What is the typical career path for a chef?

You can start a culinary career as a subchef, line cook, preparatory cook, pastry chef, fish chef, vegetable chef, or meat chef. All members of the hierarchy are important and work together to make a restaurant successful. The executive or head chef manages the kitchen and is responsible for shaping the menu. The Sous Chef is the assistant to the head chef or executive chef and is the second in command in the kitchen.

He or she helps manage the kitchen, plans menus, creates schedules, oversees kitchen orders, and manages customer relationships. A Sous Chef is required to be expert in all aspects of food preparation and is expected to replace the executive chef when necessary to do so or replace any of Partie's chefs. The executive chef takes care of the entire kitchen, plans and executes the menus, hires and supervises staff, sets the budget, costs, quality control, conversations with the media, and more. The executive chef sets the tone for the restaurant and works closely with the general manager of the restaurant and creates the vision of the restaurant.

Still, there are no strict educational or training requirements to become a chef. Most people gain knowledge and skills during those long hours in the kitchen. However, those who want to become head chef can opt for the culinary degree and the learning path. There are other careers to consider, besides working in a commercial kitchen, that are exciting and challenging to enjoy as a chef.

The culinary arts offer exciting opportunities to do creative work and, at the same time, develop a prestigious career. When you want to become a truck driver, attending one of the best CDL schools helps you prepare for the race and for the driver's license test itself. Especially when you're in the early stages of your career (commis chef, chef de partie), don't spare the opportunity to hone your skills and master your craft. Learning on the job exposes you to the real dynamics of a kitchen right from the start, so you can develop stronger skills while building your network of contacts and acquiring mentors early in your career.

Either way, you'll have to commit to spending at least two years in a new kitchen to settle down and make a worthwhile investment in your professional advancement. From the Army to the Air Force, from the Navy to the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard, learn more about careers in the military.

Eloise Marchiano
Eloise Marchiano

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