Professional Chef - A New Career

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The following information is a cumulative resource for all aspiring new Chefs! It is compiled from various sources including the experiences of 100 Professional Chefs from all levels of the Foodservice Industry. This online resource is provided as a reference tool for all who are entering the professional kitchen. Visit often for updates. There are many things every individual must learn to be a professional Chef. This is an exciting time to enter the fastest growing industry in the world! Every day more people are choosing to dine out rather than prepare meals at home. The National Restaurant Association reports projected sales of over $500 billion dollars for 2011. Restaurants and Foodservice operations employ over 12 million workers and the number is growing every day! Choosing a new career as a "Professional Chef" can be a lot of fun and very rewarding, if you truly love to cook and are prepared to make a long-term commitment to yourself. The term "Chef" is often misused. The word "Chef" is French, the meaning is Chief or Head of the Kitchen. The title of "Chef" should be reserved for those who have earned it. Use the word "Chef" with respect since you will want that respect after you have earned the title. A Professional Chef is a craftsman, who should be a highly trained individual with many skills, including cooking, management, organization and supervision. A good Chef should also have excellent tasting / flavor knowledge skills as well as artistic creative abilities. Culinary Schools around the world are a great place to begin learning Culinary Arts. Every Cooking School and Culinary Arts program is different and each is unique. The most important thing to learn is The Basics. These will be the building blocks to your new career. When we refer to the basics, we are describing the basic skills a Chef must learn before they embark on this new exciting career. Many great Chefs have built their careers by starting at the bottom as a dishwasher or as an apprentice entry-level cook. We know a lot of them! This is a good choice for many since you will gain a wide variety of experiences in every step of your career. Many culinary arts graduates start at the bottom of the ladder too. This is a great place to start, like any trade you must first practice before becoming an expert in your work. The Basics include learning and perfecting your Cutting Skills, Cooking Methods, Sanitation and Safety, Nutrition, Recipe Development, Butchering, Breads, Pastry, Stocks, Soups, Sauces, and many other subjects. After learning the basics you can then advance into management and may reach your goal as a Professional Chef. The video below shows one of our Chefs demonstrating some of the basic cuts. Buy the best Chef knives, knife cases and cutting boards that you can afford, this is in investment, and you will use them daily.
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