Job: Chef

By , March 23, 2010

Good chefs take pride in choosing the freshest ingredients, preparing them with care, and presenting them with flair. They enjoy creating their own recipes, and experimenting with different flavours and combinations. A good chef doesn’t think a meal is something that merely satisfies hunger. A meal is a work of art!

For Starters

As the presentation of a meal is almost as important as the preparation of its ingredients, you should have a creative and artistic flair. A keen sense of taste and smell are also necessary, as is good hand-eye coordination. To be a chef, you must be highly organized in order divide your time between four main responsibilities: food quality, kitchen operations (menus, supplies, costs, food preparation), customer and staff relations, and management tasks.

Good interpersonal skills are essential for communicating effectively with customers and other employees. In addition, you should be people-oriented and a team player, as you will be working closely with kitchen and service staff. Chefs are often caught in stressful situations, but you must remain courteous, tactful, patient and calm.

Depending on their responsibilities, chefs are called executive chefs, sous-chefs or specialists, with names like pâtissier (pastry chef) or saucier (sauce chef).

Specific Duties

  • Food quality: planning and directing food preparation and cooking, which includes checking that staff follow recipes and food safety regulations properly (Every dish has to taste and look just right!)
  • Kitchen operations: creating recipes and menus, ordering food and other supplies, estimating and keeping track of costs–and cooking!
  • Customer and staff relations: supervising sous-chefs, specialist chefs and other chefs and cooks, giving clients advice about party and event menus and food presentation, and cooking for special guests or events, and
  • Administrative and management tasks: recruiting and hiring staff, scheduling work and training.

The Main Ingredients (Education and Training)

  • Grade 12 education is preferred
  • After completion of a three-level apprenticeship training, a passing grade on the interprovincial exam will result in the BC Certificate of Apprenticeship, the BC Certificate of Qualification, and the Interprovincial Standard Endorsement, also known as Red Seal.
  • A keen sense of taste and smell, good hand-eye coordination, and artisitic creativity are almost essential for success in this trade.
  • Executive chefs usually require management training and several years of experience in commercial food preparation.
  • Chef de cuisine certification, administered by the Canadian Culinary Institute of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks (CFCC), is available to qualified chefs.

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