Chef- A Career Choice | How to Become a Chef

Chef- A Career Choice. How to Become a Chef

In this article, we are going to talk about career path of chefs. We will provide you complete information on how to become a chef, eligibility, skills required, work profile, career progression, job prospects for chef etc.

Being a Professional Chef

Cooking is no longer an activity confined to traditional kitchen for housewives or mothers. Cooking is now a high flying career option for lot of youngsters. To cater to the growing food market and demand for professional chefs, work profile and salary of chefs have been improving steadily.

Many quality courses in food processing, catering technology and other allied areas are being offered by various institutes in India.

Chef – Eligibility

Most Important Skills Required to be Chefs

The skills required to become a successful chef have been changing as the eating habits of Indians are changing. Following are few omnipresent important skills required for chefs:

  • Attention to Detail

Cooking is primarily a science. Anybody who is not precise, has no business of being in kitchen. Being precise does not just matter in adding ingredients in a recipe, but also while ordering food products or figuring out what time to cook certain items. A chef needs to have an eye for detail.

  • Creativity

Cooking is an art. Being a chef requires you to be creative. Chefs should incorporate new food items into menus, invent new cooking styles, hacks and improve older recipes and methods. Creativity, imagination and continuous strive to improve will keep customers coming back to the restaurant.

  • Culinary Expertise 

This should be the most important skill for being a chef. Ability to cook and having knowledge of kitchen items is essential. A chef should be able to cook precisely and efficiently.

  • Cleanliness

Nobody likes to eat food coming from dirty kitchens. That is why, chefs need to know how to keep their kitchen clean. On an average, up to 30% of efforts of a chef goes into maintaining cleanliness throughout the process of cooking.

Chef- Qualification Criteria

Following is qualification criteria for becoming a chef

  • Minimum – Class 12 Pass
  • Bachelor/Diploma of Hotel management
  • Certificate chef courses that last 6-12 months

Chef- Work Profile

When one asks, what is the work profile of chef. Short answer is it all depends. Following are the main work profiles of chef

Prep Cook

Junior most chef in kitchen. He/ she does all the Mise-en-place or gets food ready for the other chefs. Their primary work is to chop vegetables, prepare meat for cooking and weigh and measure ingredients.

Line Cook

Responsible for cooking the food items.

Sous Chef

Next level from Line Cook. He/ she is responsible for overseeing the cooking process. In addition, he/ she is second in command after Head Chef.

Head/ Executive Chef

Boss of a kitchen. He or she can cook food, lead a team of kitchen employees/ chefs, and manage inventory and menu. Head Chef is responsible for budgets and profit & loss of the kitchen

Chef- Career Progression

Entry level Position for Chef

  • Commi3 – Beginning position
  • Commi2 – In six months to one years
  • Commi1 – In one to two years, after last promotion

Middle Level Position for Chef

  • Demi-chef-de–partie- Generally within five years of work experience
  • Chef-de-partie – In charge of one complete section like Chinese, French, Italian, Starters, Desserts, etc. Generally, in seven to ten years of work experience.
  • Expeditor- Makes sure that the food is plated properly for the waiters to serve orders
  • Sous Chef – Generally, in 10-15 years of work experience

Senior Level Position for Chef

  • Head/ Executive Chef- Generally, 15-20 years of work experience

Chef- Job Prospects

On completion of a diploma or certificate course in Hotel Management, one can join a hotel/ restaurant as an intern. Alternate option for many is joining as an apprentice after class 12 exams. However, a trained chef gets far more employment opportunities than the untrained.

Industries hiring Chefs

Following industries hire trained chefs

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Airlines
  • Food processing companies
  • Catering in confectioneries
  • Cruise liner
  • Corporate catering
  • Content writing

Chef – Different Culinary Branches

Following are different branches in culinary studies:

  • Gastronomy
  • Patisserie and Confectionery Arts
  • Bread Art
  • Advanced Garde Manger Arts
  • Meat and Charcuterie
  • Asian Cooking
  • Indian Regional Cuisine
  • Indian Confectionery
  • International cuisine
  • Food and Beverage Pairing
  • Drawing and Graphics – To enhance presentation skills.
  • Management
  • French –To illicit further understanding of classical cooking techniques.

Starting Salary of Chef

Graduates become trainees, who after being trained are paid about Rs. 7,000 – Rs. 10,000. Pay increases with experience and the lifestyle is brilliant. If you start as a chef in a good restaurant or hotel, you can earn as much as Rs. 50,000 per month.

Starting Salary of Kitchen Chef- Rs 1.27 Lakh to Rs 9.47 Lakh

Source – Payscale

 

This article is written by Srikanth Siram, Co-Founder and CEO of Foodibase.com

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