Tips on Culinary School and How to Become a Chef Best colleges

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Imagining the potential look, taste, smell and texture of a delicious appetizer, dish or dessert that has never been prepared before, writing a recipe and then turning that idea into reality can be exhilarating.

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One of the joys of cooking is the pleasure of eating dishes that you have created with your own hands, but if you are made for a career as a chef, the experience of serving food to others and watching a smile to draw on their face should be particularly pleasant. rewarding. According to experts, being proud of one’s ability to create a delicious meal is a requirement of the culinary profession.

“There is a certain sense of accomplishment and instant feedback that is powerful,” says Chris Koetke, chief executive officer at Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition North America, Inc., a manufacturer and service provider that works in the industry. food and beverage and other industries.

Koetke adds that professional chefs frequently travel the world and learn about a variety of cultures, which is one of the biggest perks of working. Chefs also have the flexibility to choose the type of workplace that suits their personality, he says, whether it’s a casual restaurant or a fine dining establishment.

Anyone who intends to become a chef someday should consider taking in-depth formal training in the art and science of cooking through a post-secondary culinary or culinary school, experts suggest, even if such training doesn’t matter. is not compulsory for the profession. Cooking enthusiasts should also consider looking for some sort of diploma related to cooking craftsmanship, such as a ServSafe certification.

“I get a lot of students who are not at all interested in college, but I really try to encourage them to go to cooking school, even if it’s for the two-year associate degree. , because it just makes you more marketable, ”suggests Samantha Katzaman, a culinary arts teacher at Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania, a philanthropic school that welcomes low-income students and is home to a state-sponsored ProStart culinary challenge team. .

Katzaman notes that culinary degrees give cooks credibility when applying for jobs. “It lets employers know you have the basics behind you,” she says.

How to get into a culinary school and what to expect

Anyone who dreams of becoming a great chef like Gordon Ramsay or Martha Stewart should train as much as possible in the kitchen, ideally working for a catering company, food truck, restaurant or other restaurant, experts say, noting that the best culinary schools look sympathetically on applicants with relevant work experience.

“Any kind of catering job will help separate one candidate’s submission from the next,” wrote Tyler Akin, chef-owner of Stock restaurants in Philadelphia and chef-partner for The Cavalier at The Green Room, a restaurant in the. Hotel Du Pont. in Wilmington, Delaware. “Serving, washing dishes, preparing work – it shows genuine interest and an ongoing commitment that is not impulsive.

Leigh Uhlir, associate dean of Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at Louis National University in Chicago, explained in an email that competitive candidates for culinary school are those who show “passion and motivation. for the industry with relevant stories explaining why they choose this. industry.”

Professional or cooperative cooking and baking programs, experts say, can give prospective cooking students a head start over their peers who didn’t focus on cooking in high school.

The goal of culinary education, experts say, is to give students the basic training needed to serve food to the public, including lessons in cooking techniques, food safety, kitchen cleaning and l use of knives.

“As opposed to learning on the job, a student in our programs is trained in the theory behind the skills and the why of the method,” says Kaitlin Mitchell, executive pastry chef in New York City and a graduate of the Bakery and Bakery program. pastry shop. at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, which has campuses in Colorado and Texas.

“Once the theoretical knowledge of the method is in place, the skills are then applied to a multitude of ingredients, creating unique dishes. A successful student will not rely on recipes for cooking, but instead will understand how to apply. the techniques he ‘I learned. “

How to become a chef and what it’s like to be one

High school students who love to cook should keep in mind that no matter what degree they get in food preparation, they will likely start their culinary career as a cook and it may take years to complete. get the title of chef, which is a leadership role, experts warn.

“The road from a novice cook to a full chef is a tough road full of compromises,” Akin, who is a board member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, written in an email. “You will miss out on family occasions, parties with friends, sometimes even entire parts of your children’s lives. But you will make friends who are like brothers and sisters in arms and take immense pride in your work.”

Experts note that there is a steep learning curve early in a cook’s career, even if he or she graduated from a well-respected culinary school.

“I can say from experience that there is nothing more boring than a new cook fresh out of a fancy culinary school who drops phrases like ‘this is not how we do it at home. ‘culinary school,’ ”Devan Cameron, sous chef and founder of the Braised and Deglazed Cooking Site, wrote in an email. “Compare that to the new cook with no culinary training but with a good attitude who is eager to learn.”

However, Cameron – who graduated with honors in cooking from George Brown College in Toronto – says he has “no regrets” about attending cooking school. “My cooking school has provided me with an excellent base of theoretical knowledge and has helped me so many times in my career.”

Although celebrity chefs can make millions and get rich, only a minority of chefs receive salaries above $ 100,000. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary reported by American chefs and cooks in May 2020 was $ 53,380, with the bottom 10% of chefs earning less than $ 30,300 and the top 10% earning over $ 90,790.

Sue Torres, who has appeared on several national cooking TV shows including “Iron Chef America” and “Top Chef Masters,” says a chef’s job is fun.

“I feel a deeper connection with myself and people when I cook,” she wrote in an email. “It is a privilege to be a part of people’s lives and celebrations. I am grateful to the people I work with and cook for as a chef.”

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