how to be a chef

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Choosing A Specialty

This is step 6 in your multi-part online course about how to become a qualified chef.

OK, down to work... How do I select a specialty in the culinary world?

Most chefs have to first choose a specialty before going to culinary school so that they can specifically study that art in general.

Each specific culinary specialty has its own level of study, and all offer their own rewards.

To be a successful chef you do need to know how to supervise a variety of kitchen staff, create a nice food display, how to properly garnish a meal, plan menus, and order, stock and store food supplies.

This may not sound like much, but try having to do them all at once!

When choosing a specialty, it is basically about your own preference. These are some of the specialties that you may wish to get into:


A commis is an entry level position in the culinary industry. It is basically an apprenticeship position.

You will have to do this at some point if you ever plan to run your own kitchen. For this, you will have to work under the line cook.

In this position, you will learn how to work effectively in a kitchen environment. You will also be learning how to prepare, using your knife, and how to present a plate properly.

In addition, you will learn exactly how stressful working in a kitchen will be.

Everybody who wants to be a head chef of some sort, will be required to give the commis position a try for at least a year.

At least 72% of employees are looking for chefs who have apprenticeship experience. In some states, you are required to do at least a year as a commis before you can get your certification. This is true particularly if you are interested in specializing.

Most employers believe that you just can’t beat the experience you get during an apprenticeship. Many employers will not hire you without it.

If your business sense is good, you will realize that time is money to an employer. It is rare that they have the time to train a new employee to run a kitchen. And often times, they simply won’t.

Some commis positions are paid training opportunities, which is nice. Many of the commis positions that you will receive do not pay you; especially if it a course requirement.

To find one that pays, you will have to speak to your course manager and check to see if there are any paid apprenticeships available in your community. Be prepared to hear a "No".

To continue to the next section of your chef training, please click this link: What is a Pastry Chef?

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