How to Become a Chef?

Becoming a chef takes many years of study, beginning with culinary school. Aspiring chefs usually work as unpaid apprentices while they are still in school in order to decide on a specialty of their own. They may labor for years as prep chefs or assistants, looking for any opportunity to demonstrate their prowess to the head chef.

Physical demands of becoming a chef

It can also be physically demanding to become a chef. Chefs must stay on their feet constantly, kneading, chopping, and stirring, as well as lift heavy pots. Besides the stress associated with preparing food for hungry, critical customers, chefs are occasionally saddled with the additional burden of ordering food, creating menus and managing large kitchen staffs.

In addition to the head chef, the kitchen of a large restaurant is crowded with other chefs and cooks, including the sous-chef, pastry chef, and short-order cooks. All positions in a kitchen can be seen as building blocks towards a career as a chef. Learn more about the different types of chefs.

Aspiring chefs gravitate to large urban centers, where there is an abundance of restaurants and chefs who can serve as mentors. Executive chefs often partner with financial restauranteurs to open their own restaurants. These top chefs spend more time associating with patrons and investors and away from the kitchen. Some well-known chefs also earn recognition and added income by writing cookbooks.
What is takes to become a chef

The road to become a chef should begin by attending cooking school, followed by at least five years of working under head chefs at different restaurants as an apprentice. Most chefs start out as support staff in the kitchen, with a special task to perform, such as preparing vegetables. Search our network of culinary schools.

Young chefs aim to be sous-chefs under the top brass at the best restaurants, particularly in large cities. They often work at several restaurants, acquiring experience under different mentors before they decide on a specialty, like desserts. Those who are able to withstand the high stress and pressure of the job will probably become a head chef within 10 years. A head chef will direct a kitchen staff, in addition to preparing meals, or strike out to start his or her own restaurant.

Cooking Career Opportunities:

  • Entry-Level Positions
  • Line/Station Cook
  • Garde Manger Cook
  • Sous Chef
  • Chef’s Apprentice
  • Prep Cook
  • Front of House Operator

Advanced Culinary Positions:
(after gaining experience in the workplace)

  • Lead Line Cook
  • Kitchen Manager
  • Executive Chef
  • Food Service Supervisor
  • Restaurant Manager/Owner
  • Company Types
  • Caterers
  • Restaurants
  • Resorts & Hotels
  • Private/Recreation Clubs
  • Country Clubs
  • Contract Food Services
  • Cruise Lines
  • Hospitals