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What Experience Is Needed to Become a Chef?

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While becoming a chef sounds like an exciting prospect to anyone who loves to cook, there are many other skills a chef must possess to be successful. Trained, professional chefs developed all of their skills as a result of their experiences in cooking and management courses, apprenticeships and certification programs.


Every restaurant will have its own requirements when it comes to hiring a chef, but in all cases, a chef must be trained. Regardless of whether this training comes from a course or actual restaurant kitchen experience, a chef must have a thorough knowledge of the type of dishes they are expected to cook, as well as an understanding of how a restaurant kitchen runs.

Business Management

In addition to cooking skills, chefs are often expected to have some training in business management. According to Culinary Programs, a vocational school course in business administration may be particularly helpful to the hopeful chef, as they are expected to deal with budgets, ordering supplies and delegating kitchen responsibilities to other staff members.


From weekend workshops to year-long courses, chefs-in-training can find a plethora of opportunities to hone their skills and earn certificates they can include on their resumes. Culinary courses can include anything from a basic introduction to cooking to a more specific niche, such as Thai dishes or sustainable food.


Rather than take a course with an institute, some chefs get experience by signing up for an apprenticeship or internship with an actual restaurant. These opportunities allow budding chefs to add real-life experience to their resumes while learning and improving under the watchful eye of a master chef and teacher.

Culinary School

While it is not required for all chef positions, many chefs earn their degrees from culinary institutes. These institutes offer two- to four-year culinary programs, and may or may not be accredited. Graduation from an accredited culinary school is often seen as a prestigious addition to a chef's resume.


Kara Page has been a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She maintains several blogs on travel, music, food and more. She is also a contributing writer for Suite101 and has articles published on eHow and Answerbag. Page holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of North Texas.

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