Do you want to become a Chef? If yes, this article will be of help to you. This guide has been crafted keeping the needs of chef career aspirants and enthusiasts in mind. This step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about becoming a chef in India.
Before heading to the meat of the matter – how to become a chef in India – let us check out some basic details about chef’s career, training and eligibility criteria. In the next section, you’ll find answers to questions like- “Who is a chef?”, “What are his/her tasks?”, “Which are the popular chef training courses available in India?” etc.
Chef and Cooking Career: An Introduction
Who is a Chef? A chef is a skilled professional cook. Chefs usually work in hotels and restaurants. Typically chefs are chief cooks working in setups like hotels, resorts and restaurants.
A chef is highly trained and skilled in cooking. He/she is proficient in aspects related to food preparation.
Most of us think that chefs just perform the task of cooking (food preparation). A chef’s task is not just limited to food preparation. Typically, chefs are chief cooks. They look after the functioning of the entire kitchen (in hotels and restaurants).
A chef’s role can be compared to that of a manager. He/she ensures that there’s good coordination among the team members (waiters, cooks and other staff).
Here are some of the common tasks performed by a chef –
- Planning and creating menu
- Prepare food according to clients’ orders
- Ensure inter-department coordination
- Procuring materials required for cooking (oil, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, grains etc)
- Storing material at appropriate places
- Interacting with patrons/clients
- Man/staff management
- Supervising food presentation
Apart from the above mentioned tasks, chefs are also known to innovate and experiment with dishes. It is not uncommon to see chefs come up with signature delicacies and unique dishes (that are results of experimentation and innovation).
Thriving in this profession is not an easy task. Having passion for cooking will help you out. In fact, passion for cooking is the first thing you must have, if you want to make it big in this profession.
Here are few qualities required to thrive in this field –
- Passion for cooking
- Will to innovate and experiment with ingredients
- Good communication skills
- Good management skills
- Creativity (especially when it comes to food presentation)
- Time management skills
- Ability to multitask
- Eye for detail
- Stamina and ability to work for long hours in a kitchen
- Will to learn and develop
“How to become a chef?”, you may ask. There are two ways to become a chef –
- Get formal education/training (culinary arts courses)
- Through apprenticeship with an experienced chef
It is better to follow the first path. By taking formal training, you will get better exposure, guidance and job placement opportunities!
Let us talk about formal training now. Formal training means undergoing a reputed and recognized culinary arts, catering or hotel management course. Let us find out more details about these courses –
Relevant courses (Culinary arts, Catering and Hotel Management)
In India, there are mainly three formats of courses available in front of chef career enthusiasts –
- Bachelor’s Degree
- Diploma courses
- Certificate courses
Among the three formats mentioned above, Bachelor’s Degree and Diploma courses are the most reputed and recognized ones. I recommend my readers to pursue courses belonging to those categories.
The table provided below will give you details related to each course format –
|Bachelor’s Degree Courses:||BA in Culinary Arts, Bachelor of Hotel Management (BHM), Bachelor of Catering Technology and Culinary Arts (BCT & CA), B.Sc. in Catering and Culinary Arts, Bachelor of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, B.Sc. in Hotel Management and Catering Technology.|
|Diploma Courses:||Diploma in Culinary Arts, Diploma in Food Production, Diploma in Catering Technology, Diploma in Food and Beverage Science, Diploma in Bakery and Confectionery.|
|Certificate Courses:||Chef Certification Course, Certificate in Food Production, Certificate in Catering Technology, Certificate in Food Production, Certificate in Food and Beverages.|
Become a Chef: Step-by-step guide
The first step is to find a course that suits your needs –
1 Find a course that suits you
As I mentioned before, there are 3 main course formats available in front of you. Names of the courses have been provided in the table given above.
From that list of courses, choose one that meets all your requirements. I suggest my readers to select a good Degree or Diploma course.
2 Satisfy eligibility criteria/requirements
After choosing the course, make sure that you are eligible to pursue it. Make sure that you satisfy all the requirements. For pursuing Degree and Diploma courses (most of them), it is necessary to have completed 10+2.
3 Find an institute and secure admission
The next step is to find a good institute offering the chosen course. The main advantage of choosing a good institute is that they have superior facilities, faculty and training.
Most reputed institutes conduct entrance test or interview. They usually select deserving candidates on the basic of merit marks.
4 Complete the training/course
Chef training courses focus both on classroom lectures and practical training sessions. Practical training holds more significance, to be honest.
Perform well in both the areas and complete the course successfully. After completing the course and obtaining the Degree/Diploma certificate, you’ll be eligible to find work in hotels, restaurants and similar work setups.
5 Start working and rise through the ranks
Most candidates start off as trainees. With time, they rise through ranks such as – station chef and sous chef. The highest title one can get is that of Chief Chef/Executive Chef!
The steps mentioned above (1 to 5) focus on ‘formal training’. It is also possible to become a celebrated chef without any such formal training! If you’ve got talent and skills, it is possible to reach great heights through apprenticeship under a good chef!