In Focus: Chef As a Career

Posted on June 5, 2010 in Alternative Careers

Meenakshi Gaur:

If you are fascinated by the colorful sight and smell of exotic spices and flours in the kitchen then you might want to try the specialized art of Cooking.  It is all about techniques, ingredients, nutrition, recipes and flavors, and not some mumbo jumbo.

It is not an easy job to please each and every customer and to create the perfect dish every single time. True, perfection is gained through years of experience but passion for cooking and creating menus which consists of new and innovative dishes are the must have qualities in a Chef.

Cooking includes process of selecting foods and preparing meals. A Chef must continually pay attention to detail. Close attention is the key to perfection because cooking is a science. Every ingredient and measurement adds a specific taste to the dish.

In order to become a Chef you may want to consider working as an apprentice under several chefs in order to gain experience. It teaches some basic requirements; like how to use wide variety of kitchen equipments, ability to plan portion sizes and making bulk food purchases. Understanding the markers of quality to prepare the highest quality meal is vital for this profession. To seek out the finest ingredients and use the best techniques to deliver the best, depends a lot on instinct and intuition developed through rigorous training under the experts.

Attending a Culinary school or institute is a good option in order to pursue the yummy career of Chef. These institutes teach you to be a team player. A chef must understand that he/she is part of a larger food preparation team and that everyone must work harmoniously to ensure the timely production of quality food. Multitasking is taught in order to handle many tasks at once. A single chef might be responsible for several aspects of a meal. Many times a Chef needs good management skills as well ,in order to work well with kitchen staff and wait staff .Timely completion of all the meals, organizing the kitchen, determining serving sizes, planning menus, ordering supplies for food and supervising kitchen operations to make sure the food quality and presentation is consistent. All this knowledge has to be accompanied by strong Business sense. A chef has to run a kitchen daily which should produce both, quality food as well as cost-effective and efficient food.

After willingly working for long hours with determination to achieve perfection, a Chef must learn to handle criticism from customers. Not everyone will always like what a chef prepares.  The poor reviews should not be taken personally nor should be completely overlooked.

The various culinary institutes in India are:

The benefit of joining professional institutes is that many of them have campus placements. One is likely to command a higher remuneration and work with better industry brands. Once you become the part of this industry then sky is the limit. A chef can branch out into a variety of careers like restaurant management, related positions in hotels and clubs. After gathering sufficient experience, a chef can start his/ her own hotel or restaurant. It’s not about whether chefs are born or made, but you can make it as a chef, if you have it in you.