Becoming a chef is about constantly refining your cooking techniques and trying fresh approaches to dishes. When you’re striving to achieve a successful career in a professional kitchen, it’s vital to bring a vast range of experiences to the table. Each chef has his or her own background and style, but there are certain key lessons they all must learn as part of a culinary arts education.
As you attend cooking courses and start working at restaurants, catering companies or institutional kitchens, you’ll have many opportunities to enhance your skills and grow as a professional. The lessons you learn along the way could change the way you prepare items and collaborate with a team forever. All students at culinary arts schools in Colorado should seek out these formative experiences:
Work at every station
“Hands-on experience is essential for a career in professional cooking.”
You can experiment with balancing flavors and practice your knife skills at home or in the classroom. However, to become truly ready for a career in professional cooking, hands-on experience is essential. That’s why Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts includes an industry externship as part of the curriculum, ensuring that every graduate has put in hours working at a real foodservice establishment.
To get the most out of your time in the kitchen, you should spend time at every station. Depending on the establishment, there may be a variety of positions along the line, each contributing to cooking meals and maintaining consistency. By chopping vegetables, grilling, frying and sautéing, you gain a deeper understanding of the abilities involved in every aspect of making food.
Chefs must be ready to act fast to complete dishes, and that can mean shifting between various jobs. When you master many different stations, you’re able to take over any of them as necessary at a moment’s notice. In addition, getting to know the challenges that line cooks handle on a daily basis will make you a stronger leader if you reach the position of sous-chef or executive chef.
Stage in a world-class kitchen
One of the best ways for cooking professionals to learn throughout their careers is by staging, or taking a short internship in another chef’s kitchen. Even after you’ve firmly established your own specialties and style, trying out new ways of cooking and observing how other professionals lead their workplaces can open intriguing doors.
Look for chances to stage in kitchens where you admire the food and presentation. However, you should also select restaurants that concentrate on foods you’ve rarely made, which will push you to try new things. Through these experiences, you can become a better chef while growing your professional network.
Explore many culinary traditions
Bringing together influences from different cultures has inspired countless beloved dishes and popular restaurants. Anyone who plans to work as a chef needs to be open-minded about trying items from around the world, learning as much as they can about the ingredients and techniques involved. You may discover inspiration for your own recipes in unexpected places.
Escoffier students take classes designed to expose them to the fundamentals of cooking in a number of different traditions. They make an array of classic dishes and find the perfect wine pairings, as well as trying their hands at modern entrees that show off the rich histories of France, Spain and Italy. Continuing to broaden your horizons means you’ll have countless chances to eat delicious food, sharpen your skills and discover great ideas that could revolutionize your work as a chef.