Some people just have the knack of not only preparing food that is appetizing, but also creating a presentation that appeals to both the eye and the palate. If you have been thinking of a career in exquisite dining, there are several ways you can prepare.
- Get on the job training. Preparing a dinner that is both visually appealing and delicious in the privacy of your kitchen is one thing. Doing so within a restaurant kitchen is an entirely different matter. In addition to your creativity, you will also have to develop excellent time management skills and be aware of such important matters as inventory, surface cleanliness, and health codes. One of the best ways to introduce yourself to all these matters is to find an entry level position in a restaurant that does not focus on an all you can eat buffet or takeout orders through a drive-in window. The pay will most likely be poor, and the hours will be long. In exchange, you will have the chance to see first-hand how a fast-paced kitchen works, what it is like to take direction from a master chef, and how to abide by local health regulations without a second thought. This is also a great way to see if you truly have what it takes to be successful in this business.
- Investigate culinary schools in your area. Check with your local universities about degree programs related to the culinary arts. Even if the program does not seem to have the focus you would like, the experience will at least help you develop a better idea of what you want to get out of your education. In addition to looking at university programs, look into culinary schools that are within a reasonable distance from your home. You can find culinary schools listed in the Yellow Pages or in the membership list of your local chamber of commerce. Just like any institute of higher learning, a culinary school will have a department that interfaces with potential students and can help you determine if their program will help you further your career goals. If the options for culinary training are not great in your area, take to the Internet. A number of culinary schools maintain websites. Another benefit of using the Internet is that you can also check for positive and negative comments about any given school or program. From there, you can contact the schools that meet your criteria and make a formal application. Upon acceptance, you will begin a journey that will teach you all the basics of the culinary arts. Chances are that you will find yourself learning many new and exciting dishes, and will find the encouragement to create sensational new ones at the same time. Coupled with your experiences in a working restaurant, attending a culinary school will help you understand how to manage a kitchen while exposing you to schools of thought and methods of preparation you may have only read about in the past.
- If at all possible, find a mentor. No one can teach the art of cooking like a master chef. If you are fortunate enough to secure an apprenticeship with a mentor, accept every morsel of wisdom that is offered to you. Apprenticeships often will run for a minimum of one year and may last as long as three. Depending on the location, you may be able to secure an apprenticeship while still in school. Alumni are sometimes willing to take on a promising student attending their alma mater, and offer an apprenticeship. Keep in mind that your role as an apprentice is not to question or evaluate the information you are given, but simply to absorb it. Later on, once you have begun to understand where you wish to specialize, you can critique what you have learned and how it relates to the area of expertise you are choosing to enter.
Nothing is quite as rewarding as having a career that provides you with the ability to express your creativity, provides a good or service that people truly appreciate, and still allows you to make a decent living. Culinary training definitely offers this and more to the right person.