Recommended Links

Posts Tagged ‘become’

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!

What it Takes to Become a Food Stylist

A gorgeous glamor model wouldn’t look so gorgeous, if it weren’t for the makeup, illumination and impeccable photographic skills, all of which make her look absolutely stunning. There are a number of people working in the background, who transform an average looking Jane into an absolute diva. Now substitute the picture of glamor model with a scoop of tempting sundae, from any cookbook or magazine! Would you believe me if I told you that almost the same amount of efforts go into making that scoop of ice-cream ‘look’ tempting? Yes, this is where a food stylist comes into picture. Simply put, food stylists are people who ‘up’ the drool quotient of the food. They use various tricks and techniques to make the food look absolutely scrumptious and tempting. In this article, you will find a lot of information on styling food as a profession and also tips on becoming a food stylist. However, let us first know what exactly food styling deals with.

Food Styling: Where Cuisine Meets Art

Food styling mainly deals with ‘dressing up’ foods for photography or shooting. The aim is to make foods look visually extremely appealing. You wouldn’t eat anything that does not look visually appealing, no matter how great it tastes. Similarly, something that looks yummy, makes you hungry almost immediately. The recipes appearing in cookbooks wouldn’t seem so delicious, if it weren’t for the accompanying images. You feel like trying out the recipe simply by looking at the glossy picture of the dish. In reality, that recipe may not look as appealing or may not even taste that good. What is more, sometimes the ‘food’ in the image may be something different altogether! For instance, the maple syrup on the pancake in the image of this article could very well be motor oil, or the ice-cream scoop could be made out of mashed potatoes and confectioner’s sugar! Such tricks are used by food stylists to make ordinary food look extremely tempting. They make use of various props and settings to render the desired look to foods.

Beginning Your Journey as a Food Stylist

Food styling is an advanced culinary art. You need more than a chef’s hat to make a career out of this art. First of all, you need to have a passion for food and love for art. You need a great imagination and an eye for detail. While styling food, you do not follow a set method for dressing foods. Everyday, you experiment with different foods and props and come up with innovative ideas. Hence, before taking up a career as a food stylist make sure you possess the required qualities, some of which are presented below.

Ability to Think Out-of-the-Box
As mentioned above, you ought to have good imagination to be able to come up with innovative ideas. You should be able to think what ‘non-food’ items can substitute for real foods or in which setting a food can look best or what are the props that can be used and so on. You should also be able to think of the ways, in which you can render special effects to food. For instance, say if you wish to style a piping hot beverage with steam erupting from it. Now, a camera lens cannot capture steam erupting from foods, and even if it does, the effect can never be the same. In such cases, you should be able to come up with innovative ways to render a natural effect.

Ability to Implement Your Culinary Knowledge
Food stylists are people with strong culinary background. However, simply knowing stuff is not enough. You should be able to implement your culinary knowledge while dressing up the dishes. As a chef or a culinary expert, you should know what ingredients can render the best visual appeal to the food. Accordingly, you should be able to substitute these ingredients in your recipe. For instance, substituting cream for milk renders a richer, creamier look to the recipe and also makes it less soggy.

Ability to Work in Team
Food styling involves the efforts of many people. As a food stylist, you will be required to work with many professionals such as photographers, chefs, directors, etc. Thus, you should be able to collaborate with these people and deliver the required results.

Ability to Work at Odd Hours
As mentioned above, food photography involves many people. Thus, you may have to work as per the convenience of your team members. Besides, as this job deals with food, a perishable entity, the whole process of styling and shooting food needs to be completed quickly, as food items start to lose their freshness within minutes of cooking or baking.

While these were some of the personal qualities required for a food stylist, you also need to satisfy certain criteria of formal education to be able to start a career as a food stylist.

Graduating from Culinary School
In order to become a food stylist, you will first need to obtain your degree or diploma from a reputed culinary school. This program introduces you to the delights of cooking, baking and several other culinary aspects. This knowledge forms the basis for a food styling career.

Acquiring a Diploma in Culinary Arts
This is an advanced diploma which focuses on the artistic aspects of food. Here, you will be introduced to various styles of food styling, background styling and also learn the nuances of food photography. Besides, you will gain a hands-on experience in food styling through various projects and lessons.

After completing your formal education, you can start styling food under the guidance of an expert food stylist, instead of starting on your own. This will help you understand the tricks of the trade and familiarize you with the industry. As a food stylist, you can get an opportunity to work for advertising agencies, restaurants, magazines, etc. You can aim to earn anywhere between $30,000 to $50,000 a year, or even more with some experience.