How to become Chef and Head Chef [Culinary Art] |Chef Career Guide (2023)

You want to become a chef but don’t know where to start (Or) Just want to know, is a chef a good career option. This article endows you every question answer step-by-step and in an easy way.

If you are the person who loves to cook the new recipes for you and others. And always fascinated to see; how a chef cooks and prepares meals in the restaurant kitchen, in the available YouTube videos. Then this might be the career choice for you.

Because in this healthy and delicious industry your passion to cook delicious food will help to continue and achieve the goal of becoming head chef in this competitive industry. (Nowadays! every field has competition, so you cannot escape from this race)

So hold your appetite and let’s get the ball rolling

Covered In This Article

5 Reasons, why you should consider chef as a career option

[1]Opportunity to travel all around the world and stayed in the reputed hotels.

[2]This career option allows you to do what you like (freedom to create your own recipes and menus).

[3]Your work environment is fully delicious.

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[4]You could become one of the celebrity chefs.

[5]Job Satisfaction (You are doing that You love to do)

Note: Initially, you don’t get that much freedom. You have to reach the level of Head/Master Chefs.

Do you know? Cook and Chef are two different things in the restaurant world.

Chefs are more skilled and highly skilled in preparing and styling the food as compare to most of the cooks. And all cooks works under the chefs. Thus a chef has more responsibilities on their shoulders.

What is Culinary Arts all about?

But first and foremost, let’s understand the meaning of arts. Art is the way to express the creativity and imagination of your mind in the form of visuals. For the chefs, art is the way to decorate and prepare the meals on the plate.

Culinary + Arts = Cooking + Arts

Degree in Culinary Arts educates you

  • All cooking skills
  • Different types of cuisines
  • How to manage the kitchen?
  • Purchasing and Planning
  • Decoration of dishes
  • Baking and Pastry preparation
  • Create attractive menus
  • Table manners
  • Sanitation importance
  • Safety Measures
  • Culinary techniques
  • Manage the kitchen staffs

You can watch this video to know about the overview of Culinary Arts schools; Like what they teach and how they teach?

What education do you need to be a Chef?

You don’t need any formal education degree to become a master chef. The required education for this career option is

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Education 1 (Mandate): You must have completed your high school (Any Subject) to move further on next step.

Education 2 (Mandate): Education in Culinary Arts (Or) Any related fields [Hospitality Studies, Bakery and Confectionery, Restaurant Operations etc.]

You can choose any of the below programmes based on your time and your goal. These are the courses will take 1 to 4 years, depending on the program you opt.

  • Diplomas in Culinary Arts
  • Associates Degrees in Culinary Arts
  • Bachelor’s Degrees in Culinary Arts
  • Master’s Degree in Culinary Arts

Tips: Better to enrol for minimum time taking courses (like Associates and Diplomas in Culinary Arts)

Because after getting a job in this industries you will learn all the skills (skills needed to become chef and head chef) over the period of time.

Many culinary art schools provide online courses for the aspirants of kitchens chef. But I will not suggest you go to the online schools. Physical schools give you many benefits as compared to the online. Like you can make new friends and so you can build your network, which will help you in the overall career and you can also get a new job with the help of networking.

Education 3 (Optional): You can do some certifications while doing your job as a kitchen chef or staff. (Or) While pursuing your Education 2 (Diploma or associate degree in Culinary Arts)

The certifications courses for chefs are

  • Hospitality Management
  • Food and beverage preparation
  • Food sanitation procedure
  • Nutrition and food processing
  • Dish preparation and culinary arts techniques
  • Catering Management
  • Cooking and baking methods
  • Safety Measurements in the kitchen
  • Food Science

Chef Skills

  • Planning
  • Active Listener
  • Decision Maker
  • Creativity
  • Culinary Art
  • Time Management
  • Multitasking
  • Patience
  • Leadership
  • Good sense of taste and smell
  • Organisational and Marketing
  • Communication skills

5 The best culinary schools in the US

5 Best culinary schools in India

5 famous chefs without Culinary degree (Self-taught-Chef)

  • Ina Garten
  • Charlie Trotter
  • Lennard Yeong
  • Thomas Keller
  • Martha Stewart

You can also be one of them (Self-taught-Chef), but you have to struggle like hell; like they had done.

How to become Chef and Head Chef: Easy and Quick Steps

[Step1] Decide

Ask Your Self; Am I really passionate about in this cooking Industries? If Yes then Go to Step no. 2

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Step 1 is necessary because; chefs are extremely creative with foods. So if you really are not passionate about it then how can you be creative? And the creativity makes every chef famous and unique.

[Step 2] Get Job in a restaurant

Get a job in the restaurant kitchen. That does not mean you get a position to cook food. This job helps you to decide Step 1. Because now you can see how a chef and the kitchen staffs work. And what are the responsibilities I would have if I go for that career option?

If Yes then Go to Step no. 3

[Step 3] Get Education in Culinary Arts

[Step 4] Get the job in a restaurant

This is different than step 2 job. In this job, you will get the position as a cook or chef (Junior Chef) in the kitchen. And this job helps you to brush up your skills, what you have learnt at the culinary arts school.

Eventually, you can be the next head chef of the kitchen after 5+ years’ experience or depend upon your capability and dedication towards your work.

Being a Head chef requires years of hard work (experience). Thus head chef of the kitchen is the perfectionist in culinary art and making delicious foods.

Different Types of Chefs in the Restaurant kitchen

  • Executive Chef (Chef de Cuisine) – Head Chef (Boss of the Kitchen)
  • Sous Chef – The second in command (Right hand of the head Chef)
  • Station Chef (Chef de partie) – In charge of a particular area in the kitchen
  • Pastry Chef (Patissier)
  • Fish Chef (Poissonier)
  • Grill chef
  • Meat Chef
  • Fry Cook
  • Dessert Chef
  • Salad Chef
  • Junior Chef (Commis)

Where does a chef work?

  • Cruise ships
  • Merchant ships
  • Casinos
  • Catering companies
  • Food manufacturing chain
  • Hotels and Restaurants
  • Processed food industry
  • Airline Industry
  • Armed Forces
  • Culinary Art Schools
  • Celebrities and Richest houses
  • Government residence and workplace (White House)

What does a chef do in the work?

The job description of a chef varies according to the places they work. Therefore these are some common work responsibilities of a culinary chef.

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  • A Chef is in charge of the whole kitchen. So a chef can decide and plan the menus.
  • Check the freshness of raw ingredients before preparing meals.
  • Maintain the Inventory of the workplace. So they evaluate and do regular check-ups the supplies such as meat, vegetables, spices, groceries and other required items.
  • If the supplies are short then order the supplies; ensure the supplies are fresh and good before stores in the inventory.
  • They are the master of the culinary arts; so they are researching for the new and better ways to represent a dish.
  • Trained the cooking staffs and motivates them to cook good food during the preparation of meals in the kitchen.
  • Assign the tasks to every kitchen staffs and encourage them to complete the task in the given time. During the task chef also ensure staffs are adhering the rules.
  • As an acting in charge chefs has to maintain the safety and sanitation standards.
  • Before serving the dishes to the customers, they have to make sure the meals are perfectly cooked and look pleasant.

The toughest responsibility of a chef is to make customers happy to fill his hungry belly with delicious food. And if you can succeed in this goal, eventually you will become one of the demanded chefs.

Career Scope

Every person in the world loves to eat tasty food. As per the statics says people spend most of the money on the food and beverages and they are happy with that.

People love to try a new variety of foods and cuisines from others countries. That means to earn money to cook food is never going to end. And people always need restaurants or any other places where delicious foods are served.

Thus restaurants and hotels always have a need for a chef with extraordinary skills.

“If the hunger exists then Chefs also exist”


So it doesn’t look like the demand of a good chef is going to slow down anytime.

In this article, I hope to shine a bit of light on the subject “How to become Chef and Head Chef” so you can make the right choice for your career.

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Is a chef a good career? ›

There Are Great Salary Opportunities

What can you expect to make as a chef? As of 2019, Executive Chefs nationwide earn an average salary of $68,000 per year, though that number is higher in major cities like Los Angeles ($77,000 per year) and New York ($82,000 per year).

What is a cooking test? ›

The controlled cooking test (CCT) is designed to assess the performance of the improved stove relative to the common or traditional stoves that the improved model is meant to replace. Stoves are compared as they perform a standard cooking task that is closer to the actual cooking that local people do every day.

How do I start a career in chef? ›

Following are the degree courses one can pursue to become a chef:
  1. Bachelor of Hotel Management (BHM) in Culinary.
  2. B.Sc. in Hospitality and Hotel Management.
  3. B.Sc. in Catering Science and Hotel Management.
  4. Certificate in Food Production and Patisserie.
  5. PG Diploma in Culinary Arts.
  6. BA in Culinary Arts.
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How do I start a career in culinary arts? ›

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  2. Get a high school diploma or GED. ...
  3. Go to culinary school. ...
  4. Obtain practical work experience. ...
  5. Get your first chef job. ...
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How do I become a chef with no experience? ›

Join an apprenticeship

Joining an apprenticeship at a local restaurant or kitchen is a great way to gain practical experience as a chef. An apprenticeship could give you real-world knowledge and also help you decide which specialties or areas of expertise are right for you.

How do you create a career? ›

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  2. Make a plan. ...
  3. Stay positive. ...
  4. Reflect often. ...
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  6. Network effectively. ...
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  8. Keep a growth-oriented mindset.
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8 Steps to an Effective Career Plan
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  2. Prioritize. It's not enough to list options. ...
  3. Make Comparisons. ...
  4. Consider Other Factors. ...
  5. Make a Choice. ...
  6. Set “SMART” Goals.

What should every chef know? ›

Five Dish Elements Every Chef Should Know and Master
  • Seared Fish and Meat. Pan-searing fish and meat is an essential skill for just about any chef (regardless of where you end up working). ...
  • Roast Chicken. ...
  • Pasta Al Dente. ...
  • Salad Dressing. ...
  • Fresh Bread. ...
  • Mastering Your Craft.

What is a chef trade test? ›

The Trade Test in Western Cuisine, which consists of "Certified Cook", "Trainer Chef" and "Master Chef" levels, is designed to enhance the technical skills and knowledge of professional chefs.

How do you know if you want to be a chef? ›

Top 10 Skills Needed to Become a Chef
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  2. Genuine Passion. ...
  3. Organisation. ...
  4. Ability to Skilfully Multitask. ...
  5. Creativity. ...
  6. Time Management. ...
  7. Teamwork. ...
  8. Leadership Skills.
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