A culinary career is one filled with passion. Passion for food. Passion for hospitality. Passion for fast-paced kitchen action. One of these passions might be what aspired you to be a chef. Being a professional in the kitchen is no longer only a plan B; it has become a career of choice.
If you have the inspiration to turn your cooking passion into a career, here are 5 practical steps:
1. Choose a specialty
Known as a food paradise and given its multi-cultural heritage, Singapore’s culinary industry is vibrant, exciting and offers many unique career opportunities. You will first need to identify your interest and choose a specialty to focus on.
Do you want to become a pastry chef, kitchen chef, caterer, or restaurant owner? Would you like to be an expert in French, Chinese or Japanese cuisine?
Whatever your decision is, pick a specialty you love and put in all effort and dedication to excel.
2. Practice & practice
If you aspire to be a successful chef, you need an appreciation and knowledge of quality ingredients, perfect cooking technique, balanced favour and good presentation. However, all these cannot be honed without spending significant time practising in the kitchen.
Jump at every opportunity to practice your skills and seek feedback from family and friends. Do not be afraid to experiment with new recipes, ingredients, tastes and cooking methods. Translate what you learn through videos and recipe books into real kitchen action and aim to cook better.
3. Upskill with culinary certifications
The food and beverage (F&B) industry is one in which learning never stops. Successful chefs constantly increase their knowledge and are excited to learn about new ingredients, new kitchen techniques and sample new dishes.
This can be done by attending WSQ certified culinary classes taught by professional master chefs. The training helps to broaden and deepen the knowledge of different cuisines and techniques quickly. This is essential to show an employer your commitment to the culinary field while promoting your employability across different kitchen settings.
4. Practical kitchen experiences
To gain experience in the F&B industry, you need to learn and apply the skills in a professional kitchen. You will gain first-hand experiences of a fast-paced, demanding environment and derive valuable coping skills such as staying calm under pressure, tackling new challenges, and teamwork.
A live kitchen allows you to learn from a mentor, such as planning and organising the kitchen set up for more efficiency and handling uncertain situations such as ingredients shortages or unusual customer demands.
5. Cultivate resilience
The decision to pursue a culinary career in Singapore instead of a conventional office job needs courage, conviction and most importantly, a strong, resilient spirit. You may receive criticisms of your career choice, face failures testing new recipes or receive nasty comments from others in the kitchen.
During testing times like these, it is common to doubt yourself. However, make an intentional effort to bounce back from these bad times and not give up. Gain insights from other experienced chefs through conversations and read biographies to know more about their career journeys and kitchen experiences. You will conclude that you are not alone.
The high points of working in a professional kitchen include the adrenaline rush during service and the strong sense of camaraderie and accomplishment at the end of the day.
If you are ready to take the step to explore a culinary career, why not consider signing up for our WSQ culinary course as a first step?