Job as a vegetarian chef or a baker
I’m in grade 12 and I’m confused whether to be a chef or a baker since I’m a vegetarian I can’t dip non veg. So what are the options or like what should I take?
Today with the growing food community embracing vegetarian, vegan and plant based meals, the scenario has changed with more eateries and groceries, offering vegetarian food which in turn means a huge career opportunity in this space. So what might have seemed as intractable problem in yesteryear’s is very easily manageable today.
But you must first determine that your interest and passion in cooking translates into the required skill set. Reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows, experimenting with recipes, and devising meals for your family and friends are all excellent ways to exercise your culinary skills. Many famous chefs have started their careers this way. Moving on, you need to determine what your career goals are… whether all you want, is to focus on preparing and cooking good food including preparing a menu and you don’t want to spend extra time in school in learning things outside the classroom or you are keen to understand the management and business side of running a kitchen and may want to start a restaurant of your own. The former may only require a diploma, certificate or an associate degree but the latter will warrant you to get enrolled in full-fledged culinary degree program which will teach you amongst other things cost control and hospitality management.
In most restaurants animal products continue to be a major feature on the menu and majority of culinary programs will still be inclined towards classical cuisine with animal products. You would need to decide how comfortable you are in an “omnivore” environment wherein you could translate these techniques to “vegetarianism” or would you be happier to study in a dedicated plant based environment. If you decide the latter it would be prudent to ensure the program includes the techniques used in omnivore cooking so that your culinary repertoire is not limited. Whilst training don’t forget to create a portfolio of the many vegetarian dishes you have created and the various “omnivore” recipes you converted to become plant based delicacies. As a vegetarian you would ideally need to work in specialized restaurants which have over the years gathered steam and there are institutes which cater to this segment of students.
The renowned Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, NYC or the Living Light Culinary Institute California are institutes specializing in plant based cooking. The training program here includes internship opportunities which also could be converted into potential jobs. On the other side of Atlantic, is the Vegetarian Society Cookery School. This U.K. based school is respected all over the world for its excellence in whole food cuisine. For further studies you could think of the eCornell Certificate in plant based nutrition. Most University schools will have training and demonstration kitchens wherein you can put your theoretical knowledge to test.
As a vegetarian chef a major challenge would be to convince diners you have to something to offer rather than wait for vegans to find you. Vegetarian chefs can also provide a unique service to people with special dietary needs so it may a good idea to study nutrition to boost your career. Combine your personal passion with the training to maximize your potential as professional vegetarian chef.
If baking is your passion your option would be to work as a Pastry Chef or as a baker in restaurant or bakery. In this industry, the hands-on experience is as important as the formal education. So essentially it means that the basic ground is created by the school, and the in-depth knowledge can be gained with good apprenticeship and work experience thereafter. The Natural Gourmet Institute, NY, has a professional program dedicated to human health and nutrition which covers whole grain baking, analyzing natural ingredients and several health related dietary models comparing different geographies.
Either as baker or a chef the options are plenty – start your own restaurant, or catering company, supply delis, restaurants, banquet halls, grocery store or work as a personal chef. The common denominator is all these jobs are driven by passion and success will bring in huge monetary gains too.