Interested In Becoming a Chef?
If you’re enrolled in culinary arts programs, chances are you have real interest in becoming a chef. If you want to be a chef because you love food and enjoy practicing your craft, you’re in for a fulfilling career. A job in the restaurant industry is a lot of hard work, though. It isn’t all glamour like the Food Network would have you believe. These are some of the realities of life as a chef:
The hours are long
Even if you’re working in a restaurant that only serves dinner, you aren’t just in the kitchen during open hours. You’re there well before the restaurant opens, prepping and cleaning, and well after the restaurant closes, getting ready for the next day. As you navigate through your career, your duties will change, but a significant chunk of your life will still be dedicated to your job. Cherish the free time you have, because you probably won’t have too much of it.
It’s a lot of work
And like most businesses, you have to work your way up. No matter how great you do in culinary academy, you aren’t going to jump right into a head chef position at an upscale New York restaurant. The necessity of really having to work at your craft and climb the ladder probably won’t be fun at first, but you’ll really appreciate it in the long run. That may sound like something your rolled your eyes at when your parents said it, but it’s true. Once you have your foot in the door, it doesn’t stop being a lot of grueling work, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
You’re always learning new things
Things are always changing in the culinary world. That’s part of what makes the industry so exciting. You’ll be polishing your techniques and learning new ones for the duration of your career. You may discover new passions to delve into or determine a new direction you want to take your career in. If you’re interested in a field that’s constantly evolving, pushing your limits and allowing you to try new things, you’ll love being a chef. Get to know the chefs that teach you in school, and network with chefs at other restaurants and learn from each other. There is always someone out there who knows more than you, and there’s always something you know that you can teach someone else.
The job involves a lot more than cooking
Life as a chef means taking pride in your product. You probably won’t take pride in something you just threw together from a recipe. But if you developed the recipe and cooked it to perfection and presented it to your customer in an aesthetically appealing way, you’ll feel proud of the work you’re doing. Bonus points if you see them take a picture of their meal to post on Instagram.