Are you standing in your kitchen wondering how to become a chef? There are a few steps you can take to prepare for this exciting new career. If you have a passion for food, it will be less like a job and more like your favorite pastime.
How Do I Prepare to Be a Chef?
Here are the steps you can take to prepare for a job as a chef in a Los Angeles restaurant or kitchen:
Step #1: Develop Your Cooking Skills
Are you ready to be a full-fledged chef? Take some time to learn the basics of cooking, practice at home, experiment, and cook for others. Your friends and family can offer you feedback and tell you how fantastic your food tastes.
Learn Standard Cooking Terms
If you want to walk the walk, you must talk the talk. Learning standard cooking terms will come in handy when discussing cooking techniques during a culinary arts course or while talking with a top restaurant chef about your future. A few standard cooking terms include:
- Bake – cooking with a dry heat in an oven.
- Braise – cooking meat or vegetables, browning them by simmering in liquid until tender.
- Baste – moistening food, cooking it to keep it from drying out.
- Blanch – placing vegetables or fruits in boiling water for a short period, then quickly moving them to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. This will lock in the flavor and color.
- Boil – cooking food in water above 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Broil – cooking directly over or under high heat.
- Dice – cutting food into small cubes.
- Fry – cooking food in hot fats or oils.
- Grill – dry heat cooking over a metal grate to produce a smoky, charred flavor.
- Julienne – cutting food into long, thin pieces.
- Marinate – storing food in a flavored liquid to transfer the flavor.
- Poach – cooking gently over low heat.
- Puree – mashing or blending food into a liquid.
- Roast – cooking meat or poultry uncovered, using dry heat in an oven.
- Saute – cooking food with a small amount of fat over high heat.
- Sear – browning the surface of meat quickly over high heat to seal in the juices.
- Steam - cooking food over a pot of boiling water.
Practice Cooking at Home
You will want to learn about different ingredients and how they are used in cuisines from around the world. Practicing cooking will help you build confidence and improve your cooking skills.
Experiment with Food
Try new recipes and explore fresh ingredients. Experiment with the standard food staples and fuse different cuisines to make your signature dishes.
Cook for Others and Get Feedback
Your friends and family will always need to eat, and what’s better than a free meal? Make different types of food and make sure to get feedback. They can be your focus group, and you can learn about your food choices and cooking techniques.
Step #2: Entry-Level Restaurant or Kitchen Experience
The next step in the process of preparing to become a chef is to get some entry-level experience. It helps to see an authentic restaurant and kitchen run from the inside. As a patron, you may have learned about the contribution of a waiter, host, or busperson, but to see the kitchen in action, you have to get an entry-level job in the kitchen. Plus, if you need to supplement your income while you attend culinary school, what is better than working in a restaurant? You get valuable experience and make funds to pay the bills.
Step #3: Attend Culinary School
Los Angeles Hospitality Education Center offers a Culinary Arts certification program in the heart of Los Angeles. We offer a fast-paced, short-term, skills-based education. In as little as six months, you can prepare for a career in the food service industry.
Get Mentorship from Chef Instructors
During our Culinary Arts program, you will get expert advice and mentorship from our industry-experienced chef instructors. Our class sizes are small, so you get personal attention and oversight when cooking in the simulated commercial kitchen. Instructors teach you about food safety, sanitation, nutrition, menu and recipe costing, and environmental sustainability.
Get Experience in a Simulated Commercial Kitchen
The best part of the Culinary Arts experience is all the hands-on training you receive in a simulated commercial kitchen. This experience tests classroom theory, offering a broad introduction to the many aspects of cooking in the food service industry.
Step #4: Network with other Chefs and Restaurant Owners
A great way to find your first job is to network with chefs and restaurant owners in the Los Angeles area. And when hiring, you will be the first person they think of. Los Angeles Hospitality Education Center also provides career services and job opening information in the Hollywood Park area.
Step #5: Take a Job as a Line or Sous Chef
Before you become a head chef in the hottest restaurant in Los Angeles, take your first step in your exciting new journey. Start as a line cook or sous chef and get the lay of the land. Once you have some experience, you can work toward a head chef position.
Want to Learn More?
The Culinary Arts program aims to provide market-driven, competency-based education delivered by faculty with appropriate credentials and industry experience. This program prepares graduates for entry-level culinary employment with opportunities for advancement in the food service industry.
Contact us now to learn more.