How to Become a Chef Instructor
Have you read, or seen on TV some successful chefs who are instructors at the same time? Do you want to tread the way they have taken? Are you interested in becoming a culinary instructor?
Learn from our basic guide how to proceed with your dream of becoming a chef and a teacher at the same time.
If you read through the profiles of chef instructors, you’d find that they were cooks first before becoming teachers of the art. Some starts with associate degrees in Culinary Arts, still others, start from other fields before discovering their talent (or were discovered) and passion for it. Some started young, fining new ways of preparing their backyard vegetables. Others were physicists with an interest in brewery before they became restaurateurs. But regardless of where they start, they usually spend several years working in various culinary settings, from catering services to five start hotels, before becoming instructors. This attests to the fact that to become really good on any art, one must not only have skill but a talent for it. And to be highly successful on a craft, one must have the passion to pursue the art and develop his talent for it.
Starting a Career in Culinary Arts
Here are starting points to find your way as culinary instructor:
• Get a cooking-related job in a restaurant, hotel, bakery to discover your interest and then decide whether you want to pursue it, in which case, you can decide to go to a culinary school.
• You can go to a culinary school outright and then get apprenticeship or work in food establishments; you can also open your own restaurant, bar or grill and gain experience in business, culinary arts, and hospitality (a business and/or hospitality management degree on the side would be great).
• If you have been working as chef for some time, and wanted to pursue some new interest, try teaching a test class or apply an adjunct position.
As teaching and the culinary arts are two different fields, you may have to purposely learn teaching methods in order to effectively perform the duties required in the instruction of students enrolled in the course you will be teaching. You will also have to learn how to objectively evaluate student’s performance.
Pursuing a Career as Culinary Instructor
You can find employment in culinary institutes, colleges and universities. Schools usually require at least two years in relevant work experience in addition to associate or bachelor degree in culinary arts. Teaching experience is usually preferred. Certification from the American Culinary Federation may or may not be required. Employment could be on a full-time basis. Classes may be day, evening or weekend programs.
To enhance your qualifications, pursue specialization in – for example -- French Bistro and classic cooking, Italian cuisine, ethnic cuisines, classical cooking. Also try to join competitions, attend or conduct workshops, and participate as guest chef at culinary events.