How to become a chef

Becoming a Chef may seem like an easy choice of career path. However, chef requirements can be demanding and may not be what you expect. Taking part in a Commercial Cookery course will assist you in becoming a chef and landing your first job within the industry. However, to hold a trades based profession as a chef you will also need to complete a chef apprenticeship. Chef apprenticeships will generally be for a nominal period of 4 years, with your off job training completed in 3 years. Although, there are many Chef duties and responsibilities to learn before landing your first job. You will need to learn; safe food handling skills, hygiene regulations, how to demonstrate cooking techniques, prepare and cook food and coach others in job skills. As well as how to clean kitchen premises and much more.

Additionally, the hospitality industry is a fast and ever evolving environment. If you love to travel, becoming a chef could be a great way to do just that whilst working at the same time. As a chef you could work in restaurants, aged care facilities, on cruise ships or even open your own restaurant. However, these chef jobs require certain skills and knowledge. Here is some information, tips and tricks to guide you through how to become a chef.

What is a Chef?

Most commonly, a chef is a professional cook that has completed a Certificate 3 in Commercial Cookery or Certificate 4. This course provides training in all aspects of food preparation and service. The role of a chef within a kitchen will differ depending on their title. General requirements of a chef is to oversee the cooking and preparation of food within a kitchen. As well as working within a team and making sure all food is prepared quickly and to the highest of standards. Chef careers can range through a variety of specialisations such as; chef de cuisine, chef de partie, commis chef, demi chef de partie or a sous chef.

Certificate 3 in Commercial Cookery

A Certificate 3 in Commercial Cookery provides a pathway to becoming a cook where you could work in a variety of organisations including; hotels, clubs, restaurants, aged care facilities and cafes. Generally this course is completed through an apprenticeship arrangement where you earn and learn at the same time. By completing a chef apprenticeship you are gaining on the job experience and opening doors to a long term chef career. Furthermore, HITsa training and employment offer the Certificate 3 in Commercial Cookery through a chef apprenticeship pathway.

Land your first job as a Chef

To land your first job within a kitchen you need to know what the employer is looking for. Most employers will require you to submit a cover letter, resume and proof that you have chef qualifications. While some may require you to have a minimum amount of prior experience within the industry. Employers will also look to hire depending on the restaurant, cuisine and dining style. In other instances, the employer may simply be looking for some of the following qualities in their chef.

Patience

Obtaining a chef career requires patience. Working in hospitality can be demanding, fast paced and sometimes messy. Meals can be missed and customers can be disappointed or difficult to please. Given this, you may be working during a busy period and be required to replace a meal, this would generally need to be done straight away (pushing other meals back). As a result you would need patience so that flow in the kitchen can run smoothly.

Organised

You will need to show great organisational skills to become a chef. Kitchens have high expectations and you need to be able to provide food quickly and concisely. Additionally, some chef requirements that include organisational skills are; ordering food, preparing food for service, dating food and storing food. Following a set routine is a great way to stay organised in a kitchen.

Decision Making

Being able to make decisions quickly and confidently is a great quality to have if you’re wanting to become a chef. Chefs are required to make decisions on whether food is safe to eat, in date and cooked properly. As well as deciding on how much and what food will need to be ordered. Ensuring that you do not over order to avoid wastage. Furthermore, chefs often need to make crucial, quick and important decisions.

Multitask

When working in a kitchen you need to be able to multitask. Being able to multitask will help during food service as you’re able to do more than one thing at a time. Especially during busy periods. In addition, some dishes may also require the use of a grill, fryer or oven. Therefore you will need to be able to work on all aspects of the dish so that everything is ready at the same time. Although this is not always the case, depending on how many kitchen staff you are working with.

Creative

Being creative is an important quality to have when working as a chef. It’s important that you are able to be creative when putting together a menu, thinking of daily specials or thinking of new dishes. Combining flavours and creating interesting dishes is what customers love. Being able to create something different and unique is always a noticeable aspect for restaurants.

Kick start your career

To become a chef you need to learn how to prep different food, food hygiene and safety and how to work within a team. Along with a wide range of other skills. Completing a Certificate 3 in Commercial Cookery is a great way to learn these skills and work towards becoming a chef. However, completing this course under an apprenticeship arrangement is highly recommended. This will provide you with on the job experience and the possibility of a long term chef career upon completion.

Completing a commercial cookery course will also open job opportunities within restaurants, cafes, aged care facilities, cruise ships and more. Try this commercial cookery course through HITsa Training and Employment and kick start your career today. Remember the key qualities in becoming an excellent chef are; patience, organised, decision making, creative and multitasking.