Chef cooks up something delicious

How to Become a Chef

Being a chef is not the job for everyone. Chefs have to be passionate, practiced, and talented, and it can sometimes be difficult to know whether or not the culinary art is the career choice that you want. If you’re thinking about becoming a chef, here are the logistical steps you need to take.

  1. Find Out if the Culinary Arts is Your Passion
    Whether you’re a young person trying to figure out your next step after high school or a person stuck in a career looking for a new one, it’s important to really find out if you’re passionate enough about cooking to work in kitchens for a long time to come. The first step is to practice cooking and experimenting on your own, and maybe even get a job as a cook in a restaurant that doesn’t require a culinary arts education.
  2. Decide Which Culinary Arts Program is Best for You
    Once you’ve decided to pursue the culinary arts, it’s time to start looking at the various types of programs offered out there. You may want to specialize in a type of food, like sushi, or you may want a more well-rounded approach to cooking. Either way, do your research, and find the school for you.
  3. Attend Culinary Arts School
    If you want to make cooking a profession rather than just a job, you need to actually get an education. Culinary Arts schools mold amateur cooks into highly trained professionals. You’ll learn all of the skills you need to work and run a kitchen, and at a top notch program, you’ll get the opportunity to learn from the best of the best.
  4. Get an Internship
    Many culinary arts programs may require you to get an internship in a big restaurant. It’s important to not only learn about various culinary methods, but to also hone and refine your skills. Working in an actual restaurant while you’re still working on your education will help you do this.
  5. Get Certified
    The American Culinary Federation offers standardized certifications for chefs practicing in the culinary arts. Chefs who go through a certification program end up earning 7% more than chefs who did not. An ACF certification will help you get better jobs, and it’ll ensure that your skills match the national standard.
  6. Look for Jobs
    After you graduate from a culinary arts program, it’s time to look for a job. The chance of you landing an executive chef position right after graduation are slim to none, so make sure you’re prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up over time.
  7. Constantly Learn and Enhance Your Skills
    If you want to become an executive chef someday, it’s important to always be creating and looking into the latest trends. An executive chef has to have standardized skills, but what’s more important is a chef’s unique ability to make their restaurant stand out in a competitive market. 
Last Updated: April 15, 2015