Careers

Chef Career Path: Is Being a Chef a Good Career?

Wondering whether the culinary profession will be suitable for you? Taking up this profession can be a good option for creative people who love food and flavors. Discover all about a chef career path, lifestyle & job role from a Mumbai-based chef with more than 20 years of experience.

Chef Shravan Kumar


1.  Chef Career Path: What is the Role of a Chef?

The role of a chef consists of exploring new recipes around the world, managing junior staff, preparing high-quality dishes, preparing menus, and pleasing the guests with their food aesthetics. Professional chefs must have all other skills such as discipline, being creative with new ideas, developing leadership, and communication skills over the time-period as you gain experience in the industry along with cooking skills.

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Industry/Sector
1.2 Social Image
1.3 Reasons to Become a Chef
2.1 Personality Traits Required
2.2 Physical Demands
2.3 Psychological Demands
3.1 Extra Curricular Activities Recommended
3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up
3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows
3.4 Related Fiction to Read/ Novels
4.1 Part-Time Options
4.2 Traveling Required
4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect
5.1 Retirement Prospects
5.2 Threats from Automation
5.3 Common Reasons for People to Quit

1.1 Industry Sector

Hospitality & government sectors

chef career path-catering services-hospitatility

Chefs are mostly employed by hotels and restaurants. There is a large opportunity all over the sectors or industries around the world mostly in the hospitality and tourism sectors. For example, hotels, restaurants, outdoor and event caterings, hospitals, cruise liners, leisure, retail (superstores), office building’s mess/ staff cafes (company-owned). Also, government employments as catering or yearly contracts in government offices such as shipping, army, navy, military (defense sectors), and many more.

1.2 Social Image

Highly reputed

As soon as you introduce yourself as a chef you get all the attention from everyone as it is a highly respected profession socially. Chefs always connect with people very easily whenever people know them as a chef. Also, it is globally recognized you can go anywhere in the world for jobs.

1.3 Reasons to be a Chef

Excellent learning opportunities & a rewarding career

The chef career path consists of 4 main areas to choose from –

  • Front office
  • Food service
  • Housekeeping
  • Kitchen production

You can choose any one of your choice. Although, you should experience all 4 sections in a practical environment. Also, the kitchen field is a never-ending learning process where your knowledge keeps increasing. As the knowledge has no limit, at the same time the salary scope is not limited either. The best thing is the salary also increases as your experience increases and you can decide where and how you want to grow your career in whichever area you feel more confident.

2. What it Takes to be a Chef

2.1 Key Personality Traits Required

Creativity, good communication skills, good presentation, patience & flexibility

All types of personalities can take up the chef career path. However, when you are in the profession, the necessary characteristics and skill-sets of the profession develops with time. Once you decide to become a chef, you don’t need a set formula or have any significant personality traits except patience and perseverance. As you keep working and become committed to the profession, you will automatically develop all the necessary traits in yourself.

Also, it will strengthen and develop a few traits such as pressure handling, being calm in the worst situations, finding a solution to new everyday problems, handling technical difficulties, being creative, communicative, focused, and good at leadership.

2.2 Physical Demands

Long-standing hours

The most demanding trait is that you must able to work for long hours while standing. Along with that you’ll need to use your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, walk, or run for long time-periods. Also, you should easily be able to bend or twist your body.

chef career path long working hours hands on job creativity

2.3 Psychological Demands

Handling difficulties, meeting customers’ expectations & management

You should have traits such as good communication, patience, creativity, tackling day-to-day difficulties to handle the profession. If you have all these traits you will have an interesting life on a daily basis with something new to learn everyday.
chef career path-catering services-hospitatility

3. How to Build Interest in Chef Career Path

3.1 Extra-Curricular Activities Recommended

Nowadays, it is extremely easy to turn a hobby into a profession. To gain more knowledge about the chef career path you can watch YouTube channels related to cooking shows, and web-series for example Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Chef Gordon Ramsay Tour to India, or Chef Vikas Singh and a few celebrity chef channels, etc. You can also join the art club in your school or college to further develop your creativity. Go on wine-tasting tours or visit the local farm or farmer’s market to learn about different spices and flavors.

3.2 Related Hobbies to Take Up

All hobbies are good for this profession. However, it depends on your personal interests and skills. Some chefs enjoy 3D modeling software or calligraphy. Also, try some simple dishes at your home kitchen and the very best way is to try to assist your mother while cooking. This will develop your interest and it will give you a practical feel of love towards cooking.

3.3 Related Movies/ TV Shows

MasterChef UK

According to your choice, any show is good that has cooking skills included, but the most popular shows to watch are Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and MasterChef (UK).

chef-career-path-cooking-profession-requirements

3.4 Related Fiction Books/ Novels

Chef Tarla Dalal

Books are very good to start learning details of how a recipe looks, different cooking techniques, vocabulary, and more. Some suggested books to start, for example, include Chef Tarla Dalal, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s cooking books.

4. Life as a Chef

4.1 Part-time Options

Yes

Definitely working part-time is always welcome in the chef career path. Part-time chef jobs are available almost in all the kitchens all over the world.

4.2 Traveling Requirements

Your choice

Most typical chef jobs don’t require traveling, but you can attend workshops or travel on your own, as the chef’s position is in high demand. You may fulfill your job in your city but at the same time when you are in this field, you will get to learn from the motherland of each cuisine when you travel to different places. Also, if you love to travel and explore new places, then a chef career path allows you to travel all over the world.

chef-career-path-profession-cheesy-scalloped-potatoes

4.3 Average Workday/What to Expect

8-14 hours

For the first couple of years in the chef career path, the hours of work are between 8 to 14 hours a day. However, during the learning stage, the more you give time to practical learning, the faster you gain knowledge. Once, you gain enough experience in 4 to 5 years, you will be working 8 to 10 hours a day on an average.

Most hotels and restaurants also have shifts, so depending on your role and job shift, you may have to work in the mornings, afternoons, or during night-time.

5. Future of the Chef Career Path

5.1 Retirement Prospects

Writer, consultants

As a chef, you never get retired. After the retirement age, you can use all your experience and knowledge as your secret gold dictionary. You can always be a consultant chef, as a visiting lecturer in institutes, or can be a kitchen and restaurant designer, also as a writer of cookery books. So, there are many options for you after retirement age.

5.2 Threats from Automation

No

There are no threats from AI & automation in the chef career path and will never be in the future. This profession needs actual intelligence and a hands-on job that can’t be taken over by automation or AI.

5.3 Common reasons for people to Quit

Long working hours

There are very important functional roles and responsibilities for a culinary professional in India.  Most people quit the profession as a chef in the early stages when they can’t take the pressure of physical and psychological work as it is a profession where you are on your feet from 8 to 10 hours. While on the job you need to take extra care all the time with food hygiene on day to day basis.

Also, chefs working in 5-star hotels have to deal with a lot of pressure to develop popular new dishes and meet the expectations of the management. This sometimes results in them starting their own restaurant. However, that requires more skills, management, and investment.

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Curated & Edited by Aayushi Berawala (CareerNuts Staff)

Read next:

How to Become a Chef: Qualifications, Salary, etc.

If you’re creative, love cooking, and are looking for a profession away from the computer screens, being a chef can be a great choice. Shravan Kumar, a Mumbai-based chef talks about the qualifications, courses, entrance exams, career prospects, and more on how to become a chef!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Nick Thompson

    November 17, 2020 at 5:14 am

    Amazing! I have got much clear idea from this article.

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