13 answers

What is the best way to learn more about a career as a chef?

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#culinary arts

Go share a day in the life with a chef. Sonya Patterson MS,(MBA),CFSM,CCE
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13 answers

Joseph’s Answer

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I have found experience is always the best teacher. The only true way to really see what the life of a chef is like. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and have encountered all the different ways people get into the industry, and I’ve found that no one really knows what they are getting into until they experience it firsthand. Watching Food Network or any of the number of Gordon Ramsey shows can give you a glimpse of some of the simpler joys of being a chef but they don’t show you what it’s really like from day to day. The art of cooking might truly be a passion that you have, but when you get into managing numbers, controlling food cost, or finding the right staff, that might be something that causes you to go crazy. There are always jobs in the field that have no problem training someone with little to no experience as long as you are willing to learn and will put in the hours. After some time gaining experience you will be able to mark out your path whether it’s culinary school or finding a good company that will allow you to start at the bottom and work your way up. There are many different ways to get to where you may want to go but hands down, knowing what it is you want and how to achieve it comes best when you have the experience to know what to look for.
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Adrian’s Answer

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Hi Terrance,

The answer is simple. Just have to start doing. It’s scary and when you first start you will be intimidated but we all were. I’ve been a chef for over 10 years and have worked in 11 total Michelin stars and every place is the same and the main tool you need is a strong work ethic. Everyone starts with zero knowledge and no understanding of how things work. But as long as your willing to work hard and be a student of the process, ni doubt you will crush it man!! Best part of the business is you control your path no one else’s does. YouTube can also teach you a lot on different cuts. Having superior knife skills separates the great from the good.

Adrian recommends the following next steps:

  • Find a chef and follow them (Thomas Keller)
  • Study them. Learn what they do
  • Buy cook books and learn about chefs styles
  • Cook at home anything
  • Buy a cheap knife and train on different cuts
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Alexis’s Answer

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Hello Terrence!

There are several different steps you can take to get your toes wet in the gastronomy world.

Alexis recommends the following next steps:

  • Ask to “shadow” a chef for a day or more. You may want to ask to more that one. Most high end restaurants have a webpage where you can communicate with management directly.
  • Follow great chefs in social media: this is a great way to also see the behind the scenes of many simultaneously ; Grant Achatz, Dan Barber, Thomas Keller, Virgilio Martinez, Alex Atala, Rene Redzepi,: This are just a few with great Instagram feeds
  • Read some good chefs books: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen misterios by Herve This, The Third Plate by Dan Barber.
  • Put yourself out there: get an internship in a restaurant you love if you are able
  • Expand your palate: try foods you have never tried before, go to ethnic restaurants that are new to you. Ask the owner questions about what do THEY recommend.
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Daniel’s Answer

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The best way to look into the field is to find a restaurant that you want to work at and see if they are hiring for a porter/prep. Learn as much as you can. Ask as many questions as you can. Observe. And most important give as much effort as you possibly can.

If you still love it after a few months talk to the chef/manager about learning more. Being a cook. Follow all those steps once you get to the line and beyond.
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George’s Answer

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Hello sir.Well for me i would put myself in the best place to learn At a Fine Dinning Restaurant.Tell them you want to. Learn.Go in an help chef.Ask for all that you want No Fear.its Fun.
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Joshua’s Answer

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Hey Terrence,

In my personal experience it’s all about starting, I’ve climb from country club to country club showing up on time and willing to learn. Start basic with a restaurant, a country club as a prep cook. Dishwasher, understand the concepts of a kitchen and why tee are so hard working and close as a team. It’s all important from the start of the cooking process, to when the dishwashers clean the plates and everything in between. Ask questions, read books, it won’t be easy but the end result will be amazing.

Joshua Durkiewicz

Joshua recommends the following next steps:

  • Locate local restaurant
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Tyler’s Answer

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There is definitely more than one way to learn. Culinary arts school does provide a definite opportunity to learn not only the basics but help establish methods and theory to give you more than just a repertoire of recipes. The difference between knowing how to make a dish and understanding a particular cultures food is the key difference between a Chef and a cook. Once your familiar with the usual cooking methods and ingredients of a particular cuisine you start to understand what creates the flavors and profile that defines it. You can glance over recipes rather than needing to follow them exactly. You become able to create dishes that reflect a certain style and flavor. Culinary school isnt always possible because of the time and cost that is needed to attend. They are expensive and require a lot of hours each week. Training under a great chef also can give you the knowledge and skills you need to be a great chef. You are able to be paid while learning. This route may take a lot longer to learn as much but definitely gives you a leg up on actual hands on experience while seeing a real kitchen and all the hard work it takes to run one. Often times people realize that chefs are not all celebrities and its not at all like the food network. I dont think either way is definitely better than the other. It is truly what works with your learning style and whats available in your situation.
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Jordan’s Answer

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Hello I’m chef Jordan. Within my years off experience in a kitchen I learned that working in unison with ur team will create an effective way of serving food in a timely fashion.the key to any operation is consistency and having the ability to read wat ur co worker is looking to reach.
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Carlo’s Answer

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Learning about becoming a chef can be a challenging and rewarding process. I think the best way is to introduce yourself to a few local chefs that cook the kind of food that interests you. Review their menus and have a couple of good honest questions in mind. Set up a quick meeting by simply calling the restaurant and ask for the chef. Let the chef know that you are a student and would like a tour of their kitchen. If you hit it off with the chef and you like what you see ask if an unpaid apprenticeship or mentor program is available. I have hired several students through the years and developed great relationships. Good luck.
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Zhiela’s Answer

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Find a place (a restaurant, a corporat kitchen, a catering kitchen, a fastfood place, a fine dining place, wherever..) that you really want to be a part of. The most important thing about this job is you need to SHOW UP. Just SHOW UP everyday. When you do, you will learn; you will see; it will open your eyes.

Zhiela recommends the following next steps:

  • Apply to a kitchen you want to be a part of. Maybe because they believe in sustainable and organic farming. Or maybe because they are zero waste organization. Or maybe because of a michelin star chef. Or maybe because they are farm to fork kind of kitchen. Or just because.
  • Be willing to start at any position.
  • Show up.
  • Show up.
  • Learn. Learn anything. Learn everything. Open your mind. Be humble.
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David’s Answer

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Stage! This volunteered (no pay) work in a professional kitchen is THE BEST way to experience and see and hear how things work, the hurried pace, and the coordination that goes behind the kitchen door

David recommends the following next steps:

  • Eat Out as much as you can and ask questions
  • Read cook books
  • Build up your pantry, buy a good knife and learn how to keep it sharp, and cook at home. EXPERIMENT!!!
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Clayton’s Answer

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Best start is to do your research. Follow groups, look in to schools, and check out organizations that are doing demos in your area. You can also talk to our fellow members to get a better understanding.
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Lamar’s Answer

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Take a prep/dish job. If you can find joy there you win.
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