The Chef: What's cooking in the kitchen?
If your passion is food, there is a career that will combine both labor and love. Like all jobs you need to pay your dues to achieve success, but if you are looking for a diverse return on your investment, the hospitality industry is where you want to be. Chef, Karen Kaehler, the Research and Development Manager at Boston Market, encourages people to become a chef if they are looking for a career where, "You won't be tied to a desk job and you can travel the globe."
So what are the day to day realities of being a chef? According to Chef Kaehler, it is all about diversity, "It is rare that two days are the same in my position. Even if you are working on the same project, you are often trying variations upon variations in order to achieve the best outcomes."
Culinary Arts - The Diversity of a Career as a Chef
Most Chefs have an education in the Culinary Arts. It will be a combination of your practical experience in the kitchen and your educational background that will provide you with the skills and confidence to be a successful Chef.
As with all foodservice careers, the reality of long hours and hot kitchens are inevitable. Being a chef is hard work, but this career will provide you with the ability to express your creativity and instant gratification that you receive from serving an excellent dish or planning an innovative menu. The day to day realities of a chef are not all about plating your next dish; the responsibilities of a chef are diverse.
There are many components involved in a day in the life of a chef and they require a wide range of skills and knowledge to achieve success.
- Menu planning
- Food design
- Financial Planning
- Operational Logistics
- Food & Safety
- Vendor Management
- Staff Management
- Research & Development
The hospitality industry offers endless opportunities for variety, and there are many options to choose from. Whether you decide to build a career as a chef in catering, hotels, cruise ships, resorts or restaurants, every area is different. Opportunities for Chefs are limitless, as Chef Kaehler points out, regardless of the difference between each hospitality environment, "There is a 'common language' of the kitchen, which enables cross over. Having strong, basic skills, hustle and the right attitude will help you succeed in restaurants, catering, cruise ships and hotels. You'll pick up lots of new tricks from them all."
Rewards and Perks
Depending on what company you work for, there may be the option to transfer and travel to different locations. Chefs are influenced and educated by the variety of ingredients, knowledge and techniques offered throughout the world. In fact, as Chef Kaehler points out, "To stay current and cutting edge, you have to constantly be exploring and learning." Having worked in Hong Kong, Antarctica and on a variety of cruise lines, she describes these experiences as unforgettable and critical to her career growth.
If you are looking for a career that requires creative ingenuity and an atmosphere that encourages growth and exploration, become a Chef. It is not all about cooking; it is about finding your own recipe for success combining your passion and skill in a variety of environments and locations.
"Anyone can follow someone else's recipe and create good food, but to 'create' great food consistently is quite different. And, if all being a Chef was cooking, life would be sweet." Chef Karen Kaehler