chef (chef de cuisine, corporate chef) you will need at least 11-12 years of very strong experience within the industry. Executive chefs are generally in charge of menu development, supervision of all food outlets and kitchens within the organization, ordering supplies, setting standards for all kitchen staff, coordinating efforts with the general manager and restaurant manager to promote a successful business model for the organization. Executive chefs are usually also in charge of interviewing and hiring kitchen staff, scheduling the vacation time for all kitchen employees and training any newly hired chefs and sous-chefs into the company standarts.
Chef de Cuisine is usually in charge of one kitchen within an organization. This position can be also called Sous-Chef at some places or Chef Tournant at other. The Sous-Chef is the second in command, regardless of the title of the head chef. After the Sous-Chef are as follows: Chef de Partie, Demi-Chef de Partie, First Cook, Second and Third Cook, Prep Cook. Sometimes in smaller establishments all non-chef kitchen positions are called line cook or short order cook.
On the job training is very common in the service industry, but if you have a dream to become something more than a cook, you will probably need to attend a college or university to get more in-depth knowledge of the culinary arts. But first, get a part-time job in a restaurant to see if you really like cooking.