Choosing your career path can feel quite daunting, especially when you're looking at a career that requires years of investment to progress successfully. Being a chef requires years of work experience and hard work in order to get far because it's such a competitive industry. So, it's understandable you want to find out if becoming a chef is a good career choice. Here's the honest answer.
Is becoming a chef a good career choice?
If you're fresh out of education or just looking for a career change, working as a chef means you get to work with food everyday and create delicious meals. But there's more to than just cooking everyday.
Being a chef requires dedication and discipline. This is what you need to know about being a chef:
The long hours
Working as a chef means working long hours.
Depending on the chef job you're taking on, you could be working before dawn or not even starting your shift until the evening. There are some chefs who get up early to work and have the midday off until they have to go back to the kitchen later.
At first, the long hours might seem difficult to face but if you enjoy your job, long hours isn't an issue.
It doesn't pay well... at first
From any blog you read about what it's like to be a chef, you will quickly discover that the job doesn't pay well. When you start as a commis chef, you're responsible for preparing the vegetables, doing other basic tasks, and you get paid minimum wage.
When you've come out of culinary school with student debts and your first wage is £16,000 it can be hard to live with. Honestly, you won't see much of a pay rise until you're promoted to the higher positions like sous chef and head chef.
Need to follow the recipes
It's a common misconception that chefs can cook whatever they like. On every shift, chefs follow the same recipes. They have to, so they create perfect meals every time.
Until you're a head chef or other higher position, you won't have the freedom to create your own recipes. Head chefs are responsible for creating new menus and trying new recipes. While you're working towards being a head chef, you'll have to save your new creative recipes for your kitchen at home.
You need to love being a chef
Being a chef means a lot of hours at work and working on your feet. It's a job you need to love doing so you can enjoy it in the long term.
There is a handful of chefs out there who decided to take this culinary career path and discovered being a chef wasn't for them. Instead of finding the best job for them, they continued working as a chef and their unhappiness shows in the food they produce. To be an excellent chef you have to care about the little details.
Before you commit to the job or start applying to culinary schools, it's worthwhile to try working as a chef or getting work experience in a restaurant kitchen to see if it's the job for you.
You'll make friends for life...
They say blood is thicker than water - but so is vegetable oil. Because you spend so many hours in the kitchen, you will be working alongside other chefs day in, day out. These chefs will likely become your closest friends, especially when you're spending so much time together and working as a team. In every kitchen there is a fun comradery and it feels like you're working with your family rather than your colleagues.
Don't forgot you'll be doing your dream job!
While you might be thinking being a chef is a lot of hard work, that doesn't matter to chefs who love their job. Many chefs dreamed of becoming a chef and being able to do their job everyday is a dream come true.
Each job has their own highs and lows but if working as a chef is your dream job, you'll love it.
If you love cooking and you're willing to work hard then
being a chef is a fantastic career choice!
Want to be a chef? You'll need shoes that work as hard as you do.
Every chef who works in a professional kitchen has to wear a uniform for work. From the white chef jacket to the work shoes, if you want to be a chef then you need to buy the right gear.
At Shoes For Crews (Europe) Ltd. we specialise in slip-resistant work shoes for chefs. Our shoes offer the support chefs need through a long shift. The durable material means they last longer and protect your feet from hot liquid splashes. The incredible slip-resistant grip greatly reduces the chance of you suffering a slip or fall at work.
Check out the Complete Guide To Chef Jobs - outlining every chef job in the industry
Our guide explains all the responsibilities each chef has in the kitchen so you can find the ideal job for you. This free downloadable book also shares the salary expectations for each job role too: