***Post was contributed and may contain affiliate links. Food preparation is something that we will always need. Therefore, a career as a chef is one to consider if you want to enter a wide open job market. Fortunately, there are many ways a chef can earn a living. Typically, you think of restaurants, but there are also private chefs and those who work at other types of organizations and businesses. If you are considering getting into the food industry, here are a few things to consider before starting a career as a chef.
Starting a Career as a Chef #1: Is It for You?
I was married to a chef, so I know how demanding this type of work can be. That said, it can also be quite rewarding and fulfilling if you get the right position. Know that just because you are a good cook at home doesn’t mean you are a shoe-in as a professional. Being a chef is one of the most intense and stressful jobs out there. Chefs work hard in a fast-paced environment. If working under pressure is not for you, then you need to reconsider.
You also need to have a thick skin because, in the kitchen environment, things can get heated… pun intended. Mistakes are made and people get angry. This includes managers, customers, and other workers. If you can’t handle pressure, you won’t enjoy working in a kitchen. The working hours are usually horrendous and don’t let up. You can say goodbye to that plentiful social or family life. Just keeping it real, my friend.
Starting a Career as a Chef #2: Have the Right Tools
If you are sure that being a chef is the right choice for you, having the right equipment is important. Any chef will tell you that your knives are your best friends. Invest in a good quality set and take proper care of them. You also need to have the right attire, whether you work in a kitchen, privately, or in a catering situation. Chef Works Inc. has so many really cool options for every type of chef. Keep in mind that the company you work for may also provide some of your equipment and uniforms.
Starting a Career as a Chef #3: Culinary School
There is a lot of debate about the best way to get into the industry. Many working chefs all over the world haven’t stepped foot into a culinary school. Instead, they started at a low-level position when they were young and put in years of hard work to get where they are. Some will be lucky enough to become apprentices to chefs in highly acclaimed restaurants. This route will involve years of tough and relatively low paid positions before moving up.
You can skip some of this by going to culinary school, where you learn the basics of safely and efficiently preparing food. But even with training, experience is your ticket to the big leagues. If you are considering a move into the restaurant industry later in life, it might be worth getting a leg up on the competition by going to culinary school. If you are younger, you could avoid taking on the debt. Get working straight away, but be prepared to do pretty much everything else but be a chef for quite a while.