Want to be a Chef?
Published on: Monday, April 22, 2019
By: K Krishnan

Do you have a keen sense of smell and taste? Do you like creating recipes and preparing meals? Do you like working in a hectic environment? Then an occupation as a chef may get your career cooking

Chefs are managers who plan, direct and participate in food preparation and cooking activities in restaurants, hotels, institutions and other food establishments.

Duties

Chefs’ duties and responsibilities vary from one organisation to another but, in general, they:
  • supervise cooks and other kitchen staff in the preparation, cooking and presentation of food
  • lorder food and kitchen supplies based on best price and budget
  • check orders received for quantity and quality of product
  •  create new recipes to please customers
  •  create menus
  •  estimate labour and food costs and modify menus to stay within budget
  • check the quality of raw and cooked food products
  • ensure that sanitation and occupational safety standards are maintained
  • assist with staff development and training
  •  meet with other managers in the organisation
  •  promote their establishments by practicing good public relations.


Where a number of chefs work for the same employer, they usually specialise in preparing particular types of foods. For example, they may be:

 
  • chefs saucier (sauce chefs) who prepare, season and cook meat and fish items and accompanying sauces, as well as soups, casseroles and related dishes
  •  chefs garde manger (pantry chefs) who prepare and present salads, cold dishes and cold hors d’oeuvres and buffets
  •  chefs entremetier (vegetable chefs) who prepare, cook and present vegetables, pasta and egg dishes
  • chefs patissier (pastry chefs) who prepare, cook and present desserts and pastries and may also prepare ice creams and sherbets.


Working Conditions

Working conditions for chefs vary with the type of organisation. 

Large establishments may have modern equipment, well-lighted work areas and air conditioning. 

Older and smaller establishments may not be as well-equipped.

Chefs frequently work in a small area that can be very noisy, especially during busy periods. 

They must stand for hours at a time and work near hot ovens and grills. Some lifting up to 20 kilograms routinely is required.

Work hours vary depending on the type and size of the establishment. 

Large establishments that are open 24 hours a day typically have 2 to 3 shifts a day. 

Holiday and weekend work and overtime is common.

Skills & Abilitiesn Chefs need to possess:
  • artistic and creative talent
  • good health and stamina
  • a keen sense of taste and smell
  • excellent hand-eye co-ordination
  • strong math skills
  • a memory for details
  • excellent communication skills, interpersonal skills and team-building skills
  •  the ability to remain calm in hectic circumstances
  • excellent organisational skills.


They should enjoy planning and organising menus and methods, supervising the work of others, and using tools and equipment to perform tasks requiring precision.

Educational Requirements

Almost all chefs have some technical qualification obtained through apprenticeship training or related post-secondary education.

Employment Opportunities

Most chefs are employed in privately owned restaurants or hotels, but some are employed by:

 
  • schools
  •  hospitals
  • nursing and personal care facilities
  •  civic and social organisations
  • catering companies
  • railway or cruise lines.


Experienced chefs may advance to sous chef and executive chef positions, or purchase and manage their own restaurants.  

Opportunities for advancement depend largely on acquiring better cooking and management skills. 

Graduates of technical or apprenticeship programmes tend to advance more quickly than those who lack formal qualifications.

 

Career Tips

If you are a hands-on person who likes to work with your hands, consider being a Chef. Join a hotel as an assistant in the kitchen. 

Work under a Master Chef for a while. 

Many five star hotels have an in-house  training program of their own. 

If you get the right hotel, you can work and earn at the same time. 

You don’t have to take a PTPTN loan and you are Free to work anywhere around the world.

On the other hand if you think you want a formal training, look around. 

The Government has many Chef training programmes in Polytechnics, Community Colleges and Training Canters.  If you cant find a suitable Chef Training centre join a private college. 

The fee can be expensive and you need to have the money. You may get some financial assistance but that may not be enough. 

 

Q and A

If you are unable to find a Free Chef Training Centre write to: krishnan@ark.com.my. Do not forget to send you SPM results.  





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