Becoming A Chef - Steps To Becoming
A Professional Chef
No matter how talented you are or how prestigious the culinary school you graduate from, you canít expect to become an executive chef overnight. The executive chef is responsible for the success or failure of the entire restaurant, and it takes time to earn that level of expertise and to gain the high degree of trust required. Here are the steps to becoming an executive chef to help you plan out the course of your career.
Commis Chef - You start your training as a junior chef in the commis chef position. This is where you learn the culinary arts, and to decide whether this is the right career for you. In this position, youíll receive the training you need to work your way up the ladder, get a feeling for what itís like to work in a professional kitchen, and receive close supervision from other chefs with more experience. Duties include prep work such as peeling vegetables, setting out the cookware and sauces and cleaning the kitchen. You generally do not need much experience to start in this position. Salaries generally top out at around $20,000 a year.
Chef de Partie - Also known as line cooks. Most of the cooks in a large professional kitchen will have this title. These chefs are responsible for cooking the foods in one specific section of the kitchen, such as fish, deep fried foods, or pastries.
After receiving training in all of the different sections of the restaurant, a Commis Chef can often move up into the position of Chef de Partie. The average salary for a Chef de Partie is usually around $30,000 per year.
Sous Chef - The Sous Chef is the chief assistant of the Executive Chef. This position is usually administrative as well as culinary. The Sous Chefs are generally responsible for creating schedules for the kitchen, working with customers to resolve problems and filling in for Chef de Parties when necessary. In the absence of the Executive Chef they also run the kitchen. A Sous Chef usually has experience as a Chef de Partie in several different stations. The average salary for a Sous Chef is about $40,000 a year.
Executive Chef - The Executive Chef may do some cooking, but the main focus of this position is managerial in nature. The Executive Chef hires the kitchen staff, plans the menus, determines portion sizes, sets the kitchenís budget, and coordinates all aspects of preparing the meals. The Executive Chef is usually the visionary behind the restaurant. The average salary for an Executive Chef is around $70,000 a year, though if you are lucky enough to break into the big time, it can be much higher. By understanding the ladder to climb to become a top chef, you can plan your career and strategize how to best meet your goals. Note that many people are very happy working as Chef de Partie or as a Sous Chef. If those positions sound more interesting to you, you can shape your career to land yourself the best possible position in those fields.
Top 5 Reasons to Become a Chef - Many people dream of becoming a top chef when they are young. However, most of us donít have the luxury of knowing many fabulous chefs, so it can be difficult to know whether pursuing a career in cooking is a good idea or not. If you are unsure about whether the culinary arts is the right career choice for you, here are the top 5 reasons to become a chef.
1. Express Your Creativity through Cooking. To be a cook, all you need to do is to be able to put food together and make a satisfying meal. To be a chef however, you need a creative flair that allows you to express yourself in many different ways. You can let your imagination take the reins when it comes to creating the recipes you prepare, the way you put together your meals, and the way that you present each dish. Being a chef is really an art form, and one that many appreciate.
2. Never Get Bored with Your Job. One of the last things that a chef has to worry about is being bored with his or her job. There is always something interesting to learn, a new dish to try, an exciting new trend in the cooking world to experiment with, a new technique or gadget to test. If a job that is always changing and evolving sounds fascinating to you, then being a chef is a great career.
3. Enjoy the Prestige of Being a Chef. Becoming a top chef can make you a star in your own right. Just think of how many people know the names of Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse. Becoming a chef can open the doors to newspaper write-ups, invitations to red carpet events, publication deals for writing your own books, and even the possibility of having your own television show. If youíre looking for fame and fortune, becoming a chef might be your answer.
4. Travel the World for Your Art. To create meals that are unique and exciting, chefs need to have plenty of exposure to different foods and cooking techniques. This means that you will have the chance to travel the world to improve your craft. You donít even have to wait until you are a famous chef to get started; many cooking schools offer exchange or study abroad programs that will allow you to experience the worldís finest cuisines first-hand.
5. Satisfaction. When it comes right down to it, most chefs chose their profession because they love to cook. There are few people who can follow their passion and reap such high rewards as those with a talent for the culinary arts. The satisfaction of seeing your guestsí eyes light up when they taste your food, of having people come to you to cater their parties or weddings, of being able to create meals that no one else can, and that please you and your own family is one of the best reasons to become a chef.
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