The past few years have brought about a change in people's eating habits- both youngsters and adults. The days have gone where one used to think several times before going out for lunch or dinner. The food industry has gained importance in the past few years. Earlier, only a few specific restaurants were visited by a family without much thought about new restaurants. With online applications that offer easy comparison and reviews from customers, a whole new concept has emerged. This has brought a shift in people's minds to get out of their houses and grab a meal at their convenience. The role of a chef is significant for the food industry since they are responsible for making tasty food. Apart from that, they are involved in planning menus, understanding customer preferences, aligning industry trends to present recipes that everyone craves. With the growth of the catering and hospitality industry, the demand for chefs has also increased.
If you are someone who likes to prepare delicious food and wants to take it up as a career and wonders ‘how to be a chef’, then read further to get all the necessary details, including a chef's salary and more.
Different types of chefs in India
India is gifted with a large population to support growth in almost all industries. One such industry is the food industry. With the growing popularity of the food industry, different and unique recipes are also in demand. Hence, there is demand for chefs who offer their speciality rather than a mediocre chef offering all services.
So let us check the different types of chefs in India as follows:
I. Commis Chef or Junior Cook
- A commis chef is an assistant to the main chef and supports him by preparing food, preparing high-quality elements, helping with delivery and restocking, contributing to maintaining food and safety standards and more.
- They gain additional responsibility with time as well.
- They can have an excellent career opportunity by assisting since they can improve their cooking skills under the guidance of the main chef.
- They have fixed salaries, regular shifts and significant scope of learning for future growth.
- Apart from culinary skills, They possess other qualities like team management, latest food trends, understanding food hygiene practices, a high level of attention to detail, solving issues, and much more.
II. Chef de Partie or Station/Line Cook)
- Chef de Partie is in charge of a particular section of a large restaurant.
- They are also known as line cooks or station chefs.
- They can have other chefs under them for a separate department like bakery, pastry, vegetables, etc.
III. Pastry Chef
- They are in charge of the dessert menu and specialise in decorating and presenting pastries in different attractive forms.
- The essence of their job is icing, toppings, patterns and the colour combination, which has gained popularity widely.
- A Pastry Chef makes a wide range of items ranging from Choux Pastry, Puff Pastry to Shortcrust Pastry among others. Therefore, they are in high demand because of their baking skills.
IV. Bakers Chef
- Many cafes are hiring bakers chefs as they have expertise in crafting and creating baked food items.
- They offer mouth-watering, delectable cuisine with the correct amount of baking and ingredients.
- They also present it well and maintain food standards and nutrition.
- Customers are attracted to these fancy, exciting and delicious baked dishes.
V. Saucier or Saute Chef
- Saucier or Saute chefs are the ones that look over the entire process for sauces and gravy, right from procurement to delivery.
- They prepare sauces and gravy that go into pasta, soups and other food items and do sauté.
VI. Sous chef
- Sous chef is the right hand of the head chef.
- They are the assistant to the head chef and have to work as per the directions of the head chef.
- They take care of specific operations or areas when the head chef is not available, and their role keeps on increasing with years of experience.
VII. Chef De Cuisine or Head Chef
- Chef De Cuisine is the master chef of the kitchen and is a trained professional.
- They are the ones who hold the primary responsibility for all the functions happening in the kitchen.
- They plan meals, ingredients and inspect the cooking materials.
- They supervise the Commis chef and look over the food and nutrition safety in the kitchen.
After knowing about the different types of chefs, you may say that ‘I want to be a chef’. If so, then check out a few tips on how to be a professional chef.
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Tips on Becoming a Professional Chef
If you to become a professional chef, then here are a few tips you should keep in your mind:
- You will be serving various types of customers, so understanding their preferences and industry trends will surely help you grow in your career.
- It is a very unique and interesting job.
- You learn each day from your customers, co-chef and by yourself as well.
- The more you try and explore, the more you grow.
- A café, restaurant or hotel is an excellent place to work.
- You create wonderful experiences for your customers.
- It is not a fixed-time job; you grow with the responsibility you take.
- You will see your work being consumed multiple times a day and see people praising your work.
- You can travel worldwide and provide cuisines from all over the world with your creativity.
- A willingness to learn each day for cooking delicious meals as well as presenting them.
There were some tips on becoming a professional chef. Now let us check ways on how to become a chef.
How to be a chef in India
The best part of this profession is you can directly become a chef without any formal education. So there are formal ways and informal ways of becoming a chef.
I. Informal method
- This involves learning by actually practicing.
- This may take more time as you have to do a lot of research, and there is no spoon-feeding involved.
- You need to have a lot of dedication, hard work and patience to work on your own.
- Joining a good restaurant as an assistant or cook, taking responsibility and effort is a great way to start your career.
II. Formal method
- If you want to get a formal education but are confused about what to study to become a chef, you can take a bachelor’s degree or diploma from a recognised institute.
- They are categorised according to the specification you like to gain.
- They mandatorily have internships/ apprenticeships as a part of the curriculum.
- This allows you to work as a Commis Chef in a restaurant or hotel, which helps you gain enormous knowledge and experience.
- You can also work with a mentor. This will help you in implementing your theoretical knowledge in the practical field.
There are several courses to become a chef in India. Many bachelors, diploma degrees, and hotel management institutes provide an opportunity for candidates to learn relevant skills. Let us look at various chef courses in India.
- Craftsmanship course in food & beverage service.
- Craftsmanship course in food production & patisserie.
- Craft certification course in food production.
- Diploma in culinary arts.
- Diploma in Bakery & patisserie.
- Diploma in kitchen management.
- Diploma in Bakery & confectionery.
- Diploma in food & beverage service.
- BA (honours) culinary arts
- Post Graduate Diploma in culinary arts.
Candidates can get such chef courses after 12th in India for formal education. Let us look at such courses to become a chef in detail.
I. Diploma Post Higher Secondary (10+2)
- Candidates are mandatorily required to complete higher education.
- A diploma degree post higher education can be done with various specifications like Diploma in food and beverage service, diploma in kitchen management, diploma in bakery and patisserie, diploma in culinary arts, and many more.
- It can be a one and a half to two and a half year course including part-time, full time, paid, or free internship.
- Getting either of the courses is essential to get good chef training in India from a reputed culinary program.
II. Bachelor's degree in Culinary Arts
- A bachelor’s degree will help in gaining better exposure and opportunities for candidates.
- Post bachelor’s degree, one can continue with a master’s degree.
- Having a degree is beneficial for a reputed position in the future.
- It will act as a great start for aspiring chefs, and they will be in a better position than others depending on the overall knowledge.
III. Practical Exposure
- Many feel that a chef's job is just a practical one and does not need any theoretical knowledge, but this is not true.
- Theoretical knowledge will help understand the food combinations, ingredients, side effects, safety standards and much more, which is a must for a reputed chef.
- Working under a versatile mentor in a decent environment will open up huge opportunities to gain knowledge.
- Each day is a new experience and a chance to learn something new.
- Learning from colleagues and juniors by building a good network will also help in many aspects.
IV. A Certified Chef
- It is not necessary to have a certified degree to be a chef.
- However, getting it always has a better advantage over others as it can help provide better exposure to the food industry.
- It adds more discipline and speciality in the niche.
- It will help in building a better portfolio and greater rewards.
Apart from these courses, a chef needs to know the nutritional value of food as many customers might be on a diet. So providing them with fantastic diet food is also a chef’s responsibility.
Chef Job Prospects
With the massive advancement in the food industry, there are several opportunities for a chef- as an employee in hotels and restaurants. You can easily get an opportunity in any restaurant or a hotel from placement, or you can apply directly. Certain industries where a chef is in great demand are the air-catering industry, food processing companies, catering in confectioneries, cruise, clubs and corporate offices. You can also establish your business in food and catering or start your café, restaurant or hotel.
Chef Salary in India
The salary of a chef in India depends on his skills and popularity. A new chef or an intern can earn up to 2.5 lakhs per annum. As one gains experience, he can earn up to 6 lakhs per annum. A sous chef can earn at least 4 lakhs per annum in any hotel or restaurant. Also, the salary can rise extensively with experience and the best platter on their dish. Apart from earning a salary, setting up a business can also generate much revenue.
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If you are passionate about cooking and serving food and want to take it up as a career, becoming a chef is a great profession. You may have gained knowledge on how to become chef from this article, and it will surely guide you for an exciting career. Make sure to keep that fire burning in you to achieve the best you can and experiment with various opportunities you come across.
Frequently asked questions
1. What is a chef?
A chef is a trained professional cook who is proficient in all aspects of food preparation. They generally focus on a particular cuisine.
2. Is becoming a chef a promising career prospect in India?
With the growth of the food industry and hospitality industry, chefs are in great demand. It is considered an art, and many young people are taking it as a career. Earlier it was not considered as a job of high esteem. But now the trend has changed.
3. What are the Chef courses after the 12th?
You can gain formal education like a diploma, bachelor’s, masters in related fields from recognised institutions. There is also an informal way to become a chef from practice and guidance under a great mentor from some restaurant or hotel. However, a desire to learn more and deliver the best cuisine is needed to succeed in this career.
4. How to become a pastry chef in India?
You can become a pastry chef by enrolling in certificate courses that take less than a year to get completed. Other associate programs are also available for two years, including business and technical aspects of being a pastry chef.
5. Why are chefs considered important?
Chefs manage the kitchen and play an important role in the planning of the menu. They supervise, prepare and develop recipes and new dishes.
6. How many hours do chefs work?
They generally have shift timings. On average, a chef works for 40 to 50 hours per week. Festivals and holidays are essential for them.
7. What challenges does a chef face?
A chef needs to have good management skills and the ability to work for longer hours. So a lot of physical activity is involved. Having good stamina is essential