Being a Chef in the Modern Culinary- Arts Field

Chefs are everywhere today. From movies, magazines, television talk shows and the Food Network with its roster of Culinary arts stars, chefs are a hot commodity. In their crisp, white Chef coats and requisite toques(chef hats), the image of chefs is one of glamour, excitement and creativity. While all of those factors are quite often present in the day to day workings of most chefs, there is also an incredible amount of hard work, focus and dedication involved.

Traditionally, a person would, and many times, still does have to work their way up through the ranks of the Culinary Arts hierarchy before achieving the status of ‘chef ‘. Many of the world’s greatest chefs will proudly state that they started their culinary arts careers as dishwashers or busboys. Gradually, they learned different stations, and/or aspects of the business, until they became well- versed in all areas of day to day operations of a commercial kitchen.

The modern chef must be far more than just a good cook. He or she must be capable of managing food costs, with the objective of keeping costs as low as possible. Good computer skills are quite often a prerequisite for many chef jobs in today’s Culinary Arts world. Maintaining inventory, supervising and scheduling staff and creating menus are other facets of many chef’s positions. Due to high turnover rates and diverse cultural backgrounds of staff members, one must posess good communication skills. In fact, to be a good communicator, is one of the most desirable traits or skills that a potential chef can offer.

When it comes to formal education in the culinary arts, much has changed. Until the 1980’s and 1990’s, Culinary Arts programs at high schools and technical schools were sparsely attended and not heavily- promoted. After food became ‘cool’ and hip in the 1990’s and the concept of ‘celebrity chef’ was born, Culinary arts programs have proliferated at institutions of higher learning across America. Even late- night television is filled commercials advertising Culinary Arts programs at Community Colleges and Technical Institutes. Invariably, these commercials feature fresh faced, smiling Culinary Arts students in impeccably- clean Chef’s uniforms. While many of these programs offer an adequate Culinary Arts education, in theory, the indisputed leader in Culinary Arts education in America is the Culinary Institute of America, located in Hyde Park, New York.(Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ )

No matter how much training in the Culinary Arts a student has received, much of the ‘real’ education needed to be an effective chef, is gained only by ‘hands- on’ experience. Until the student has worked on ‘the line’ during a ‘rush’, or busy period, they have no practical knowledge of preparing and cooking food under pressure. The conceptÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ of ‘teamwork’ has to be practiced, if not learned, because the production of meals in most commercial kitchens is truly a team effort. Hours are another factor to consider when contemplating a Culinary Arts career. Often, Chefs’ working hours are long and / or erratic. A common adage is that to be a Restaurant Chef, one must be married to the restaurant.

Restaurant- Chef jobs are generally some of the more ‘high- stress’ Culinary Arts careers. Several options, beyond restaurant cooking, are now available to the modern chef. Schools, Government Institutions, Corporate Catering, Assisted-Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Living Centers and Personal Chef Services are choices available to those seeking a career in the Culinary Arts. The Culinary Arts field is huge and constantly evolving and growing. Many career opportunities exist in the Culinary Arts field. For those who take pride in creating great food for other people, and are willing to work hard, becoming a chef is an honorable career choice.

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