The world of professional culinary arts can be a great place to find yourself as a working professional. At each level of your experience, you will be exposed to so many new things that you may find yourself overwhelmed and not sure of direction. It is true that working in a restaurant environment requires commitment, being able to think on your toes and taking responsibility for being part of the team. However, if you want to get somewhere in your own career, you have to start looking at where you want to end up in five to ten years – as a head chef. So, here are some key tips to help you become a head chef, when you are ready for greatness.
Learn how to manage yourself before you try to manage others. Since one of the duties of becoming a head chef is learning how to manage a “tight ship” in the kitchen environment, you will need to master these skills yourself first. You can do this by listening to the direction of your current head chef or kitchen manager and keep on top of things, without having to be told. This will show to others that you are capable of thinking under pressure which is a very important aspect of becoming a leader. Your peers will respect you for this trait and you will be the next in line when the current head chef decides to leave or assume other duties.
Learn to observe others under different conditions. One key to becoming a leader in the kitchen and in life as a general rule is taking time to observe others in different conditions. Are there kitchen staff that go into a crisis mode when faced with a busy evening? Are there wait staff who suddenly come out of their shells and start working to motivate or encourage others? It’s surprising how people will react or perform under pressure which is a very important aspect to becoming a head chef in the future. The head chef needs to know who is on board, who can perform and who needs more grooming to assemble a highly efficient team. Develop this habit of observation now and you will be a head start to getting there.
Use common sense when creating new dishes. One of the biggest errors that head chefs can make is trying to come up with extravagant dishes without putting into consideration the cost or time associated with creating them. It’s certainly noteworthy that many of the celebrity chefs have accomplished tasty meals without sacrificing showmanship, but they did this by being smart about the food itself. For example, some of the favorite dishes of consumers are regional dishes based on food grown in that region, and with meats, seafood or other ingredients that are native to the area where the restaurant is. It’s not advisable to try and import expensive foods in just to impress the few patrons that will be able to afford these dishes. That leads to waste and the restaurant owners will not take too kindly to that – in fact it’s a good way to get fired from a head chef position.
By following the above tips and advice, hopefully you will improve your chances of becoming a world-renowned head chef in your own time. There are still many opportunities to shine in this field, so give it your best and you will see the results of your labour in no time.