21 Ways to Become a Chef Fast
Don't chafe at becoming a chef. That profession is one great way of spending hours in front of the fire without getting roasted, but becoming a good chef. Still, do you want to know how to become a better chef, and fast? Then try out these methods.
1. Practise at home
So you need to begin by picking up a knife and giving it the quick check. It isn't too tough to learn your own skills at home. Kneading, mixing, pasting and cutting - all those initial hours of gruelling tasks can be done quickly if you apply yourself.
2. Practise in the nearest restaurant
First of all, join a restaurant. Does that mean that you need to line up at Hilton's to see if you will get in quickly? No. Just join a small eatery and learn to cook on the job. You could be only beating 50 eggs or kneading dough in the beginning. But do it.
3. Join a school
Enrol in a culinary arts program. Joining a cooking school isn't a must for becoming a chef, but it can give you a leg up when it comes to getting hired at good restaurants. Try out some trade or vocational schools, colleges or culinary institutes. You can learn about nutrition, hygienic preparation methods and hundreds of little things.
4. Get a certification
You can get a certification from the American Culinary Federation (ACF). This body would arm you with a general as well as a specialised one in particular areas, such as pastry making. Does that mean that you become a great chef? No. It means that you get an edge over others in the running.
5. Understand the competition
You might be making the best pancake - according to your gang of friends - but the next hotel or nearest eatery aren't going to buy that. You need to do a round of nearby restaurants, find out who is eating what, why and how it captures the attention and palates of visitors.
6. Read up
You can learn more by browsing restaurant reviews, flipping through culinary magazines, learning about head cooks and chefs, and related write-ups. It might not improve the taste of your dishes, but it would definitely help you to understand how you could.
7. Grab your job
Now that you've got your certificate, skills and experience, your next step is to begin the job-hunting. You need not grab the first opportunity or job, but take a good post in a modestly reputed restaurant.
8. Work hard
Just because you've got a certificate from a fancy school, you do not automatically become a chief chef. You need to be working hard in the infantry. Kneading the dough, cutting the skillets or peeling the vegetables.
9. Learn to give in
Perhaps you wouldn't be able to take the next holiday in the month, or maybe you have to put in more hours of unpaid work. Never mind. Just put your nose to the grindstone and work at producing better dishes than you are expected to.
10. Be prepared to get shouted at
You need to develop nerves of steel, so that you do not stress out and die when you are shouted at.
11. Watch your step
Be careful not to run or make jumpy or jerky gestures in the kitchen. Take care to see that you aren't spilling, dropping or trying to speed up in the cutting without learning how to do it. You need to be careful about using the knife.
12. Work your way up
So it's a slow way up, but you can claw your way up provided you undertake the necessary acts. At first you are the lineman, then you become the garde manger, working on the soups and salads. Next you could be a line cook, working with the entrees and then with the sous chef, who is the second in command. Finally, you could become the executive chef, who is in charge of the entire restaurant.
You need to talk well and build up good relationships with everyone you meet. Whether it is the cleaners or the clients, it does a lot of good to win everyone over with your smile and good words. You will be remembered during the next promotion or if your contact opens a hotel.
14. Eat out, with ears out
It always helps to find out how food tastes in other eateries rather than your own. Listen carefully to the reactions around you, and jot down helpful tips.
15. Study the best
Even as you work your way up, you can keep looking at what makes your rivals tick. What helps them to turn out the perfect dish? Why did your competitor get promoted before you? What is the next restaurant selling that makes it a win-win in every way?
16. Make your dishes visual
Balance the colors, get the perfect round shape and arrange the sprigs as well as the garnishing artistically, so that your food looks as good as it tastes.
Making something unique and different is a great way of standing out in the network. It would really help if you are a specialist in a dish, which would give you the added advantage of concentrating on improving your skills in one thing at a time.
18. Get a number of tasters
It is important to get a number of willing volunteer tasters for your dish. Grab the opportunity to make them eat your sample dishes, so you understand how it feels to diverse tongues and appetites.
19. Cook more often
Have you heard of top chefs working their fingers out to the bone in the top hotels? Well, you've heard right. If you want to be in that top slot, you'd better be prepared to work for 18 to 20 hours a day. The more you cook, the better your idea of what you need to do and how you can temper your dish to hit exactly the right temperature or seasoning.
20. Get onto the social media
Promote your skills and talents through social media. Advertise your skills and put in some readers' reviews too. That would definitely be a ticket to getting on top quickly.
21. Balance your life
You might be working very hard, but do not miss out on your personal life. You need to see that you meet your partner regularly, have a good rapport with your family and work on your personal commitments or happiness. That definitely makes you a great cook!