What it takes to be a chef?

Professional chefs need to think about a lot of things!

Do you want to give professional cooking a go but you’re not sure what it takes to be a chef?

Do you like to try out new recipes? Does a dynamic environment and working under pressure excite you?

Well, maybe you’ve got what it takes to be a chef!

Being a chef is something that has been very popular since the growth of the hospitality industry.

People who like to cook might want one day to do it professionally. And they should be applauded – not only is it a big change but also, it also means that the rest of us don’t have to cook. Thanks to those individuals, we can enjoy tasty meals and relax.

But what does it take to be a chef? What are career opportunities out there? Does it vary depending on the country? Let’s deep-dive into this and see!

Diversity of commercial kitchens

While the role and the act of cooking itself might be very similar, every single kitchen has its own way of doing things. Certainly, there are different cousins, recipes, and equipment. No matter where you cooked before, chances are, you will need good training when you join a new team.

If you have a passion for cooking, this article will be very beneficial to you. Also, if you are thinking of changing careers and you would like to try something new and different, you can benefit from the following article, too.

To save those who have an interest in kitchen positions from extensive research, we bring you a summary of what it takes to be a chef.

Hierarchy, job titles, and career path

To begin with, you will notice there is a clear hierarchy when it comes to commercial kitchens. The exact titles really depend on the country and the company you are looking at. However, here is a quick overview of the roles within a commercial kitchen:

  • chef de cuisine (executive chef, chef manager, head chef, master chef)
  • sous-chef (assistant manager chef, under-chef of the kitchen)
  • chef de partie (station chef, line cook)
  • commis chef (range chef, basic chef)
  • kitchen porter (kitchen assistant)

Generally, unless you have professional training in cooking, you will start at the bottom of the ladder. This means you will be a kitchen assistant and will learn the trade as you go.

How quickly you progress and if you progress will depend solely on you. If you like challenges and are genuinely interested in cooking, you have a solid shot of progressing.

Other types of chefs each have their own responsibilities and set of skills. Most of the people who are managing the kitchen went through all of the lower-ranked positions. Thanks to that, they understand the ins & outs of a commercial kitchen.

Do you have what it takes to be a chef?

Required skills

Obviously, you have to be passionate about food and have at least basic cooking skills. You need to be pretty quick on your feet, and have excellent manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination.

Organization and keeping the workplace clean play a big part in a commercial kitchen so you better be prepared. You also have to be good at following regulations and instructions. After all, you will be preparing other people’s food and there are restrictions in place!

You also need to be somewhat creative as you are expected to come up with recipes and present food on a plate in an appealing way.

It’s important you enjoy hectic environments and that you handle pressure well. Things can get pretty heated pretty fast in a commercial kitchen and each member of the team needs to be able to handle it.


When we’re talking about the salary, the hourly rate depends on a few factors:

  • national minimum wage
  • location within the country
  • the company itself
  • qualifications (professional training)
  • experience

We hope this helped you decide on your job search. Maybe it’s a bit clearer what it takes to be a chef. If you need help finding the right career path, you can always book a coaching session here.

However, if you feel like you know this is for you, we can help you with a professional CV writing service. If you’d like to write your own CV, check out our CV writing guide. You’re bound to get replies to job applications if you follow the principles covered in this book.


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