The lifestyle of a chef can present a wide variety of different challenges, especially when it comes to obtaining employment. In a competitive job market, candidates need an edge over their competition and a top rate culinary education could set them above the rest.
While there is certainly no shortage of top quality choices with regards to your education, finding gainful employment presents its own unique level of difficulty. Depending on the type and style of food you're interested in cooking, some areas will provide better opportunities than others. As a result, becoming a successful chef may require relocation to a different area of the country where the job market for such a position is more in line with your current needs.
Generally speaking, chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation for restaurants and other places where food may be provided to patrons. Additional responsibilities include directing kitchen staff with regards to daily responsibilities as well as handling and responding to any and all food-related concerns that may arise.
Job Outlook and Salary for Chefs
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the total number of chef and head cook jobs nationwide in 2012 was 115,400. Memphis, much like most other areas of the country, is experiencing slower than average growth with regards to available chef and head cook positions. That trend is expected to remain steady for the next several years. The salary that one can expect to make as a chef will vary wildly depending on the specific type of restaurant and position. Generally speaking, the median salary for chefs and head cooks in 2012 was $42,480.
Though a high school diploma is not required for any type of job in food preparation, it is recommended for career paths like head cook, line cook and executive chef. The career path for a head cook or chef typically begins with a food preparation position then the status of line cook, followed by sous chef, followed by head chef. Without formal training, the progression of those steps may be up to ten years depending on the job climate. Restaurant owners typically like to hire individuals with either a culinary degree or at least two years of on the job experience.
Education and Training for Chefs
Entry level educational requirements for chefs in Memphis and in other areas tend to be a high school diploma or equivalent. A large number of chefs in the Memphis area will learn their various skills through experience in a job based environment. Though learning from work experience is an acceptable course for some, others choose to obtain their skills at a community college, a traditional university or in a culinary college setting.
One culinary college that is available for residents of the Memphis, TN area is L'École Culinaire. The curriculum and educational opportunities that are offered by L'École Culinaire are specifically designed with career-minded chefs in mind. Students learn in a hands-on environment, at an ACCSC accredited culinary school, and are able to hone the skills that they will carry with them through the rest of their careers.
Employment Resources for Chefs
With regards to employment, both aspiring chefs and those who are already gainfully employed can receive help through a number of different outlets. One of the most popular is no doubt the American Culinary Federation, which offers a wide variety of different resources for chefs of all skill levels.
The American Culinary Federation offers secondary programs, post-secondary programs and others that allow chefs to further their education and learn new skills. Chefs in Memphis can also become certified through the American Culinary Federation, which requires a series of written exams, practice exams and a rigorous application process.
The initial application for certification requires educational documents like diplomas, transcripts, certificates of completion and more. It also requires an extensive documentation of existing experience, mandatory education course certificates and other requirements to be submitted alongside the traditional application.
Once the applicant has passed the initial application as well as both written and practical certification examinations, a final application must be submitted alongside a certification fee. Final approval and official announcement of certification happens roughly two to three weeks after the applicant's final application has been submitted and processed.
L’Ecole Culinaire, located at 1245 N. Germantown Parkway, offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef. Students experience hands-on learning and career-based instruction by professionals in the culinary industry. As an ACCSC accredited culinary school, L'École Culinaire prepares students for careers in the culinary industry by offering associate degrees and diplomas in the culinary arts.
L'École Culinaire is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), in Arlington, Virginia. The Accrediting Commission of Career Colleges and Schools is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.