For those of you who want to get into this field, there are countless opportunities all over the US. And if you want to learn about this art in places that may be able to inspire the best out of you, you can always look into the various culinary study abroad programs. Think of a kitchen window that opens to the beautiful architecture of Rome, or the wonderful French châteaux, maybe even the beautiful winter grays of Germany – cooking in these destinations sounds almost like a dream come true.
But before you rush on to a cooking school, you should know there is a lot more to professional cooking than you might know. In the words of Marcus Samuelsson, “While some people may think being a chef only entails making enticing dishes and pushing the culinary boundaries, being a part of the food industry involves much more”
So be prepared when you walk into this industry. Here are three things you might want to keep in mind:
Culinary Programs are Intense
Everything about a professional kitchen (or even a teaching kitchen) is 100 times more intense than your home kitchen. Stoves are hotter, knives are sharper, space is tighter and time is always short. People will be running around the kitchen, working at a pace that will baffle you at first. But if you really put your head into it, you can beat the intensity and learn to catch up fast.
You’re Going to Get Hurt
Sooner or later, you are going to cut or burn yourself. Everyone does, and you need to be fully prepared for it. Keep first aid medical supplies at hand when you go into the kitchen. In addition to kitchen injuries, you will have emotional concerns as well – with frustration levels going through the roof, sometimes even multiple times a day. But just like any other challenge in life, if you make it through, you will feel incredibly proud of your accomplishment and it will all seem worth it.
Cooking will Take Over Your Life
Sooner or later, you will begin to realize how all you really think about is cooking, what you cooked earlier, what you should cook now, what ingredients you need – even your grocery shopping trips would become more of ‘ingredients’ shopping trips. This is actually a great thing. Just like all artists, you will operate on a frequency of your own – and therefore manage to create amazing works of art.
With 2,290,800 cooks, 127,500 head cooks/chefs and 873,900 food preparation workers in 2015, the cooking industry is undeniably huge – and consistently growing. Even with the amount of consistent and resilient hard work that is required, scores of people are entering this industry every year. So whether you dream of becoming the next Gordon Ramsey or Marco Pierre White, a culinary program is where you need to make your start from. Join one, and turn your passion into a profession.