Chef school is a great place to learn the techniques and tricks that you'll use throughout your culinary career; however, hands-on experience is critical to a chef career. Understanding the ins and outs of a working kitchen takes time and practice.
You may dream of an executive chef job where you'll manage the kitchen staff, plan menus, order supplies and ingredients, and oversee all food preparation and cooking. In the meantime, however, the following jobs can help you better understand the business and build a solid foundation for your culinary life after chef school.
Restaurant & Catering Careers
- Garde manger: Garde mangers produce cold food items like salads and dressings, cold appetizers, sandwiches and garnishes.
- Line cook: Line cooks are assistant cooks with a specialty. Grill cooks, fry cooks, sauce cooks and sauté cooks, among others, are also known as line cooks.
- Patisserier: Pastry chefs create dishes and prepare specialty desserts, pastries and baked foods. The position requires formal training and accreditation from an accredited culinary institute in addition to two to four years of experience.
- Prep cook: Prep cooks generally assemble, decorate and garnish all prepared foods. They are responsible for quality and quantity of production of cold foods.
- Sous-chef: As the head chef's assistant, a sous-chef plans and supervises the daily operations of a kitchen.
- Food scientist: Food scientists apply scientific and engineering principles in research, development, production technology, quality control, packaging, processing and utilization of food.
- Institution and cafeteria cook: Institution and cafeteria cooks work in the kitchens of schools, cafeterias, businesses, hospitals and other institutions. For each meal, they prepare a large quantity of a limited number of entrees, vegetables and desserts.
- Private household cook: Private household cooks plan and prepare meals, clean the kitchen, order groceries and supplies. They may also serve meals.
Hit the Ground Running
Your chef school education will give you the essential tools you'll need to start your career—but that's not all chef schools can teach you. While knife skills and basic technique are important, the benefits of attending chef schools are that you'll have the opportunity to work with high-end ingredients, state-of-the-art equipment, cutting edge techniques and experienced professionals.
Chef schools are a great place to pick up the training and experience that will take your career to the next level. It's true that many great chefs are self-taught, but chef school is a springboard that can help you reach your full potential.