After HSC, every student aspires to select his / her career profession and accordingly starts looking for the best college which can impart best possible knowledge, skills and placement. This article is for those student’s who wish to pursue culinary as their career path.
Having worked in the hotel industry for a decade and currently in the hospitality / culinary education since more than a decade, I wish to guide young chef aspirants and their parents on selecting ‘Chef’ as a career option after HSC. Students usually get inspired by Master Chef Series or by the glamour of hotel industry and wish to become a Master Chef as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many hospitality institutes portray a false image in the minds of young kids and their parents just to secure one admission in their college. It is only when these kids go through their industry exposure that they realize the hard work and sacrifices involved towards becoming a Chef , get bogged down and quit the industry.
Getting things straight, one must learn to be a Cook first, only then can he / she become a Chef. Nowadays with this fast paced generation, they wish to climb the ladder without gaining a strong culinary foundation in the initial few years which is quintessential towards creating a strong future.
My advice to the young generation chefs would be to do the following:
1) Select your culinary training institute wisely. Check the hardware (infrastructure) and software (faculty experience) before any commitments.
2) Do not wait for the institute to offer industrial training, which is usually in the second year of academics. If you really have the passion, approach a nearby restaurant and gain on the job experience in the evenings, if not daily then at least for a few hours on weekends.
3) To become a successful Chef, any institute’s contribution shall be only 25% towards your career objective. The rest 75% depends entirely on your attitude and hard work.
4) Discipline your life style. It’s all about time management.
5) Fitness: Physical and Mental fitness is the key towards becoming a successful Chef.
6) The industry experience that a Chef receives in India is the best possible across the world. Not from the monetary point of view but it trains you to be a good cook, acclimatizes you to the 12 to 14 hours daily work schedule and most importantly trains one to be a solution finder. Having said this, I am a staunch supporter of young chefs travelling abroad to work after gaining around 3 to 5 years work experience in India. And I must specify that one should gain international experience before getting married, as both events change one’s perspective towards life.
Trust me, choosing to be a Chef takes a lot of guts. Do you have it in you to become one? If yes, get on with your research of selecting the best college and enjoy the unpredictable life ahead.
Symbiosis School of Culinary Arts, Pune.