In any industry where food is served, you will likely find a corporate chef. From big companies needing catering services, to holiday parties, corporate chefs are everywhere.

What is a corporate chef?

A corporate chef is a chef that creates menus and meal production for large corporations or business events. These can include awards banquets, holiday parties or private parties, even corporate retreats. A corporate chef must be highly professional  and very experienced, as businesses don’t want to worry that something will go wrong with an event.  Corporate chefs act as consultants, meal planners and caterers and are expected to perform with utmost service and professionalism.

A  corporate chef that is good at his job can expect to make a decent salary as big companies often have the funds to pay for their events to go off without a hitch.

A corporate chef can be responsible for corporate events or even oversee production of corporate food products, such as making sure dishes served in large restaurant changes are the same in every restaurant.  Corporate chefs also develop mass market products for restaurants and other food service operations, such as hospitals, schools, and hotels.

What kind of person makes a good corporate chef?

A corporate chef must have many demonstrated qualities to succeed. For one thing, unless you are a corporate chef for one specific company you will always be looking for jobs and projects, kind of like a freelancer. This means being able to present yourself in a professional manner to many different companies, essentially selling yourself over and over, so marketing experience is a huge plus. Also, having connections in the corporate world is a huge plus;  if you know someone at a particular company well, you can tell them what you do and ask them to introduce you to the person in charge of finding catering for events, and you have an in. As in most industries, good networking skills are a must to be a good corporate chef.

You must be organized, and a good leader. You can’t pull of huge events by yourself; more than likely you’ll have a staff working for you, you have to be able to communicate well with them, as well as the customer.  You must be professional but also approachable.

Having many years in food service under your belt is also important. A corporate chef job can be high paying and gain the respect of many people both in the restaurant industry as well as the corporate world; this is not a job to be take lightly.

How can I become a corporate chef? Finding corporate chef positions.

Many corporate executive chefs have degrees in either culinary arts, hospitality, or restaurant management. Most all of them have experience working in five star restaurants, hotels and catering companies. While an education is not a requirement, experience most certainly is.

You should amass as much knowledge as you can about cooking and the food industry. Just like companies vary, so do the types of events they put on, and the more varied your knowledge, the more jobs you’ll able to take. Of course specializing in a certain area can also be helpful, but you’ll be limiting your work that way.

Join professional organizations, attend seminars and conferences and get your name out there as much as you can.  Go to as many events as possible, and always introduce yourself and tell people exactly what you offer. The more people you meet, the more opportunities you’ll have for finding clients.

Becoming a corporate chef is not a job you will obtain overnight, but with the right education, experience and connections,  a job as a corporate chef can be a long and rewarding career.

References:

Corporate Chef Job Salary / Pay info:

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Corporate_Sous_Chef/Salary

International Corporate Chef’s Association:

http://www.corpchefs.com/login.cfm?CFID=31647581&CFTOKEN=41958694

 

Photo Courtesy Of:
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1408

{ 0 comments }

Ever wondered how to become a private chef?

While most cooking jobs are in restaurants and hotels, there are plenty of people who love to cook, but would rather cook in home kitchens as opposed to commercial, or just cook for the same families as opposed to different people every night. For these types of chefs, becoming a private chef or personal chef is a great option.

What is a private chef?

A private chef is a trained culinary professional who instead of working in restaurants chooses to work for a specific family or individual. The family pays the chef’s salary, and together they work out an agreement as to what the private chef is responsible for. Sometimes it is just cooking, but often it includes doing all the grocery shopping as well as keeping the home kitchen clean and stocked, as well as meal planning, and sometimes entertaining.

A private chef is not a one size fits all position. Each family has different needs, and must find a chef who can accommodate those needs. For example families with children will require a chef to be able to cook many kid friendly dishes, while top executives may need someone who can put together elegant dinner parties. Just as there are many types of families, there are many types of personal chefs. Some require the ability to cook healthy foods, while some jobs may require travel with the family. The options are endless.

How do I become a private chef?

The most important thing obviously is that you have to know how to cook. Many private chefs have a Culinary Arts degree, as well as experience working in restaurants and catering companies.  Being a personal or private chef is not the same as cooking in a home kitchen. Clients will expect a certain degree of professionalism and experience, such as uniforms as well as safety and sanitation procedures; this is what they are paying you for after all.

To open up your job possibilities, having as much experience as possible cooking many different types of cuisines and styles is helpful.  Most people looking to hire private chefs are looking for those that can prepare gourmet food as opposed to traditional family dinners. Also, it is important to remember that in many instances private chefs are responsible for meal planning, grocery shopping, and planning dinner parties and other gatherings, so these skills are necessary. If you work for someone who has many parties and events, having staff available to assist such as waiters and bartenders is helpful as well.

In addition to working for yourself, there are also companies that contract out personal and private chefs; they’ll find a family that suits your needs and then your paycheck may be coming from the company rather than the family. This means that the company will take a cut of whatever the family pays, so you’ll lose money, but if aren’t able to find a family yourself, these kinds of companies can be very helpful. Many self employed private chefs started out this way to gain experience in the industry.

If you are looking for the right family, make sure to tell people your goals. Work in high end restaurants where a lot of wealthy people dine and mention to customers if possible what your goals are and what kind of services you would like to offer. It’s important to get out there and meet people; a good network is important in this type of business.

There are also many professional organizations you can join where you can meet other personal chefs and even professional certifications such as one offered by the American Culinary Federation, which will help build your credibility and reputation.

There are many opportunities available for personal chefs if you have the abilities, the drive and the experience to succeed.

More Information on How to Be a Private Chef:

ACF Personal Chef Certification:
http://www.acfchefs.org/Content/NavigationMenu2/Careers/Certification/Designations/PCC/default.htm

 

American Personal and Private Chef Association:
http://www.personalchef.com/

 

Photo Courtesy Of:
Freedigitalphotos.net

 

{ 0 comments }

Ever wondered if you have what it takes to be a celebrity chef?

Walk into culinary schools everywhere and ask students how many of them have dreams of becoming the next big thing in the cooking world, and you’ll be surprised how many enter school with that goal in mind.

By the time they leave, it’s usually a different story, but the Food Network as well as reality TV shows have given many cooks the idea that they have what it takes to become the next Rachael Ray.

What is a Celebrity Chef and is this an obtainable dream?

There are several types of celebrity chefs. The first thing that most people think of when they think of “celebrity” chefs are  names like Emeril Lagasse or Gordon Ramsay. In the culinary world, this is as good as it gets.  I’m not trying to crush anyone’s dream, but becoming the next Emeril is about as likely as becoming the next Brad Pitt. Which isn’t to say it can’t happen, but the odds are stacked against you.

If you have a passion for cooking and food, and just have to be in the limelight, there are other ways of doing so that are much more obtainable. Think about the city where you live. If you’re active in the local food community, there are probably restaurants and business owners that everyone knows about. Restaurant reviewers, as well as local TV news segments can all make someone stand out.

In the city in which I live, a woman opened an ice cream shop a few years ago. Since then she has exploded on the local food scene. She does plenty of local events, has opened several more shops in town, and has been featured in national publications, and even the Food Network. The farther you get out of town, the less people who know her, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone here in town who hasn’t had her ice cream or wouldn’t recognize her on the street.  Her ice cream is daringly different of course, and she’s good at what she does, but she is definitely a celebrity in her own right.

Okay, so how can I become a celebrity in my own right?

Well, just like making your way to the Food Network, even becoming a local or regional celebrity is not something that’s going to happen overnight. You have to have a dynamic personality, an idea and a lot of ambition, and a connection or two can’t hurt.

You first have to figure out what your passionate about. Generally, when people are passionate about a certain topic, they excel at it. To get to the top, you have to first figure out what’s going to make you stand out. If you think you have what it takes to become the hot new restaurant in town, figure out what your specialty is, learn the ins and outs of the restaurant business (and business in general), and go for it.

Do something that’s never been done before, and do it well. Get feedback from family and friends about whether they think your idea is good and whether it will catch on. If you live in farm country and there aren’t any vegan restaurants, that’s probably because it’s just not the type of area in which a vegan place would succeed. Don’t open a business just because there isn’t one in the area; do it because you love it and it would make you happy. That way, in case you don’t make it to the spotlight, you are still happy with your decision.

Get involved in the community. Take part in any local events you can, and meet people. The best publicity is word of mouth. It doesn’t matter how good of a product you have, if people don’t know it’s out there, they’ll never know who you are.  Talk to as many people as you can, and I can’t stress this enough: BE NICE to people. Everyone, not just people that can help you out.  Be a positive addition to your community. Don’t badmouth other businesses, your customers, and don’t go around town spewing your religious or political beliefs. Nothing can turn fame into shame more than a negative personality.

Most important, don’t let fame be your end all. No matter how hard you try, sometimes it just isn’t meant happen, and you want to be able to fall back on something. Remember, being active in your community is a good thing whether you become famous or not, so if you really enjoy it, you’ll get where you want to be, and who knows maybe you’ll even land on the Food Network someday.

More Resources on How to Be a Celebrity Chef

Opening a restaurant:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/businessideas/startupkits/article73384-8.html

 

Finding local events in your area:
http://www.ediblecommunities.com/content/

 

Photo Courtesy Of:
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659

 

{ 0 comments }

Thinking about trying for a catering job?

Catering is an important job in the culinary world. Without it, many weddings, banquets, parties, and other celebrations wouldn’t go on.

There’s no question it’s a lot of work, but how do you know if catering is the right field of culinary expertise for you?

What is catering?

Catering companies plan meals and events for small groups all the way up to large groups of people. They act as consultants, menu planners, and of course chefs for your big day. There are many, many types of caterers, including small companies as well as corporate companies that specialize in large corporate events such as awards banquets and other company functions.

Catered meals can be as simple or elegant as the client likes, and the prices vary considerably depending on the types of food and service. Meals can be served buffet style where food is set up in hot and cold trays or served like a meal. The catering company will usually prepare food at their facility and transport it, unless there is a commercial kitchen onsite.

Who would make a good catering chef?

If you are looking into going to into catering, you must be the kind of person who likes to plan parties and events. Since many of these events revolve around food, menu planning is extremely important. You must be able to cook for and service many guests, so being able to adjust recipes and food costs is a must.

There are many different types of catering companies and chefs. You can specialize in a type of cuisine (such as vegetarian or ethnic), or a type of event (such as corporate functions). Of course you can also offer a wide variety of services to gain as many clients as possible. The possibilities are endless.

A good catering chef must be organized and have good communication skills. There are many different jobs at a catering company from prep cooks, to dishwashers to servers and bartenders; a good catering chef can communicate with all of these people and still earn their respect.

A caterer must be organized and be able to plan events without overbooking, while keeping the schedule as full as can be to keep money coming in.

How can I become a catering chef?

There are many first steps you can take on your way to a catering career, starting with an education. Many caterers have degrees in culinary arts or hospitality, but this is not a requirement by any means.

If you don’t have a degree in food service, but still think you might like to try your hand at catering, apply for jobs a local catering companies.  Many companies need dishwashers, prep cooks and other lower level positions and if you can get your foot in the door you can learn a lot about how catering companies work.

Of course you can always start a small catering business in your home; many larger companies got their start this way. You’ll have to check the rules and regulations about starting a home based food service business, but many people do it with much success. They simply start out by booking smaller parties and work their way up, buying equipment and eventually renting or purchasing commercial space. It’s a long road, but if you dream of becoming a catering chef but don’t have the funds to start a huge company right off the bat, this is definitely an acceptable and often successful route to take.

No matter what your education level, if you have ambition and the desire to succeed, becoming a catering chef can go from being a dream to becoming a definite reality.

More Information About the Catering Business and Catering Jobs:

Catering Pay / Job Salary Info
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Industry=Catering/Salary

 

National Association of Catering Executives:
http://www.nace.net/

 

Photo Courtesy Of:
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2164

 

{ 0 comments }

Becoming a Sommelier

There are many jobs in the food industry that don’t require cooking, or handing food. One of those jobs is that of a sommelier, or professional wine steward. You’ll fine a wine steward in almost every five star restaurant in the world.

What is a sommelier?

A sommelier is basically an expert at wine. This includes more than just tasting, but also knowing how to store wine, which wines to pair with which foods, and how create the perfect wine list for a particular restaurant. They must know proper serving techniques, the best glasses to drink certain wines in, and proper temperatures. Very often it is the sommelier who must train service staff such as bartenders and waiters on the wine list, so that they at least have some knowledge when interacting with customers.

You will find a sommelier in high end restaurants and fine dining establishments where diners are more likely to order expensive wines and want the perfect wine for their meal. While many lower end restaurants do serve wine, they don’t necessarily need to have a wine steward on staff at all times.

A good sommelier not only knows a lot about wine, but also about food, since most wine is drank with a meal. Very often sommeliers are trained in food service with many having degrees in culinary arts and a restaurant background.

How do I become a sommelier?

The obvious answer is to learn as much about wine as you possibly can through tasting, reading about, and keeping up to date on the latest trends including the best vineyards and grape varieties.

The next step is education. Many sommeliers start out as foodies interest in cooking and discover a passion for wine along the way, and may have a culinary arts degree or degree in hospitality. While these are helpful, they are not as helpful as getting your sommelier certification.

There are different levels of certification, beginning with an introductory course and working your way up to being a Master Sommelier. If you want to work as a wine steward in the best restaurants these certifications are of utmost importance. These classes and certifications show commitment, as well as proven knowledge.

To become a Master Sommelier, you must first pass all three previous certifications, and then be invited to complete the Master Sommelier course. This is the top professional certification in the industry and is internationally recognized among five star restaurants, high end hotels and other quality food service establishments.

These certifications are not necessary to become a sommelier, but to prove your knowledge and passion they are certainly helpful. They will help find better paying jobs and gain respect in both the wine industry as well as the culinary world.

To learn more about wine without investing a lot in education, a good place to start is a local wine shop, as a salesman or clerk. You may not learn enough to achieve master status right away, but you will gain knowledge and insight talking to customers and shop owners, and you’ll be involved in wine tastings as well. This is also a great way to meet other wine professionals and top chefs and begin building your professional contacts. Many top professionals in the wine industry got their start by doing these exact things.

Becoming a sommelier requires a breadth knowledge and dedication and is not something that will happen overnight, but if you are passionate about wine and willing to do what it takes to get there, you can enjoy a long and rewarding career, whether you decide to become certified or not.

More about Being a Sommelier

Sommelier Certification:
http://www.mastersommeliers.org/default.aspx

Sommelier Salary, Pay and Wages Info:

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Sommelier/Salary

Photo Courtesy Of:
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280

{ 0 comments }

Everyone knows waiters and waitresses are an important part of the service staff in most restaurants, but there is an often necessary but overlooked position that many people don’t realize exists, the job of a food runner.

What is a Food Runner?

A food runner is pretty much what the name implies, a person who runs food from the kitchen to restaurant tables, although they usually have more duties than just this one task. Often a food runner is an assistant to the waitstaff; in addition to taking food to diners, they may have to fill drink orders, clear plates, or just check up on guests if their server is busy to make sure they don’t need anything.

It is often a job that has many duties, as when their assistance is not needed from the waitstaff, they may be asked to assist in the kitchen or even other front of the house duties such as refilling sugar baskets or rolling silverware. They must be a jack of all trades in the restaurant business.

A food runner is someone that may or may not have experience waiting tables, and this is often a job that is acquired before becoming an actual server, especially in fine dining establishments.

A food runner is the last member of the staff to see a dish before it is sent to the customer, so because of this they must know what the finished dishes are supposed to look like.

A good food runner has excellent customer service skills as well as good communications skills, as they will not only be interacting with customers, but they also must be able to get through to the service staff in an efficient and professional manner. They must also be able to work on their feet for hours on end, and be able to lift large loads, as they will be responsible for carrying heavy trays of food from the kitchen, through the dining room, and finally to the customer.

Like most restaurant jobs, a food runner must be able to work at a fast pace while getting the job done efficiently. They must be friendly and courteous with a neat and clean appearance since diners will see them handling their plates of food.  Restaurant jobs are fast paced and highly stressful, so to be a good food runner in a busy restaurant, you must be able to work well under pressure, while communicating effectively to the staff.

A food runner may receive a small hourly wage while splitting tips with waitstaff, so being highly motivated is an important part of success in this position.

How Can I Become a Food Runner?

In a five-star restaurant, becoming a food runner may require previous experience waiting tables, while in more casual restaurants less experience may be needed. Education wise, usually nothing is required other than a high school diploma, although in high end establishments a lot of the service staff do these jobs a career and have degrees in food service or hospitality.

In many instances, you can simply walk in and apply for a server position and if those positions aren’t available or management feels you aren’t quite qualified to be a server, you may be offered the position of food runner in order to prove yourself and work your way up.

If you have a service oriented attitude and a friendly personality, you can often greatly benefit from a job as a food runner, as it is a great way to get a head start in the restaurant and service industries.

More Information about Food Runners:

Food Runner Job / Salary / Pay Info:

http://www.cbsalary.com/national-salary-chart.aspx?specialty=Food+Runner&tid=78609&cty=&kw=Food&jn=jn035&edu=&sid=

 

Photo Courtesy Of:
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Becoming a Restaurant Expeditor

If you’ve ever wondered how a good restaurant coordinates their kitchen staff with their waitstaff and makes sure orders are accurate and everything comes out perfectly every time, it’s likely because it has hired a good restaurant expeditor. What is a Restaurant Expeditor? The best way to describe the job of an expeditor is to […]

Read the full article →

How to Get a Dishwasher Job at a Restaurant

One of the most important jobs in a professional kitchen (and in home kitchens alike!) is that of a dishwasher. Unfortunately a dishwasher job is also one of the least appreciated. What is the Job Description of a Dishwasher? The job of a dishwasher is exactly what it sounds like-washing dishes. This can mean washing […]

Read the full article →

How to Get a Job as Restaurant Host or Hostess

Are You The Restaurant Host With The Most? One of the most important front of the house jobs in a restaurant is that of the host or hostess. They are usually a guests first impression of the staff and of the restaurant itself. What is a Host and What Does He Do? If you think […]

Read the full article →

Becoming a Pastry Chef

Wondering how to be a pastry chef? One of the most sought after jobs in restaurant kitchens is that of the pastry chef, the chef that is in charge of desserts. After all, isn’t that everyone’s favorite part of the meal?   What is a Pastry Chef? A pastry chef is the chef in charge […]

Read the full article →