Student Life Career tips for young cooks

Published on May 29th, 2018 | by Jones

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Career tips for young cooks

Most young chefs dream of becoming the next Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson overnight, but what they forget is how hard they worked to be where they are today. The hospitality industry is one of the most demanding working environments, filled with late nights, blood, sweat and tears. While it may seem intimidating and scary at first, there are good days too. And the rewards are endless. No matter how hard you work and how tired you are, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Young chefs should not be put off by the hospitality industry. If this is something you’re passionate about and want to pursue, here are a few tips to look at when considering a career in cooking:

  • Watch and learn

Much like most practical jobs, the first couple of years are going to feel torturous at times, but the learning you will gain from this experience cannot be bought. If cooking is something you’re passionate about, seeing the look on your customers’ faces when you’ve made something that’s worth coming back for, will be enough to override the sleepless nights and kitchen arguments. The wonderful thing about working in the hospitality industry is that you will be exposed to so many different ways of doing things from restaurant to restaurant. Each chef has their own way of delivering a dish, and learning all these different techniques will only help you master your own. Just from watching others and learning, you will be able to spark your creativity and come up with incredible ideas for those off days when you feel like spoiling your family.

Becoming a well-known or well-appreciated chef takes years. Simply attending culinary school is not going to grow your reputation or help you be better without pushing yourself. This career choice takes hours, days and years of dedication. During this process, you need to be patient and you need to accept the nature of the job. Frustrating or not, the world is your oyster and the harder you work, the more opportunity you will have in your life.

  • Respect the kitchen

The kitchen is your place of work. It’s where you create your works of art or where you learn to be the best that you can be. You need to learn how to respect the kitchen, the equipment and your colleagues. Things can get extremely heated, so swallow your pride and make sure you bite your tongue at people who know more about the industry than you do. Don’t ever forget that you have the opportunity to learn from those around you. Make the most of it.

  • Make ‘Yes, Chef!’ part of your vocabulary

Again, the beginning stages of your career are going to be based on learning and working as hard as you possibly can. These are the years when you’re expected to ask silly questions and mess up every now and then. However, your head chef is there is assist you in these situations. Make sure you convey a lot of respect and willingness to learn. After all, they’re the ones who are going to promote you within the kitchen so always stay on their good side. Even when you’re feeling angry, keep it simple: ‘Yes, Chef!”.

  • Learn how to hustle

Start creating good relationships and bonds with your colleagues as they’re the ones who are going to comment on your performance when you’re working hard. If you’re not going to hustle, you’re only going to be jeopardising your own career. Learn how to work fast and precisely. There is no point in working fast if you’re not doing the job properly. If you’re feeling under the weather, make an effort to come into work and put a smile on your face. Your work ethic, your respect and your willingness to grow are a few qualities that are going to help you earn the respect of your head chef. Once you’ve figured out a routine that works for you, you won’t have to work long hours unnecessarily,

  • Be patient

As mentioned, you need to be patient. Over and above the money you’ve spent on your culinary course, you need to look beyond these points and make a positive out of a negative. In reality, you’re not a chef once you’ve graduated from chef school. It’s going to take you years to earn that title, so be patient and accept the journey of learning. One day, all your efforts will pay off and you will achieve your dream title.

  • Don’t take it to heart

There are going to be many times when people say something to you in a fit of rage or anger, but it’s especially important to try and brush these comments off and not take them to heart. Of course, in the beginning, you’re going to take everything personally, but if you keep doing that, you’re going to start losing interest in your passion. Take what your colleagues and head chef say with a pinch of salt.

Final words

Working in hospitality management requires a thick skin. During the bad days, always remember that this global industry can offer you plenty of opportunities in your career. You’ll get the opportunity to travel, meet new people, cook new dishes and more. So, while the start of your career might be a push to get your feet on the ground, the future is bright. If you enjoy delighting customers and working with people, then pursuing one of the many hospitality courses available to study is exactly what you should consider.

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