Have you ever wondered what makes professional chefs in Nigeria and the world recognized as such?
You might have been cooking for years and are passionate about it. You might also yearn to consistently create delicious meals to get people licking their fingers and wanting more.
But as great as always creating delicious meals is, that is, however, not all that counts in succeeding as a chef.
What then counts?
Most of the answers I will share with you are not specific to just being a chef: they are also relevant in any other field.
A marketer would need this answer, and so will a software developer, a doctor, a footballer, and a musician. So irrespective of one’s area of passion, these answers are relevant universally.
The things that make people professionals are the same for all fields.
That is why a professional in a given field can change fields and still come out at the top in the new one.
So for the case of this article, we would look at three things that can set you to becoming a professional chef in Nigeria.
- Your Skills
- Your Work Ethics
- Your Management Skills
Let’s examine each of these in a little more detail, shall we?
Florence Foster Jenkins was an opera singer. She was known to wear elaborate costumes and loved to perform for the audience.
But she had one problem; she could not sing one bit.
She could not stay on key or follow the right rhythm and tempo, and because of that, her performances earned her the title of “The worst opera singer.”
You must have quality culinary skills to climb the ladder as a chef.
Being an awful cook is a big no, but the good news is that you can work on your skills, irrespective of how well or poorly you cook.
If you want to take any of our courses, click this link to chat with James on WhatsApp
At what point would you say you have good enough culinary skills, you may ask?
Different professional chefs have varying criteria to ascertain the professionality of a given chef. But we believe that there is a benchmark that would tell if you’re below or above average.
To improve your skill, you must equip yourself with quality techniques, food artistry, knife skills, time management, seasoning, good knowledge of taste, flavor mixing, and patisserie skills.
Most upcoming chefs choose to work their way up by learning under other more experienced chefs for a while to get some work experience. If this option is available, you might want to take it.
The quality of your culinary skill is one factor that will set you apart, but again it is not all that matter if you are to become a professional chef.
Having culinary skills is a start. You, however, also need a good work ethic to become a professional chef in Nigeria.
Your Work Ethics
Ricardo Quaresma was once said to be the only one who could rival Cristiano Ronaldo as a footballer.
Quaresma was one of the highly-rated footballers in the early 2000s. He was a naturally gifted footballer and as a teen, could do things with the ball his peers could not.
He was scouted around the world as a young footballer, but years down the line, he would go on to have an abysmal footballing career.
A footballing career when compared to his projected talent equals a waste of both his talent and skills.
According to a couple of his past coaches, he had a bad attitude, a poor work rate, and an ego. These were said to be the reasons he didn’t live up to his potential as a footballer.
Your culinary skill can only take you a distance. But if you want to go as far as possible, you need a great work ethic.
Your approach to work is a representation of your character.
Chefs with applaudable work ethics, value giving their best in the kitchen. They are reliable and respect others and their time.
They are timely, accountable, and always take responsibility for the tasks; and any errors they make.
They also understand the importance of hygiene, and being organized in and out of the kitchen, and are experts at executing tasks consistently and efficiently.
All of these add seasoning to the skills they already have.
Yes, Your culinary skills are crucial, but your work ethic is just as important.
And finally, your Management skills. In other words, “how well can you work with people?”
Your Management Skills.
If you have ever been in a team with a common goal, you would agree that working with people is no easy task.
And as a chef, working with others is unavoidable. You must also be able to manage people.
Building your management muscle would help you work with others and make them love to work with you.
You would have to make sure each team member is up to par to get the service done on time, and also with quality.
Furthermore, you must be a good communicator.
One of the dangers of overlooking the shortcomings of others in the kitchen is that when the meal is served nobody cares who cooked it.
They only care about which kitchen it came out from.
And if the meal tastes anything less than it should, everybody in that kitchen is tagged as incompetent.
This is similar to the kind of incompetence you tag everyone in a choir when they underperform.
If a member of a choir sings out of tune, everybody looks bad irrespective of who caused it.
If you were in the audience, you would probably cringe at how unprofessional the choristers are and stifle the desire to laugh hysterically at them.
In the same way, being recognized with a kitchen means you and every other chef in that kitchen must always be at the top of your game.
Or else you all end up looking like a group of novices who want to kill the customers with bland meals after every terrible service.
Professional chefs are recognized as such because they can create meals that will get you salivating, they have work ethics that are not the norm and they know how to manage those they work with.
If you have learned a thing or two about becoming a professional chef in Nigeria, do drop a comment.