There is no denying the importance of attending a culinary arts program if you dream of making it as a chef. In this setting, you’ll learn everything you’ll need to one day be the master of your kitchen, from the best ways to chop and dice ingredients to how to work alongside other staff members.
Yet there are certain things all would-be chefs must be aware of before entering the culinary academy. These lessons are vital in creating realistic expectations and ensuring success in becoming a bona fide kitchen guru.
Working in a kitchen can be demanding
Whether cooking seafood or preparing gourmet steak, all kitchens are inherently chaotic. With so many moving parts and a number of tasks to complete in a very small window, it’s not uncommon for people to scream and yell in kitchens. And that kind of pace can put a strain on people, leaving them feeling both emotionally and physically drained. Yet, if you truly love cooking, you’ll find ways to cope, either by improving your communication skills or by maintaining the proper work-life balance. By overcoming any stresses, you’ll become that much better of a chef.
Everything about a professional kitchen (even an educational one) is easily 100 times more intense than your home kitchen. Knives are sharper, stoves are hotter, space is tighter, and everything moves at a sprint-like pace. Even simple tasks like turning on a stove are much more difficult, and you'll be expected to figure everything out very quickly.
You will not become a chef as soon as you graduate
For some reason, most people think that once they graduate from culinary school they will automatically become a chef. This is not true. It takes years of hard work and sacrifice to move up the culinary ladder to become a chef. The truth is that as a recent culinary graduate, you know less than an experienced dishwasher and will probably end up at the garde manger station, where soups and salads are prepared.
Cooking Will Take Over Your Life
While you might be thinking, “ Cooking already takes over my life,” this is a little different than burying yourself in cookbooks and spending all your free time in your kitchen. You'll start to find that, slowly, all you really think about is cooking and what's happening in school. Even your language will change, as culinary vernacular slowly infiltrates your everyday life.
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