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What Does it Take to Become a Chef?

Everyone who has a passion for cooking has at least entertained the notion of becoming a chef. It just seems like so much fun to get to experiment with new recipes in a beautiful kitchen for a living. While the idea is very romantic and idyllic, the reality of becoming a chef is much more complicated. It is a long and difficult journey to turn the dream of becoming a chef into reality, with many steps along the way. Here is what it takes to become a chef.

Get a Job in a Restaurant Kitchen

Being familiar with the way a restaurant and professional kitchen works is crucial to anyone with aspirations of one day becoming a chef. In order to get a job in a restaurant kitchen, you will have to start at the bottom. This means cleaning dishes, taking out the trash, and performing other undesirable tasks, but you need to put in your dues if you want to eventually become a chef. This is a big test of how bad you truly want to become a chef and if you are willing to do everything necessary to succeed.

Complete High School or Get a GED

A high school diploma or GED is necessary in order to attend culinary school. Not only that, but many future employers may require chefs to at least have a high school diploma in order to be hired. While high school may not necessarily help you become a better chef, it can impart upon you the information and habits needed to become a responsible and well-adjusted adult. Therefore, make sure you complete high school or take a GED test.

Attend Culinary Schoolstudent at a culinary arts school

After you have some experience in a restaurant kitchen and complete high school, you are ready to attend culinary school. A culinary program can last anywhere from one to four years, depending on the program, and when you complete the program you will be given a diploma for an associates degree or bachelor’s degree in the culinary arts. While you may feel you do not need culinary school to become a chef, a culinary school will teach you skills you didn’t even think you needed to have in order to become a great chef. With a culinary degree, it will be easier to take the next step and get a job.

Get Work Experience With a Chef

Now that you have a culinary degree, it is time to find a chef you respect and admire and work for them. Culinary graduates are not immediately hired as chefs, as they need to get real world and practical work experience first. Try to get additional training from a talented chef, be it an internship, apprenticeship, or working in their kitchen. Not only is this an incredible opportunity to learn under a chef, it also provides an opportunity to network with other chefs and young culinary minds.

Chef Certification

While you do not have to get a certification to be hired as a chef, it helps provide you with additional credibility. A chef certification can also teach you new skills and unlock new abilities that will only help you in the kitchen. When applying for a competitive job opening, a chef certification from the American Culinary Federation (ACF) can help you get a leg up on everyone else who applied.

Become a Chef at National Culinary School

If you are ready to begin your journey to becoming a chef, National Culinary School can help. We have been jumpstarting the culinary careers of hopeful chefs since 1976, providing them with all of the skills you need to succeed. If you are interested in learning more, contact National Culinary School today. Give us a call at (619) 249-5180.