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Is A Career In Culinary Arts For You

Aug 17, 2007
Cooking is your passion. With the multitude of dishes you conjure up every time you get the chance, whether for a party or an ordinary family dinner night, everyone is already telling you to seek a career related to it. And so you begin studying the option and thinking of choices on where you can get the best training there is in the country. After all, you would only want the best to feed your love for the craft, wouldn't you? It is never too early or too late to start contempleting such opportunities, particularly with the culinary field.

The Choices You Make

The most common careers you can enter into when you enter the culinary industry are pastry cook, chef, restaurant cook and caterer. There are hundreds out there, however, and you should not restrict yourself to merely choosing among these four.

You might be looking for something that would involve a supervisory role, like a catering director, an executive chef and food and beverage administrator in hot bar. Or you might want to delve into the research and development side of the industry and get invovled in sauce and dressing making. Or you could choose to teach budding culinary geniuses and entrepreneurs the ins and outs of the sector. You could also dabble in food writing and photography if that's where you heart brings you. Indeed, there are a multitude of choices, so you never can get stuck in just one field.

Why You Need the Backing of a Good Education

To make choosing easier for you, you might want to enrol in an accredited program that offers the broadest range of courses in the culinary world. While most of the greatest and most respected chefs of today probably have never heard of getting into a school and got to where they are due to sheer talent and hard work, it still pays to have a good background on the field. A certificate or some sort of training from a respected culinary school will help propel you to greater opportunities in the future, especially given the fast-changing times.

A career in the culinary industry is not a piece of cake, no pun intended. It involves hard work and determination. As with anything else in this world, you have to start somewhere -- and this somewhere almost always involves the bottom.

Most formal training courses ask that their students undergo apprenticeship or intership stints before they are given more complicated and challenging tasks. Thus, you should be prepared to begin washing dishes and arranging plates on the table before you get to gain control of the kitchen or even gain sole access to kitchen's pristine cutlery.

You might have to begin being a food preparation worker first and be faced with tasks like keeping work areas immaculate, prepare, cut and slice ingredients and monitor oventop and oven temperatures. Do not lose esteem when you start out this way because this is normal. In order for you to advance to a higher position, like a chef, you will have to learn the basics of kitchen operations first. After all, how can you expect to be an effective chef if you don't know how the more menial activities are done? The culinary world, in order for to survive, requires resilience on your part, a whole lot of humility and heart.

All the hard work will definitely pay off, though, because once you become a chef, you will be able to concoct your own recipes, take charge of the ingredients, man the floor, supervise everyone on the team (the word is 'supervise', not 'terrorize' okay?) and, basically, let all your creative juices flow. It surely goes with the saying, if you want to have butterflies, you have to be ready to take care of few caterpillars first.

Where to Place Yourself

In order to find out which culinary path is best for you, try figuring out your personality profile first. Do you need this particular job because it will help further your existing knowledge of the culinary world, or will simply derail you from your original goal and only make you move sideways? What makes you happy? What makes you get up early in the morning looking forward to a new day? There has to be a compelling reason why you're in this field otherwise you can't really expect to thrive for a long time.

As mentioned earlier, succeeding in the culinary world requires a lot of heart, so if you're not having fun in the first place, then maybe you should seek other alternatives. Or maybe that particular program you're in is simply not the path you should be taking. If your heart and passion is not in this industry, take a step back while it's still early.

If you're having trouble deciding what choices to make, you could seek the help of a career counsellor, who will most likely ask the right questions to help you decide more easily. This can come at a cost, but if you're really bent on finding out where you need to be headed, this might turn out to be a good investment. After all, you're eyeing for a long-term career; not just something to do to pass the time.

Staying for the Long Haul

You have to expect that the first few years of your culinary career will involve a lot of challenges. That's normal. This is because you're just starting to explore where your strengths are and the industry is also just beginning to study where it can work best with you. In effect, you get what you give. So don't throw tantrums about not being good enough at this point just yet. To be excellent in anything, training is key. Be patient, swallow your pride and plod on. Observers have shown that people in the culinary sector actually are some of the most patient and resilient people in the world. Try and try until you succeed.
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Freelance writer for over eleven years.

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