Becoming a chef is not for everyone. Just because you love to cook and you own a great set of knives does not mean that you are ready to join the ranks of those culinary professionals. If people have learnt anything from the numerous cooking shows on TV, it is that becoming a chef is not for the fainthearted. It takes not just skills but a lot of patience and perseverance. It is a very exacting field and only the best survive. Following are some qualities that make a great chef.
One of the most outstanding qualities of a great chef is creativity. This is the willingness to try new things and to come up with new culinary experiences. All the reputable chefs in the world have signature dishes that they have created. These are not dishes that they have adopted from someone’s recipe, but rather ideas they have developed themselves. Creativity inspires the chef to come up with a unique food presentation that will enhance the dining experience.
Like with all professions, a great chef has to be passionate about food and the cooking process. If you know how to cook, but you do not particularly enjoy cooking, you cannot be a very good chef. Passion is what drives the chefs to work under the difficult conditions in order to present their dishes to their grateful guests. Every meal they prepare is a work of art and they enjoy the entire process.
Chefs work under tremendous pressure, trying to produce great meals for a large number of people. The ability to work for long hours and remain focused is not easy. The cooking process can be quite repetitive and anyone without the stamina can find it dreary. The chefs have to work in the heat and remain on their feet for hours, preparing meals for large crowds. This atmosphere often leads to burnout and only the very best remain. It can take years before a chef gains prominence in the industry and many people do not have the patience required to persevere.
A good chef has to be organized in order to get the work done efficiently. From organizing the kitchen space and cookware, to preparing all the ingredients, proper organization is necessary. Someone who has difficulty keeping his or her home kitchen running efficiently cannot hope to be successful in the professional world. The chef also has to organize all the kitchen staff to ensure that all the orders are completed effectively. Good organization will have a huge effect on the success of the business.
Attention to detail
One small detail going wrong can ruin an entire dining experience. A good chef is very particular about the details and will ensure that all the ingredients are used according to exact specifications. Cooking is an exact science that requires all the ingredients to come together just right. A good chef knows that too much or too little of an ingredient can have a huge effect on the results. Chefs who specialize in curries and other exotic foods have to be careful about everything that goes into the dish because any mistakes can have disastrous results.
Good team player
A good chef has to work well with others and realizes that he or she is part of a team. It takes many people to prepare meals in a professional setting and all the players have to work harmoniously for best results. A person who cannot collaborate or work well with others cannot become a successful chef. The TV image of a person who is rude and arrogant who bosses people around, is not the true reflection of a successful chef. In a real kitchen, there is a hierarchy that everyone respects, but there is also collaboration between all the staff.
Desire to learn
A great chef is always ready to enhance their knowledge and this means learning. Top chefs are constantly looking for ways to enhance their skills and their creativity drives them to create the next best dish. A chef who stops learning has most likely lost interest in the field.
A good chef also has to know how to multi-task in order to ensure that all the components of the meal come together successfully. Other qualities include flexibility that will include knowledge of different foods, customer focus and commitment to quality. Have you spotted a great chef yet?
About the Author
Neena James works as a chef at an award winning Indian restaurant and she enjoys being a part of the culinary field. She often blogs about it to share her thoughts with readers in free time.