Important Questions to Ask before Becoming a Chef
There are a number of questions that you need to answer before you can make any major life decision. The same is applicable when you are considering a career in the culinary world. Whether you have your mind set on going to culinary school or you are ambitious enough to jump into the deep end of the pool by joining a professional kitchen to get some practical experience, there are some considerations that shouldn’t be overlooked. As you will be working to establish a career in a food service setting or a professional restaurant, there are some important decisions that you need to make before you step into this demanding yet highly rewarding field.
Some of the important questions you need to ask before becoming a chef are:
- Can you handle the stress?
If you know someone who has worked in a restaurant or you have had an entry-level job working in one, then you can probably attest to the fact that working in a kitchen can be extremely stressful. In fact, the environment can be even more stressful if you are not personally prepared or simply don’t have a passion or enthusiasm to cook. Becoming a chef involves working in a stressful environment and handling the unpredictably that comes with the job. If you don’t think you can handle the heat, you should consider a different career.
- Can you manage the hours?
Professionals like Ido Fishman Chef and others will tell you that being a chef is a job that comes with odd hours. It is not like other 9 to 5 jobs because you might be working weekends, long nights and even during the holidays. The process of prepping, cooking and cleanup means that you will have to spend a huge chunk of your time at work and away from your family. If you are adaptable and you are able to spend so much time at work rather than with family, then you can think about becoming a chef.
- Can you deal with the physicality?
A lot of people don’t realize this, but working in a kitchen can be physically strenuous. You will have to be on your feet for long hours without any breaks and will have to lift heavy kitchen supplies. Plus, you will be constantly chopping ingredients during the day, which means your hands are going to suffer. Being a professional chef means that you have to sacrifice smooth skin and accept burn marks and blisters from the kitchen and on your hands. Moreover, you will also have to work in very hot conditions as the ovens are constantly hot and other big machines, such as dishwashers, also give off a lot of heat.
- Can you keep up with changes?
There are times when some people lose their passion for cooking over time. When there is not much change in what you are doing, it is easy to fall into a rut and lose interest. This is where experts like Ido Fishman Chef recommend that every chef be ready to embrace new techniques, dishes and job openings that may involve stepping out of their comfort zone. If you don’t want to get down, you need to be ready to keep up with the changes happening in the culinary world and try new things so your spirits stay up.
- Can you handle the humility?
It will take years before you can get to a place where you refer to yourself as a ‘master’ chef. It is understood that you will make mistakes, particularly when you are starting from an entry-level position. Like with any other job, you will first have to do all the dirty work at the beginning of your career. This includes chopping, peeling, mopping and cleaning floors and putting in time with the simplest of tasks, regardless of how talented you might be in the kitchen. However, you have to remember that if you wish to succeed as a chef, then these are the steps you have to take in order to climb up the ladder.
These are some important questions that everyone needs to ask before they sign up for a career as a chef. There will be a lot of challenges and as long as you are willing, you can overcome them.