Do You Need Culinary School to be a Successful Chef?
Many of you who love cooking may have thought of what it would be like to be a successful chef. After numerous shows on the Food Network, many of us have pretended that we were the latest star. Nothing ever comes that fast without hard work and skill. A lot of times it comes down to paying our dues with countless hours of work to reach the upper ranks needed for this type of profession. But, right now, you’re probably wondering if you need a traditional education or any other training requirements.
The answer depends on the person. For many, the training has already been spent by spending numerous hours in a hot kitchen all day learning the trade, while for others, choosing a culinary degree would be the appropriate path to choose.
Chefs have many duties, and contrary to many beliefs, there are usually more than one in a kitchen.
- Chefs are usually the head boss of the kitchen (If you’re the Master Chef)
- Chefs will plan the menu
- Choose and inspect ingredients (Quality is everything in the kitchen)
- Supervise kitchen staff
- Handle other food-related issues
Different Types of Chefs
- Master Chef, aka Executive Chef or Chef de Cuisine: The one in charge of the whole kitchen.
- Sous Chef: Second-in-command who usually implements the Master Chef’s directives.
- Chef de Partie: Usually supervises a specific station or area in the kitchen.
- Commis: This chef is the least experienced and is typically fresh out of culinary school
- Pastry Chef: Can you say desserts, cakes, and pastries?
Chefs handle so much in the kitchen besides cooking a fabulous meal. Having restaurant and kitchen knowledge is as essential as knowing how to cook isn’t enough. Just a word of warning: Your first job as a chef may be doing the bottom of the ladder things like washing dishes and taking out the trash! You’ll have to work your way up whether you have a college degree or career experience.
Becoming a Chef
- Finding a job working in a restaurant kitchen: This is where experience or a degree comes into play. You need an apprenticeship, so it’s essential to start combing through the job boards.
- High School Diploma: Everything starts here, including getting into college or an apprenticeship. Never give up on high school. It sucks at times, but it isn’t forever. Especially if your future is creating delicious masterpieces of culinary delights.
- Culinary School (If this is your chosen route). While not needed, many choose higher education as it offers specialized knowledge and skills that give many a head start. Plus, a degree may land you a job faster.
- Work Experience: With or without a degree, you’ll have to work underneath someone else to heighten your skills. Pro Tip: Work experience is a fantastic opportunity to network
- Certifications: While not a requirement, it may make it easier when and if you apply for an extremely competitive position. These are also great for marketing your ability and able to generate more leads.
Before you give up on your dream of becoming a chef, keep in mind that college isn’t necessary to become successful as a chef. It all comes down to desire and the drive to succeed where others fall behind. It may be a delicious road, but it’s a hard one and not always paved at 350 degrees. No matter what route you take, keep in mind, you can do this and succeed.
Keywords: Successful chefs/success without culinary school