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How to become a Chef

By Edited Mar 2, 2016 1 0

Many people believe that you need a Culinary Degree or years of cooking experience to get a job as a Chef. Some restaurants of course require one or both of these but many restaurants will train you to do what's required. The tricky part is getting things underway. Here are some ways to get your start as a Chef.

Apply as a dishwasher

It may not be the most rewarding job, but it is the easiest way to get your foot in the door and later become a Chef with no experience. Anyone can be hired to wash dishes. Prestigious restaurants, however, have long waiting lists just to be a dishwasher becuase once you're in it's fairly easy to move your way up. Once you become a dishwasher, the key element to promotion is showing interest. Anytime you have a break or nothing to do go bug the Chefs. Ask them what they're cooking, ask what ingredients are in the different sauces. If you want to know how to become a Chef it starts by asking questions and showing curiousity. Most Chefs love showing the "rookies" what they do and how they do it.

Employee Meal

A great number of restaurants offer an employee meal as a benefit of working around food all day. If you're a dishwasher or server and would like to one day become a Chef, ask the cooks to let you make your own employee meal. This is a great way to hone in your culinary skills becuase you'll get a lot of practice. You may botch your first meal but keep trying it each day until you get it right. Then move on to another dish.

This method works great towards moving your way up to become a Chef. The reason being, if the cooks you work with know you can prepare certain dishes on your own they're going to ask for your help when they get a rush. Pretty soon you'll be a vital element to keeping the kitchen under control. Once you've reached that role, it's only a matter of time before you're cooking full time. I've seen this happen repeatedly without fail.

Culinary School

One direct route to getting a job as a Chef is of course enrolling in Culinary School. A word of caution if you decide to take this path: Work in a restaurant first. I've seen people who love cooking meals for their family at home (and are quite good at it) but simply can't handle the fast paced environment of a restaurant kitchen. On the other hand, I've seen others who get a job as a cook to pay their way through a University, love it and decide to signup for Culinary School. The point is, know what you're getting into. Even working as a dishwasher for a month or two will give you an idea of the madness that ensues during a busy dinner shift. For some it's a blast, others it's hell.

I hope this helps you to jumpstart your cooking future. I've used many of these techniques myself and seen the same pattern throughout my cooking career. They've worked for me and many others and I'm sure they can work for you too. Good luck!

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