Step by step guide to becoming an executive chef

Becoming a chef usually involves a combination of formal education and on-the-job training. A professional culinary career may start with odd, long hours, including nights, weekends and holidays, depending on the establishment. Before committing to this career path, it is crucial that you ask yourself the following questions: What are the various professional options available to a trained chef? Am I willing to put in the time it takes to attend culinary school and work to develop my skills and unique style? Do I eventually want to open my own restaurant or will I be content working for others?

What does an executive chef do?

A chef prepares food and manages the kitchen, a responsibility which includes training the cooking staff and keeping track of inventory. Chefs can find employment in a variety of environments, including restaurants, institutions, private homes, and other places that offer food service.

A chef’s schedule is often demanding and may include early mornings and late evenings when people eat breakfast and dinner. Weekends and holidays shifts may also be required in most establishments. Chefs usually work at a hectic pace, as meals must be prepared quickly and accurately. Chefs learn how to multitask as part of their training.

What kind of skills are required?

In addition to being creative enough to develop top-notch menus, chefs must have the dexterity to prepare food with proper knife techniques. Chefs need business skills in order to efficiently manage restaurants and leadership skills for motivating kitchen staff. Time-management skills are also important, because customers should receive their meals promptly even when the restaurant is busy.

The steps to becoming an Executive Chef

  1. Get a degree or other culinary training
  2. Complete an internship or apprenticeship
  3. Earn an American Culinary Federation Certification (optional)
  4. Get plenty of on the job experience and work your way up