How Do I Become a Chef Trainee?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann
A chef trainee may be tasked with preparing side dishes.
A chef trainee may be tasked with preparing side dishes.

If you would like to become a chef trainee, you must first posses some form of cooking talent and then apply to a restaurant. Once accepted into the kitchen, you will serve under the watchful eye of an executive chef who will guide and mentor you on your journey to become a chef trainee. As part of your training, you will learn to chop, stir and cook all types of foods as well as master other kitchen duties. The type and style of food that you will learn to cook will depend upon the kind of kitchen you are training in.

A chef trainee will be required to learn proper knife control.
A chef trainee will be required to learn proper knife control.

There are two typical methods of becoming a chef: obtaining a college degree from a reputable college or apprenticing to become a chef trainee. Of the two, the later is perhaps most practiced, with many aspiring chefs seeking to learn from an established chef while developing their own culinary skills. One of the most important and basic of all of the chef skills is proper knife control. This is often developed by allowing the chef trainee to be responsible for all the cutting, chopping and other various knife-related tasks in the kitchen.

A chef trainee may help keep cooking utensils clean.
A chef trainee may help keep cooking utensils clean.

One skill taught while studying to become a chef trainee is building flavor in layers. This is accomplished by understanding the correct and proper order in which to add ingredients. Seasoning of any dish is critical when learning to become a chef. The typical training period for a chef focuses on understanding the proper seasoning, including the spices that work best together and the spices that should not be paired. It is very important for every chef to learn the proper spices to use to bring out the best flavor from any given dish.

A chef trainee often learns how to plate and garnish salads and entrees.
A chef trainee often learns how to plate and garnish salads and entrees.

Other important skills learned while attempting to become a chef trainee are portion sizes, the storage of food and ways of utilizing leftovers to best help the kitchen's budget. One of the most critical components of any good restaurant — other than the taste of the food — is the portion size. The chef must learn how to give the diner enough food to make him feel full without giving so much that excess food is being carried out of the kitchen in to-go cartons. The increasing costs of fresh food in some areas mandates that every member of the kitchen staff — even trainees - maximizes food storage potential in an effort to minimize loss of fresh vegetables and proteins while being able to take advantage of bulk shopping bargains.

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    • A chef trainee may be tasked with preparing side dishes.
      By: Mat Hayward
      A chef trainee may be tasked with preparing side dishes.
    • A chef trainee will be required to learn proper knife control.
      By: Steve Cukrov
      A chef trainee will be required to learn proper knife control.
    • A chef trainee may help keep cooking utensils clean.
      By: Silvano Rebai
      A chef trainee may help keep cooking utensils clean.
    • A chef trainee often learns how to plate and garnish salads and entrees.
      By: stockyimages
      A chef trainee often learns how to plate and garnish salads and entrees.