Chefs and Head Cooks: Career, Courses, Training, Jobs & Growth Prospects

Food is a basic need, since centuries human race has seen many changes and part of this change is also due to evolution in food practices. Food connects people. Go to any new place, even if you don't know language of that place then too you won't forget the taste of food from that city. Food helps in cultural exchange and cooks are silent transmitter. From any place you carry the aroma of food in your brain cells and that stay permanent in the back of your mind.
To cook perfect food practice needed. Kitchen is complex laboratory. Nobody can cool a perfect meal very soon in life, that needs learning. Cook books are sold like hot cake, people want to try different taste, different aroma and get different experience. Everyone has right to good aromatic sumptuous food and cooks made that possible with year of learning, training, hard work and experience.
The culinary industry is huge and growing at a rapid pace. To fill the gap so everyone can get best meal in the plate industry and schools runs several training programmes. A person can start leaning culinary skills to become a professional after high school diploma. A qualification in Culinary technology can get you a job with hospitality industry. Both government and private organizations, hotels and restaurants hire eligible cooks and chefs to give best experience to people.   
The career offers good job prospects for budding chefs and gives an opportunity to work in different settings such as cafeterias, airlines, cruise ships and work camps, corporate, hotels and of course restaurants. If you are more creative then advance to become a food consultants or cook book author.
Chefs or Head Cooks should have a keen sense of taste and smell, and working efficiently to turn out meals rapidly. Personal cleanliness is essential because most states require health certificates indicating that workers are free from communicable diseases.

Role of Chefs and Head Cooks   

  • Check freshness of food and ingredients
  • Supervise and coordinate activities of cooks and other food preparation workers
  • Develop recipes and determine how to present the food
  • Plan menus and ensure uniform serving sizes and quality of meals
  • Inspect supplies, equipment, and work areas for cleanliness and functionality
  • Hire, train, and supervise cooks and other food preparation workers
  • Order and maintain inventory of food and supplies needed to ensure efficient operations
  • Monitor sanitation practices and ensure that kitchen safety standards are followed

Personal Skills of Chefs and Head Cooks

Communication Skills: Chefs or Head Cooks should have to communicate with other restaurant staff, vendors, and the restaurant's clientele and to communicate their orders clearly and effectively.

Business skills:  Executive chefs must understand the business of restaurant work and should have administrative skills.

Creativity: Chefs and head cooks need creativity to develop and prepare interesting and innovative recipes.

Leadership skills: Chefs and head cooks must have the ability to motivate kitchen staff and develop constructive and cooperative working relationships with them.

Sense of taste and smell: All chefs and head cooks must have a keen sense of taste and smell in order to inspect food and design meals that will be to customers’ liking.

Time-management skills:  Chefs and head cooks need to be able to efficiently manage their time and the time of kitchen staff so that they can keep the kitchen running efficiently.

Team player: Chefs and head cooks should be able to work independently as well as part of a team.

Some Job Titles

Sous Chef, Kitchen Manager, Chef, Cook, Executive Chef, Banquet Chef, Executive Sous Chef, Head Cook, Pastry Chef, Food and Beverage Director

Where to study

Typically to become Chef and Cook/Head Cook you need a Diploma in Culinary skills. Often restaurants and hotels look for formal qualification with experience. You can pursue a certificate programme / associate degree / bachelors degree or diploma from a culinary school near you. To find a study programme in food preparation / culinary go to University Hub.

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