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This paper examines information on the culinary arts in eight online (Internet) websites. These websites delve into being a chef or head cook, salary, and benefits; as well as, education needed for culinary arts. One website discusses programs of training and/or education needed to be a chef or head cook.
Degrees acquired by chefs are associate of occupational studies (AOS), an associate of applied science (AAS), an associate of arts (AA). The same website also explores the different employers, working conditions, and physical aspects that are entailed in being a chef or head cook. This paper will take the information found from the eight online (Internet) websites, explore the different types of chefs, education needed, potential employers, the growth outlook of being a chef, the long work hours and discuss the many duties of being a chef or head cook. The importance and many qualities needed to be a chef or head cook will also be discussed in this paper.
Keywords: associate of occupational studies, an associate of applied science, an associate of arts
The culinary arts are very intriguing; so much so, I have contemplated going to school to be a chef. I enjoy cooking and making food more flavorful with different spices and seasonings. Chefs are usually more highly skilled and better trained than most cooks. There are several different types of chefs; such as executive chefs, head chefs, chefs de cuisine, sous chef, and private household chefs. It is important to have certain qualities that will make a good chef.
These qualities include, but are not limited to, good business and communication skills, creativity, dexterity, physical stamina, a good sense of taste and smell; as well as, good leadership and time management skills.
As a chef, you are in charge of the kitchen staff. The chef supervises, coordinates, hires and trains all kitchen staff. Whether working in a restaurant or other food places, it is the chef’s responsibility to oversee the daily food prep and handle any food-related concerns. The chef develops recipes, plans menus, arranges food presentations, and ensures the freshness of food and ingredients. It is also necessary for work areas and work conditions to be clean and safe. Supplies and equipment need to be inspected for cleanliness and functionality so as to follow kitchen standards of safety and sanitation.
The salary for a chef varies by region and employer; as well as, the level chef you are. A head chef or executive chef will definitely make more than a head cook. Another factor that plays into the salary of a chef is the education he or she received. Like with most careers, the more education or experience you have the more money you will make. Chefs that work in upscale restaurants, hotels, resorts, or major metropolitan cities will be the highest-paid. Sometimes the pay is really not why you choose a career. Some chefs work on cruise lines and get to travel the world, while other chefs enjoy being a private household chef. The median wage for a chef is $45,950 and the range can be $39,550 to $52,440 annually. The salary is based on the experience of 6 months to 5 years and the formal training the chef has acquired. I feel it is important to be able to support yourself and if you have a family someday; however, it is also important to be happy in what you do every day.
Working as a chef entails long hours; usually more than 40 hours per week. Most chefs work full-time, long days with early morning, late evening, weekends, and holiday hours. Working conditions are hectic and fast-paced. Being a chef comes with the physical strain on your feet and back from standing on a concrete floor for hours; as well as, there is the increase chance of fire-related injuries and burns, slips and falls and there is a lot of screaming, yelling, and name-calling going on in the kitchen. Although the latter can be stressful, there is a high level of camaraderie and respect among each other in the kitchen. If you are looking for a no weekend career, being a chef is not the career for you. The career as a chef comes with job prospects, a competitive salary, and job growth, especially when working in upscale restaurants, hotels, resorts, and major metropolitan cities. The projection outlook for growth in the chef industry is 10% over the next ten years. The income growth results in greater demand for high-quality dishes. Consumers desire healthier foods made from scratch and this leads to more restaurants opening and healthier foods being served in grocery stores, cafes and catering venues. This consumer desire increases the need to hire experienced chefs.
The education required in culinary arts can range from a diploma to a four-year degree. A diploma or two-year degree can be obtained from a community college or technical school. You can also obtain a two-year degree from a culinary arts school; most offer the associate of occupational studies (AOS), an associate of applied science (AAS), an associate of arts (AA). You can get a four-year degree in a culinary master school or university. Although not required, some chefs go for their post-secondary education of masters and doctrine so as to focus on a specific culinary art; such as pastry chef or specific cuisines. Advancing your education in the culinary arts can take you in the direction of General Managers and Food and Beverage Directors within a corporate setting or even a profession as a Nutritionist or Dietician. Requirements into a culinary arts school are you must be 17 years or older and have a high school diploma or GED. Near the completion of culinary arts school, you may enter apprenticeship programs that require two years and/or 2000 hours of instruction and paid on the job training. The internship or apprenticeship programs help you gain experience in a community kitchen. Most of the education time is spent practicing cooking skills, menu planning, food sanitation, purchasing & inventory methods, and kitchen work. Although licenses and certification are not required, they can show competence, lead to advancement and higher pay.
Becoming a chef does not require many years of schooling nor does it have a substantial salary. Additional education can be obtained and not necessarily gain a large increase in pay as a chef. There seems to be more of an advantage of taking a culinary arts degree and expanding into another field of work; such as a Nutritionist or Dietician. The long hours, strenuous working conditions, and average salary are not reasons people go to culinary school. A career in culinary arts is for someone who enjoys what they do for a living. You would need to be a high tier chef, such as an executive chef or head chef in an upscale restaurant, hotel, or resort, in order to make a substantial amount of money and few people reach that tier.
After researching and writing this paper, I am still not sure about going to culinary school and becoming a chef. Yes, it is something I enjoy doing, but I am not sure I would enjoy it every day as a career. The long, strenuous hours and the average salary just do not appeal to me. The salary of a chef would not be enough, at least not nowadays, to support a family. My wife would definitely have to work too. It would be too hard to live on a chef salary alone, especially here in the Portland Metro area where the cost of living is skyrocketing to the point where no one can afford to live here anymore. I definitely do not believe a post-secondary education in culinary arts would be advisable either. I feel I would just be putting myself into more debt with the minimal opportunity of reaching a high tier chef. If I wanted to be a Nutritionist or Dietician, I would just go to school for that career. I do not see furthering a culinary education for those careers feasible for increasing my debt. A career in culinary arts is not the right fit for me and my future.
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