Career as Chef
Of late there has been an upsurge in the hospitality sector. Restaurants and food service establishments are doing roaring businesses as people are experimenting with their culinary predilections. This has resulted in an increase in demand for chefs. Generally there are three categories of staffs involved in a hotel; the chef, the cooks and the food preparation workers. While the prime responsibility of chefs and cooks is to create recipes and prepare meals, the preparation workers peel and cut vegetables, trim meat, prepare poultry and ensure cleanliness. Additionally, chefs and head cooks are in charge of directing other workers in the kitchen, estimating food necessities, and ordering materials.
Big restaurants that cater to diverse menus generally employ numerous chefs and cooks, each of whom work in a designated area furnished with the types of equipment and ingredients for specific foods prepared in that area. Job titles are often associated with the main ingredient used or type of cooking, for example, vegetable cook, fry cook, or grill cook.
Executive chefs and head cooks organize and direct the kitchen which includes the staff and meals. Their responsibilities include: determining serving sizes, planning menus, ordering supplies for food, and supervising kitchen operations to make sure that the food quality and presentation is consistent. The terms chef and cook are often thought of as the same; however, they normally mirror the varying types of chefs and the arranged structure. For example, executive chefs are responsible for merely everything regarding the food operations as well as sometimes supervising several kitchens of a hotel, restaurant group, or corporate dining operation. A chef de cuisine is over all operations of a single kitchen and reports to an executive chef. A sous chef, also called a sub chef, is just under the chef in ranking and will run the kitchen when he/she is gone. Usually, chefs have further training and higher skills than cooks. Several chefs achieve a well-known name for themselves and their kitchens through the good quality and unique nature of the food.
Career as a chef is exciting but the sector is laden with stiff competition particularly so in the up-scale restaurants. Opportunities are always open for trained chefs who are capable to run multiple kitchens and handle fleets of manpower at the same time cater to the demands of the clients.
A degree or a diploma certificate in Hotel Management and Catering Technology is needed to take one to the hospitality industry as chefs.. There are four - year degree or a three - year diploma courses available in hotel management. Eligibility to enter these courses is 10+2 pass. These courses are offered by various hotel management institutes across the country. For the degree course, an entrance exam is conducted by the National Council of Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT). Short duration certificate courses are also available in food processing and cookery science.
Career Prospects of a Professional Chef
Professional chefs may find jobs in hotels, restaurants, air catering, food processing companies, catering in confectioneries, cruise liner, corporate catering, etc. Departmental catering services of defence and railways departments are other avenues open to them. They also can work in canteens operated by universities, colleges and private schools. Apart from this, they can become food Journalists, writing for newspapers and magazines. Of late TV channels are a hot place for running Cookery shows. This is also an option open to the successful chefs. Chefs who have pursued a post graduation degree in their field can join as faculty member in government or private institutions offering hotel management courses. And, of course, the field of entrepreneurship is always open to those who can venture into it.
Although the pay scales vary from hotel to hotel,a new entrant can earns about Rs. 10,000 - 15,000 per month. After gaining 5-7 years of experience one can easily earns Rs.50, 000 - 60,000 per month. Once an Executive chef, salary range would be between Rs. 1 lakh - 2 lakh per month.
Institutes Offering Courses for Training Chefs in India
Almost all Hotel Management institutes in the country run various courses to train professional chefs . Please click here for a list of the top ranking hotel management colleges in India.