ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to: Become a Chef Without Going to Culinary School

Updated on July 20, 2016

Chef Life

Becoming a chef is a rewarding experience, although the life of a chef is not meant for everyone. Does the life of a chef intrigue you? Do you wish to embark on a culinary journey, do you not have the funding or the time to attend culinary school? Don't worry, becoming a chef is a bit easier than you may think, but as with anything worth doing, it requires hard work and a ton of determination.

Step One: Apply at Local Restaurants

There is really only one way to begin your culinary adventure without culinary school, and this is obviously to work in a restaurant.

You should head to some of your local restaurants and apply as soon as you can. You probably shouldn't head to a more prestigious or busy restaurant to begin with. You should rack up plenty of experience first.

Head to a local restaurant chain and apply, they may not start you off as a cook, but beginning as a dish washer is a good way to get your foot in the door to becoming a chef, as you will learn the ins and outs of the industry. Applying at small business restaurants is also a great tactic, as they will be more invested in teaching you how to become a cook, getting promoted is much easier, and it is overall much easier to be hired.

Step Two: Work Hard, Earn References

Who you know in the restaurant industry is extremely important in becoming a chef. Restaurant work is hard work, and your references will go a long way with more prestigious restaurants. Work as hard as you possibly can, and really Earn those references. This will not happen overnight, but eventually you will be ready to move up with enough will power. Keep at it, and you will get there.

Step Three: Look the Part

A lot of restaurants will not supply you with a uniform if you are a cook. If you want to become a chef, you have to look professional- as with any career. Head to your local restaurant supply store and pick up some chef jackets and pants, this will set you apart from your competition, and chef clothes are designed to keep you safe and cool while cooking.

Looking proffesional is a very important piece of the puzzle, you may also want to invest in a set of proffesional chef knives from your local restaurant supply store as well. There is nothing more satisfying or impressive than having your own beautiful set of tools to do the job right.

Step Four: Stay Positive

Staying positive in the industry can be extremely difficult sometimes. You will work weekends, holidays, and most weeks, well over 40 hours, I work about 70 hours per week. Showing the people around you that you are happy with your job is the best way to get promoted, and show that you care.

Complaining, and getting upset about being called into work on that Saturday you called off a month ago (this happens to me all the time) won't get you far in this field. Be prepared to put in the extra hours, and you just may find what yourself in a position to inquire about that new manager position that just opened up.

Step Five: Management

Becoming the Restaurant Manager will bring you much closer to becoming a chef, as chefs do need management experience. Being a restaurant manager requires a lot of dedication. Being late is unacceptable, you can rarely call yourself out of work, you are almost always expected to be there when you are needed.

Continue loving your job, keep gaining experience, you are almost a chef. After you have worked as a manager for a year or two, it's time to move on.

Step Six: Becoming a Sous Chef

This is where your cooking and management experience and references will pay off. Being a Sous Chef is a mash-up of cooking and management responsibilities. You will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the kitchen- creating soups, new specials for the day, and assisting your executive chef. You are finally in charge of the kitchen (when the executive chef isn't around!) Congratulations! Being a Sous Chef feels extremely rewarding, and you will finally be able to call yourself a chef!

Step Seven: Becoming an Executive Chef

Becoming an Executive chef will be your most challenging step yet. (Step Eight may help with this.) It will take many years of work and determination- and even then, it may never happen. I have worked with many chefs who have not (and probably will never) reach this level.

If you become the executive chef, you are responsible for all operations of the kitchen, and your word is law in YOUR kitchen. If you ever reach this point in your career, hats off to you. You will never find a more challenging or rewarding experience (until you own your own restaurant!)

(Optional) Step Eight: Go to Culinary School

I know- this is a page dedicated to avoiding culinary school. But, if you are truly passionate and desire to become a great chef, you should consider culinary school. It is a valuable experience- even after you have worked in restaurants for a few years. Not only is it a great experience, it looks great on your resume, you will learn a lot, and be comitted to staying within the restaurant industry.

If you know being a chef is what you really want, you should go for it! I attended culinary school, and I haven't regretted it for a second. For me, the most important thing about my culinary school experience was the overall commitment to become a chef.

How do you feel about culinary school?

See results

Thank You!

Thank you for reading, I really hope my article was helpful to you, and influences your decision on becoming a chef. If you have any feedback or questions for me, please let me know, I would really appreciate it. Thanks again, and as always, good luck on your culinary adventure. Sincerely,

Daniel

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • GaminCouple profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel And Amanda Alvarez 

      2 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for your feedback! I really appreciate it, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    • Kyriaki Chatzi profile image

      Kyriaki Chatzi 

      2 years ago

      I really liked your Hub! Unique AND catchy! Thumbs up!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)