|Requirements to Become...|
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What are the Requirements to Become a Chef?
A love of food, finesse in cooking, and an impeccable pallet are essential qualities when it comes to being a chef. Becoming a chef is more than just cooking and putting food on a plate. It is the desire to be creative in the kitchen and to create refined dishes that build a firm foundation in a career as a chef. For a chef, cooking results in a dining experience instead of simply eating a meal, like the difference between burlap and lace to a clothing designer. Most common duties of a chef include preparing food, menu planning, ordering food and kitchen supplies and appliances, managing cooking and kitchen staff, and training cooks and kitchen staff.
Most chefs attend a culinary arts school, or a vocational or technical school with specialized programs in culinary arts. While formal education is not required, it is becoming an industry standard. Some kitchens will train new chefs through on the job training, but those positions are rapidly being edged out, as more schools now offer degree programs. Even after a culinary degree, most restaurateurs require some form of on the job training.
Students seeking a degree in culinary arts find it an asset to also include a well-rounded education, including, business management, accounting, nutrition, health, and computer courses. Other specialized courses and training usually include a variety of different types of cuisine and different types of specialties (pastry chefs, desert chefs, French cuisine, and numerous others). Optional certification is available with the American Culinary Federation, which also offers internships and credit for kitchen experience. Chefs that earn several certifications show versatility. For those chefs whose long-term goal is achieving a head chef position, it is not uncommon to expect at least 5 years experience on the job. Long-term goals of a chef may include head chef positions, restaurant manager, or restaurant owner. Other possible career possibilities include food critic, cookbook author, and guest chef positions.
The expected growth potential according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows growth in the marketplace. Jobs for chefs will steadily increase at a rate of approximately 5% through 2022. The more versatile and creative the chef, the more they will earn in the kitchen. There are also many accolades and awards are available to chefs that exceed industry standards. With the recent popularity of cooking shows, cooking competitions, and other media outlets, chefs currently enjoy being in the spotlight more than ever before.
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