how to become a chef

What does a Chef do?

Disclaimer: The information on our website is provided for general information purposes only. We make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on our website for any purpose. Any reliance on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk and we are not liable for any damages or losses arising out of or resulting from your reliance on any information contained on our website.

A chef oversees a restaurants kitchen. They also plan the menu, maintain budget, price meals, prepare food, purchase supplies, and manage staff. Therefore, there is a lot of work that goes into becoming a chef. Watch one cooks journey to become a chef:

How to Become a Chef

A chef generally has a 4-year college degree. However, employers may accept applicants from community colleges, culinary or technical schools. However, the Armed Forces have apprenticeships as well. Even without a formal education however, a person can still be a chef. However, this generally requires years of experience in the restaurant industry. Watch a video to learn more:

Job Description

how to become a chef

A chef is responsible to watch all activity and food preparation in a kitchen. Additionally, they ensure the presentation and quality is perfect before being presented to a customer. A chef also orders food or kitchen supplies and provides cost estimates to the employer. They monitor any staff requirements and production schedules to be sure any services are delivered on time.

A chef would coach and develop other staff in the kitchen to improve their skills. Because a kitchen depends on a cooperative team effort, the chef encourages staff to have mutual respect and trust. A chef or head cook can be found working in restaurants, private households, hotels, casinos or other food service places. They work a variety of hours, such as, early morning, late evenings, holidays, and weekends. This occupation is very fast-paced and normally has full-time hours. You should expect strong competition especially at upscale restaurants because of the higher salary paid.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

Harvard University offers a free Science and Cooking course on There is also an option to pay a small fee to gain a certificate.

Career Video Transcripts

Some people think the words “chef” and “cook” mean the same thing. But in the restaurant world, there’s a big difference. Chefs are more highly skilled and better trained than most cooks and have more responsibility for designing the meals that make a restaurant’s reputation. But it’s not just about the food. This job requires good organizational and management skills.

Sometimes called a head cook, the chef supervises the entire kitchen staff and keeps track of supplies and schedules. A chef should have a highly refined and inventive sense of taste. He or she creates the menu items and often prices them too. Advancing in this field may depend as much on limiting food costs and supervising less-skilled workers, as it does on creating a memorable menu. To keep things running smoothly in a hot, noisy kitchen, chefs need to be expert multitaskers. The work is fast-paced. A missed detail can result in time lost and wasted food, not to mention an unhappy customer.

Chefs are on their feet for hours at a time, often working evenings, weekends, and holidays. While many cooks learn skills on the job, chefs and head cooks usually hold degrees in the culinary arts from a recognized cooking school. Many employers look for safe food handling certificates as well. Chefs advance by moving to new jobs and learning new skills, sometimes opening their own restaurants. And while only a few ever get their own cooking show, they’re always delighted to accept your compliments.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Chefs and Head Cooks.

National Center for O*NET Development. 35-1011.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

Scroll to Top