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Qualifications & Advancement
Once you have started at a beginning level as a cook or apprentice, you will want to move ahead and into an assistant cook position. This doesn't sound like much, but it will be necessary when looking to advance to an executive chef level.
You must train and go to school for a few years to be able to work your way into a fine restaurant or a head chef position. You will also need a few years of experience.
That is why many people begin to work in restaurants when they are in high school. You can also work while taking your scholastic training in the culinary industry. The most popular methods of training are as follows:
2-4 year college
Apprenticeship for Culinary institute
Apprenticeship for employer
Length of training
Anywhere from 2-4 years, depending on the type of chef you want to be.6mths-2 years. Depending on how fast you complete your training. You often move at your own pace.Can last anywhere from 1-4 years, depending on the amount of advancement you are hoping for.It truly depends on how long the employer prefers you to continue training. You are often training to head kitchen.
Type of training
Hands on training and many other courses accompany college training to attain certification.
Almost all is hands on, but condensed version of certification requirements. Also hands on, with training for certification required and also specialized training courses available. All of this is hands on experience that the employers specifically need.
You will earn your full certification and diploma to work anywhere in the country.You will gain basic certification to work in your State.Can attain certification in any country if you like.
You often get paid while training, and land a full time job immediately afterward.
Training is lengthy and doesn't offer workplace experience
Doesn't offer workplace experience. Can be Pricey. Certification is only recognized in your state.
Expenses can be costly depending on where it is and what type of certification you want.
You do not receive certification in this type of work.
Cost of tuition
Anywhere from $5000-15,000 per year
$3000-5000 per course program
From $5000-20,000 per year, depending on location, certification, and expenses
This is just a quick breakdown of what to expect from each of these types of training.
All formal schooling that you take requires that you cover your expenses such as:
Training in an employer's establishment is generally covered since you are often training to be a full time employee for them.
Keep in mind that you do not receive any certifications for training with an employer because you are only training to meet their specific requirements.
Formal schooling will train you to work almost anywhere, but may be limited to a particular state or country.
Culinary schools can train you to work in any locale, which is their best benefit. Of course, they are also much more expensive as well and are often located outside of the United States, and require that you cover your room and board at their institutions.
Colleges and Universities offer the most extensive training out there. They will get you a level III certification and will let you meet AQF in commercial cookery. It is the best method next to culinary institutes.
In colleges you can expect to study any or all of these subjects:
Business: you need to know business as you will be responsible for the ordering of foods, and supplies. It is also good if you plan to someday run a restaurant of your own someday)
History, cultural studies, and Sciences: The study of the social sciences is a necessity when becoming a chef, because you will often be cooking foods from a different culture. Knowing the history of a country is an asset when trying to duplicate their foods.
Economics and even politics: Understanding economics is needed in every profession as you will have to keep up with economic trends in the locale that you are working in. You can't expect an expensive restaurant to thrive in an area that is generally poor.
Math: As a chef, you will often be required to estimate pricing for foods that balances out with the cost of preparing it. You will also be required to estimate the cost of supplies and ingredients, and must remain on or below your budget.
Biological sciences: Knowing biology will help you to steer away from poisoning your clientele. It will help you to identify any poisonous or harmful food stuffs.
Human relations: You must be able to relate to other people on their level if you are a chef because you will be dealing with quite a few of them daily, and none of them will be the same.
Art and communications: Art will help you to present a nice plate and will help you to effectively blend the right foods together in a way that will be more appealing to the customer.
Foreign Languages: Knowledge of foreign languages is an asset to a chef. It is quite common for a chef to travel to foreign locations when looking for inspiration for a new dish. It helps to speak the native language.
You will have to study a great deal but it will be worth it.
You need to study all of these subjects so that you can effectively learn to calculate, estimate and organize food stuffs; communicate effectively with your clients and other kitchen staff; know what foods are eaten in what cultures, and how to effectively duplicate the taste.
Advancement as a chef is easier than in most jobs, and can happen relatively quickly as you are always proving yourself. This is the one job where you moving form job to job will actually benefit you.
The reason for this is because you can transfer to a higher paying job, or simply to a better position. Being able to minimize waste and monitor other employees that are working under you can help you advance quickly.
Your ability to accurately estimate how many perishable foods you need is also a good way to start. Many cooks advance to managers, supervisors, and executive chefs that way.
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