If you are thinking about a career as a professional chef, but you are not sure whether you have what it takes to make it in the industry, the Master Chefs at Le Cordon Bleu London have the answer to your question.
Here are the three things that the experts agree you need in order to be a successful chef:
Our Teaching Chefs certainly agree that being dedicated, passionate and driven is essential if you want to make it in this competitive industry. Chef Colin Barnett who teaches our Cuisine courses, says that it has become harder to find committed young chefs because everyone wants to be like the ones that they see on TV, “When I was the head chef for On Air Dining it was difficult to find chefs of a decent enough calibre who were willing to put in the work.”
It is true that many people seem to have the misconception that the road to becoming a chef is easy, but according to our Culinary Arts Director, Chef Emil, the reality is in fact the complete opposite, “Being a chef is tough and demanding both physically and mentally so if you don’t love it there is no point!” The long hours that are synonymous with the career, makes it absolutely vital that you are passionate and dedicated to the craft.
You also have to be creative in order to be a successful chef, says the experts. You need to be passionate about creating new recipes, and not be scared to experiment with different ingredients and flavours. Your passion needs to be what motivates you, as Chef Olivier, who teaches our Pâtisserie courses, adds, “as a chef you always strive for that perfection!”
In order to be a successful chef you will also need solid grounding, and a good foundation, so that you acquire the fundamental techniques, and are able to adapt to different working environments. This comes with training at either a culinary school, or a modern restaurant. However, Chef Colin, prefers the culinary school root as he says, “When you’re trained at a restaurant your skills and techniques will be limited to that of the one chef that taught you. Being classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu you are shown all of the different aspects of the role.”
Chef Olivier agrees, “It’s just more logical here, the students get to learn the basics and all of the different steps leading to the end result. This is very important.” It is also much easier to get a job in a restaurant with a Diploma from Le Cordon Bleu, as it is internationally recognised, by culinary professionals, as synonymous with excellence. The diplomas are also taught by Chefs, with a breadth of experience in Michelin-starred kitchens, and 5* hotels. Culinary Arts Director Chef Emil, who was previously the Executive Chef at the 5* Shangri-La Hotel London, says, “The knowledge that the teaching chefs have is incredible, so be a sponge, and absorb as much as you can, and make the most out of it.”
They say patience is a virtue, and it is unanimous amongst our Chefs, that it is definitely needed on your journey to success. “Don’t give up,” says Chef Olivier, “you are going to make hundreds of mistakes but just learn from them.”
It is true that no-one can become a chef without putting in the hard work, it takes a lot of time to master all of the techniques, and acquire all of the knowledge needed. Chef Emil agrees, “It takes a while and it’s not going to happen overnight, but if you really truly love what you’re doing; because it is all about doing what you love to do, if you truly love cooking, stick with it. It may take time, but it is well worth the end result.”
It is important that you set yourself a target, so that you can determine what steps you need to take to get to where you want to be, and as a chef you should always approach everything as a challenge and want to improve every day. Even Chef Olivier, who has held head chef positions in numerous 5* hotels, thinks that he still has room for improvement. When asked about whether he has mastered his sugar work technique he replied, “I would still not say that I’ve mastered it as you never master a technique because you are always evolving and always improving. There is always something new to be learned!”
So if you think that you have what it takes to be a chef, have a look at the courses we have available and make your dream a reality.