All chefs are cooks, but not all cooks are chefs. In reality, it takes a really determined, culinary artist to be a true chef. There is more to this profession than you may think, because being a chef is nothing like how celebrity chefs make it seem on television. Working in a fast-paced kitchen is physically demanding and can become dangerous at times. So, Today’s World Kitchen wants potential chefs to think: do you have what it takes to be a chef?
You have to work under constant pressure to make sure that food is delivered promptly, without sacrificing the quality of the flavors and the presentation. If you want to be a chef, you have to know how to stay calm during situations that may deem difficult to keep quiet.
It is important to communicate effectively with your fellow kitchen mates, because communication is key. The kitchen can be tense and frustrating, and it is important to always remember that yelling will get you nowhere; it will make things worse, and it always does. For urgent communication, it is more effective to lock eyes and speak slowly with a stern tone.
You are constantly teaching and learning new aspects regarding food and the ingredients in everything. Things are constantly evolving and changing in cooking. As an aspiring chef, it is important to keep in mind that in order to have what it takes to be a chef, you will have to change your ways to adapt to the more modern techniques in order to stay afloat, which means constant culinary education and practice.
The happy holidays are days that you have to work. Being away from your family during the holidays is one of the things that unfortunately, you cannot always avoid when you choose to be a chef. If you have a sous chef who can create all of your specialty dishes when you are gone, then that is great, but not every chef has this luxury when starting out.
You will be on your feet for hours on end. In order to have what it takes to be a chef, you need to realize that your shift will not consist of sitting. As a chef, it is typical to endure 12-hour shifts without getting off your feet, not even once.
The hours are long and tedious. This is important to realize and understand, as well as talk to your family about so that they will understand.
People do not always appreciate the hard work that goes into creating a menu from scratch and preparing items specifically to make them happy. You prep ingredients all day and are ready to create a beautiful presentation on your signature item for a guest, but they ask for a ton of modifications. There is much more that goes into meals than simply cooking it, but there are people who do not understand that, and to be a master chef, you must be okay to face that reality, unless the establishment that you work in allows you to refuse to make modifications that will ruin your creations, unless for food allergies only.
There is much more to being a chef than what meets the eye. How you cook the food, incorporate ingredients, plate the dish, and serve it to guests is how your dishes stand out among the rest. If you can accept these working conditions wholly, you may have what it takes to be a chef. Being a chef is an extremely hard job and only the passionate survive.