Becoming a chef is not a walk in the park. It is a challenging road and may not be for everyone. You should therefore have a basic understanding of what it takes to become a chef before you invest in an expensive education at top culinary arts schools. You should learn more about the requirements and process involved to become a chef.
Do your friends and family compliment you on all of your creative dishes? Do people around you tell you that you should become a chef? Do you spend a lot of time in front of the TV watching cooking shows? When your co-workers ask you to make your famous chicken wings for the holiday party, do you jump at the chance? Well if this sounds like you, then you are certainly on your way, but becoming a chef is not always fun and games. You need to understand what a career in the hot kitchens is really like.
THE BENEFITS OF BEING A CHEF
You Are In The Spotlight
When you cook for people there is a great sense of accomplishment. You spend hours in front of a hot stove conjuring up your delicious creations and then get to enjoy the smiles on peoples faces when they taste the first bite. You relish the moment when a waiter or waitress tells you how much a customer enjoyed your Garlic and Ginger Crusted Salmon. You flip through your local food magazine and see a restaurant review that features one of your creative dishes.
You Found a Career You Are Passionate About
What is better in life than being able to work at a career that you truly love? If you want to be a chef, you have to love what you do. You have to truly enjoy cooking and baking, if not, those long hours in the restaurant kitchens are going to seem like days. If cooking feels like a chore then it may not be the right career for you.
THE STRESSES OF BECOMING A CHEF
It's Hard Work
Being a chef is a difficult job. You are standing on your feet for hours every day. There is no time to sit and rest, its too busy for that. You will develop all sorts of new aches and pains from lifting heavy bags and boxes.
You Will Have To Deal With an Unpleasant Working Environment
Be prepared to sweat. Working in a kitchen has been compared to working outside all day under a hot sun in 90 degree weather. You will constantly be working over an open flame and reaching into hot ovens.
Kitchens can be rather dirty. You will eventually have to deal with garbage and grease that accumulates in many kitchens.
Being a chef can be dangerous. You will probably be burned a number of times from the hot ovens, pots and pans, boiling liquids and hot oil. You will get cut. When things get busy and you have to work faster, your concentration diminishes and a sharp knife, food processor blade, blender, or broken glass can be lethal weapons.
Everyone Can't Be Emeril
Just because you got your degree at The Culinary Institute of America doesn't mean you are going to land your own spot on the Food Network or get your own line of custom made cooking products and make millions of dollars. I am not trying to belittle that dream. If that is what you are shooting for, then by all means go for it, but in most cases cooks do not make a ton of money. So try not to get discouraged if you don't make it big. The food industry is a busy world and is always in need of good chefs that love what they do and are willing to go the extra mile to prove it. Make that your number one goal above all things.
The Hours Aren't Great
When you become a chef, be prepared to work very long hours, holidays and weekends. Many new chefs have abandoned their careers because they could not cope with spending so much time away from family and friends.
I truly hope this article has helped you make a decision as to whether or not you want to become a chef. This article is not meant to discourage you. Many new chefs spend thousands of dollars on Culinary School, and when they finally get out into the real world, they realize they can't stand the heat, and wind up quitting. That is an awful lot of time and money wasted, so make certain you are sure a chef is the right career for you. All the best and good luck.
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