August 12, 2016
Posted in: Culinary Arts

Cooking Across the World: Life as a Travel Chef

For many chefs, their career centers putting down roots somewhere and working in the culinary industry, either with their own restaurant or making their way up the ladder of another eatery. But just because you’re a chef doesn’t mean you have to stay in one place, and that doesn’t just mean owning a food truck. If you want to see the world, you could always become a travel chef, moving from city to city cooking for people in a number of picturesque settings. But before you book a flight to some far-off destination, be sure to heed the following advice:

“Travel chefs can move just about anywhere.”

Loads of opportunities 
There are quite a few options for enterprising travel chefs. However, you may want to focus on temporary jobs; that way, you only have to commit a few months before moving onward.

Resorts are always a great option because you can work this open only during summer, where relaxation is the focus, and other places that cater to winter ski crowds. Plus, you can find resorts almost all across the globe, which can expose you to different cooking styles or cultures.

If you like working alongside a select crowd of patrons, then you might be interested in working as a chef for summer camps. Again, there are plenty of these camps across the U.S., and there’s a sense or purpose when helping a younger crowd. These camps are a great start if you’re just beginning your travel chef career.

Want to really see the world in style? Why not work on a cruise ship. Whether you want to travel across the Caribbean or see the major coastal cities of Europe, you can do it all on a cruise ship. These floating fun palaces are also a great place to learn how to cook high-end dishes for patrons expecting a slice of the gourmet.

From private chef to cruise line cook, explore the world through your culinary career.

Bring your tools
Chef Cameron Stauch is a chef who’s seen the world, having traveled and cooked in countries like Canada and India. Speaking with The Kitchn, he said that all traveling chefs need a toolkit to bring along every trip. While this can vary, there are a few items no traveling chef can do without.

First and foremost, you need a small paring knife and a medium-sized chef’s knife. These two knives alone should be able to handle just about any cutting job you’ll encounter. From there, don’t forget to pack measuring spoons and cups, preferably a lightweight plastic set. A travel spice kit is also essential, and Stauch stays organized by using a pill organizer to cut down on spillage and space-wasting. Always bring your own cutting board; you need something firm and might not want to risk having to seek one out. Finally, Stauch advised to bring whatever you think you can’t cook without, or those items you feel comfortable having at your disposal.

“Passports are needed for all international travel.”

Though not a cooking tool, you’ll need to keep your passport handy if you’re traveling international. The U.S. State Department has assembled a comprehensive guide for securing passports, including what forms you need, where to apply, acceptable forms of identification and associated fees.

Keep an open mind
Simon Orviss is a traveling chef whose journey has taken him everywhere from Tuscany to the tiny island of Mnemba. Speaking with the travelstart blog, Orviss explained that traveling the world as a chef isn’t all fun and games.

He added that people need to be aware of the challenge before embarking to some tropical setting to start cooking. That means recognizing that you might be away from home and family for some time and that each new locale provides its fair share of challenges. But it does present its own unique opportunities to boot, and Orviss said that chefs should take advantage of the area they’re currently residing. Use plenty of local spices, or cook more seafood if you’re in some town by the bay. It may be a different kind of work as a travel chef, but you can relish the fact that you’ll see the world and be opened up to new cultures and experiences.