If you desire to become a professional chef, your first step should be enrolling in the best cooking school you can find.
A good culinary arts school will provide you with the solid education foundation professional chefs need. You will learn techniques of baking, cooking, le Cordon Blue, pastry making, culinary skills and proper, effective kitchen and restaurant practices. Your diploma from a solid, respected school will give you the necessary credentials for your new career, help you in securing the best salary, and open the doors for future advancement opportunities as your career develops. Having that culinary arts diploma will always give you the advantage over other chefs that do not have one.
The most effective way to learn the culinary arts is to study directly under working professionals, chefs who have tremendous working experience producing meals in the top kitchens in the city. Learning from professional chefs, noting their skills and techniques and copying the effective procedures they have developed over years of trial and error can be a priceless education that the aspiring chef can use to jump ahead in the learning curve.
When you start to contemplate which cooking school to enroll in, you will be considering two major points. The first point is whether or not you can get accepted into the school. Some schools are very selective, almost too selective, but maybe they believe that if it’s hard to get accepted there, then they must be very, very good. The second point is cost. Some training programs are very expensive and they are located in expensive cities such as Paris, Rome, New York and San Francisco, so they would cost you a lot of money to go to. Most potential students end up enrolling in more affordable schools in their city or in a nearby city.
When it comes to potential schools, most students realize that they have rather limited options. Unless you live in a major city, there may be only one or just a few local institutions available for you to apply to. Often there are lots of institutions that offer individual cooking courses, but you may have trouble finding one that offers full degree or diploma programs.
Once you are accepted into a program, you will surely benefit from studying under multiple professional chefs. These top chefs spend their days cooking at some of the best restaurants in the city. You will learn plenty of tips and techniques from each one that you will be able to take with you and use for the rest of your career.
One last point — be sure to take advantage of any kitchen or restaurant management courses the school may offer. Learning how to manage all of the details of operating a restaurant and keeping a kitchen running smoothly takes years to master. Actually managing the flow of the kitchen operation is one of the more difficult parts of being a working chef. It is also one area that working chefs commonly mention they wish they had more knowledge about.