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How to become a Sous Chef?

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Talent.com talent.com
Answered March 04 2021
Career Expert at Talent.com
Attend culinary school.
Most culinary schools offer either certificates, Associate's degrees, or Bachelor's degrees. Associate's degrees and certificates are shorter programs that focus on on-the-job training. You can also opt for a four-year Bachelor's degree in culinary arts. Bachelor's programs take longer to complete than culinary school, but in addition to learning about cooking techniques, you will hone your business skills in finance, marketing, and management. You can also take more advanced theory courses such as food science and cooking for dietary needs.  

Attending culinary school is usually the first step in learning the skills necessary to succeed as a Sous Chef. Culinary school entrance requirements vary by institution, but most require either a high school diploma or a GED. Attending culinary school is not mandatory to be a good Sous Chef, and some people have found success by learning on the job. However, it will teach you proper good habits and give you a solid foundation of contacts and job placement assistance to get your foot in the door. 

Gain cook experience.
Sous Chefs need to know the ins and outs of every food station, ensuring sauces, proteins, and vegetables are cooked to perfection. Working in different kinds of service points such as hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, and other establishments will give you a more well-rounded view of the industry.  

When you feel ready to be promoted to be a Sous Chef, apply.
Apply either at your current establishment or reach out to your contacts to see what kinds of growth opportunities are out there. Always challenge yourself and take the chance to learn under the chefs you admire.  

Important Things to Know Before Becoming a Sous Chef
  • It is a physically demanding job
Working in a kitchen means standing for at least 8 hours. On top of that, you are often lifting heavy pots and carrying large bags of food. Kitchens are usually hot and crowded, so you need to be ready to deal with the work's physical aspect.
  • Your social life will change
Restaurants are busiest when people with "regular" weekday 9-5  jobs are free. You will be working late into the nights, and you will be working weekends. This is often fun and exciting for young people in their 20s, but as you head into your 30s and 40s, you may want a little more normalcy to your schedule. 

  • Kitchen work is a high-stress environment
There will always be high-stress moments where the tickets are starting to pile up. As a Sous Chef, you will need to jump in and steer your team to completing the service.

  • It's a very portable career
If you're someone who wants to travel and experience new cultures and places, working in restaurants is a perfect fit for you. There are always openings and opportunities in the foodservice industry all over the world, which is exciting.