Your Career as a Chef: 6 Options

A career as a chef comes with a variety of options. Choose your career path carefully, since it is important to have experience in this profession. Ability is based mostly on the quality of the work itself, not necessarily the level of education attained. Some chef jobs may require applicants to submit an actually dish as part of the hiring process. On the other hand, a four year degree in the culinary arts is highly valuable. Business study is also an option for the budding culinary entrepreneur.

1: Sous Chef Career

Working as a sous chef is a good way to work up to head chef later in the culinary career path. Sous chefs usually have experience as line cooks. The sous chef works under the head chef as a middle manager in the kitchen. Sous chefs give beginner culinary professionals good experience in both cooking and even directly managing during the head chef's absence.

2: Pastry Chef Career

A pastry chef is a culinary professional who specializes in making pastries. Pastry chefs may back pies, tarts and other dessert items, as well as menu items that require pastry dough. Pastry chefs usually attend culinary school, receiving a four year degree and work in this specific area during employment.

3: Head Chef Career

Head chefs usually attend culinary school and have more experience than other chefs. It may take years for a culinary professional to work their way up to head chef. Head chefs must have a good generalized knowledge of cooking and baking. Head chefs are responsible overseeing the day to day operations of the kitchen and have to know every menu item and its specifications. Head chefs must also be aware of the restaurant schedule and prepare advanced orders. Head chefs act as managers in a kitchen setting.

4: Baker Career

Since pastry chefs have to know a lot about baking, some may pursue a career as a baker. Bakers have to have a generalized knowledge of desserts and breads. Bakers may work out of their own kitchens and sell to local stores. Bakers who work as employees of a bakery usually need a culinary degree or some specified level of experience.

5: Owner/Manager Career

Some chefs may open their own restaurants. These individuals usually advance their careers by pursuing both business and culinary study. Working as a head chef is good preparation for opening an independently operated restaurant or bakery.

6: Catering Career

Another option for culinary professionals looking to widen the scope of their career path options is the opening of a catering service. Caterings services provide customers with the filling of advanced orders. Catering services need to employ cooks and waitstaff. A culinary professional with management experience could be cut out for this kind of job, especially when making a transition. Sous chefs, especially, usually have to think on their feet. On the upside, the cost of opening a new restaurant may be a risk if you're not sure about the market. Food expires. But advanced orders ensure relatively predictable costs as long as there are customers.