Question & Answers: Culinary


My daughter, currently following the CBSE curriculum wishes to become a chef. Presently she is thinking of choosing Home Science as her stream and will later follow Hotel Management Courses. Is she headed the right way?


There is no single recipe (no pun intended) to becoming a successful chef. The path to becoming a professional chef may include formal or informal education, practical experience, on-the-job training, or sometimes a blend of them all. While it is not mandatory to attend a culinary school, it is highly recommended as it will help getting you a job in an extremely competitive career. Many chefs begin their careers with entry-level roles in order to garner on–the-job experience and guidance before climbing up the culinary ladder.

A formal culinary education includes learning the requirements of a working kitchen, mastering multiple cooking techniques and multiple. The academic training teaches students knowledge of other cultures, history and geography to help them understand how food is cooked and used in other cultures. These days, top chefs are more than just cooks – they handle large restaurants and businesses, so taking courses in human resources and business management can prove beneficial in the long run.

Community Colleges in USA should be explored, as not only do students get excellent training in culinary education but the cost is much lower than traditional Universities. The South Seattle Community College is one such example of providing high quality education at a fraction of the cost. Alternative you could explore dedicated cooking schools. These include the California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Culinard in Birmingham, Alabama, and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. These elite schools will help jumpstart your culinary career.

It will also help if she gets informal training opportunities. In Dubai, there are some interesting courses offered by ICC and SCAFA (School of Culinary and Finishing Arts). The SCAFA professional certificate course comprises of 110 classes involving lectures, practicals, and participation. It is an excellent qualification for those seeking looking to become chefs in restaurants or catering companies. However, earning such a professional certificate opens doors to careers such as being a producer for a food TV show, a culinary journalist or a food stylist.

In India the choice would be to pursue a Degree course offered by either government or private institutes, or conversely do a hotel management course offered by leading hotel chains. Institutes such as RIG in Noida provide Swiss hotel management degrees for a fraction of the cost without skimping on the quality. Another alternative, and one with exceptional job growth opportunities, is the hotels themselves. Many five star hotels have tremendous reputation and excellent infrastructure for training and teaching students to become master chefs. The top three would be the Oberoi Group in Delhi, Welcomgroup in Manipal and Taj Insititute in Aurangabad.

A good qualification combined with experience will get you off to a good start in your career and will help accelerate your progress up the food chain. Once you carve a niche for yourself in this field, you can diversify into managing restaurants, publishing books, doing television shows, working on cruise lines or establishing a career in hospitality.

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