Thinking of becoming a professional chef? Has the allure of the profession, and the elegance of the character of a chef, dressed in his chef whites and tall chef hat (or Toque as it is called) drawn you to the culinary arts? If so, then there’s a lot you should know before making the decision to pursue a career in the world of professional cooking.
The role of a professional chef is not an easy one, I think we can all agree on that! From the studies at culinary school, to the long hours of training or learning either in a professional kitchen or on your own, to the even longer hours as an actual working chef, the life of someone in the field of culinary arts is not an easy one, and not everyone will be cut out for such a demanding role. However, if you are able to bear the stress and pain of long hours, think creatively and exude the mannerisms and professionalism required of a position such as this, then certainly the culinary world is waiting for you to join it.
While it is true that a professional chef hardly has a social or family life, and the work involved in hard and stressful, there are many benefits to being in this profession as well, especially for those who want to advance in their careers and perhaps open up their own business someday. The potential and future prospects for a good chef out there are unlimited, so here are a few of the benefits you can gain from joining this profession.
- Unlimited career options – A Chef can be employed absolutely anywhere, a restaurant or cafe, a big chain hotel, a private home, a cruise ship, or anywhere else where the preparation of quality food is required. So, they have a wide range of options available according to their personal preferences. In addition, if you are someone who likes to travel around the world, then this career path is a great opportunity, because you can find a suitable job anywhere in the world.
- Helps you hone your creativity – Being a chef means that you need to get creative with your food and with plating and garnishing, if you want to be unique and create your own style of cooking. Therefore, going into the culinary arts means that you can improve on your creative skills.
- Perks – Working in the kitchen means you always get your meals for free while on the job. In addition, if the restaurant or hotel you are working at gets more business because of your skills, then they are most likely to give you additional bonuses and benefits, because they won’t want to lose you.
- Teaching and learning – As a professional chef you will no doubt have to train and teach the younger generation of cooks who are employed under you, however don’t forget that in many cases there are also opportunities for you to learn something new and innovative from one of your students. Hence being a chef is always a learning experience, and an avenue where you can constantly improve on your skills and knowledge.
- Gratification – What can give you more satisfaction in your job than knowing that you have been successful in pleasing the most important people, your customers. When a chef sees the satisfied faces of their customers, they instantly know that they have done a good job, and the gratification they receive can motivate them to do even better, greater things.
- Respect – Being a professional in this industry means that you earn the respect of everyone around you. Whether you are adorned in your chef whites and chef coat, or simply creating something unique and delicious for family and friends, you are the center of attention, and your hard work has earned the respect that the title of ‘Chef’ brings.
- Income – Depending on your expertise and experience level, you can earn a pretty good income from this profession, including the many perks and incentives you get when your employer is doing well.
- A family in the workplace – Teams that work in the kitchen usually work together very well, and behave as a very close-knit family unit. They help each other out, both in and out of the kitchen, and they know who is boss and what the hierarchy of the kitchen is, so that there are no problems with giving or following orders, and they work as a well-oiled unit to create great experiences for their customers.
- Own business opportunities – After working in a restaurant or hotel for some time, a chef is able to gain enough experience to open up his or her own restaurant, and create their own brand and style.
As you can see, the benefits of being a chef can sometime outweigh the hardships and long hours you need to put in, but certainly this is not a profession that will appeal to everyone. For the right person, however, it is certainly a very satisfying job which offers great opportunities for growth and development.