Old school chefs just want you to have the skills and do the job. They are not worried about a piece of paper which tells you that you have a degree. However, the fact is that more chefs are qualifying with a culinary arts degree and those who do have this will stand a better chance of landing a job at one of the top hotels or restaurants not just down the road from you, but anywhere in the world.
How to Choose the Best Culinary School for You
- The ACF Accreditation is the chef’s organization in the United States and so that is what you should be looking out for. Schools should have a curriculum with facilities geared towards this, meeting certain expectations and standards.
- The next thing to look at is the cost because if you have all the money in the world then the world is your oyster, but very few people can say this. Often you are paying for the name, and if you go to a community college you will find that you can learn just about the same, paying a fraction of the cost. Obviously there are other things to take into consideration if you are looking at your budget.
- First off, you don’t want to end up somewhere, where you are taught mostly theory and the practical you are taught is straight out of a text book. Ideally, you should be taught by chefs who have been in the industry for years and have a good reputation.
- Some of the best culinary schools that have been around for a while will obviously have earned themselves a good reputation than the new ones that have cropped up. You may say that cooking has become somewhat of a fashion because of what we see on TV and this is why there are so many new schools. This is really why you have to look around for those that have been around.
- Make sure you get a guided tour. This is important because you want to see that the equipment is modern and all of the utensils you will be working with are not falling apart. This is something to check up with a school that has been around for a while. A good school will constantly be upgrading their equipment.
- During your program, you will want some hands on experience. It is not good enough to go from school to work in the culinary industry. because you will be overwhelmed. You need to either be sent into the real world into various restaurants or to functions or the school should be equipped with a restaurant. This will give students a chance to see what really goes on, on a daily basis and get a head start.
Job Outlook for Chefs
Right! So far I have spoken about the life of a chef revolving around restaurants and hotels. You will hear this wherever you go. People say that that they want to come a top chef so they can work at a five star restaurant. However, there are so many more choices out there. Have you explored any of those options? Have you thought about chef jobs outside of a restaurant or a hotel?
What happens if you find that cooking in a hotel or a restaurant is just not for you? You may not think the chef salary is good enough or you are not able to support your family on a chef’s salary. So, you start saying to yourself, I studied a degree for this?? You may just become tired of it and need a change.
If you think outside of the box, you can go a lot further in this career. I have really loved experiencing a lot of different ways in which you can be a chef. Something like a private chef, working for a great family, making a ton more and having myself a nice holiday at the same time is one way to go. I have also been a missionary chef, teaching a team to cook for 70 people every day, which is totally different - challenging and rewarding. I have worked with a private caterer and I have taken on the challenges of five star hotels and restaurants as well - the choice is yours!
Of course, there are so many more exciting opportunities so choose something which best suit you and go with the flow. Some people like the adrenalin rush of the constant buzz that you get from big restaurants. Of course, this comes along with more stress and less pay. Then there are people who will prefer to settle for the quieter life of a personal chef.
There is so much you can do with your knowledge once you have been taught the basics. It is really up to you because you could sit at home, going through the class ads or you could see what is across the ocean.
You will probably find a lot of chef jobs in your home town, but if you have the opportunity, then take your knife bag with you and do something exciting. If you are not ready for the fast pace steady work of a cruise ship, you could settle for a private yacht. Once you have got your balance going, it is a whole new experience. Chefs are needed in every single country in the world. Everyone has to eat!
Some people want to get away from the heat of the ovens and the big dough mixing machines altogether, so if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, but you still want to be involved in the culinary industry, then how about thinking about becoming a food photographer, for example. Patient people who love photography can make a lot of money if they know what they are doing.
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What Else is on Offer?
So, up until now, we have discussed basic roles and this basically consists of working for other people. However, if you want to spread your wings and start to make some extra money, then the next thing that should be on your mind is working for yourself. If you are a chef, you will start to see your options open up even more.
Start your own restaurant? No! Obviously this is the first thing that would come to your mind, but there is so much more that you can do as a chef. Just a point here – 23% of all new restaurants fail within the first year – so do your homework!
Most people see want to see themselves running around a big kitchen with other chefs in white jackets, equipped with the sharpest chef knives. They don’t want to be selling sandwiches every day. However, if you knew how much you could earn making and selling your own range of culinary delights, you would be surprised. At the end of the day, this comes down to you and what you are prepared to do because only you can decide.
The beauty of this is that you are free to explore. There are so many opportunities available so it doesn’t mean that say for example you become an accountant and you are stuck in the office for the rest of your life. If you don’t like one thing – move on. Nobody should go to work every day unhappy and unmotivated.
You may have always have had this dream to be cooking in the hot kitchen, plating up to perfection, but it doesn’t turn out that way. Some people find that pastry is their thing and if you find you have a flair for something like that, and then go with it. You can never tell in which direction you are going to go and that is the beauty of this industry.
The world is your oyster - so enjoy every minute of it!