If you love to explore different cuisines, create new recipes, and otherwise prepare delicious appetizers and meals, have you considered a career as a chef? There is a rising demand for culinary specialists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and from 2014 to 2024, this exciting field is expected to grow by roughly 9%.
The BLS indicates that during 2015 alone, there were 129,370 chefs and head cooks employed in a variety of American restaurants and private homes. You may also discover employment opportunities in other types of establishments that serve food, such as hotels, hospitals, and cafeterias.
Since most chefs and head cooks are full-time employees, they are responsible for overseeing staff, food preparation, and other related matters such as ordering ingredients and menu planning. The BLS also states that chefs and head cooks tend to have long hours. You may, for example, need to be on site in the early morning and stay until late in the evening. Depending on the hours of operation, you will typically be required to work throughout the weekend and on holidays.
Do you prefer a fast-paced work environment? Chefs and head cooks need to be able to work well under pressure. Restaurant and other types of kitchens are often hectic, so the BLS stresses the importance of being aware of this.
While the median annual wage for chefs and head cooks was $43,180 in 2016, your salary will often depend on experience and other factors. These will likely include the number of hours you work and the type of restaurant or venue.
Even though most chefs and head cooks develop and hone their skills through direct work experience, others choose to attend culinary schools or receive training at other types of schools. In some cases, the BLS reports you may be able to participate in an apprenticeship program or receive training while you’re in the Armed Forces.
If you’d like to learn more about how to start a culinary career, contact a local culinary arts school for more information. When you speak with the staff at a culinary school, you may also want to inquire about their baking and pastry college. Once you’re employed as a chef or head cook, it’s a good idea to have a broad range of expertise.