How to Become a Chef
When you eat at a restaurant, order room service in a hotel, or enjoy the buffet at a party, do you ever wonder who makes all the food? The answer to this is a chef, a professional who is trained in food preparation and serving meals.
So how do you become a chef?
The first thing is that you need to love food. If you enjoy trying new kinds of food, learning how to make meals, creating your own recipes, and sharing your cooking with other people, you might be born to become a chef.
There are several different types of chef, including the head chef, sous-chef or assistant chef, sauciers, line cooks, and pastry chefs. Depending on your role, you can be supervising the kitchen, managing other chefs, creating menus, cooking meals or desserts, or ordering kitchen equipment, supplies, and ingredients.
Becoming a chef also requires some college education. Many Canadian colleges offer programs for Culinary Arts, Chef Training, and Restaurant Management. Most colleges can also help you arrange for an internship during summer vacation, or after graduation, in order to help you get on-the-job skills and experience.
Canada also has optional certifications such as the Red Seal interprovincial trade certification that allows you to work in any province or territory, and the Chef de Cuisine certification from the Canadian Culinary Institute of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks (CFCC). You can also pursue training both within Canada, and internationally, in various types of international and multicultural foods.
Depending on what type of chef you with to become, you can specialize during your college program, as well as going for extra schooling afterwards. For example, a pastry chef will take courses on baking, cake decorating, and bread making, and many others. A sommelier certification teaches you about wine and winemaking, and how to match wines with different foods and meals. A line cook will be responsible for a specific section of the kitchen, such as making the salads, or soups, or plating the meals to look nice.
Many businesses employ chefs, including places such as restaurants, hotels, school cafeterias, hospitals and nursing homes, and catering companies. Depending on the location, and the type of chef you are, the job tasks will be a little different, but skills needed include good communication, time management and prioritizing skills, and leadership skills.
If you are thinking about going to culinary school to be a chef, you can start early by learning to cook independently and trying new recipes in the kitchen. In high school or on summer break you may think about working in as restaurant or other food service industry to see how a professional kitchen operates. This will also let you meet professional chefs and cooks, and get advice or tips on working as a chef. You can also volunteer to help at soup kitchens, church suppers, and similar opportunities to connect with the local food service industry.
Government of Canada Job Bank – Explore Careers by Occupation: “Chef”