It’s always daunting starting on the career ladder in a new profession. But what if you’re planning on becoming a chef? There’s a whole kitchen hierarchy to climb and potentially a lifetime of learning and grafting.
If you’re thinking about carving out a career in the profession, chef and writer Paul Sorgule, has listed all the key development points in his Harvest Ventures Blog.
From those first moments stepping into a kitchen and acclimatising to kitchen life in the pot wash to becoming a fully fledged professional chef with enough experience and patience to become a leader and a teacher. Which phase are you at and how much further do you have to go?
Paul Sorgule is a seasoned professional with heaps of other useful professional advice. Here’s a summary of what it takes to get to the top. For the full low down check out his post, a cook’s evolution of skills and values.
10 Stages to Becoming a Chef
1. Stage One: Acclimatisation
Entering the kitchen for the first time
The first step into a professional kitchen can be a big one and it will probably start at the pot wash.
2. Stage Two: Transition
From observer to commis
Knife skills, ingredient knowledge and equipment use, and following recipes and techniques will start to grow in this phase, building speed and efficiency into the training chef.
3. Stage Three: Foundational Skills
From commis to key line position
The cook becomes a competent and trusted member of the team.
4. Stage Four: Speed and Efficiency
Speed and efficiency are now added to the training chefs competencies making them a key player in the team.
5. Stage Five: Confidence
Sous Chef Level
Confidence comes in with knowledge and speed. Chefs can be ready for promotion in this phase, up to sous chef level.
6. Stage Six: Experience Wins
At this stage the cook has come out the other side of many experiences both good and bad and can put them to play as part of the team.
7. Stage Seven: Knowledge Worker
From sous chef to chef
At this point skills and knowledge are matched, giving the chef the maturity to oversee the whole kitchen.
8. Stage Eight: Planner and Problem Solver
The chef starts to oversee the whole operation and the image of the restaurant and planning aspects.
9. Stage Nine: Teacher/Mentor
At this stage the chef has accumulated competencies from the ground up and is comfortable in the role of employee mentor and role model.
10. Stage Ten: Raconteur & Protector
This is the pinnacle of the chef’s career, after decades of accumulated experience and knowledge. This is when a chef becomes a “sage”, taking on the role of storyteller.