Cooking might seem like a mundane task to many people as they often look for the easiest meals to whip up or not cook at all. However, there are a few people who find cooking a relaxing task, one that they can make a career out of and push all their passions into. Developing a career in the culinary arts is one way a lot of these ‘artists’ or cooks go into so they can mix passion with their day job. If you’re an aspiring chef or baker, climbing the ladder in your culinary career takes a few simple steps to achieve. Read on below to find out how you can develop your own career in the culinary arts.
Why Choose a Culinary Arts Career?
A career in the culinary arts is stable, flexible, and lucrative. It’s one that has a lot of growth opportunities seeing as it covers everything regarding food preparation; you can grow into any position whether you become a sous chef, an executive chef, a caterer, a culinary consultant, a food service manager or quality assurance specialist, head pastry chef, or even a mixologist and bartending consultant.
It’s often difficult to find a career with as many learning opportunities like this one; you’ll always get a chance to train under professionals and learn on the job. You’ll also find that it’s one of the most creative careers as you can mix practicality with creativity by developing new recipes. It’s also one of the most lucrative job opportunities with iron-clad job security that allows you to work anywhere either in restaurants, catering companies, commercial food producers, or even become self-employed and open up your own business.
A career in the culinary arts is often one of the most coveted careers by aspiring food enthusiasts, amateur chefs, and bakers. Read on below to find out what 4 steps you can take to climb the culinary ladder.
1. Get a Culinary Degree
As with any career, you need to get the right education so you can climb up the career ladder. Getting a degree from a culinary school is a vital step to take to advance in your career and earn higher positions and job opportunities in the culinary field. You need to have completed your high school diploma or GED in order to apply for this degree.
Depending on the program, it can take from 2-4 years to complete it and you can usually sign up for it at vocational schools, colleges, or even a culinary institute. The courses vary from culinary techniques in pastry, butchery, food preparation and presentation as well as nutrition. Some schools also offer management programs that will help you become an executive chef. Becoming specialized in your field will drastically improve your chances of getting better job opportunities.
2. Gain Work Experience
Practical work experience is everything; the more you learn on the job, the more you advance and understand the ins and outs of becoming an artist in the kitchen. Getting a degree is just the beginning, you need to be able to find internships that will give you the work experience needed to get hired after you graduate from culinary school.
If you’re just starting out, your first job might be as simple as washing the dishes or taking out the trash. Eventually, you’ll land a great internship or apprentice that will teach your day-to-day tasks of being in a restaurant’s kitchen as well as the knowledge you need for your career. It will also give you a chance to apply what you’re leaning into a real-life setting. Gaining work experience is a great chance for networking and finding the right people in the field you can work with.
3. Get Certified
Becoming a certified chef is not a major requirement but it may drastically help you get better, faster, and easier job opportunities. Getting certified means you have a chance to apply for competitive chef positions that are highly sought after, and with certification, you’ll have one step ahead of your peers. It will also improve your cooking abilities. You can get certified at The American Culinary Federation (ACF) as it’s the largest association for chefs and cooks. You can get certified in any of their 14 designations according to your work experience and education and it needs to be renewed every 5 years.
4. Find a Mentor, Not a Job
It’s easy to get trapped in the mundane tasks of a job just to make ends meet. Working from salary to salary to pay off your bills can make you feel stuck and unable to advance your career. You need to be able to take advantage of the growth opportunities enveloped in a culinary arts career; instead, find a mentor, not a job. Find a chef you can learn from, one who’s interested in your development just as much as you are, and one who will guarantee your success and advancement. Working with a mentor is a lifelong relationship that will definitely advance your career, learning curve, and maturity in the job.
Do What You Love
Doing what you love and getting paid for it is a dream that many of us aim to achieve. If you’re one of the lucky few who are creative enough to make their passions a career, then you’ll feel you’re not really working, but developing personally and professionally. Take the right path, follow the necessary steps, and always be passionate.