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Cool Careers: Chef

Are you passionate about food? Do you enjoy cooking or baking or creating new recipes? Then a career as a chef is perfect for you.


Training to Become a Chef

There are two ways to become a chef. First, you can attend a culinary school in your area that offers two-year or four-year programs. Or second, you can work as a chef’s apprentice, learning first-hand in an on-the-job setting. But it’s not quite that simple. Becoming a chef takes a lot of hard work and studying. You’ll need to excel in these areas: creativity, multi-tasking, determination, and co-ordination. And don’t forget, this career involves tons of stress and criticism.


Working Your Way to the Top

Like most careers, if you want to reach the top of your industry, you have to start at the bottom. In high school take cooking courses, and find a part-time job at a restaurant. Even if you’re a dishwasher, it still helps to get your foot in the door. Once you become a certified chef, you can still work your way up. Depending on your level of training, title, clientele and the venue you work for, your paycheck will move up too!


Where Chefs Work

Chefs are needed everywhere people pay to eat, and even sometimes where they don’t (like in the White House!) You don’t necessarily have to work in regular restaurants. You could work in cafeterias and hotels, golf courses and hospitals, or even for a catering company. And if you’ve got a travel bug, you could even work on a cruise ship!


Certification

There are many types of certified chefs (for example, Certified Sous Chef, Certified Executive Pastry Chef, etc.). Becoming certified means that you have completed all the education and work experience required for your specific avenue of culinary arts. Every type of certification has different requirements. So check out the American Culinary Federation or the Canadian Culinary Federation (or the Culinary Federation in your area) to view the certification requirements.


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Best Thing to Cook on the Sidewalk?

  • An egg frying on the pavement is always fun.
  • Chocolate & marshmallows with graham crackers to make S'mores.
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