One of the biggest decisions everyone must take during a lifetime is selection of stream for undergraduate education. This decision will determine immediate career path after graduation if not more. So, for every higher secondary school or 10+2 graduate, the big question is WHAT NEXT?
The traditional dominant choices of Engineering and Medicine, though forced upon by parents in most cases, still rule the set of options along with other traditional options of Accounting, Legal, Company Secretary, etc. Options leading to upcoming and recent career paths in Commerce Management, Finance Management, Risk Management, Non-Core IT Services etc are also gaining prominence. One stream of education with equally promising and remunerative career opportunities but not getting its due of recognition in India is of Culinary Services.
There has been never a better time to become a Chef, the most recognised career path under Culinary Services. For a chef with strong skill set, passion for innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset, the world is his oyster!
Until recently, Food is only looked at as a basic need in our country. We hardly subscribed to the concept of eating out or fine dining. Now that is a thing of the past. Food is being increasingly looked at as a means of Comfort, like that of in developed economies. It is under this philosophy where we value the experience of food, a mental need rather than just consuming the food, a physical need. We look for preparation style and presentation, ambience and interior of a restaurant, innovative dishes on the menu, new styles of cooking, new dishes, new cuisines being introduced and so on. This factor is fast increasing the demand for skilled chefs.
Another important contributing factor to consider is Convenience, especially in urban and semi-urban areas. After a long day at work, it is rather convenient to either eat our or order in your dinner. This is being widely subscribed to by working professionals in urban areas.
Thus, many restaurants and food outlets are cropping up at a brisk pace across the country in urban and semi urban areas. People are looking not to satiate their physical hunger but to satiate their enthusiasm for new culinary experiences.
A well-trained chef with a Bachelor’s Degree from a Hotel Management Institute or a Diploma from a recognised Culinary Institute can expect starting pay package similar to that of average IT worker. Once you are in you are set for a lifetime as Food Industry is one of the most insulated market segment to recessions, economic downturns, etc. In 3 to 5 start hotels globally, the Head Chef of the hotel draws a bigger pay package than that of General Manager, usually. Head Chef is more critical to a hotel than the General Manager. Senior Chefs become nearly indispensable over time.
One great thing about becoming a chef is that you have an opportunity to become a celebrity! It is one of the rare career paths that lets you become a celebrity like a sports person, entertainer, politician, etc. As a Chef one could connect with people directly on leading websites dedicated to Food in general and Recipes, earn admirers from across the globe. In addition to well know Grade A Celebrity Chefs like Sanjeev Kapoor, Tarla Dalal and Vikas Khanna, there are many other celebrity chefs with different levels of popularity, few known to general public and few known to people within the food industry.
Thus, if you have passion for food, enjoy cooking and do not shy from experimenting, a good chef can bring soul to a recipe. You should consider becoming a Chef for a career option and grab your own slice of the ever growing big pie called Culinary Services!
This article is written by Srikanth Siram, Co-Founder and CEO of Foodibase.com