How to Become a Chef

Infographic Thumbnail: How to become a chef

by Kristin Marino | June 5, 2013

With several TV networks dedicated to the art of cooking, channel surf any time of the day or night, and you’re bound to find programs featuring celebrity chefs creating dishes. Are you the one who keeps switching channels, or do you stop, even for a moment, to see what’s cooking and who’s cooking it?

Those who are interested in a career preparing food in a professional environment have a few different options. Food preparation workers commonly learn “on the job,” according to the BLS, and the national average annual wage for these workers in May 2012 was $20,910. Compare this with the national average annual wage for chefs and head cooks, which was $46, 570. According to the BLS, a growing number of chefs and head cooks receive formal education and training in culinary programs in a variety of settings including community and technical colleges, culinary arts schools, and other institutions.

The BLS reports a wide variety of skills are required to work as a chef. At that top if that list, of course, is creativity. Innovation and an understanding of how flavors complement each other are invaluable skills to a professional chef. Other skills required include manual dexterity, a good sense of taste and smell, and good time-management skills. Chefs must also have good leadership and business skills because they may be the top dog in the kitchen.

If you’ve got the desire to work as a chef, you can work on developing and honing the skills required. Learn more about what it takes to achieve a career in the culinary arts as a chef in our infographic.


Chefs and Head Cooks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012

Chefs and Head Cooks, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013

Food Preparation Workers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012

For a complete list of sources, please view the Infographic.

Infographic: How to become a chef

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