How To Become A Chef- Cooking at present is a high flying career with a lot of challenges and enriching opportunities. But how do you become a chef? Well, formal education is not necessary to follow the path of becoming a chef. However if you have a relevant degree or say diploma in addition to the industrial training and apprenticeship your way becomes quite smooth. To become a chef, most cooks start their career by learning the basic fundamentals of food preparation, spending years honing their skills and then finally stepping to that last step of the ladder. Although it does take years of hard work but in addition to that you should also possess a bucket of few high priority skills and training. So, let’s have a look on how to become a chef and the career path of a chef.

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How To Become A Chef

Requirements For Becoming A Chef: Essential Information

Eligibility Criteria

10+2 with a minimum aggregate of 60% / Entrance Test

Degree level

Diploma, certificate, associate and Bachelor's degree available

Degree Field

Culinary arts or related field

Duration of the course

Institutes under NCHM- 3 year diploma

Private institutions- 4 year diploma

Experience required to become a chef

Professional kitchen experience; apprenticeships after diploma course

Average Salary

2.5 lacs per annum( fresher)

How to Become a Chef – Method

There are a number of strategies and methods available for those who wish to pursue a career as a chef. These include the following -

  • The best choice would be to opt for a course in hotel management from the reputed hotel management institutions in India.

  • There are around 20 government run institutes across the country, which provide you with the best faculty and are registered under (NCHM) National Council of Hotel Management.

  • A number of hotel chains also conduct the program in collaboration with the institutes to help students.

  • Students can also enroll themselves in private institutions that are endorsed by the All India council for Technical Education( AICTE) and are affiliated with foreign institutions of hotel management.

  • The various number of food craft institutes across the country also offer diploma courses in catering and food processing. The minimum qualification requirement for them is class X with 60% percentage.

  • The food craft courses are conducted on a large scale in batches and they cover a number of aspects of food preparation and presentation.

  • As the duration of these courses is normally 6 to 18 months, on course completion students can find junior level employment in hotels and over a period of time and practice, they can reach the supervisory cadre.

Chef Courses in India

The chef courses in India are of different categories across many hotel management institutes in the country. There are many institutes which even offer such courses in collaboration with hotels. Here are some of the best chef courses that include a bachelor's degree or a diploma.

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Courses for Becoming a Chef

Bachelor's degree in catering technology & culinary arts

BA (hons) culinary arts

Post Graduate Diploma in culinary arts

Diploma in food & beverage service

Diploma in bakery & confectionery

Diploma in kitchen management

Diploma in bakery & patisserie

Diploma in culinary arts

Craft certification course in food production

Craftsmanship course in food & beverage service

Craftsmanship course in food production & patisserie


Chef Job Prospects

There are different career roads you can take in the restaurant industry depending on your skills, interest zones and strengths. Once you complete a bachelor's degree, a certificate or a diploma course from an institute, you can join a hotel as an apprentice or intern. You can also go for an apprenticeship from the hotel after completion of your class 12.

A trained chef is even entitled to get placements into the air catering industries or the food processing companies, catering in confectionaries, clubs, cruise and corporate companies. Experienced chefs can open their own startups or businesses.

Chef Hierarchy

There is a high turnover rate in the industry of jobs in hotel management as head cooks and chefs. The competition for the highest paying positions in upscale establishments will be strong. Most of the chefs enter the hotel industry through entry-level positions and work their way up with experience and training. Here is the chef hierarchy that you can get aware of, which is mostly followed in the restaurants.

Executive Chef– An executive chef is superior to the group of chefs in the kitchen. This position is reached after one has worked in all the other positions as a chef and has gained quite enough experience in the field. With the position, also comes a great responsibility as an executive chef is the final authority in making any decision related to the hotel’s kitchen. The responsibilities may include from procuring the ingredients to deciding the menu.

Sous Chef– A Sous Chef is a position where one is in-charge of the kitchen. Minimum of 6 years are required in the job to reach this position. A sous chef must have the skills and talent of making new recipes. He/she must be an innovative person in his/her recipes’ presentation.

Chef- An employee can expect to be promoted to a chef generally after two years of finishing his training. Here the promotions are solely dependent on the candidate’s performance just like in any other sectors.

Trainee- When you complete your diploma or degree course, irrespective of what you have done you are first appointed as a trainee in the hotel kitchen. You can also be appointed for any specific section such as Chinese, Italian, French, Desserts and pastry or continental, etc.

Chef Salary in India

The salary of a chef solely and purely depends on their skills and expertise. With years of practice and experience, one can earn more than 6 lakhs per annum. For executive chefs, the sky's the limit. Here you can get a rough idea of the salary for the various job profiles of a chef.

Chef Salary Distribution

Job Position

Salary(INR)*

Executive chef

6,80,600

Sous chef

4,88,500

Food and Beverage Manager

5,65,800

Cafe Manager

5,42,800

Trainee

2,50,000

Chef

3,60,000

*- The salary values given are just the approximate figures. The salaries may depend from hotel to hotel.

Thus candidates will step towards the career they wish only if they pursue a course which benefits them in the direction of their specialization. These details for how to become a chef will help you in achieving your dream job.

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