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Ways to get involved

One can become a chef by attending a culinary school as well as working as an apprentice for a chef in a restaurant. Chefs often work at several restaurants getting experience under different people before they choose the best type of the culinary art they enjoy and are good at.

You can get training in school vocational programs, two year colleges or four year college programs. Chefs and cooks also may be trained in apprenticeship programs offered by professional culinary institutes, industry associations, and trade unions. Some large hotels and restaurants operate their own training programs.

People who have taken courses in commercial food preparation may be able to start in a cook or chef job without having to spend time in a lower-skilled kitchen job.

School and curriculum varies, but students usually spend most of their time learning to prepare food through practice. They learn to bake, broil, and prepare food. They also learn to use and care for kitchen equipment. There are courses in menu planning, determination of portion size, food cost control, purchasing food supplies in quantity, selection and storage of food, and how to use of leftover food to minimize waste. Restaurant sanitation and public health rules for handling food are also taught.

A head chef will direct a kitchen staff, in addition to preparing meals, or start his/her own restaurant. If a chef is able to withstand the high stress and pressure of the job, they will most likely become a head chef within 10 years.

An executive chefs will often partner with financial restaurateurs to open their own restaurants. These top chefs spend more time with patrons and investors than in the kitchen.