What does a chef do?
Chefs prepare and cook many different foods such as soups, salads, appetizers, side dishes, entrees, and desserts. They typically create recipes to prepare meals and add their own special ingredients. They measure, combine, and cook ingredients using a variety of kitchen equipment such as pans, pots, ovens, cutlery, grills, broilers, grinders, slicers, and blenders. They also plan menus, determine serving sizes, order food supplies, and estimate food requirements. Chefs often test new combinations and flavors to create unique recipes. They also determine the safest and most efficient way to cook new foods. Chefs also direct and supervise other workers in the kitchen. They supervise all kitchen operations to make sure meals are of high quality.
What kind of training does a chef need?
Chefs typically need at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer chefs who have postsecondary training. Many vocational and trade school programs offer courses in cooking, food safety and handling, nutrition, sanitation, slicing and dicing methods, and general business. There are also longer programs at professional culinary institutes or independent cooking schools that offer certificates or 2 or 4 year degrees in culinary arts or hospitality. These programs offer training in upscale and fine-dining food preparation and training specialties such as advanced cooking methods, banquet cooking, and international cooking styles. Some restaurants and hotels operate their own job-placement and training programs for chefs. Some chefs also complete internships and apprenticeships. Many chefs also receive on the job training.
What are the prospects for a career as a chef?
Employment of chefs is projected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 11% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growth and expansion of the food service industry will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be very good, but with keen competition in high-end restaurants. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace chefs that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do chefs make?
As of September 2009, the middle 50% of chefs earned annual salaries between $58,187 and $88,703. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $105,481 (2).
A career as a chef is a great choice for people with a strong desire to cook that are interested in preparing food for the public. Chefs must be quick, efficient, and be able to effectively work as part of a team. Manual dexterity, creativity, a keen sense of smell and taste, and great communication are essential qualities of chefs. They must also have personal cleanliness and keep their work area clean and free of germs.