If you have landed here and are reading this it is because you and I have one great thing in common, we love being in the kitchen. Cooking, baking and everything that comes along with serving up something yummy for family and friends to enjoy is right up our street.
Perhaps you are deciding what you would like to do with your future, or maybe you are looking for a bit of a change in career direction, a break to do something different.
Have you considered a career in the kitchen? That’s right, imagine being paid to do what you love all day, every day.
But you may be thinking, I love to cook and bake, but surely, if I were to take that up as a full-time career, I wouldn’t enjoy it anymore. But the truth is that there are so many varied careers in the kitchen, that you will be cooking something different every day, which keeps things interesting and will help you to build up more skills and will teach you to make different foods.
Study the kitchen
If you are considering a culinary career, you will need the necessary training to get you to reach your goal. You will be thrilled to know that there are many study options available in culinary careers, some that are more hands-on and others that are more theory based, there is something for everyone.
Not too sure what your options are?
Not to worry as I have devised a list below of the most popular study options to get you a full-time professional career in the kitchen. These study options contain the most diverse study programs that will help you to gain the skill set you will need to tackle just about any menu in the kitchen. Have a look at the list and have a think about which one will suit you best.
Culinary certificates and diplomas.
Most diploma and certificate programs are short courses about a year or two long, providing you with knowledge about different cuisines and most importantly, plenty of practice time in the kitchen. Many of these courses also include apprenticeship programs so that you can earn while you study.
Associate’s culinary degrees.
These are the most popular courses selected amongst those who want a culinary degree, mainly because of the appeal of the short course – only two years long, and the degree received afterward which can take you to many leading roles in the kitchen.
These are more intensive four-year courses at universities which can be followed by Master’s studies at specialized culinary schools that provide an intensive program that will lead to the top culinary arts credentials.
Do you have your heart set on a kitchen career, but are not too sure on which one to go for? There are so many options and different careers available so it is important to choose one that suits the kind of cuisine you are interested in making.
Choosing your career will also help you decide which culinary study program to take so that you are prepared for what will come your way in the kitchen.
Have a look at the following list of kitchen careers, there are many of them, so don’t feel like you have to decide on one straight away. Try narrowing the list down to two or three of the career paths that catch your eye the most and then do further research on each one to see which will be best suited for you.
1) Executive Chef / Chef Manager/ Head Chef
If you are a natural born leader, then this may just be the role for you. An executive chef oversees what happens in the kitchen. This role also includes hiring new staff, training them and ensuring high-quality standards are met in the kitchen. You can also let your imagination and creative side run wild with this role, as it involves putting together and designing new menus and computing food costs.
As this is such an important leading role, the applicant is usually required to have an Associate or Bachelor’s degree behind them and a few years of culinary work experience but it pays well.
2) Sous Chef
The sous chef is second-in-command in the kitchen and plays an important role in supervising what is happening in the kitchen and making sure that kitchen equipment is in proper working order. A sous chef will also be involved in the hiring and training of new staff, although final decisions will normally be made by the executive chef.
This is another important role so an Associate or Bachelor’s degree and a few years of work experience are usually required to apply. The nice thing about this role is that after some time, a sous chef could be promoted to executive chef, so there is plenty of room to grow.
3) Pastry chef /Pâtissier
The key is in the name with this one. A pastry chef is someone that specializes in making pastries, desserts, breads and other baked foods such as cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies and ice creams. If you have always dreamt of running a bakery or a dessert shop, then this is definitely the role for you.
This role involves a lot of creativity as it requires the chef to sample and create new pastry and dessert recipes, plan a menu and organize the costing. A pastry chef may also be in charge of supervising pastry chef training, hiring new pastry chefs and ensuring the high-quality production of the pastries and desserts.
The nice thing about a pastry chef role is that there are no strict educational requirements to be one. An aspiring pastry chef will need a culinary certificate or diploma behind them to prove their culinary competence.
4) Restaurant Owner / Restaurant Manager
Perhaps you have always wanted to own or manage a restaurant.
Restaurant managers are in charge of overseeing, coordinating and assessing all of the operations in a restaurant. They are also in charge of hiring and making staff training programs, ensuring safe practices are being carried out within the restaurant and ensuring that kitchen equipment is being used properly. This role also gives you the opportunity to get a little creative as it involves making final decisions on new menus and pricing.
As this is such a heavy leadership role, an Associate or Bachelor’s degree is normally required along with a few years experience to prove competency and leadership skills.
5) Banquet Chef
Banquet chefs usually work in hotels, resorts, country clubs and other large facilities where they work behind the scenes managing staff and purchasing ingredients. There is a lot of creative licenses that come with this role as the banquet chef is usually the key member of the team that is involved in designing the menu and sourcing the best ingredients to use.
Becoming a banquet chef requires at least an Associate’s degree in culinary arts or food management. But the really nice thing about this role is that once you have a few years experience under your belt, a banquet chef usually has the opportunity to advance to higher roles in the kitchen such as sous chef and can even work up to becoming an executive chef with some additional training.
There are so many kitchen careers out there for you to choose from, but the nice thing about a career in the kitchen is that some jobs don’t require you to do exaggerated years of study in order to be able to land the role. Some of the apprentice and diploma courses are very intense and can be completed in as little as one year.
So, if you are a lover of everything kitchen-based, consider a culinary career, so that you can get paid to do what you love, every day.