Becoming A Professional Chef - Is It For You?

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You're known as a whiz in the kitchen. Your friends compliment your culinary skills with every new dish you create. From classic French baguettes to elaborate standing rib roasts, each creation is presented in style and is always met with a "Wow!" from all who eat in your kitchen. With all that to your credit, you might be thinking you're fully prepared for a career as a professional chef. Not necessarily so.

Preparing to become a professional chef takes more than natural cooking abilities. Unless you have the funding to open your own restaurant, you'll likely follow the typical path of most culinary school graduates. Whether you plan to whip up light meals in a small café off the beaten path or become a world-renowned chef in New York, New York or Las Vegas, Nevada, cooking school instructors will attest to the fact that formal education is a huge plus in progressing toward your goal of becoming a chef.

Before you decide whether you truly want to become a professional chef and attend culinary school, you'll need to understand what a professional chef is. In France, a true chef is referred to as the "chef de cuisine" or chief of the kitchen. S/he is not only a cook, but also a manager.

A cook, on the other hand, is someone who may or may not be in charge of a professional kitchen. Some exceptional cooks (who are admittedly not chefs) are Julia Child and Paula Deen. While Julia had a culinary education, Paula never attended cooking school. Paula has run a professional kitchen, but Julia never did.

Regardless of whether you're aiming for the level of Master Chef or Executive Chef, you'll have to have some organizational skills to ensure everyone on your team is working toward a common goal. What else will you need? Physical endurance!

If You Can't Stand the Heat…

Do you think it gets hot in cities like Houston and Las Vegas? Culinary school graduates and professional chefs will tell you that most restaurant kitchens equal or exceed the summertime heat of those places. Due to the operation of massive flat-top stoves, several types of ovens, broilers and other heat-emitting appliances, plus the rushing of dozens of kitchen staff members, heat is something you'll want to be prepared for. Standing, continuous walking and lifting (food and cookware) are also daily activities pros participate in.

Continuing Education

Even after attending cooking school, you'll most likely continue your education on the job. From perfecting chopping skills to mastering the preparation of sauces, experience is a wonderful teacher. Chefs never stop discovering and learning.

Your growth and exploration through the world of culinary arts will give you an opportunity to stretch your creative wings and push the limits of your own expectations. Whether you become a cook or a chef, by experimenting with flavors, textures and presentations, you may soon have your name on the awning of your own restaurant.

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About The Author, Mike C.
Mike Churchill provides online marketing support for Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas. Cooking school applications are currently being accepted. If you have a love of cooking and are in Las Vegas, Nevada, culinary school could be your next step. Visit us online today at