February 18th, 2013
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Becoming a chef can be exciting, but before you can serve amazing dishes, you’ll need training. Chef training is a combination of work experience as well as formal education. In some cases, the on the job training you get will be far more valuable to you than the basics of learning in a school environment. Nevertheless, most people need both to move into head chef positions within top notch restaurants or overseeing large facilities.
For those who enroll into chef training through a formal school program, you can expect to spend any place from two years up to four years in school. Most programs are in formal culinary arts programs, though some schools offer associate degree programs in community colleges. These programs provide instruction in food safety, food science as well as in business management. Some also provide for advanced pastry chef training, though this can be a separate program altogether. Formal education is often sought after by those with some basic education first.
On the Job Chef Training
That basic education often comes from on the job training. Most chefs will spend time working in a kitchen in various positions prior to moving up in the ranks to a head chef positioning. Some work as line cooks at first while others may start as dishwashers. They will learn basic cooking skills from other chefs they are working with, though some also enter apprenticeship programs that they enroll in through work study programs. The hours spent on the line, working in a professional kitchen will teach these individuals how to run a business, manage a business kitchen and how to prepare foods properly.
In some situations, apprenticeships are the best route to take. Varieties of programs offer them. In some cases, culinary institutes and associations that work with the US Department of Labor will provide these types of programs. The individual, who has likely been through at least a certificate program at a culinary school, will spend up to two years working in a combined situation of a classroom and on the job. These programs can help to provide the individual with real world experience as a chef that’s invaluable.
On Site Training
Though the push of many restaurants and culinary programs is to have students enroll in two or four year programs, this is not always necessary. In fact, many chefs will begin as line cooks with little experience and work their way up to experienced, professional chefs. Some work within mentorship programs where an onsite chef works with new providers to each him or her the methods to doing the job in that specific facility.
It is not always necessary, but chef training can include obtaining a certification. Depending on the type of chef you are, such as a personal chef, a head chef in a food program at a school or hospital or even a fine dining chef, this type of certificate can increase the amount of money you can earn on the job. Those who love food may find it ideal to get involved in chef training.