Good Culinary schools focus their students on learning through interaction with food. The best way to learn how to prepare food is to practice, hands on. After a student has completed their in-school training, they will move on to an apprenticeship, spending time in a kitchen doing the lower skilled kitchen duties. Culinary Students will need to learn under several different chefs to find what class of food they want to specialize in. In their classes, they should learn how to plan terms, determine serving and portion sizes, how to manage the cost of foods in quantity and reduction of food waste. Students must also learn restaurant sanitation and public health rules for proper handling of food.
The head chef directs the kitchen staff. Depending on the size of the kitchen, he may prepare meals or manage his own restaurant in addition.
A beginning chef can expect to make it to head chef position in 10 years, provided they are able to withstand the high stress and pressure that comes with the job.
Executive chefs often have restaurateur partners for financial reasons, but it's good to take a few business courses if you intend to run your own restaurant. Executive chefs often spend more time with patrons and investors than in the kitchen.
There are many different job descriptions that must be filled in restaurant situations.
When entering the chef industry, you may end up as one of many line cooks in a kitchen. The different positions you could have expected to fill include a pastry chef, in charge of pastries and desserts, the pantry chef, in charge of cold-prepared foods such as salads, dressings, buffet items and sandwiches. Roast cooks handle roasted meats and gravies, as well as broiled meats or other items to order. He may also handle fried meat and fish.
The vegetable cook prepares vegetables, soups, starches and eggs, while the fish cook handles dishes involving fish and seafood. The sauce chef may handle the fish as well as sauces in some kitchens, as well as stews, hot hors d'oeuvres and sauteee.
Other chefs you will need to be aware of include the Sous chef, or assistant to the executive chef. The person in this position is in charge of many of the organizational tasks involved in keeping a kitchen running smoothly. They keep records of purchases, needs and losses. They are often the organizers, making sure that food is crafted and sent out to the tables in a timely fashion so that all patrons get to eat at the same time.
The executive chef is in charge of everything that involves the kitchen, which includes the menu, personnel management and other business management aspects. There is also the Chef De Cuisine, who, depending on the kitchen, is sometimes in charge of the executive chef, sometimes equal to him, and sometimes directly under his authority, equivalent to a sous chef.
Things to remember
A few things to do to prepare yourself for entering the world of culinary excellence include taking a job in a restaurant, any job, even if it's busy tables or washing dishes, just to give yourself experience and to help you get a feel for the physical needs of a career in the food industry. Holding a position in a restaurant will also give you a foot in the door. As you gain in experience and education, you can begin to work your way up the culinary ladder in a restaurant, starting with line chef, and working your way up to master chef.
Remember to research the culinary schools in your area and abroad, select your school and pursue it. If you are in high school still, speak with your guidance counselor about schools and careers in the culinary profession.