The perception of a Chef has drastically changed in the past decade. It is no longer termed as a “Cook”. One looks at the profession with far more respect than what used to be the case in the past.
The Food & Beverage industry globally keeps growing as people travel and eat out more and more. Hence the opportunities to build a successful career in a growing industry like this one is much greater now. Also, increased media attention and coverage has made people more aware of this possible profession.
While cooking shows by Celebrity Chefs like Gordon Ramsey or Sanjeev Kapoor have been there for a while, competitions like Master Chef which are aired on international TV media has done wonders to get youngsters excited about being a Culinary Expert.
Like any other profession, making it big in the culinary arts doesn’t come easy either. Here are a few things which one can do in case the person aspires to be a Celebrity Chef someday.
1. Learn the Basics- Get your theoretical concepts right. Ideal is to complete a degree in Hospitality & Culinary Arts. However, that is not a show stopper in today’s day and age where information and education is easily available via the internet. One just needs to have the willingness to pursue such education. The leading name internationally is Cordon Bleu institute in Paris. In case you cant make it there you very well can get a good foundation by joining one of the top IHMs (Institutes of Hotel Management) in India.
2. Get some Industry exposure along with the Theoretical Learnings- Culinary Arts is actually an art unlike a science which is easily repeatable once your learn it. One needs to get a lot of hands on experience to become a real expert in this field. The sooner you start experiencing the “real stuff” the better it will be for you. This industry internship or “industrial training” is baked into most course curriculums of Hospitality Institutes.
3. Home Kitchen & Commercial Kitchen are like Chalk and Cheese- You might have loved cooking at home and that has inspired you to become a Chef. Understand this sooner rather than later that a commercial kitchen is nothing like a home kitchen. For one, you would have 10-15 cooking ranges being operated at a given time in a decent sized restaurant’s kitchen. Apart from the other things, the sheer heat generated needs to be withstood by the kitchen staff. Be prepared for more myth busting experiences when you work in a commercial kitchen.
4. Passion, Passion, Passion- One needs to have the passion of a soldier or a freedom fighter to sustain in this industry. It is a lot of hard work and we mean “physical hard work”. Most kitchen staff don’t get to sit through their 8-9 hours shift. At times one might needs to stretch given the demands of the business. Someone who doesn’t have passion for cooking won’t last too long as a professional in this industry.
5. Its not just cooking you need to know- As you grow in the hierarchy, you would need to develop a keen sense of business as well. Costs, Profits, Revenues, Efficiency..this is what you would need to think of and optimize as you go along.
6. Express yourself rather than playing to the Galleries- Whether you become a celebrity chef or not would have a lot of dependencies involved. However, what would increase the probability of being one is that you remain passionate about cooking. Look at it as an opportunity to express yourself like musicians or sports personalities do in their field.
Chances are that if you do these 6 things you would turn out to be a success as a Chef and probably become a Celebrity as well. Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Learning