You may dream that you want become a chef. It certainly can be an exciting career. Professional chefs create menus and dining experiences that people love. Some chefs prepare meals for celebrities or even royalty. Today, thanks to television, many chefs are celebrities in their own right, creating culinary product lines, hosting popular television shows, and writing best-selling cookbooks. And if you just want to become a chef to work in a local restaurant, you can find that you've chosen a satisfying career that offers skills that make others in your life happy as well.
If you want to become a chef, though, it might help you to determine exactly what type of culinary master you would like to be before you start on your path. There are several different types of chef you could opt to become. For example, an Executive Chef is responsible for directing all restaurant food production. He or she is the one who buys food, creates recipes, plans menus, oversees hygiene and kitchen safety and manages the staff at a restaurant. If the Executive Chef is the one in charge, the Sous Chef or the Chef de Partie is the right hand man or woman to the Executive Chef. The Sous Chef manages the preparation of food and cooks meals. He or she manages staff and helps with preparing food. In smaller restaurants, he or she may also prepare some menus and order food and supplies.
Perhaps you would like to become a chef who specializes in certain areas. Many restaurants hire a Pastry Chef, or Patissier, a professional who is solely in charge of creating tempting desserts and baked goods. Another specialty culinary arts professional is the Chef Saucier, which is the chef who is in charge of soups and sauces. This person needs mathematic skills, since determining precise measurements can be daunting to someone without this natural ability.
If you are artistically inclined, you may want to become a Chef Garde Manger, or a specialist in food styling. This type of professional creates works of art with food by sculpting and forming foods into beautiful creations. If you are just starting out and really want to become a chef but don't have any skills built up yet, you may want to get hired as a Commis Chef. This entry-level position involves helping the professionals in the kitchen. You can often work your way up into bigger positions from this one.
Once you have decided what sort of professional chef you would like to become, you can choose the right culinary arts programs at the right college. You may want to speak to professionals in the field to find out where they went to school. You may also want to look at various culinary schools to find out which ones offer the best training. In general, if you want to become a chef, you will want to find a school whose graduates have gone on to do the sort of work you want to do. You will also want to find culinary programs taught by industry professionals you admire. When you graduate, your experience in the kitchen will matter for a great deal, so either look for a school that offers lots of hands-on practice or commit to finding your own work experiences outside the classroom.
If you want to become a chef, a degree in a culinary school can take from one to four years. This depends upon the type of education you are seeking and the type of chef that you want to become, as well as which school you opt to use for your program. You can get a culinary certificate in less than a year. You can get an associate culinary degree in about two years. If you want to get a bachelor's degree in culinary arts, you will likely be studying for four years. All of these are good options if you want to become a chef, so do a bit of research and find the program that is right for you.
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Andy West is a freelance writer for The Culinary Institute of Virginia College. Culinard offers two outstanding culinary school programs. Learn how to become a chef at one of the most prestigious Culinary schools in the U.S. Please visit http://www.culinard.com/files/career.cfm .