Thinking about a career in the kitchen? Here are the questions you need to ask yourself before you take the plunge!
Are you passionate about food?
If you’re reading this article, we’re assuming you already love food. However, simply loving to cook and eat food isn’t going to cut it if you want to succeed in the culinary industry. The difference between loving food and being passionate about food is that you can be a foodie and “love” food.
However, being passionate about food takes it to another level. You have to truly live and breathe food to make it more than just a hobby. We’re talking about spending your waking moments thinking about food and your sleep dreaming about food. If this describes your level of devotion and obsession with food, read on.
Are you willing to start from the bottom?
Keep in mind that the best chefs are leaders. Not only are they responsible for preparing food, they’re also responsible for running the kitchen and managing their staff. As with all good leaders, you’ll have to prove yourself before rising to the position of a chef.
You’ll probably start out as a pantry chef who prepares appetizers and cold dishes before moving to become a line cook, where you’ll be preparing entrees. If you excel, eventually, you may be promoted to sous chef and finally, to head chef or executive chef. No matter how talented you are, it can take years for you gain the leadership experience needed to become a head chef, so prepare to be patient.
Can you handle the pressure?
People who enjoy cooking in their personal lives often find cooking in a professional kitchen to be quite a different experience. While you can cook at your leisure at home, a professional kitchen is a fast-paced, high-pressure environment. You’ll be expected to turn ingredients into completed dishes consistently and efficiently.
Whereas your loved ones may be forgiving if you mess up a dish at home, the stakes are much higher and the room for error is much lower in a professional kitchen. Your customers are paying for their expectations to be met, so every time you send a dish out of the kitchen, your reputation, as well as that of your restaurant is on the line. You have to decide whether cooking in a professional kitchen will still be an enjoyable experience for yourself.
Are you willing to outshine your competitors?
So you’re passionate about food, willing to start from the bottom, and think you can handle the pressure. Perhaps the most important question left is, are you willing to go above and beyond to stand out from your competitors?
Pursuing one’s passion for a living is a coveted opportunity. There are hundreds, if not, thousands of aspiring chefs who are willing to work just as hard or even harder than you. You have to constantly be working to improve your culinary and leadership skills, as well as keeping abreast of industry trends. Even if you do make it to executive chef one day, you’ll have to continue improving your game to stay on top of your field.
Where to find a restaurant job
If you’ve answered “Yes” to all of the questions above, you should consider becoming a chef. Merlin has a large selection of restaurant jobs you can apply to. Let us help you find your next restaurant job today!