How far will culinary take me in 10+ years ?
Culinary is a promising career, but I'm on the rocks about how long to stick with this career, even when times are moving ahead. Please leave down your own experiences below, as it will help me get a sense of what to expect.
It is very smart that you would question the future of a career, but you also have to question yourself, what is your passion?
As Simon Sinek said "It's not just the lucky few who should be able to say, "I love my job." Fulfillment is a right, not a privilege."
Since I was young, I love cooking and baking. My parents persuaded me to do a business degree instead of culinary, thinking that it is a very hard career; since my parents own a bakery for 35 years.
Three degrees, and 10 years later working in the food industry. I realize that I really love working with food and I want to become a chef. I ended up going back to a college to get a culinary degree, specialized in baking and pastry as well. Then I continue to build my experience working with reputable chefs and restaurants. It is a very hard working field; long hours, and physically taxing. But this is not the whole career. I move along into research and development, and currently working on PhD in Natural Medicine, with the goal to create healthy food.
THE KEY IS TO IMPROVE AND REVOLVE AROUND THE CAREER AS YOU GROW.
In most cases, culinary career starts with internship, staging, or working as a cook in a restaurant. The purpose is to learn and get experience. Then a chef will move up the ladder in the kitchen becoming a sous chef and eventually an executive chef. I have met many chefs became a product procurement manager, or a purchaser.
Some chefs have found a niche in the industry, they focus on skills, like Chef Ewald Notter. He is a very gifted confectionery pastry chef, and now he teach the art. If you like science as well, you can also improve the passion in culinary with science, proceeding into research and development as a product development chef, which is my career now. I help companies to develop clean label, healthy products for retail and foodservice.
THE BIG QUESTION IS, DO YOU LOVE CULINARY ENOUGH TO POUR YOUR HEART INTO THIS TO MAKE IT GREAT FOR YOU?
Opening your own restaurant, having your name on the bottom of a menu, becoming a food and beverage director at a high end resort, running a catering service, becoming a regional chef/manager. In the 10 years of working in the industry depending on how much effort you put it and knowledge you accumulate... you can go far. 6 digits if you work for a company and limitless if you are an entrepreneur. When you are satisfied where you are at, or realizing you will never be satisfied and continue to grow, it will be worth it. You will probably want to quit many times just like any other trade you pursue. Just stick with it and care about your staff, food, and guests. Good luck.
While I'm not a chef (I am an avid home cook and love exploring different types of cuisine), I believe culinary positions will stick around for a while. As 'times are moving ahead', there's been a huge digital renaissance when it comes to cooking. There are professional and amateur cooks (with no culinary school background) who've developed a following by posting videos on TikTok or YouTube and they inspire us to experiment with our food at home. It seems there are so many routes to take with a culinary background that don't require you to work in just a restaurant setting. Either way, its an incredible life skill to have and wish you all the best of luck!