Career Options for Chefs

Career Options for Chefs

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There is a wide range of employment opportunities for people with a chef specialization and culinary experience. From small-town restaurants to high-end hotel dining facilities, securing a career as a chef is quite simple, especially for those with formal education. In today’s society, there is an increased emphasis placed on nutrition, meaning chefs must use their specialties to meet the extreme demands of customers. By combining these specialties with a talent for carrying out administrative duties, a person can land a job as an executive chef.

Places of Employment

Hotels: There are a large number of hotels that offer dining services to their guests, whether it be offered through room service, a dining facility or both. From coffee shops to banquet rooms to four-star restaurants, there is a high demand for qualified chefs at hotel establishments. When working in a hotel as a chef, it is important to keep in mind that there will likely be different chefs for each section of the kitchen. For example, if the hotel has a bakery shop, there will be a baker. If there is a pastry shop, a pastry chef will be needed.

Large Corporations: Many larger corporations have their own dining facilities within their office locations. Depending on the corporation, foods served may be basic items, while at others, they may serve five-star, full-course meals. A corporation’s budget will play a large part in the types of food that it makes available as well as the salary level it will offer to its chefs.

Carry-Out Stores: In today’s society, people are always on the rush. Chefs can oftentimes find employment at establishments that try to accommodate this fast-paced lifestyle by offering carry-out food services. From the preparation of salads to desserts to entrees, a chef will need many specializations to be successful. In addition to carry-out only restaurants, carry-out services are often found at supermarkets too.

Private Clubs: Private clubs and resorts usually offer some type of foodservice. Sometimes, the service may include complete dining room experiences, while in others, it may be only the offering of deli products. Much of the time, the pay scales at private clubs for chefs tend to be far above those found at traditional establishments, such as Applebee’s.

Caterers: Chefs can many times find employment through catering companies. With the right type of permits and experience, a person can even open his or her own catering company. Caterers must be extremely organized as well as extremely flexible in the services they offer because clients will oftentimes come up with bizarre demands.

Institutions: There are a large number of institutions that offer dining and catering services. Some of the most common places include hospitals, correctional institutions, prisons, schools, airlines, and airports. The menu options found at these establishments are usually limited; however, some may offer buffets. Since many institutional catering operations are organized and operated by large corporations, chefs can usually find great career advancement within these establishments.

Quick Tip

When trying to establish a career as a chef, a person will greatly benefit from earning a culinary degree from an accredited institution. Culinary degrees can usually be earned in as little as two years; however, advanced degrees for executive chefs will take four or more years to earn. No matter the type of degree earned, chefs will have to take part in an apprenticeship program.