What is a Chef?  The word “chef”, means “chief” in French and as such the Chef is in charge of the kitchen and is the chief cook.  It is a title and position which carries status, and you would never address the Executive Chef or Chef de Cuisine by his or her first name while in the kitchen.

If you aspire to becoming a Chef, consider our checklist below, as you have to:

  • Passion

    • Be passionate about food. You will be working with it all day long and the passion you put into your dishes will be seen, felt and appreciated by diners.
  • Sense of taste

    • Have an excellent sense of taste, or palate. Believe it or not, just like a muscle, this can be developed through guidance, practice and understanding.
  • Good eye

    • Have a good eye. You eat with your eyes first and you need to ensure your plating makes your dish look like a visual feast.
  • Engage diner's senses

    • Be able to engage diners with all their other senses too, which includes delicious aromas and interesting textures for fingers, teeth, tongue and palate.
  • Be creative

    • You need to know ingredients and techniques well enough to be able to invent new combinations, new methods and new ways of plating.
  • Be organised

    • You will have to take responsibility for an ordered workflow, safety and hygiene practices and the general management of a kitchen.

Students of culinary schools start higher paying and higher status jobs without spending as much time in lower-level kitchen jobs. Culinary school graduates can also achieve higher positions with more ease in the culinary world. Not everyone is cut out for the hard work that goes on in a professional kitchen, but have faith that you have what it takes!

Your career path will be determined by your educational qualifications, the skills you demonstrate whilst working in a kitchen, your special talents and aptitudes, and your teamwork and leadership abilities.  As an International Culinary Studio student, you will be guided through achieving your qualification, which will include sound theoretical knowledge as well as the acquisition of practical skills, and receive attitudinal guidance so that you can enter any kitchen with confidence and the ability to succeed.

All journeys start with acquiring a good solid foundation, and this is the aim of International Culinary Studio:

We offer qualifications which enable you to start your journey with the Certificate in Food Preparation and Culinary Arts, but also to further your journey with the Diploma in Culinary Arts or the Diploma in Baking / Patisserie, and allow you some specialisation with the Advanced Diploma in Culinary Arts or Patisserie.

Your Career Path

Different Chef's

Food and everything about the industry has been in the spotlight for years now, with the rise of food network television and celebrity Chefs.  But, being a Chef is more than a job, it is a way of life with many demands and also rewards.  With the right professional attitude and motivation, blended with a thorough skill set earned from a reputable institution like International Culinary Studio, you can make a success of one of the many career options available to you as a Chef.

You will start your career as an apprentice or Trainee Chef, or Commis Chef and then become a Prep Cook, Line Cook or Sous Chef.  This is why studying through International Culinary Studio makes complete sense.  It will allow you to achieve your qualification while you already work in a kitchen, enabling you to move up the ranks faster and on to the more advanced roles which will demand of you to develop recipes, direct and oversee the kitchen staff, work out the costs for ingredients and dishes, manage the inventory and set up work rosters.

It is important to note that there is no such thing as a definitive list of chef’s titles or positions in the professional kitchen.  The titles in use and even the responsibilities expected from chefs with these titles could differ from one country to the next.  The size of the kitchen you work in and the amount of kitchen staff will also determine which titles are in use and what area of the kitchen each person will be responsible for.

Below are some of the types of chefs you might have heard of and some information on where they generally fit in and what they do:

Short-Order Cooks

Short-order Cooks have little to no cooking experience or education, and as such this is often an entry position in a kitchen.   They often work in fast food restaurants.  Climbing up the kitchen career ladder without qualifications is not easy and could take many years.

Sous Chef

The Sous Chef is the Executive Chef’s assistant and is second in charge of the kitchen. The Sous Chef supervises the Line Chefs, making sure they follow the Executive Chef’s instructions. In small restaurants there may not be a need for a Sous Chef, as the Executive Chef will supervise the Line Chefs directly, whereas in larger establishments there may be multiple Sous Chefs.

Line Chef or Station Chef or Chef de Partie

They work under the supervision of the Sous* Chef. Each Line Chef is in charge of a specific part of the meal and as such a kitchen could have several Line Chefs.  In large kitchens they could have assistants too.  As such, there are different Line Chef positions, the Saute* Chef, the Fish Chef, Roast Chef, Grill Chef, Fry Chef, Vegetable Chef, Cold Chef and Pastry Chef.

The Saute Chef is usually the most senior.  Frying and Grilling could also be done by a chef in the rotisseur* position.  In a large kitchen there could be two Vegetable Chefs, a potager* for soups and a legumier* for vegetables.  A Swing cook is a line chef who can work at various stations and fills in as and when a particular station is under pressure.  Some kitchens have an Executive Pastry Chef with assistants specialising as a Confiseur*, Boulanger*, Glacier* or Decorateur*.

Line cooks can be chefs working their way up from lower positions and lower-skilled jobs and a qualification would assist and speed up this process. A Line Chef aspiring to be a Sous Chef or ultimately an Executive Chef will need a recognised qualification as well as industry experience working under the best possible mentor chefs in professional kitchens.

Executive Chef or Head Chef

The Executive Chef is the most senior position in the kitchen.  This is a prestigious position found in fine dining establishments and award winning restaurants.  Executive chefs manage and direct the kitchen staff and are responsible for menu creation, experimentation, ordering of inventory, and plating design.  Executive Chefs are often the brand of a restaurant and a draw card.  As such they often open their own restaurants or catering companies or can launch their own food product labels.  They could also become personal chefs to the rich and famous.  A lucky few also have successful media careers