Do you love to eat? When you go to restaurant, do you look at how the chef plates each dish and think about what you might do differently? Do you like to throw dinner parties for your friends and cook them a lovely meal?
If you answered yes to these questions, then you might have what is takes to be a chef. A career in hospitality is both rewarding and a lot of fun, but it takes much more than just a love of food to become a chef.
Think you have the knowhow and culinary skill? Here are five signs you should be a chef.
You love to experiment with dishes
To be a great chef, you of course need the passion for cooking and the enjoyment that comes with it. If you love perfecting recipes and adding your own twists on them, then a career as chef might be perfect for you.
All chefs start with their love of food and creation and work up from there. They go over the same recipes multiple times to get everything just right, and once they’ve perfected it, they look for new ways to make it their own. Doing this requires a lot of knowledge, such as knowing which spices go well together and how cooking temperatures can affect your food.
If you already like trying new things and spending hours in the kitchen, then being a chef could be a very rewarding career.
You’re no stranger to long working hours
As any chef will tell you, cooking for a restaurant or catering business is not a 9-5 job with weekends free. On the contrary, most chefs do not get a lot of time off, and even when they do, they’re usually still on call. If something happens in the kitchen, the chef will usually be called back to fix whatever’s gone wrong.
Working in the kitchen means early hours. Pastry chefs, for example, start at 4 a.m. or sometimes earlier. They need to get bread baking before the morning commuters come through. Though they might be out of the kitchen by 2 or 3 p.m., pastry chefs rarely have a lot of free time before they need to go to bed and be prepared to do it all again.
All other chefs work similar long hours throughout the day, so if you dread being on your feet for long periods of time, then the kitchen is not for you.
You have exceptional time management skills
Chefs do not work on just one dish at a time. They’re often preparing three, four or even more dishes at once, which means they’re constantly taking dishes out of the oven, combining ingredients for another dish and plating their work. All of these are happening at the same time, so a chef needs to have the very best time management skills.
Kitchen work never stops or slows down. You have to be able to balance all of your dishes at once and keep moving them from one step to another. Leaving a dish in the oven for just a minute too long can ruin the whole meal and upset the customer. You want to avoid this at all costs, so make sure your time management skills are exceptional.
You’re good with your hands
Stoves, ovens, refrigerators and other kitchen appliances are in almost constant use in when a chef is working. As a result, the wear and tear on kitchen appliances tends to build up quickly, which means that things often break down and usually at the most inopportune times.
The best chefs are not only great at making food, but also at making repairs around their kitchens. When a sink drain gets clogged right in the middle of dinner, there won’t be time to call a plumber. A chef needs to know how to do the repair so wait times at the restaurant don’t go up and customers are still satisfied with their meals.
A career as a chef is not restricted to food only. Learn how to be handy around the kitchen, and you’ll never have to shut down because of a pilot light that won’t light.
You can handle pressure
In terms of stress, chefs deal with a lot of it. During the dinnertime rush, they’re constantly moving from one task to the next, juggling multiple dishes at once. If something goes wrong or a customer finds a stray hair in a pasta dish, the chef’s reputation can be ruined.
While rewarding, a career as a chef is rarely ever a relaxed one. There’s always a lot of pressure to uphold the esteem and prestige of the restaurant, and chefs themselves want to maintain a good reputation within their community.
With a Certificate III in Commercial Cooking from the Kangan Institute, you’ll gain the skills needed to excel in the hospitality field. From there, you can build on your skills and become the chef you always wanted to be.
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