Cooking is a practical skill and one that is difficult to do justice to in a purely written document. The culinary portfolio is the perfect supplement to a CV –where the CV details the skills, experience and qualifications of a career, the chef portfolio provides some practical demonstration and visual stimulation. Together, the two provide a powerful combination for the next steps in a career. So, how do you create one?
- Start with an introduction
Every chef portfolio needs some introduction – who are you, what can you do, where have you come from and what are you offering.
- Include high quality images
Photographs of the food that you’ve created can have a huge impact and it is this part of the portfolio that will most set you apart from any competition. It’s important to ensure that you take photos that do your food justice. No matter how incredible the dish, it still requires good lighting, a thoughtful setting and a shot that really brings the colours and textures to life. A culinary portfolio isn’t complete without food images so it’s worth taking the time to get this part right, even if that means investing in a professional or bribing a friend with a high quality camera.
- Include recipes and menus
Focus on those that have particular significance, such as award winners or recipes and menus that count as an industry or career ‘first.’ This is a great place to show off innovation and creativity, as well as your specific achievements, such as being the first to develop a menu for a specific restaurant or a recipe that made it onto a famous menu.
- Other achievements
What we see as accolades and achievements will vary from person to person. Anything from having a recipe featured in a magazine, to appearing on a TV show or publishing your own book of recipes in print form or on Youtube in video format. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet and include any references to your skills and abilities. Wherever possible back up your achievements with evidence such as images of articles, links to publications or source quotes.
- References and reviews
As you’re progressing through the industry try to keep a record of positive reviews and good references from former employers. Including these in your portfolio will demonstrate what you’ve already achieved in terms of recognition, as well as the way you’re viewed by those you have worked with directly.