A chef cooks in a kitchen

Culinary Careers: Which One is Right for You?

There are a number of paths individuals can take to have a culinary arts career. Each one has its own educational and work requirements. Check out the various culinary careers here and find out which is the perfect pick for you!

Chef

A chef is the boss of the kitchen, as well as best cook on staff. Chefs oversee food service each day and ensure the quality of dishes that are prepared. They may also be responsible for supply and inventory ordering. There are no formal training requirements to become a chef, but many begin by completing a culinary arts program. Chef positions offered by a company may require a minimum of five years experience. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) offers certification for chefs, and while certification is not a requirement, it can offer a competitive advantage for job seekers. A chef will have to be recertified every five years to maintain their ACF certification.

Pastry Chef

These are chefs who are responsible for making a wide variety of breads and desserts. They are in charge of the pastry departments in a professional kitchen. An associate degree in pastry arts is recommended for an aspiring pastry chef. They will need to learn about the preparation and techniques utilized for creating a variety of pastries and baked goods. They will need to know about kitchen management, sanitation procedures, and more. Many pastry chefs do administrative tasks as well as managing kitchen staff.

Food Service Manager

Food service managers handle the business where food is prepared. This could include every environment from hotels to fine-dining restaurants, cafeterias, as well as fast food restaurants and more. In certain situations, individuals are able to fill this position with a high school diploma, combined with a sufficient amount of work experience. A number of businesses are requiring their food service managers to obtain a two or four-year degree. They are responsible for coordinating daily functions within the area where food is prepared and served. A food service manager will also be responsible managing key kitchen personnel. They must also make certain the establishment is in compliance with health regulations and labor laws. 

Caterer

This is a work environment that needs everything a restaurant requires and more. A person working in this position will need to be skilled in recipe conversion. They are required to make larger quantities of food from a standard recipe. The food that is cooked must be able to endure during a buffet, as well as long serving times. A caterer may work for a small business or a large company. They are also responsible for providing meals for large events such as weddings, corporate events, and more. A catering business may hire a person with extensive work experience. Some catering companies require their employees to have certificates or an associate degree in catering or culinary management.