If you love preparing and eating food, becoming a professional chef must sound like a dream job. The chance to come up with creative dishes, work lovingly with ingredients in the kitchen, and watch the joy on your diner’s faces as they tuck into a meal you whipped up out of thin air. But the food and beverage industry is a competitive place, and you need to have what it takes to succeed. It requires a great deal of commitment, hard work, and culinary skill to rise in the industry. You’ll also need to be able to handle a high-pressured environment and thrive working in a hot, confined kitchen.
If you are passionate about becoming a chef and think you have what it takes, there are some essential steps you’ll need to take to make it happen. Here are the five most important.
Learn the basics of cooking
It’s one thing to follow a recipe to the letter, but being able to cook an entire meal from scratch is an entirely different ball game. When you’re a professional chef, you’ll need to be able to turn a mishmash of ingredients into something palatable at short notice or know how to fix a bland or overseasoned meal. This will require in-depth knowledge of the fundamentals of cooking. Read up as much as you can on the subject, learn things such as when to use particular herbs, how to pair drinks with meals, and the foundations of using salt, fat, acid, and heat. Get to grips with the utensils and appliances you’re likely to find in a professional kitchen, and practice over and over again.
If you want cooking to become your career, you should make it your lifestyle. The best way to succeed at anything is to practice it as much as possible. Make time to cook delicious meals frequently, using a variety of different styles, cuisines, and ingredients. You’ll soon learn what works and what doesn’t.
Eat a lot
You can learn a lot from other professional chefs, and eating out at high-quality restaurants can teach you much about what goes into a meal. Learn from the masters and you’ll soon pick up inspiration for your own dishes.
Get a qualification
Although many professional chefs have worked their way up from the bottom, having a recognized culinary qualification will put you in good stead when applying for kitchen roles. There are many catering and cooking qualifications you can acquire. These teach you a great deal about the industry and science behind cooking, as well as looking fantastic on your resume.
Get work experience
Nothing beats first-hand experience, and getting a job in a kitchen is the best way to start your career. Even if you’re just a dishwasher, you will get a chance to see how the chefs work and gain valuable knowledge along the way. Before long, you’ll have picked up enough to be able to help out with the meal preparation.
Becoming a professional chef will not be an easy journey, but by following these tips you will be better equipped to succeed with your culinary dreams.