Unlike other careers, becoming a chef doesn’t focus on qualifications For the chef, getting ahead is about commitment, passion and experience. However, while there are no qualifications – other than your own acquired skills – that will help to open doors to the culinary world, there’s a range of ancillary qualifications that can provide a great foundation to help you get ahead.
A successful global culinary career requires the ability to communicate broadly and that’s where language qualifications come in really useful. English, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese are just three of the languages that will help expand your potential reach from China, to Europe, to South America.
Being computer literate is an enormous advantage in the contemporary culinary world. From organising costing and stock via XL spreadsheets, to learning how to understand the reports from a point of sale system and promoting your business via social media, using technology is a simple way to get ahead.
Business ability and understanding come into play on many levels in the culinary world, from being able to put together a business plan to seek investment for a new idea, to managing accounts, wages and contracts. A good understanding of how a business works – how to create a profit and loss, real life costing of business expenses and how food fits in to the wider market can become essential, depending on where your career takes you.
Whether you’re working with indulgent deserts or raw food, an understanding of the ingredients that form the basis of everything we eat can be incredibly useful. In a world where we are increasingly looking for food that is healthier, but tastier, being able to balance flavour and fat/calories is a key skill.
Health and Safety qualifications
Food safety is a basic requirement for any kitchen, from the smallest street food van to an international establishment. Health and safety qualifications are always a bonus, not just because of the value they add in terms of knowledge, but also demonstrating a serious focus on exceptionally high standards.
Stepping into a leadership, or managerial, role is often one of the biggest challenges for a chef. Dealing with conflicting personalities, motivating teams and learning how to effectively negotiate, delegate and strategise are all key skills that can be learned.