Do You Have What It Takes for a Culinary Arts Career?

Find out how to succeed in the food business

Some people are “foodies” and simply love everything to do with food. If you love to cook and love to test the boundaries of your creativity, you might be considering going to culinary arts school. Culinary arts training can be a good option for people interested in getting into the food business. Graduating from a culinary arts school can prepare you for entry level jobs in restaurants, catering businesses, hotels, and other food services facilities. Students should understand that the road to becoming a chef will take additional time, hard work, and experience.

What are the characteristics that can help you succeed in a culinary arts career? According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, certain traits are important for doing well in your field. Take a look below and see if you fit the bill.

1. Customer-service oriented. If you work in the restaurant business, it’s important to be customer-focused. After all, serving the customers is the reason you are there. Diners can sometimes be picky or impatient, so you will need to know how to be friendly and accommodating.

2. Manual dexterity. Cooking requires that you have good coordination, especially in your hands and fingers. You will need to be fast, safe, and accurate in your knife skills, as restaurants normally work at a very fast pace. You may also be required to handle hot items, so you need to be careful and coordinated to avoid burns or other accidents.

3. Physical stamina. People may not think of restaurant work as hard labor, but it certainly requires physical strength and endurance. You will spend most of your shift on your feet. Kitchens can be hot, so be prepared to sweat. And in addition, you may need to move, carry, or clean heavy pots and pans.

4. Time-management skills. If you’ve ever prepared Thanksgiving dinner, you know that it’s hard to time everything right. Getting all of the dishes on the table while they’re still hot can be a time management miracle. This is the same for people who work in restaurants. In order to serve a table’s meals all at the same time, you have to be good at managing your time and figuring out the order in which to prepare the food.

For those wishing to start their own businesses, or hoping to eventually become a head chef, there are other qualities that will help you get there:

5. Business skills and ambition: If you hope to run a restaurant someday, you will need business skills, such as marketing, budgeting, management, and leadership skills. You will also need a healthy dose of ambition, perseverance, and passion, which are key “ingredients” for a being a successful chef!

6. Creativity and taste: If you wish to progress in the field, and if you have hopes of becoming a chef, then it will be important that you have creativity. Chefs are expected to create interesting recipes that draw customers to the restaurant. You also need a keen sense of taste and smell in order to be able to test your creations.

If you think you have these skills, you may be well-suited for a culinary arts career. Take your time in making the decision. And remember that there are many steps along the way to becoming a chef, but for many people who are passionate about food, it is worth the journey!


This article was provided by the Branford Hall Career Institute. We offer a culinary arts training program at our campus in Springfield, Massachusetts. Contact us online for more information about enrolling.