Becoming a professional chef is a common goal for millions of food lovers throughout the country. Getting paid well to produce delicious culinary creations can be an appealing prospect under the right conditions. In addition, such a career path can lead to further opportunities beyond a mere paycheck, as celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay and Anthony Bourdain have proven. If you want to make your chef dreams a reality, it’s imperative that you understand the challenges and potential roadblocks that may stand in your way down the line.
A typical chef is responsible for overseeing just about every aspect of running a kitchen at a bar, restaurant or other food service establishment. That means hiring staff, organizing schedules, stocking and ordering food ingredients, maintaining a clean cooking environment, designing dishes and watching the budgetary bottom line. In addition, head chefs usually act as a sort of kitchen staff quarterback by supervising line cooks and sous chefs, personally cooking technically demanding items and ensuring that every dish that leaves the kitchen is up to up to their standards.
You’ll need to master many different technical skills related to cooking such as knife handling, baking, broiling, sautéing and grilling if you’d like to become an expert chef. Furthermore, an eye for detail as well as the ability to improvise are incredibly important. Most great chefs are born leaders who know how to delegate tasks quickly and efficiently. As far as training is concerned, a formal education isn’t necessarily a requirement. Regardless, an actual chef training program at a licensed culinary institute is a never a bad way to begin your career.
Being a professional chef is an immensely rewarding way to make a living and can be quite lucrative. Chefs at popular establishments have access to loads of networking opportunities and can later use those connections to start their own businesses. The hours are definitely the worst thing about being a chef as you’ll often have to work nights and holidays. The typical sous chef makes roughly $42,793 per year. Meanwhile, the average executive chef salary in the United States is $68,459. Compensation will depend on regional variations, the type of establishment where you work and your overall experience.How to Get Started
The best way to get started on your path to becoming a chef is to pick up a job in a kitchen in your area. In addition, check out the American Culinary Federation website to find employment and training advice. The Culinary Institute of America is world-renowned, though the Le Cordon Bleu schools are quite good. Regardless of the route you take on your way to top chef status, it’s more than possible to reach the pinnacle of the industry if you’ve got the drive and passion to succeed.