An apprentice chef is a person who is learning the culinary craft from a skilled professionally trained chef. An apprentice chef who successfully completes their apprenticeship will be able to work as a qualified chef. In Australia, the government provides funding for eligible businesses and supports the entire apprenticeship process of the future skilled workers.
How to Become a Chef
Becoming a professional chef involves a lot of studies, training and dedication to the culinary arts. You may very well be able to finely chop vegetables and even provide foods for the entire family but the commercial kitchen environment has a different intensity as compared to that of home cooking. To become a chef you need to have a passion towards food and innovation in the kitchen. To be able to work as a professional chef, professional culinary training is a necessity.
The Apprentice Chef
Here in Australia, it takes four years of intensive training to progress from an apprentice chef to a professional chef. The training generally comprises of working four days a week in a designated restaurant and one day a week to attend classes at a college. They allow the apprentice chef to move from one restaurant to another; in order to be presented with diverse styles of cooking and meet different mentors.
To be qualified as an apprentice chef, you need to have gained at minimum your Year 10 School Certificate. In addition it is beneficial to have a certain amount of kitchen working experience so you have an idea of the kind of career that you are heading towards.
There are chef apprentice programs that are informal. Some head chefs and restaurant owners don’t necessarily hire qualified personal for their respective kitchens. They prefer someone with the acquired skills and valuable culinary experience. However, in regards to high end restaurants – a professional qualification is, required even for the least skilled of the kitchen jobs.
What Can You Expect to Learn
Being a professional chef goes well beyond the cooking aspects. As you go about learning your craft during your apprenticeship; you can expect to acquire knowledge about finance, computer processing, people management, guest handling, marketing, food safety, hygiene, sanitation and nutrition among others.
Employment Prospects for Apprentice Chefs
In Australia, over 75,000 chefs are employed throughout the country in various venues. They are engaged in numerous sectors within the food industry such as health care and social assistance, accommodation and food services, retail trade and manufacturing. It is predicted that as the food industry continues to expand, the demand for the chef profession will continue growing intensely. Meaning, more food industries are looking for people who are kitchen skilled like chefs and apprentice chefs or any other associated jobs.
There are endless significant opportunities for Australian trained chefs; not just in our beloved country but also around the globe. Australian chefs are held in high regard in many establishments of various magnitudes in each and every corner of the world.
In order to become a successful apprentice chef, you need to be hardworking, prepared, organised, adaptable to the working environment and flexible in terms of working irregular hours. You need to establish a high calibre standard and be able to make rapid decisions under a high-pressured environment.
You can obtain chef apprentice position by checking on prep jobs or by establishing contacts with head chefs in the restaurants. You need to prove yourself and work hard to get your desired position.
Is the Chef Life for You?
It is not all roses and as glamorous as it is made out on reality television. Your food dream is more than likely “not just going to happen”. Are you prepared to have a certain distance placed between yourself and family / friends? Depending on the establishment that you are aligned with a number of the barriers may be effortlessly eliminated – dinner with loved ones on a Friday night or playing sport on a Saturday afternoon may still be on the cards.
What Type of Chef You Could Be
As an apprentice chef, you will be assisting on different types of work. From planning to preparing and cooking food, to garnishing and chopping and cleaning and ordering food supplies and equipment is part of your duty as an apprentice chef. It needs a lot of hard work, but as long as you enjoy it then it’s not work at all but it’s called passion. Learn what type of chef you could be.
An apprentice pastry chef works under the supervision of a professionally trained pastry chef. He / she may assist the pastry chef with complex tasks like assembling and decorating cakes. Their duties may vary depending on the size and type of food establishment they are involved with. The standard functions of an apprentice pastry chef are portioning individual ingredients, and organizing the equipment and begins the initial steps of a recipe, such as mixing the batter, dough and cream.
An apprentice pastry chef can make general dessert based products or work exclusively with confectionery items. As an apprentice pastry chef, you can expect to work irregular hours, including early mornings and late nights.
A duty of a personal chef is to prepare home-cooked meals for individual clients. As an apprentice of personal chef your task includes preparing restaurant quality meals. Part of your job is to take the customer’s taste and dietary constraints to consideration. The personal chef will meet the client and consult them with their personal preference, health issues and allergic restrictions. The personal chef will then determine that foods to cook and prepare for the said client. As an apprentice chef you will be the one to do the food labeling, storage of the prepared food items and other responsibilities may include: shopping for groceries, cleaning up and designing creative meal plans.
As an apprentice of a section chef, you will perform a lot of cooking tasks and meal preparations as directed by the section chef that you have been assigned to. You will work under the guidance of an experience chef – whether it is in the hot kitchen or the cold kitchen or the butchery you will definitely be learning new skills and gaining knowledge on a daily basis. You can expect to work late night or early mornings, weekends and holidays.
The bottom-line is; like each and every aspect of life – put a certain level of thought into it. The decision is yours – who knows; starting an apprenticeship as a chef may be the best thing that you ever did in your life.