STEP 2: Decide If Becoming a Chef Is Right for You
Culinary work takes a great deal of dedication, motivation, and passion. It also calls for a comfort with teamwork and openness to training. When figuring out if becoming a chef is the best fit for you, ask yourself the following—
Can I multi-task?
You will often be required to do many things at once, so be prepared. As you will learn, working in a kitchen is a fast-paced environment. It certainly helps if you can keep up! The profession also requires an ability to act with a clear head and in a decisive manner.
Am I good at making split-second decisions?
Thinking on your feet is a necessity when working in a kitchen, as there is always something going on around you. In order to be fully functional, you’ll need to be able to make decisions at the drop of a hat, and your decisions will have to be the right ones.
This may not sound very difficult, but you must consider that a kitchen is almost always filled with people doing many things at once. For example, something on the stove can go overlooked and begin to burn. A fire could break out with the simple misplacement of a dish towel, and confusion can easily erupt among the staff. A quick, decisive chef will always be able to keep everything running smoothly.
Do I handle criticism well?
As a chef, you will almost certainly encounter people who will not like your cooking and they will quite likely send their food back. It helps if you can take such criticism in stride.
Food critics, of course, will also pick apart your work. If you are not able to handle such feedback, you won’t leave yourself much room to improve.
In this profession the old saying is definitely true: “The customer is always right.” Live by it.
How is my business sense?
To be a good chef, you must have a good grasp of the business dealings, especially if you someday plan to be an executive chef or run your own establishment.
Some aspects you’ll need to know about: Dealing with shipments and stocking of food items, the management of other employees, and the direct correspondence with the head honcho or proprietor of the establishment.
Am I people person?
Many people think that being holed up in a kitchen all day doesn’t really require you to be in much contact with the public, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As the chef, you will encounter many people during the course of your day. You will be talking to delivery personnel, other employees, and often customers who wish to speak to you either in a congratulatory or critical tone.