Have you ever wondered what is it that makes these great chefs so successful in their profession? We know that they all have one thing in common which is their exceptional ability to cook. However, mastering the skills to prepare great food is not enough, and there’s much more to it when it comes to finding success in the culinary world.
Nowadays, anyone who enters the world of culinary arts aspires to become a chef but due to the fierce competition in the industry, it requires a lot more than passion and training to get you up there in the game. So, let’s take a look at the must-have traits that make a great chef.
1. Organizational Skills
Being in a commercial kitchen is not just about cooking food; it takes a lot of careful planning and organizational skills to deliver quality work efficiently on time. And, when we say organizational skills, this goes beyond mise-en-place which is getting your ingredients, knives, pots and ovens ready before you start cooking.
Once you begin to take leadership roles in the kitchen you will understand the systematized touches on all aspects of a chef’s role. Staffing effectively, easy flow of traffic to the kitchen during busy hours, menu management, waste management, purchase and so much more come on to a chef’s plate when managing a kitchen. To handle all of these, a chef has to possess some good organizational skills to work his/her way up on the culinary ladder.
2. Desire to Learn
In any profession, if you’re really passionate about your work you will never lose the desire to learn more no matter at what stage your career is. And, this is very much true especially when it comes to a creative professional such as a chef. The difference between a good chef and a great chef is that the latter learns new things from every situation and people they interact with, regardless of their professional seniority. They always keep themselves updated with new industry trends and constantly keep experimenting to upgrade their knowledge.
3. Physical & Mental Stamina
Working in a kitchen demands a lot of physical as well as mental stamina. A chef should have the ability to keep going for long hours under high pressure on their feet, along with cuts, burns and greasy sweats which are all part of this profession. Also, a chef has to cope up with odd working hours that come along with high expectations and demands where one needs both physical and mental stamina to stay focused and deliver the best. So, if you’re mentally prepared, you will manage to push through these physical discomforts.
4. Flexibility & Efficiency to Multi-task
Multi-tasking is one of the most important traits of a great chef. In the kitchen, you are expected to handle a wide of range of tasks in a very efficient manner. It is only possible when you’re used to multi-tasking from your training period itself. Along with the multitasking, a chef should also be flexible enough to be a good team player. Sometimes, there occur situations due to a shortage of staff where you will have to step in and fill in the shoes to finish the work on time along with your team rather than playing the stereotype dictator head-chef role. In short, for a chef, no job is too mundane or low for his standards.
There’s no doubt that a chef is a creative professional and creativity is what a chef is made of. Be it in flavours or presentation, it is the creative aspect of cooking that attracts people to an eatery. It is not just about following what you have learned in the culinary school but is about applying what you’ve learned in a deliciously creative way of your own. Being creative in the kitchen helps you cope with challenging situations such as a lack of a particular ingredient, which a creatively talented chef will be able to efficiently cover up.
If you think you have what it takes to be a successful culinary professional, then look up these attributes in yourself and be willing to nurture them further so that you can help yourself to reach for that culinary greatness.