Chef Education

Written by Shirley Parker
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Chef education begins as early as possible, often by learning from parents or other family members for whom cooking is an honored tradition. From then on, while fast-food and short-order cooks don't require a lot of education, anyone aiming for a career as a chef needs to begin with earning a high school diploma. Workshops, internships and summer jobs along the way provide valuable training.

Independent cooking academies, culinary institutes or associate's or bachelor's degree programs provide formal education that opens many doors to the aspiring chef. Courses range in length from several months to attainment of the 4-year degree. In culinary training programs, students will do a great deal of meal preparation, truly learning by doing. They will also learn proper equipment care and safe food-handling techniques, all of it being critical knowledge.

When applicants have a good basic education in culinary arts, some hotel chains or restaurants then offer training programs of their own, resulting in job placement. Chef education will continue on the job, perhaps supplemented by self-study or online courses, if working hours permit. Simply having a great desire and ability to cook is not sufficient in itself to work as a professional chef.

Chef Education and Certification

Chef education usually brings with it the desire for certification from one of a number of professional associations. Certification shows the chef has gone to greater lengths to meet specific industry standards. It is not easy and not inexpensive, and certification is not usually lifetime. It has to be renewed regularly, sometimes on a yearly basis by taking refresher courses.


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