How to Become a Chef: What you need to know

Chef preparing a dish

Are you one of those people who practices their culinary skills all the time at home? Do you have a collection of cookbooks or recipe pages saved on the internet? If your dream has always been to become a chef, this article is for you.

Knowing what profession we want for our lives has always been a difficult subject. Many times, we have skills for different things or simply we do have passion for multiple things that makes the decision complicated. Sometimes we keep in mind how easy or complicated it would be to find our first job regarding our profession.

To realize what your vocation is, you have to take into account 3 main factors. Love, passion, and devotion to what you are going to do. As we have heard many times, when you work in something that you are passionate about, you will not work one day in your life.

So, how do I begin?

Well, the truth is that if you really like something you will enjoy it despite the sacrifice. Take into account that to become a chef you must work very hard every day. Also, you have to consider that a chef is not only a professional who works in the culinary area, a chef also has to have other abilities.

Like for example have leadership tools, administration skills, creativity, the ability to manage a team, among many other things.

So before diving deeper into the world of culinary art. Referring to a career or formal studies. You can do certain practices to prepare yourself for what is coming. Below, you will find a list of best practices to get prepared for your future as a chef.

Mastering the basic knowledge

Cooking can often be a challenge, especially when you are just starting out. For this reason, it is recommended to start with the basics. In the kitchen, there are basic techniques that will help you to continue advancing in the creation of more complex dishes. Such as ways of cutting, ways of cooking, types of ingredients, among others.

Learning in group

You can start by watching videos and recipes from amateurs in the kitchen. In this way, you can see the learning process of people who started just like you. Another good way to learn is by exchanging information.

Blogs are ideal for this type of interaction. So, you can ask for recommendations and if you feel able to answer questions on the subject also to do so.

Other professionals in the field

If from there you don’t know how to continue you can follow internet guides or watch videos of chefs around the world. It is always good to have a guide from an expert in the field. In addition, it allows you to have a notion of what it would be like to continue with this profession.

On the other hand, many times these professionals offer their own guides or downloadable recipe book. Also, if you follow them you can also find out about events in which they will participate and if you feel like is useful you can go.

Group of chefs cooking

Famous chefs

If you feel that your knowledge is already at a good level, you can be guided with more advanced content by renowned chefs. Because, if you feel that your level of knowledge is more advanced, you can learn more complex things. Don’t be afraid to experiment and learn new stuff until you feel ready to make your own creations.

Develop your skills at home

Your kitchen will be your best friend. This place will become your sacred place because it is where you will develop all your creations. It’s a good place to start practicing until you have access to a professional kitchen.

In your kitchen, you can work with what you already have. You don’t need to buy expensive or advanced appliances. What you should do is acquire the basic elements such as knives, cutting boards, among other essential tools that you think are needed.

However, if your budget is not enough, do not worry. Imagination can get us out of our worst troubles. Use what you have and try to give them different uses depending on your needs.

From there you can also choose recipes that you would like to recreate. In the beginning, you can follow the steps as indicated in the recipe, but when you feel more comfortable you can recreate them with little or no guidance.

This type of knowledge gives you the experience you need. So, don’t expect perfection from the start. Don’t be afraid to fail because remember that practice makes you perfect. The more you try, the more possibilities you have to improve.

Create your own recipes

A good way to start making your own creations is to make small changes to recipes that are familiar to you. You can first start with ingredients that you feel more comfortable using. Don’t be afraid of the result of your recipes. The most important thing is to have fun and learn on the go.

Remember that if any recipe is successful you can write it down. In this way, you can do it again in the future and make it better. Or if you feel it’s good enough you can even share it with family, friends, or even share it with future colleagues.

Cooking for others

When you get more confident with your preparations you can start sharing them with the world. It is a good way to receive feedback to keep improving.

Don’t be afraid of criticism, take the comments that will help you like good material to improve next time. It is recommended that you find people who enjoy the type of cuisine you do. In this way, their comments, both positive and negative, will be more appropriate.

Another recommendation is to prepare dinners or large meals for a large group of people. Make them buy the ingredients and let them know that you will cook. In this way, you can gain practice in cooking for many people. Keep in mind that chefs usually cook for hundreds of people in one day.

Woman cooking at home

Use digital resources

Take advantage of the digital world and get the most out of the content it offers. On the internet, you can find videos, recipe books, and even autobiographical books by world-renowned chefs.

You can also find online courses where they can teach you step by step about preparing recipes. You can find the most appropriate for you depending on your level of knowledge and the kind of food you like to prepare.

You don’t need to close your way to something specific. Initially, it is recommended to have a general knowledge of the subject. You can learn from different styles of cooking because remember that cooking is a lot of experimentation and the techniques can be interchangeable for different dishes.

Social media is also very useful when it comes to learning. You can follow industry-relevant accounts on both Instagram and Facebook. Normally these accounts show fast videos and hacks that will not take you more than 5 minutes to watch.

In addition, among its content, you can find curious data, replacement of ingredients in case you do not have the appropriate ones, and a lot of visual content. In this way, you can continue learning, but in a fun way.

Woman cooking following an online recipe

Get certifications

Within the digital world, you can also find courses that grant you a certificate. The certificate can include the number of hours you invested in the course and the teacher’s signature. Or if you want to go further you can find courses from prestigious institutions that can make a difference in your curriculum.

Get a job

A good idea is to get a part-time job that allows you to get more involved with the culinary world. This will allow you not only to improve your skills and gain experience but will also have experience for your resume.

You must take into account that to get involved in a job like this and without experience you must start climbing. That is, you can start as a cleaner for the kitchen, an assistant of the chef, or as a line cook.

Remember that all experience is valid, and it will help you to know first-hand how things work in the professional world. It is also a good way to find out if this is what you are really passionate about. In this way you will know if you would like to choose culinary art as a career for your future.

Make connections

If you want to build a career as a chef, as in any other career in the job market, it is important to create connections. This will allow you to be recommended for good positions and that more people get to know you. It is a good way to build yourself a name and a reputation.

Chef teaching how to cook

Formal studies

Short courses

If after developing your skills at home you feel that you are ready to take the next step, do it. You can start by looking for institutes where they offer a culinary art’s degree.

Although it is not necessary to follow a 4-year university career, it is advisable to follow some type of formal education. This is because you would have an in-depth knowledge of the subject before getting into practice.

You will learn, for example, all the cooking techniques. From how to make menu plans, recipe preparation to sanitary procedures, how to deal with suppliers, among other important things. In addition, professional practices are usually included.

Culinary School

The other option is to enter a culinary art school. Because of all your course options are specialized in the area of ​​your interest. For example, you can find alternatives such as culinary science where you will learn all the chemistry and biology behind the food.

They can also offer you courses in food and beverage management, or hospitality. A culinary arts school expands your mind beyond the kitchen. Well, they offer courses where cooking is related to other branches of interest.

On the other hand, many people who want to follow their dreams of being chefs’ study abroad. In this way, they can have a more comprehensive study and even better job opportunities after finishing your studies.

Group of students in cooking classes

Other Skills

Remember that to be a chef you don’t only need cooking knowledge. You also need business knowledge and communication skills. Because as a chef you will have a whole team at your disposal, and you must know how to handle them.

As we also mentioned in the beginning, it is important that you develop your creativity. As a chef, you need to create innovative recipes that your future clients will like. Also, for this profession, you need to develop your sense of taste and smell.

This is important because in this way you can develop recipes that most people like. For example, they are not very salty or very spicy.

Internships

Despite having theoretical knowledge thanks to your studies, the most important thing for a chef is practice. Try to get a job as an apprentice, and for the curriculum, it would be better if you can work with an expert and recognized chef. Get the best out of this type of experience so that you soon feel ready to work on your own.

Using an internship is also a good way to create connections. Because if things go well, they might even offer you a permanent job. Don’t discard the idea of ​​doing an internship in case the wage is low. Remember that the most important thing in a chef’s curriculum for the future is experience.

Specialize

After completing your formal studies, you can think about choosing a specialization.

It is important that you know what your possibilities are. For example, within a kitchen there are 3 types of chef:

  • Executive chef
  • Sous Chef – Chef who works under the supervision of the head chef.
  • Senior Chef – Chef who is assigned a specific responsibility.

The executive chef and the sous chef are different ranges depending on their responsibilities and experience. But in a kitchen, there must also be chefs with different specializations to cover different work areas, they are known as Senior Chefs. With the following list, you will have the chance to explore your options.

Sauces chef

This chef is the one in charge of seasoning the food, preparing the soups, and, above all, making the sauces. Notice that sauces are what can make the difference on a plate. This is why a sauce chef is one of the most respected ranges in a kitchen.

Sauce chef preparing a platter

Roast chef

This chef is in charge of the preparation of grilled beef, grilled chicken, and meet in general. The technique they use the most is slow cooking to maximize flavors. Also, they are in charge of finding the best suppliers for meat.

Fish chef

As their name says they specialize in marine products, especially fish. Like the roast chef, he is in charge of finding suppliers for this type of product. In small kitchens, the fish chef also becomes a sauce chef.

Meat chef

This chef is in charge of removing the skin and cutting the pieces of the beef, pork, poultry, or any animal that is going to be cooked. He prepares everything before passing the product to the roast and grill chef.

Grill chef

It is responsible for all the food that must be prepared on the grill. This includes animals and vegetables.

Grill chef cooking meat

Fried chef

This chef takes care of all the foods that need to be cooked in oil or animal fat. This includes both animal and plant products.

Chef of cold dishes

He is the one who is responsible for the creation of dishes such as salads, appetizers, cheeses or any dish whose preparation is cold.

Pastry chef

He is the chef in charge of preparing the desserts. He is also in charge of preparing bakery food.

Remember that to choose a specialization you must be sure of what you like the most about in the kitchen. Also, you have to realize what you are good at. Because in a kitchen you work under pressure so you must gain expertise and speed.

Man experimental cooking

Being a chef in Australia

In Australia, there are many opportunities for you to build a successful career. This is because the culinary art is a highly demanded profession on the island. Due to the growth in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Gastronomy in Australia

Australia has many cultural influences and we can see them reflected in their food. In Australia, you can find all kinds of food. From meats to seafood, fruits, vegetables among others. This shows its great openness in gastronomy. For this reason, there are many opportunities for international, specialized, or fusion food restaurants.

Furthermore, in Australia gastronomy is highly valued. So, if you become a chef and you are really good at what you do, it won’t take long for you to gain recognition.

Opportunities in Australia

Australia as a country has great advantages. Great quality of life, great natural attractions, cultural diversity, and a high level of security as well to name a few. This has allowed it to position itself as one of the preferred destinations for travelers.

Thanks to its tourist popularity, the hotel and tourism market has expanded greatly in recent years. That is why professionals in the culinary area are so sought after on the island. Also, it will give you the advantage to have some certificates as the RSA certificate if you will work in the hospitality area.

Through a job

If you have already studied in your country of residence, then the best option for you is to go to Australia to work. There you can make your way in the professional world and also explore new horizons.

One of the advantages is that Australia has the highest minimum wage in the world. Because a chef earns an average of $ 57,364 a year. Also, it is a very quiet place to live in yet very fun and open-minded. Be aware that to apply you must meet certain requirements depending on your situation.

Woman chef in the kitchen

Chef Visa

The best way to do this is through a Sponsored Visa or Skilled Nominated Visa.

Sponsored Visa

If you can find a restaurant that wants to sponsor you, you need to apply for this type of visa. Remember that the contract must be for a minimum of 2 years. To be able to apply you must be under 50 years old and have a proficiency in the English language. The benefit of this visa is that you can take your family to Australia with you.

This is a good way to make your way into Australia. Remember that within the hotel and tourism sector there are several companies willing to sponsor expert chefs. Because this ensures stability for their business.

Skilled Nominated Visa

In Australia, there are professions with much more demand than others. The profession of a chef is one of them. However, you can find the list updated by the Australian government on their website. In this way, you can apply so that the Australian Government is the one that sponsors your visa thanks to your skills.

To apply you need to be under 45 years old and have a good knowledge of the English language. From there you must accumulate points that translate into more opportunities to be accepted into the program.

Remember that after making the decision to cross borders and work in Australia you should be very aware of the latest updates from the Australian government. We also recommend you to be patient because regardless of the type of visa to which you will apply the process will take time.

Through studies

This path is easier than working directly in Australia. Because the government has a preference for people who have completed higher education within the country. Remember that to study in Australia you need to have at least a good level of English.

If you decide to take this path you need to start looking for institutions in the country. Make the formal application and once you have been accepted to apply for the student visa.

The ideal would be to apply to a university that is located in a city marked as the main tourist destination. So, in this way you can also ensure a job opportunity at the end of your studies.

Through courses

This path is ideal if you do not have much experience as a chef yet, but you know that it is the profession you want for your life. In the same way, as if you were applying to an Australian university, you need a study visa.

VET (Vocational Education Training) courses are courses offered only in Australia. They are highly recommended because they have worldwide recognition. In addition, they are the best way to immerse yourself in the professional world without spending many years of studying.

In order to participate, you need an intermediate level of English. You also need to have secondary education, and, in some cases, you need previous work experience.

Woman preparing food in a table

Final Considerations

Remember that regardless of the path you choose to become a chef, what must prevail is your passion and love for the career. In addition, your determination to make your dreams come true is really important as well.

If you really believe that this is what you want to do in your life, do not give up and always take advantage of the best opportunities that come your way.

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