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How to Become a Chef

Getting the most out of culinary arts school

If you love to cook and are considering a career in the culinary arts, take a moment to consider what you love about cooking and how you envision your career. Getting culinary arts training is a great start, but there are some other steps you should think about first. Here is a step-by-step guide to determining whether culinary arts training is the right path for you.

Step 1: Evaluate your interest in culinary arts

Being a chef is a competitive career path. Working your way up to that position will require hard work. In order to decide how much you want this career, you might want to take a short-term job working in a restaurant. It may be dishwashing or bussing tables, but at least it will help you decide whether you love the career and want to go to culinary arts school. You may also want to spend time reading cookbooks and books about cooking techniques. Before jumping into the field, make sure you have found your passion!

Step 2: Go to a culinary arts school

Getting a formal education at a culinary arts career training program is a good way to ensure that you are gaining a thorough knowledge of the field. You will learn about the science of cooking, correct knife-handling techniques, vital food safety information, and balanced nutrition. You will also get hands-on practice in creating and preparing a wide range of foods from appetizers and hors d’oeuvres to main courses, desserts, and pastries.

Step 3: Participate in an internship

Many culinary arts schools will have internships or externships where you are placed in a non-paying temporary job in a restaurant or other food service facility. If you are allowed to choose the internship yourself, try to seek out a restaurant or chef that you already know and respect, and ask them if you could serve as an intern. This is an excellent opportunity to learn on-the-job skills, network with other people in your field, and learn from those with more experience. You can also use this experience on your resume.

Step 4: Apply for entry level jobs

Culinary arts training prepares you with the skills you need to work in a restaurant kitchen. But it usually takes more years of experience to become a head chef. So be prepared to start in lower-level jobs, and be willing to work your way up. Be sure to demonstrate hard work, a willingness to learn, and a teamwork attitude. You may be able to start as a prep cook or a pastry assistant. And then within the first five years of working in the industry, you may be able to secure a job as a short order cook, junior sous chef, line cook, or pastry cook. As you get more experience, you may be able to move up to pastry sous chef, pastry chef, butcher, sous chef, or a chef position. With patience and high quality work, you should be able to climb that ladder!

Step 5: Keep yourself in tune with the latest food trends

In any career, it is important to keep learning. In the field of culinary arts, food trends are changing all the time. Whether it’s pop-up restaurants, artisan pickles, or locally-sourced duck meat, there’s always something new. To keep up with these trends, you can read food magazines, follow food blogs, dine at new restaurants, practice new techniques at home, hold dinner parties for friends, and network with other people in the restaurant business. If you keep up your learning, you will keep up your passion!

We hope this step-by-step guide has helped you with your decision. Culinary arts can be a very creative and rewarding field. We wish you the best!

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At Branford Hall Career Institute, we are proud of our Culinary Arts training program in our Springfield, Massachusetts location. We provide our students with hands-on opportunities to learn the culinary skills they need to get started in their new careers. If you want more information about our program, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!