Q: I’m interested in pursuing a career as a chef. Can you offer some advice?
First, determine that your interest and passion in cooking translates into the required skill set. Apart from having good cooking skills, you also need to have good business, time management and leadership skills, manual dexterity, and creativity. You could do a psychometric test to identify your strengths.
Moving on, you need to determine what your career goals are… whether all you want is to focus on preparing and cooking good food including preparing a menu, and you don’t want to spend extra time in school in learning things outside the classroom. Or you are keen to understand the management and business side of running a kitchen and may want to start a restaurant of your own? The former may only require a diploma, certificate or an associate degree but the latter will warrant you to get enrolled in a full-fledged culinary degree programme that will teach you among other things cost control and hospitality management.
A diploma or certification programme would typically consist of culinary fundamental principles, introduction to meat, fish and poultry and other basic concepts. This would equip you with the cooking skills and food safety knowledge for any job scenario, such as food services professional, catering expert or a basic cook. However, for a more important position such as a restaurateur or a chef, you would need a Bachelor’s degree. This degree has an area of specialisation that would prepare you for a role beyond the kitchen, including a leadership role.
There are premium institutes such as the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne – and Les Roches international School of Hotel Management, Switzerland, Le Cordon Bleu, Paris offer the most coveted culinary arts programmes in Europe. Purdue University, University of Nevada in US, University of Surrey, UK and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University are few of the other campuses worldwide that offer culinary studies.
Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.