A career in professional cooking can take you many different places. You may go from learning your craft at culinary schools in Colorado to preparing innovative dishes in a fine-dining restaurant, catering at special events, nourishing hungry workers in an institutional kitchen or matching meals to the glorious scenery aboard a cruise ship. No matter what path you follow, you’ll always benefit from the advice and support of great cooks who have years of experience in honing their skills and navigating the restaurant or baking industry.
Professional mentoring is a powerful resource at every stage in your career, whether you’re just starting out in your first cooking job or opening your own establishment. That’s one reason why attending culinary school can be so valuable to chefs. You’ll have opportunities to connect with highly knowledgeable experts who have deep insights into how you can reach your goals and continue to expand on your abilities.
Why mentorship is essential to chef training
“A mentor can help you in many ways as your career takes off.”
A mentor can help you in many ways as your career takes off, beginning with providing the perspective on professional cooking that comes from many years of experience. In culinary courses, you’ll learn a great deal about the principles and techniques that lead to consistently great dishes. However, it’s just as important to receive practical suggestions from people who have extensive and diverse experience in the industry.
Along with an understanding of how to apply key culinary concepts to your individual style, your mentor can provide support in other ways. Networking is a crucial aspect of professional cooking, and the people you meet during your education could prove quite valuable when you are looking for a new job or getting ready to open your own business. Cultivate these connections, especially with people who offer good advice and can introduce you to many other promising chefs.
Key lessons from cooking professionals
Every mentor has a unique set of experiences that can help you to find your own way in the world of culinary arts. However, there are certain pieces of wisdom that are helpful to almost any chef. These are some of the vital lessons that chefs take away from their training:
- Preparation is the key to a successful dish, which means reading a recipe carefully, taking notes and getting all your ingredients and tools ready ahead of time.
- Skilled chefs are able to complete tasks at high speed, but they are also patient about letting food finish cooking.
- Being creative with the ingredients you have on hand and always being ready to adjust recipes as necessary can unlock exciting possibilities in your cooking.
Drawing on experience to start your own business
One of the most significant ways that a mentor can help is by providing advice and connections for starting your own business. Going from cooking professionally to taking on the responsibilities involved in running a catering company, restaurant or storefront bakery is both exciting and exceptionally challenging. Having a trusted mentor is particularly important if you’re interested in pursuing the business side of the culinary industry, so you have someone to talk to about your plans and what adjustments could lead you to lasting success.
Students at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts learn from chefs who combine a deep knowledge of cooking techniques with real-world experience. Receiving instruction and individualized guidance from these seasoned professions readies students to follow their passion for cooking into rewarding positions and entrepreneurial opportunities. The lessons that students learn from their culinary academy training can be applied throughout their careers in the kitchen and the back office alike.