An apprentice is someone who learns the tricks of the trade under the leadership of a professional. In the culinary world, an apprentice chef learns from a seasoned chef everything required to run a productive, successful kitchen.
Duties of an Apprentice Chef
The apprentice chef is both assistant and student. As an assistant, he or she makes life easier for the head chef by making sure the kitchen is well-prepped. This involves keeping stations clean, mopping up spills, monitoring freshness of foods, testing cooking apparatus and preparing utensils.
As a student, the apprentice chef learns and executes recipes given by the sous or head chef. You may be given specific instructions on how to prepare specific meals or asked to create some of your own. The apprentice needs to show initiative, creativity and curiosity if he or she intends to become the head chef one day.
Apprentice Chef Training Requirements
Education and training is paramount in this profession. Candidates need to have obtained formal qualification in kitchen basics. You should know kitchen procedures well, be able to operate cooking equipment and be familiar with food safety standards.
This education is offered in culinary institutes across the country. Alternatively, you can attend a community college or find relevant courses at vocational schools. Keep in mind that the more extensive the program is, the higher the chances of securing a well-paying post.
Becoming an apprentice chef is a good career move for students who are either about to or have just graduated from culinary school. The number of apprenticeships is increasing. Find out if schools offer such programs before applying.
On top of receiving education prior to becoming an apprentice, you will also get plenty of on-the-job training from your supervisor. Apprenticeships not only teach culinary skills but also provide leadership training for future head chefs.
Good Qualities of an Apprentice Chef
It is important for apprentice chefs to be highly motivated. Maintaining a kitchen is very hard work and can be demanding in many ways. A strong passion for the culinary arts is required. You need to be passionate enough about food to withstand the stress, pressure and long hours that come with the job.
A good apprentice also knows when to be proactive and when to be submissive to authority. To get ahead in the industry, you need to display some creativity and an ability to command respect from others. At the same time, you must be able to follow instructions without second-guessing your mentor.
Being detail-oriented is a valuable personality trait. Making sure dishes are flawless before they leave the kitchen ensures customers a quality experience. Cleanliness also requires attention to detail and can help you create a productive environment for your leader and team.
Apprentice Chef Salary and Job Opportunities
Becoming a chef in this age is a lucrative career move. The industry is on the up and up, with job opportunities estimated to increase by 6%. With salaries ranging from $22 000 to $32 000, apprenticeships are an excellent way to learn while you earn.