Becoming chefs is a dream of many people. Bringing joy to others through food, being creative, working varied hours and being in a growth industry are just a few reasons why people choose the career path of a chef. Being a chef requires hard work and dedication to constant improvement. There is no one way to become chefs, but this is the path most chefs follow.
Get your high school diploma or equivalent (GED).
Domestic and international applicants are required to have a high school diploma or equivalent to apply to culinary school. You’ll find that the lessons you learned in your high school math and science classes apply in the kitchen.
Entry-level restaurant or kitchen experience
While earning your high school diploma or after graduation, getting some work experience in a kitchen or restaurant is a great way to find out what goes on in a professional kitchen. Through this exposure, you can identify roles and specializations that interest you for a career in the culinary industry.
Attend culinary school
Formal training through culinary school is one of the fastest ways to put you on the path to becoming a chef. Through a six-month, one- or two-year program, you will be trained in the fundamentals of culinary techniques. To excel in all your practical and written exams, you will need to work hard, ask questions, practice and perfect your skills.
Along with culinary training and skill development, you can network with industry professionals and develop relationships with your fellow students, faculty and alumni. This will come in handy when you start your career and later on.
A certificate from an accredited culinary school gives you more opportunities and a better entry-level position in the industry.
Get practical work experience
You will expand your skills and expertise through practical experience. You can start working as a line cook or prep cook for your daily cooking.
Many accomplished chefs suggest working in a variety of environments, such as restaurants, caterers, or hotels. Working with different chefs with different culinary styles and cuisines will help broaden your experience and skills to increase your employability.
You will have to work hard and aim for promotions to get you to the top job. A common path is Commis, Chef de Partie, Sous Chef and then Head Chef. Reaching the level of professional chef requires years of experience in professional kitchen service.
First Chef role
If your goal was to become a chef, your hard work has paid off. Once you reach the chef level you have different options to advance. You can continue working as a chef, choose different places to challenge yourself, you can open your own restaurant or catering company, become a personal chef, or you can aspire to take a management position in food-related companies.
Get top certifications in Sri Lanka
Some people wish to continue their journey and get top culinary positions in Sri Lanka. Awarded by the Culinary Institute of Sri Lanka, the Certified Master Chef Professional designation (CMC) is the highest level a chef can earn in Sri Lanka. Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC) is the highest professional designation for chefs in Sri Lanka. To apply for both programs, applicants need years of experience working at the highest levels.