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Career as a Chef or Cook

A Chef is usually someone who has obtained a diploma or degree from a school for the culinary arts; someone who has obtained training in learning the craft of food preparation. Chefs typically work for hotels, fine dining restaurants, cruise ships and other restaurants. Many times cooks are working in more short order restaurants and do not have as great a deal of training. Mostly cooks have on the job training. Cooks can be seen working in diners, family restaurants, some hotels, some cruise ships and many times as assistants to chefs.

The work as a chef/cook happens in a kitchen. Some chefs are responsible for purchasing the materials with which they are cooking and some believe that in order to make quality goods they must purchase the items themselves. Chefs/cooks will spend most of their time in the kitchen preparing a variety of meals. Many times a chef will own or be part owner of the restaurant in which they work. Chefs usually have different levels of seniority such as executive chef (the main chef for a restaurant or hotel). Cooks do not usually have this seniority but do work in a similar environment usually preparing less varied meals. Many times they will have to prepare uniform meals, with uniform proportions and taste. Chefs and cooks both work standing up for most of their shifts and work in a hot kitchen. They will need to prepare the food in the shortest time available in order to please the customer.

Chefs/cooks should have a great interest in food preparation and working as part of a team (many kitchens have more than one person working at a time, plus wait staff). They will also need to be creative to be able to create new exciting dishes. Knowledge of what foods complement each other is also an asset.

There are always positions for chefs and cooks. New restaurants open all the time and this is one position that needs to be filled. There are also career opportunities with cruise ships, hotels, catering companies, culinary magazines and shows, institutes and bars.

Other restaurant and food services career choices

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