How to Become a Chef?

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how to become a chef

All human beings crave good food. It is our default nature to get attracted to food which is well cooked and presented. While you enjoy your delicious meals in comfort some really passionate heroes work hard at the other end to make your day! What seems pleasing to the eyes is palatable for the buds, this can be simply stated as the working motto of a chef or a cook. Culinary jobs are the most challenging ones in the entire hospitality industry. Embedded with enormous perks and benefits, being a chef lets you unleash your creativity with the art of cookery. If you are the hidden Sanjeev Kapoor of your family and want to establish a career in culinary arts, then, it is the time to let the world have a taste of your talent. Read the entire blog to find out – how to become a chef!

Industry Hospitality
Eligibility 10+2 or equivalent
Average Starting Salary INR 2,00,000
Job Opportunity Industry’s Hotels, Restaurants, Airlines, Cruise liners, Railways, Food Catering, Food Manufacturing etc.
Job Roles Head Chef, Sous Chef, Event Caterer, Food Critic, Cookbook Writer, Food Consultant

 “Kitchens are hard environments and they form incredibly strong characters.”
Gordon Ramsay

Who is a Chef?

A chef is someone who manages a kitchen in a restaurant or other establishment where food is served. A chef is a trained and skilled cook who is in charge of a kitchen, typically in restaurants, top hotels, boutique hotels, and similar establishments. Individuals who want to become chefs must go through rigorous training and gain firsthand experience in the culinary industry.

Chef Qualifications: Some of the basic requirements for becoming a Chef are listed below.

  • A designer chef should have the fundamental knowledge in this area to perform his or her responsibilities to the best of his or her ability.
  • There are specific short and long programmes available for this, which must be completed.
  • To be eligible for degree programmes such as BA in Culinary Arts, Bachelor of Hotel Management (BHM), Bachelor of Catering Technology, and Culinary Arts, students must complete 10+2. (BCTCA).
  • Every year, national and state-level entrance exams for hotel administration courses and institutions are held.
  • The National Test Agency administers the NCHMCT JEE for admissions to various IHMs, State governments, and PSU-affiliated institutions.
  • Only a few colleges and universities offer degrees and certifications to 10th-grade graduates.

Discover how to make a career in Hotel Management

YouTube: About to Eat

Types of Chef 

Types of chefs? Yes, you read it right! There are multiple types of professional chefs. To put it in simpler terms, ‘Chef’ is an umbrella term under which there are many types of professionals skilled in culinary arts. Let us have a look at some of the popular types- 

  • Executive Chef- The utmost level of management is handled by the Executive chefs. They are specially hired for particular cuisines and alongside micro-manage the kitchen staff. 
  • Sous Chef- They majorly devote their time to cooking or preparing the dishes and work along with the executive chefs. 
  • Bakery Chef- These professionals have prior training and expertise in baking. They only focus on baking and preparing items like Cakes, Pastries, Bread, Biscuits, etc
  • Station Chef– High-end kitchens have separate sections designated for particular preparations like chopping, marinating, frying, etc. Station chefs are allotted particular tasks in making or preparation of food.
  • Commis Chef – This is a chef’s entry-level position. It’s a type of internship in which the trainee chef assists the seniors in learning various kitchen responsibilities. Commis chefs are typically in charge of keeping the kitchen clean and ensuring that cooking ingredients and tools are available. The average salary is approximately INR 2.5 LPA.
  • Pastry Chef – A pastry chef is a highly specialised chef role. They work independently and are in charge of preparing and presenting a variety of baked goods and desserts. They earn an average of INR 4 LPA, but this can vary greatly depending on the employer and city.
  • Head Chef – One of the most senior members of the kitchen staff, reporting to the Executive Chef. However, some hotels and restaurants may request that they fill in for executive chefs. They are in charge of the overall operation of the kitchen, as well as vendor management, staff management, kitchen supply management, and so on. They can easily earn between INR 6 and 7 LPA.

Also Read: Best Hotel Management Colleges in the World

Responsibilities

If you aspire to become a chef, you must acknowledge the un-said responsibility of delivering hygienic as well as the finest quality food. The role and contribution of any chef in a restaurant are much more than just preparing the food. Mentioned below are some of the responsibilities that you may get to handle if you are wondering how to become a chef-

  • Manage the hygiene of the kitchen along with the necessary utensils and cutlery
  • Understand all the recipes in a detailed manner and collect all the essential ingredients
  • Deliver food in a timely manner 
  • Manage the bifurcation of tasks amongst the junior chefs
  • Monitoring the food stocks on a daily basis 
  • Checking the freshness of raw materials 
  • Understanding the particular need of the customers and modifying the recipes

Also Read: Chef Interview Questions Explained

Step-wise Guide

  • Mental Preparation: Candidates should mentally prepare themselves by researching the benefits and drawbacks of a career as a chef. Although the job of a chef may appear glamorous, as many of the top chefs become celebrities, it requires a great deal of hard work, professional expertise, and years of experience.
  • Courses to Take: Becoming a Chef is one of the most exciting and liberating professions because it allows the individual to explore his creativity while also testing his skills. To become a Chef, one can study Certificate, Diploma, Undergraduate, and Postgraduate courses such as BSc in Hospitality and Hotel Management, BSc in Catering Science and Hotel Management, Certificate in Food Production and Patisserie, PG Diploma in Culinary Arts, BA Culinary Arts, and so on.
  • Pursue an Internship: After completing any relevant degree, one can begin their career as an intern at any of the top hotel chains or restaurants. This will not only help candidates gain hands-on experience in cooking, but it will also improve the required knowledge. After completing the internship, candidates will have a clear idea of how they want to proceed in this field and develop themselves accordingly.

How to Become a Chef in India

To become a Chef, there are several courses and steps that must be completed in order to have a stress-free learning experience. For your convenience, the courses and subjects that must be studied in order to become a Chef are discussed below.

School Level Preparation: There is no specific stream that must be studied or followed after passing class tenth in order to become a chef. Culinary skills are mostly learned as a hobby, so candidates from any field can apply for the course to become a Chef.

How to Become a Chef After 12th

Following successful completion of Class 12, the following steps and courses should be taken.

Aspiring candidates can pursue Undergraduate Hotel Management Courses, Cooking Courses, and other culinary courses such as B.A. Culinary Arts, among others. These courses are available at a number of colleges across the country.
PG Level Preparation: In general, any candidate aspiring to be a chef should have an undergraduate degree. Some students, however, prefer to pursue Postgraduate Courses as well.

Also Read: Chef Courses to Build a Career in Culinary Arts

How to Become a Chef Abroad 

Apart from India, several countries offer various Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses to become a Chef. For your convenience, some of the essential requirements and other prerequisites for becoming a Chef are listed below.

  • France, along with Italy, Greece, and Spain, is regarded as one of the best countries in Europe for a chef. Japan, China, and Thailand are the best places in Asia to gain experience and work as a chef.
  • Given the number of Indian-origin migrants living in the United States, the country remains a promising destination. The process of becoming a chef is similar to that of India. To earn the “toque,” you must work hard and gain a lot of experience.
  • A Bachelor of Culinary Arts degree is the first step toward becoming an international chef. However, depending on the country, eligibility and courses may differ.

Canada

Secondary school is the minimum educational requirement. Trade certification with equivalent credentials, training, and experience is available in all provinces and territories; this certification is required to get a job as a chef. Cook’s Chef de cuisine certification is available to qualified chefs with prior experience through the Canadian Culinary Institute of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks (CFCC).

USA 

A diploma, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree is the best way to become a chef in the United States. Because master’s degrees in culinary arts are scarce in the United States, this can be extremely beneficial. Candidates can also apply for certifications offered by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), one of the most well-known professional cooks and chefs associations. ACF provides 14 different certification programmes from which to choose based on educational qualifications and interests.

UK 

A foundation degree, higher national diploma, or bachelor’s degree in culinary arts or professional cooking. A foundation degree or higher national diploma requires 1 or 2 A levels or equivalent, while a degree requires 2 to 3 A levels or equivalent. English and math skills are required to pass these courses and apprenticeship programmes.

Training courses, Apprenticeship Programs, Certification Courses, etc. Here are some popular chef courses offered by leading universities- 

Institutes  Courses  Duration
Conestoga College Certificate in Culinary Skills 1 Year
KDU Penang University College  Diploma in Professional Chef Training 28 Months
Galway- Mayo Institute of Technology Higher Certificate in Arts in Culinary Arts 2 Years 
Dublin Institute of Technology MSc Culinary Innovation and Food Product Development 1 Year
Fleming College Certificate in Culinary Skills 1 Year
Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners Master course on Italian Culinary Arts  6 Months
Ecole De Conde  International Master in Food and Cook Design 1 Year
Hattori Nutrition College Culinary High Tech Business Administration Course 2 Years 
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts  Associate Occupational Studies Degree in Culinary Arts  60 Weeks
Le Cordon Bleu  Diploma in Culinary Management 3 Months

To make your way through these courses, it is necessary for one to align with the demanded entry requirements. For all those wondering how to become a chef and are sceptical about the eligibility criteria of it, you may note that the rules for entering this field are not hard-and-fast. Let us have a look at them- 

  • For Certificate/ Diploma/ Bachelor’s Courses- Basic education of 10+ 2 is compulsory
  • For Master courses- Diploma/ Undergraduate degree in the same or related field along with required practical experience
  • A good score in IELTS or TOEFL, etc. proving the efficiency in the English language along with LOR and SOP

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Career Pathways

Contrary to the common notion, there are various types of profiles you can be employed to being a qualified chef. The department or the responsibilities allotted to you majorly depends on your degree and experience. Mentioned below are some of the prominent profiles as well as employment sectors where you can opt to work as a chef-

Work Profiles Sectors
-Executive Chef
-Sous Chef
-Food and Beverage Chef
-Sous Chef Management
-Baker
-Banquet Chef 
-Food Blogger
-Restaurants
-Hotel Chains 
-Cafes
-Cruise Lines 
-Civil Services

Also Read: Food Technology Jobs

Top Recruiters

Marriot International, Inc Hyatt Hotels Accor Hotels
ITC Group of Hotels The Leela Palace, Hotels and Resorts The Taj Group of Hotels

Chef Salary 

A Chef’s starting salary typically ranges between INR 3,50,000 and 4,50,000, but this increases with experience and exposure. A Chef’s highest salary can reach INR 25,00,000 or more.

FAQs

Is chef a good career?

Because the foodservice industry is rapidly expanding, becoming a chef is a lucrative and appealing career path for many people. Furthermore, the Food Network’s expansion and the proliferation of YouTube celebrity chefs have glamorised the industry.

How long does it take to become a chef?

Culinary and cooking school can last anywhere from a few months to four years, depending on the length chosen. When you enrol, you have several options and factors that can influence the length of your studies. Professional culinary training, for example, can take 2 to 4 years.

How did Gordon Ramsay become a chef?

After graduating from North Oxon Technical College with a vocational diploma in hotel management in 1987, he relocated to London and began honing his culinary skills under chef Marco Pierre White at Harvey’s and chef Albert Roux at La Gavroche.

We hope now you have an idea about how to become a chef. Are you confused about which career path will suit you the best? Connect with Leverage Edu experts to get personalised counselling and assistance in selecting a well fit career pathway! 

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