How to Become a Chef Instructor

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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.
 

8 Comments

  • 1. marie lentz said on 10/27/2009 9:52:08 AM
    I would like to become a culinary instructor for a school. A high school or vocation school setting preferred. I have an associates degree in the culinary arts, am servsafe certified, am a CDM/CFPP, and have been a Food Service Director for over 15 years.
  • 2. Jean Bernard Amic said on 5/27/2010 2:10:54 PM
    I am presently working as Executive Chef in a four star hotel in Ghana, West Africa. I have been in the industry for the past 20 years, i have worked in 3 different countries as a Pastry cook, baker, cook(cold kitchen and hot)and as Executive Chef. I would like to share my experience as an instructor in Ghana.
  • 3. Debra Harris said on 5/29/2010 8:16:50 AM
    I am presently working as a Executive sous chef in a well known hotel in Washington, DC I have been in the in industry for 20years, I worked my way up in the industry, as a breakfast cook, grade manager, sous chef, restaurant sous chef and banquet chef I too would like to share my experience as an culinary instructor in the washington area I'm looking for the best advice on how to achieve this.
  • 4. Brian Alves said on 8/24/2010 5:56:49 PM
    I graduated with my A.A.S in culinary about 12 years ago. I have worked my way up from Potwasher to Chef.. currently i am the 1st cook at a local hospital. I really would love to teach cooking to students interested in the field. I taught a couple day class about 10 years ago and loved it. i live in South-eastern Massachusetts.
  • 5. Gilles Vallucci said on 9/18/2010 11:39:05 AM
    My career has always been in Culinary Industry for the 25 years. From Apprentice to executive chef working to commercial kitchen to 4 US Ambassador, fine dining cuisine with a french traditional training background to large hospitality corporations. After 28 years in this field I heart is to become a chef instructor so I can pass on all my experience. At 47 how can do this transition? Thank you - Central Florida, Gilles. My email ID is gurinderchera@gmail.com and location is Toronto.
  • 6. David Nguyen said on 3/11/2013 2:04:49 AM
    Hi, I am a Chef of twenty years. I am looking at a teaching career in Culinary Arts. How would I go about this? David 0424 573 002
  • 7. marc said on 7/25/2013 6:31:22 PM
    Hi, I have been a chef for the last 16 years and now i teach as well as been a head chef of one of the biggest restaurants chains in London which has now opened a cooking school where i teach once a week. I would like to qualify as a lecturer to one day start my own small cooking school but not sure where to start? Any info would be greatly appreciated Thank you. Marc
  • 8. Jean-Louis Clerc said on 9/16/2013 3:29:49 PM
    I have been in the food service business since I was 9, and been traveling through Europe, the West indies and the USA. I have over 18 years of experience in the restaurant business and would like to consider now to share my experience with students, what would be for me the path to follow to get there? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Jean-Louis
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