The food service industry is one of the largest, fastest growing and most dynamic industries in the United States. There has not been a better time to become a chef, particularly at a high-end restaurant. This position typically comes with many rewards, which explains the huge appeal. In addition to the chance to work in the most scenic locations around the world, it also gives you a chance to explore your creativity and your culinary abilities.
If you are considering becoming a chef and getting the opportunity to work at a high-end restaurant but you don’t know where to start, let’s take a look at what high-end restaurants are looking for and how you could learn those skills.
What Skills Are High-End Restaurants Looking For?
Although working as a chef at a high-end restaurant is a dream job for many people, it is also important to realize that it is notoriously challenging. This is because these restaurants tend to a top-level clientele and so everything has to be executed to the highest standards to exceed expectations.
However, with some good training, sharp skills and some passion, it is nothing anyone cannot handle. For this reason, owners and leaders of high-end restaurants are very keen on ensuring that their Chefs have the right set of skills, hard and soft, and enough expertise to be effective in their businesses. Here are some of the top skills they are looking for:
Attention to Detail
Cooking is a perfect blend of art and science. This has tremendous significance in a high-end restaurant where every service and every aspect of customer experience is inherently over the top. As a chef, you need extremely attentive and precise on every ingredient, flavor, measurement as well as time. A small slip in attention can make a world of a difference in cuisine. The quality of food and overall customer experience needs to be exceptional every time.
After all is prepared and eaten, a restaurant is a business and it needs to generate profits. Therefore, a good chef understands the intricacies of running a business. Concepts such as inventory planning, budgeting, and cost control should be well understood. The chef should also understand basic administrative duties.
Passion for Culinary Art
High-end restaurants go to great lengths to give their customers a unique experience. Part of this involves offering creative and unique cuisine. The artistic nature of these meals requires a chef to have a passion for culinary arts and be willing to express their creativity. Every dish served to a guest should show some personality and make sense with the rest of the menu.
This is by far the most important hard skill of any chef let alone one working at a high-end restaurant. The chef should have an astute ability to cook and good knowledge of the kitchen. This includes knowledge of necessary cooking skills and plating techniques as well as having a refined palette to judge flavors.
Decision Making Under Pressure
The kitchen is a fast-paced environment. A chef should not only be able to handle the pressure but also operate efficiently and effectively despite the pressure. They have to think on their feet and make numerous decisions simultaneously.
A good chef is a leader for those working in the kitchen. They should be willing and able to take the initiative and motivate those around them. They should also be willing to offer guidance and direction if needed.
A chef works as part of a team. As such, they should be able to work well with others in the kitchen as well as the management and other supporting staff. A high-end restaurant should operate as a well-oiled engine where love and passion for good food drive exceptional service. This requires every chef in the kitchen to have great interpersonal skills, compassion, a sense of humor, and be able to handle criticism.
What Edge Does Formal Education Give You?
High-end restaurants are looking for the best of the best in the industry. While you can start from a low job and slowly become a chef, it often does not compare to someone with a formal degree. The process of earning a degree involves classroom time, kitchen lab experience, and real-world application.
It also covers a variety of skills, most of which you can only learn in a classroom setting. Things such as business acumen do not come naturally, they are taught. A formal degree should equip you with the core knowledge that all chefs need as well as additional skills that will make you stand out. Employers are looking for people that can fit right into their businesses and be productive – a formal degree prepares you for that.
A degree also offers you a firm foundation upon which you can advance your career. With a degree, you should gain validity in the field and employers take note of your advanced skills and expertise.