Passion and Culinary Sense
The skills needed to become a chef include a keen sense of taste and smell, and a passion for food and cooking. This keen sense is required to recognize subtle nuances in flavors and innovate with combinations. Chefs also need to have an efficient memory to remember all the ingredients and the quantities required to prepare a meal for two or more.
A good chef not only has to balance long hours, but has to keep the creativity flowing for everyone involved in all aspects of cooking. This would only be possible with efficient teamwork. It is impossible to make a splendid meal in an inharmonious kitchen. Chefs have to manage workers, delegate responsibility and direct the whole meal's preparation process.
Attending Culinary Schools
There are many culinary schools that offer two or four-year college programs. Here one gets trained in the various aspects of a kitchen. One not only learns about cooking, but also about purchasing, store-keeping, and inventory, and kitchen and restaurant management, etc.
However, one needs to have some developed culinary skills to do so. Many young chefs work for several years under different mentors to acquire experience and the right skill, before running a kitchen as head chefs, or starting out their own restaurants.
Age requirements for becoming a chef vary from place to place. Generally, one needs to be at least 16 years and above to become a chef. While one can become a chef at any age above 16, it is advisable to start young, preferably in a college or school dedicated to this training.
Types of Chefs
Commis chef is a junior or apprentice and is assigned to different sections of the kitchen for a specific duration. The commis chef works under specialty cooks and learns about food preparation and plating. The experience is invaluable, as it helps them to learn and handle the pace, pressure, and demands of a kitchen.
Most Head Chefs earn approximately USD 21,010 to USD 58,730 per year depending on training, experience and talent. Becoming a chef is a good career option and high in demand with a large number of hotels and restaurants being opened each year. This profession not only offers a highly skilled and exciting lifestyle, but also a lucrative one!