Personally as a Chef Service business owner I look for passion, drive, hands on experience in an applicant. I go by the "Show me NOT tell me" style what a person can do.
Joe recommends the following next steps:
Do not take this as an endorsement to not go to school!!!! Any education is a benefit for any one. If you find yourself wanting a credential of some sort and can't afford school or don't have the time, I suggest the ACF Certification Program. It will done great job of helping you flex those skills and is readily asked for my tons of restaurants as either a prerequisite for employment or a definite plus on your side when deciding who to hire.
No matter what path you choose good luck and God Bless.
Jason Francisco’s Answer
Hope this helps you in your journey!
Goodluck in you career!
I am not in this field, but worked in the food industry for a long time. I don't think that it is required to have a degree to be a chef, however, there are degrees that will help further your culinary skills.
While you've learned the theory of Soups, Stock & Sauces you only get to actually practice one item a day during your labs. You are also graded as a group, this encourages you to get along with everyone like in an actual kitchen where you need to work with other different from yourself. After each class, the class as a group has to deep clean the entire kitchen. Each lab class takes about 16 days to complete, then you are rotated into another lab, such as Fundamentals of Cooking, Meat Production, Storeroom Course, among many others. You are also going to have to take some general classes like English, Introduction to Nutrition, Math, etc.
Like I said, I had fun and enjoyed it while it lasted. However, right after graduating I got a job at a very large hotel chain and started off in the banquet kitchen as a cook. Here I found a fountain of knowledge and experience among my team of 50 + culinarians that I could say without a shadow of a doubt I learned so much more from than the knowledge that I ended up paying $40,000 for.
My advice is that to become a Chef, you need an experience that can't be taught in the classroom. When you are actually working in a professional kitchen there is a sense of urgency that is HUGELY lacking in the college setting as well as learning in how to deal with all sorts of people in a highly stressful environment is just something that you can only learn when you are actually cooking for a dining room full of people. In my opinion, a great way to start off in the culinary field and to know if this is really something that you would like to do is to go work for a restaurant that has great food and a menu that you would like to learn how to do. Nine times out of ten, when you have great food in a restaurant there is at least on person behind the scenes making that magic happen and you can learn from that person. Sometimes, when you have no experience you will get denied right off the bat and this is where you would need to compromise a little and offer the Chef your services for free for like a week or a month so you can prove yourself and show what it takes to work in the kitchen. Now, you will probably get the worst jobs that now one else like to do like "shucking" oysters and these are merely just test to prove your worth. To be in this field you must have tough skin for your co-workers as well as for you clients. For your clients because when you will come across a situation where you cooked the best dish of your life and the client you served it too thought it was horrible and part of this job is taking that criticism and learning how to get out of those situations successfully.
If you are thinking of going the Personal Chef route, I recommend that you still do some time in a professional kitchen so you can get a sense of what it is all about. In a few words, I would recommend learning as you go when it comes to the culinary field, find someone that can serve as a mentor while you work, and keep your mind creative by experiencing cuisines around you, watching youTube videos, search the internet for what is current, and practicing at home with family and friends.
I hope this helps! Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions.
Look into your local American Culinary Federation (ACF).... They have apprentice programs which will cost much less, some may even be free.
Cesar recommends the following next steps:
Time Commitment to Become a Chef: If you're aiming to go to culinary school, it takes two years to obtain an associate's degree and four years for a bachelor's degree.Formal Training Programs
Aspiring chefs may pursue formal training through culinary programs offered by community colleges, universities and culinary institutes. Some chefs complete certificate programs that typically last a few months, while others earn 2-year associate's or 4-year bachelor's degrees. Culinary programs focus on in-class instruction and hands-on training in the kitchen. Courses commonly include safety and sanitation, baking and cooking techniques, food preparation and nutrition. Depending on the program, students may be required to complete internship programs.
Working as a chef requires a great deal of experience, which is why fresh graduates probably won’t immediately begin working as a chef.
Therefore training under the tutelage of a professional chef will heighten the skills and knowledge you need.
A certificate is the fastest way to get culinary arts training, typically taking under a year to complete.
This mostly will cover the below-mentioned topics
Students will learn how to create various bread and dough foods, such as pastries, pies, cookies and bread.
Preparation of yeast dough
Proper baking techniques for producing on a large scale.
Students will learn about the equipment in a kitchen, as well as specific tools and cooking techniques commonly used in food preparation.
Effective food sanitation procedures
Common cooking methods and tools used for creating a variety of dishes
Focuses on how ingredients react with each other to create certain dishes, as well as how and why certain methods of food preparation affect the taste.
Which ingredients react a certain way to other ingredients.
Which cooking methods are best suited for producing the desired end result.
All the Best!