While most of our students are working in industry gaining invaluable practical experience, we thought to help those out who are thinking about a career as a chef by sharing some sound advice from some experienced chefs.
“Cooking school is great to learn the fundamentals of French techniques, such as the mother sauces and proper knife cuts. It’s also great to learn the basics of product knowledge. There are a lot of resources and programs set-up in culinary schools that are great. I never went, and wished I had in order to get some of that ‘classical’ training.” – Dan Kluger, Chef de Cuisine at ABC Kitchen.
“It is important to go to a professional kitchen and train for a short amount of time to see if you think you are a fit for that world. If you believe you are and you have tested your passion and still want to proceed, I recommend you attend a serious cooking school. When you finish school, get into a very good restaurant and start from the bottom and work your way up.” – Eric Ripert, Executive Chef at le Bernadin.
“Any less than a year spent training in a professional kitchen§ is burning a bridge in restaurant terms. Thinking you’ve learned everything you can within a year in any kitchen is an all-too-common mistake. Time and humility will get you much further in this industry than most anything else!” – Christina Tosi, Pastry Chef and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar.
“Cookbooks are especially great in the beginning of one’s career to inspire and drive passion. It’s best to find books from chefs and cuisines that you’re interested in. In addition to this, “The most important tip is to develop a realistic timeline for attaining your goals. Being a chef is not just cooking, but also operating the whole business. It takes many years to perfect both your cooking and management skills.” – Michael Ferraro, Executive Chef and Partner at Delicatessen and Macbar
“Reading cookbooks is a great way to become a food writer. To be a cook, you have to be eating—everywhere, all the time, always different. Reading cookbooks will give you some theory and it’ll expand your horizons, but your central activity needs to be trying new food, and that means actually putting it in your mouth and ingesting it. Not just reading about it.” – Amanda Cohen, Chef and owner at Dirty Candy.
“The best way to become a chef is by total immersion. You need to immerse yourself totally in the world of food; everything else takes a back seat. Read everything you can and save money to go out to eat. There is no substitute for eating and trying different dishes and cuisines.” – Tom Calichio, owner and chef of Craft.
(image courtesy of pbs.twing.com)