Careers in Cooking: Becoming a Chef

If you enjoy cooking, you might have entertained the thought at some point of becoming a professional chef. This is a career that takes a lot of work and discipline to break into, but most chefs love their job. It’s a great joy to be able to invent recipes and prepare food and share your creations with other people.

Probably the most effective way to become a chef is to pursue a degree in the culinary arts. You can go to a special culinary school, or to a traditional college or university that offers a culinary program. Community colleges and private institutions also offer culinary classes. There are many advantages to this kind of formal training program. First, you’ll get plenty of time to practice your craft, and learn all you can about food science, ingredients and taste combinations. You will be under the tutelage of professional teachers who can help you identify your strengths and work on your weaknesses. You will also have an inside track when it comes to jobs in kitchens and internships in major food organizations. And these kinds of positions will really improve your resume and lengthen your list of contacts and references, which will make it easier to find a job when you graduate. (Some culinary arts programs even offer help to their seniors with full-time job placement.) In addition, when you go to college for culinary arts you’ll be able to take business courses, which will help you if you want to become a chef in a management position, or if you want to go into business for yourself. You’ll need to know how to balance the books, keep the meals you prepare within a certain budget, and manage other employees.

The second path to becoming a chef is to work as an apprentice chef for a period of time, usually about three years, and then light out on your own. This might be a good strategy for someone who wants to forego the college experience, or who’s a mid-career professional who wants to switch careers and become a chef. The major drawback here, however, is that some businesses will only consider hiring candidates for chef positions with a college degree. But if you are interested in an apprenticeship, you might apply for one through the American Culinary Federation. They’ve set up several dozen apprenticeships throughout the United States. What’s exciting about being an apprentice is that you’re in the middle of the action from day one-getting into the kitchen, seeing how kitchen staff members interact and collaborate with one another to prepare meals, and helping to create dishes.

Being a chef also means being committed to your art. No matter where you are in your career, you should seize opportunities to learn about new foods, new flavors, new recipes. Food self-education is not only a must throughout your life, but it can also be quite delicious!

You Are Not Alone In Your After 50 Career Change!

You are not alone in your after 50 career change.

After 50 is becoming more the norm as more people this age are planning to change or changing careers. It wasn’t too long age that it was more common for people to stay in the same career and perhaps the same job for close to their entire working life.

Moreover, there is the financial component to consider in the career changes. With Social Security becoming more unstable every day, with employers eliminating defined-benefit pension plans there is an increasing financial need to continued working. And with working longer there is added motivation to be doing something where there is increased satisfaction from the job and career.

Career change in the over 50 group is increasing. Some of the main reasons are the large numbers in the group, increased career opportunities, more careers being designed and created every day and the extended working careers as people are living longer.

With all this potential career change activity after age 50 there are a growing number of good career opportunities that, with the right career planning and positioning can lead to a more satisfying career. In a large number of situations the career changer after 50 can also get a long-term boost in income.

So as interests, skills, abilities and financial requirements evolve as people get older it is not difficult to understand why there is a growing number of over 50 career changers. In addition, many current retirees find that retirement is not all they thought so they plan on re-entering the workforce.

With less and less jobs requiring physical effort career opportunities for those over 50 is steadily increasing. Also, the explosion of the means and the vehicles of added learning is keeping pace with many of the career skill requirements.

Also, since learning is not longer limited to formal classroom type training the over 50 job changer has almost unlimited sources of adding to their skills and knowledge. Distance learning, self-study, seminars and workshops, tele-conferences, and career related conferences are just a few of the ways the older career changer can acquire the necessary skills and experience to qualify for a new career.

There is plethora of current job hunting resources that a few years age were not available, were too costly or were out of date shortly after they were printed. The internet has opened up career research, job sources, job hunting techniques and the important opportunities to network with like-minded career changers.

Further, many employers recognize the value of the over 50 worker and actively recruit them. The career changer after 50 has to be creative in how to communicate their transferable skills to the new career and demonstrate how they will bring value to the employer.

So even after 50, it’s really never too late to learn new skills and go after a dream job in a new career. If not financially rewarding the personal rewards are too great to pass up.