Recommended Links

Archive for August, 2015

Culinary Chef Job Description

A chef is one who is a cook by profession. However, chefs working with the hospitality sector today, have much more to do than mere cooking. To be more precise, the duty of a chef is to manage the entire kitchen and everything to do with cooking. A chef has to see to it that food is cooked in a way that meets the standards of cleanliness and hygiene. So, the modern chef should have more than just an interest in cooking. He should have a formal training in culinary skills behind him, to be successful as a chef. In addition to educational qualifications, the chef should be healthy and hygienic.

Culinary Chef Requirements

To become a chef, you need to be at least a high school graduate with some experience of practical training. There are many colleges that offer a degree or diploma in cooking. After obtaining a degree (or diploma), you can get some hands-on experience by working as a trainee in restaurant kitchens. Here you can get to see the master chefs at work, and can learn a lot in the process. Since a chef is responsible for deciding the price and measure of the delicacies served to the customers, your ability to do some quick calculations will be an added advantage.

Culinary Chef Job Information

The job opportunities for a culinary chef are mostly in places like hotels, cafeterias and restaurants, where people come to have food. The duty of a chef can vary widely depending on the demands of the place where he is working. Small restaurants and fast food chains have cooks who are adept at making food items such as burgers, pizza, sandwiches, hot-dogs, etc. Such cooks are called short-order cooks, because they specialize in food that gets ready in a jiffy and can be served quickly.

In restaurants that cater to a variety of cuisines from different parts of the world, there are many cooks, each with an expertise in a particular style of cooking. So, there you’ll find separate cooks for Chinese, Continental, Thai, Italian, and Japanese food. Also, cooks are specialized in different departments, such as pastry, soups, desserts, roasting and grilling, among others. In large kitchens such as these, it becomes necessary to have someone to manage things on a day-to-day basis, and this is where the role of a chef comes into picture. The duty of a chef is to oversee the working in the kitchen and supervise the work of cooks and kitchen helpers.

The duties that a culinary chef has to do, varies according to his designation in the food service industry. After obtaining a degree in culinary arts, you can join a restaurant as a station chef or Chef de Partie. Station chefs or line cooks, as they are otherwise known as, prepare food in the kitchen. During this period as a station chef, one has the opportunity to see the second chefs and the executive chef at work. The second chef, or Sous Chef as he is known in French, is the person in charge of supervising the line cooks. The responsibility of ensuring that food is ready on time, and every order is looked into and worked upon, lies with him. In other words, the second chef is the one whose job is to see that all the staff in the kitchen, including the cleaners and helpers, are doing their job efficiently. The next in rank is the executive chef, who is responsible for the working of the entire kitchen. The highest rank in the food service industry is that of an executive chef.

It is the executive chef who is responsible for ensuring that the food served to the customers, looks palatable and at the same time, tastes delicious. Once it’s decided what’s going to be on the menu card, the job of an executive chef is to decide the measure of a particular dish to be served per plate and to set a price for the dish accordingly. The entire responsibility of running the food joint or restaurant efficiently, lies with the executive chef. This includes maintaining a stock of necessary materials needed for preparing food, ensuring that the utensils used for cooking are clean, and electrical equipment such as microwave ovens, blenders, mixers, hot plates, etc. are functioning properly.

Sometimes, the executive chefs use their specialized training in culinary skills, to come up with new recipes that eventually find a permanent place on the restaurant’s menu. If loved by many, such a dish can even go on to become the exclusive attraction of the food joint! Do you remember admiring the diverse menu of a restaurant you visited recently? Well, then it is the executive culinary chef who is to be thanked for it! How popular a restaurant is, largely depends on how good its cooks and chefs are. This is because the tastier and more presentable the food is, the more it will be appreciated by the customers. And more number of happy customers means the popularity of the restaurant will spread by word-of-mouth.

With the recent boom in the hospitality sector, employment opportunities for culinary chefs are many. Even though the salary may depend on several factors such as the location and the establishment where one is employed, the average annual salary of an executive chef ranges from $30,000 to $50,000.

This was all about a culinary chef and his duties. Hope this article inspires you to turn your passion for cooking into a rewarding profession. Wish you luck!

How to Become a Personal Chef

One would assume that a personal chef is a luxury only the filthy rich can afford. While that may be partially true, it is also a fact that the concept of hiring a personal chef is now being embraced by a large group of people. Personal chefs are professionals who prepare meals for families based on their choices. Individuals who do not have the time to prepare home-cooked food but would still like to enjoy fresh, hot food on the table when they arrive from work are those who usually avail of the services of personal chef. These chefs prepare menus based on the client’s choice and also keep in mind any restrictions that they may have in terms of their diet. They also shop for groceries required for meals and prepare, label and store each meal. It is a relatively new field and a highly lucrative job that is supposedly known to pay even more than that of an executive chef!

Becoming any kind of chef demands only one important quality: the passion for food. You must love what you do so that you do it well and create delicacies that have you stand apart from the others around you. If you have this kind of passion along with the ability to hone it into a skill that will help you become a professional, you are likely to be very successful in your endeavors. While this forms the basis of your job, it is important that you supplement it with some kind of education to become a thorough professional. To become a personal chef, follow these steps.

Go to a Culinary School
The first step is to enroll yourself in culinary school. While not mandatory, it definitely gives you the boost you need to kick start your career in the field. It fine tunes your skills so that you become better at what you do. If you think it may be too expensive, you may alternately enroll for some cooking classes that will help you learn new and unique techniques in the field of cooking. For this method to work, you must have the dedication to improve your skills yourself, and do your best to learn as many new things as you can in the world of culinary arts.

Going to a culinary school will also provide you with nutrition education that will help in your career. When you are required to customize menus to suit a person’s dietary needs, it is important that you have at least some basic information regarding nutrition, to appropriately fulfill those requirements.

Get an Internship
The next step is to get yourself a good internship with a personal chef or at any place that allows you to cook professionally. This will not only give you the exposure of a fast-paced kitchen environment, it will give some very necessary work experience, and also help you build a network that will help you get yourself a good job opportunity in the future.

Market Yourself
You got an internship and you have learned the tricks of the trade. It is now time to market yourself to people who need professionals such as yourself, and prove why you are a good choice. If you have a good amount of work experience and can allow only your work to speak for you, you are likely to get good opportunities in the field. However, getting in touch with the right people for the right job is imperative, which is why the networking mentioned in the aforementioned section is very important.

Become a Member of the U.S. Personal Chef Association (USPCA)
The USPCA is a well established association solely for personal chefs. You may become a member of this association while you are a student or later when you decide that you specifically want to be a personal chef. This association provides certification to such professionals who find that this certification gives them an edge over others in the job market. It also has a vast network that makes finding jobs much easier. Even families prefer chefs who belong to this association, as all of them have certain set standards of cooking and hygiene, and because it is nationally recognized.

As mentioned earlier, it has been found that the salary of a personal chef can go much higher than any other type of chef’s salary. This of course depends on your skill and your experience. In any case, pursuing this career is no difficult task, particularly when you have an association that has been created especially for professionals such as you. Make the most of this career opportunity, as it is highly rewarding, and does not even demand as many hours as that of a chef who works in a fast-paced hotel kitchen. It is comfortable, and it is satisfying. Good luck!