By Canadajobs.com Staff
Have you got a flair for the artistic and enjoy cooking for others?
If the thought of becoming a chef is appealing to you, you should consider these tips and find out what it takes to be a chef.
Try it Out:
Before you invest in training, spend a day with a chef. Contact a local culinary school and express your interest in this as a future career. Tell them you'd like to observe someone for a day. They will likely be able to contact someone who would be open to showing you their job. Keep in mind that most restaurants are busy, stressful, fast-paced environments, so it's probably better to go the route of the culinary school, as opposed to contacting restaurants directly. Of course, you can certainly try contacting restaurants directly, especially if you know the owner or staff.
Prepare to Learn:
Working your way up is a combination of training, apprenticeships, and certification. And whether you are interested in becoming an executive chef, a chef de partie, or a sous-chef, it will take years of on-the- job training and the ability to take in and retain a lot of information. Executive chefs, as well as other types of chefs will also need the ability to be managers and supervisors as they direct the kitchen staff and are responsible for assigning tasks in the kitchen.
Being a chef is not just about preparing sumptuous foods. You should have above average communication skills, the ability to remain calm under pressure, be detail-oriented, and creative. Working in a kitchen environment can be fast-paced, stressful, and requires the ability to work quickly and accurately. As you learn the skills, if you want to move up the chef ladder, you will also need managerial skills, computer skills, and food cost control and financial skills.
Wait! There's More:
You'll also need to be physically able to work on your feet for long periods of time. Chef work is physical work, from carrying heavy pots to chopping, kneading, mixing, and more.
You need to be aware of food safety and be conscientious in your work environment. You need to know how to properly handle your tools safely like knives, mixers, and chopping tools.
You'll also need to be willing to learn about various types of cuisines, and depending on your specialty, different types of foods. You also need to be able to adapt your skills to the various work environments that exist. If you want to work in a five-star restaurant, you need to be willing to go out and get five-star restaurant experience.
There are opportunities for chefs to work in exotic locations. From out-of-the-way resorts and spas to cruise ships, being a chef can be exciting and challenging. If you want to work in different environments, you must be flexible. Often, these locations will provide housing for their chefs and you must be able to live in the accomodations supplied. It takes an open mind and the ability to adapt in order to get the best experience possible.
Becoming a chef can be extremely rewarding and satisfying. There are career opportunities in restaurants and in institutions like hospitals, schools, and seniors' homes. You can also be an entrepreneur and become a personal chef, a television personality, or a restaurant owner. Being prepared and knowing what to expect will help you decide if this career is for you.