How to Network for a Culinary Career
“If you can’t say it in words, let the food do the talking.” But food alone is not going to guarantee smooth sailing in our culinary career. In our climb up the career path in the culinary arts industry, as much as we like, our cooking ability and experience can only get us so far. Education and skills are important to one’s success in the culinary arts industry, but to go further up this career pathway, building meaningful relationships with like-minded professionals in the industry is vital.
It’s often said that it’s not what you know but who you know that matters. We may be familiar with the black and white nature of the visible job market, which is defined as jobs and vacancies publicly advertised in the media. However, there is a sector known as the informal (also known as the hidden) job market, not quite as deliciously exciting as the black-market kind, but rather job opportunities that don’t quite exist yet. Before a job or position is made public, it is often known to some people within the organisation. Imagine being able to foretell if an important position or role is going to be vacant in the near future, or if you were recommended by someone influential within the organisation. Such is the unique power of networking.
Opportunities that arise in this manner can only be tapped if your skills and experience are known to the right people at the right time. Thus, one can appreciate that by nurturing meaningful relationships with people, this investment will pay off many times over in the future. So, it is plain to see that being referred to by someone does make people trust you more. Just as we are likely to trust a recommendation by someone we know more than an advertisement in the media.
Of course, networking is not only about getting an advantage or being pushed ahead of others when being considered for a job, but it is also a valuable way of enhancing our knowledge through learning from others. Insights and experience shared by our peers and mentors within and outside of the industry are pockets of wisdom that would serve to guide us through our career. You need not go through a lifetime of learning in a classroom to learn to overcome different problems and challenges. Rather, experience is the key. Moreover, what if you can continue to pick up slices of wisdom through the experiences of others in your journey of lifelong learning?
So now, should you just run out to start networking? Well, before you do so, consider that it is more effective and natural if you and the people you connect with have a thing or two in common. A mutual friend, or a family connection is often a great binder to connect two individuals who may otherwise never meet. Likewise, having studied at the same school will often create a more familiar sentiment for many. Thus, an alumni is great for connecting former classmates or former schoolmates who may have grown apart over the years.
As a leading culinary institution, Le Cordon Bleu has a Global Alumni Network with a world-wide connection in 20 countries with more than 40 international schools attended by 20,000 students annually, making it a valuable partner in building a career in the culinary industry. Imagine being able to connect with people from different countries around the world. What a wealth of information and experience that could be learnt from as well as being able to tap into an international job market through our connections. The opportunities and possibilities are borderless.
Now that you know the importance of knowing the right people, selecting a school that provides you with a useful network of connections should be key. Better still if the institution enables the access to a global community of professionals. Who knows, you might even end up rubbing shoulders with Ramsay or Olsen.
In a nutshell, strong network coupled with one of the world’s leading culinary arts educators makes a great recipe for success.
So, if you’re looking for a promising start at a long and successful career in the culinary arts industry, find out more about the prestigious culinary management programme offered by Le Cordon Blue at: https://www.cordonbleu.edu/malaysia/diploma-in-culinary-management/en