Do you love cooking? Have you ever thought about having a career as a chef in Michigan? If so, you are in luck! In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about becoming a chef in the state of Michigan. There is no doubt that the culinary arts are an exciting, challenging, and dynamic field. It is a place where someone with ambition and drive can go far!
What Does a Chef Do?
A chef’s specific duties will depend to a great extent on his or her specific position (job title). There are several different kinds of chefs. Examples of different kinds of chefs include executive chefs, chefs de cuisine, and head cooks; sous chefs; and private household chefs. Executive chefs, chefs de cuisine, and head cooks are in charge of the kitchen and everyone who works within it. They are also responsible for menu design, as well as review of purchases of food and beverages. These chefs frequently train cooks and other kitchen (food preparation) staff. As an executive chef, chef de cuisine, or head cook, you will probably have a certain number of administrative duties, too. The sous chef is second-in-command in the kitchen. This chef must report the results of the kitchen’s work to the head chef, prepare meals, and supervise the cooks and kitchen staff who are beneath him or her. Most sous chefs aspire to be an executive chef in the future. If you want to be an executive chef one day, you will almost certainly have to work as a sous chef first. This is important, as the experiences you have as a sous chef will be crucial in setting you up to be a competent and effective executive chef.
Typical duties of the head chef include coordinating the work of all the cooks and food preparation workers in the kitchen, and supervise the staff; planning dish presentation; planning menus; ensuring meals are of an acceptable quality; making sure that all food and ingredients are fresh; ensuring standards for kitchen safety are upheld; ensuring proper sanitation practices are upheld; keeping track of food and supplies inventory; ordering food and supplies; hiring and training food preparation workers, including other cooks; supervising food preparation workers, including other cooks; and carrying out inspection of work areas, equipment, and supplies to ensure that standards of functionality and cleanliness are upheld.
Chefs are typically required to work very long hours. Additionally, evenings and weekend hours are commonly required. As most of us know, these tend to be some of the busiest hours in many restaurants. As a chef, you must be truly dedicated to your career and your progress within it. Your job will have to be an extremely high priority in your life.
Being a chef is a challenging job that requires a variety of personal qualities and characteristics, including:
• Time-management skills: It is absolutely essential for a chef to have outstanding time-management skills. It is impossible to successfully run a kitchen and all the staff it contains without an excellent ability of making the most of time.
• Business skills: Chefs, especially head and executive chefs, need a strong command of general business and administrative skills.
• Excellent sense of smell and taste: For obvious reasons, all chefs must have an extremely sharp, accurate, and well-developed sense of smell and taste. This is essential, as chefs must taste all the foods they produce to make sure quality of the dishes is as it should be.
• Strong communication skills: Excellent communication skills are critically important to all chefs. You will need communication skills (speaking and listening) in order to ensure that your work and the kitchen as a whole run smoothly.
• Physical stamina: As a chef, you will be required to stand on your feet and move around for the vast majority of the workday. Not only that, you will be working very long hours in a high pressure environment. For these reasons, physical stamina is absolutely essential to a successful culinary career.
• Creativity: Creativity will be vitally important to you as a successful chef. This quality is needed in many different areas, including the creation of new dishes and menu design.
• Outstanding leadership skills: A successful chef must be an outstanding leader. Without leadership skills, a chef will find it impossible to successfully run the kitchen and supervise the staff, especially during extremely busy, high pressure periods.
• Dexterity and physical coordination: Dexterity and physical coordination will be needed every day in your career as a chef. Dexterity and physical coordination are necessary in order to effectively use kitchen tools and equipment, such as high quality knives. These qualities are not only essential for working effectively in the kitchen, but also for working safely.
• Commitment to the profession: If you are serious about becoming a chef and making it a lifelong career, you must have a strong sense of commitment to the job. Even after you finish culinary school, you will probably have to start in a job lower in the pecking order than what you might feel your skills suit, and then work your way up. In the culinary field, experience is extremely important, more important than in many other careers. Expect to work long hours, and work in an extremely high pressure environment.
You will need to have your high school diploma or equivalent, and be at least 17 years old, before entering a chef education program. It is strongly recommended that you have kitchen work experience before entering a program. This is important not only in helping you gain some basic skills and knowledge before beginning the program, but also in making sure that you have seen what a kitchen environment is like and you are willing to do whatever it takes to work in that environment. Having kitchen work experience will also make you a better candidate for being admitting to culinary arts programs, and will make you more competitive. You might be required to pass a screening for substance abuse.
When you are looking for a chef training or culinary arts program to which to apply, make sure that it is properly accredited. In Michigan, chef education or culinary arts programs can be found at community colleges, universities, technical/career colleges, and specialized chef schools. Depending on which program you choose, you will earn either a diploma/certificate, associate’s (most often two year) degree, or bachelor’s (four year) degree. If you choose a bachelor’s degree program, you will probably have more of an opportunity to learn management and business skills and procedures. This will give you a bit of head start in the long-term, especially if you want to be an executive chef one day. This is because executive chefs have many administrative and business-related responsibilities. Bachelor’s degree programs tend to be more likely to offer opportunities to undertake advanced studies in a specific area.
There are many things you should look for in a prospective culinary arts program. Four of these things are: professional and highly experienced faculty who are chefs themselves; a fully equipped training kitchen; a student-run restaurant; and opportunities for apprenticeships, externships, and internships.
Once you have finished your education program and have gained some professional experience, you might want to get some extra certifications. There are several certifications that will help you be more attractive to employers, and more likely to obtain a job in one of the higher prestige restaurants. They can also make it easier for you to command a higher rate of pay. The American Culinary Federation offers many useful additional certifications for chefs.
Once you are a chef, it will be useful to join a professional association or organization. Examples of such associations or organizations include the Southeast Michigan Personal Chef Association and the Michigan Chef de Cuisine Association. One of the advantages provided by such membership is the ability to network and hear about new opportunities. You will also have the chance to learn and get tips and advice from professionals who have years of experience.
The American Culinary Foundation offers certification in several different areas: Cooking Professionals; Culinary Administrators; Culinary Educators; Personal Cooking Professionals; and Baking and Pastry Professionals. In the Cooking Professionals category, the first certificate you will probably want to get is the Certified Culinarian. If you complete a Culinary Arts program that is at least one year in duration, you will need just one year of work experience to apply for the Certified Culinarian certificate. If you have an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts, you do not need any experience to apply for this certificate. You will need to successfully complete a written exam and practical exam. You will need to renew your certification once every three years. Each time you renew it, you will need to prove you have completed 48 hours of continuing education (this includes refreshers). Other certifications in the Cooking Professionals category are the Certified Sous Chef certification, the Certified Chef de Cuisine certification, the Certified Executive Chef certification, and the Certified Master Chef certification.
While you are studying to become a chef in Michigan, it is very important that you immerse yourself in the state’s local food scene. Michigan’s food history and culture is fascinating, and there are many wonderful restaurants and food festivals for you to enjoy. This will help you not only in your culinary arts program, but also will give you invaluable local knowledge and connections which will aid you in your future job search and career.
Let’s first discuss the duties that a sous chef will usually have fulfill on a daily basis. The sous chef usually arrives at work before anyone else. He or she must ensure that the kitchen is clean and up to all standards of hygiene; inspect work stations before food service commences; carry out menu review; examine kitchen inventory; place last minute orders; carry out lots of prep work; prepare a meal for the staff (if the restaurant provides food for the staff); check reservation numbers; and many other duties.
What about the duties of an executive chef’s typical day? An executive chef often has meetings with bosses, people planning banquets, and vendors; must complete paperwork, including dealing with staff reviews, bills, and other administrative tasks; has to carry out menu planning; must do recipe and meal creation; has to carry out staff management; must check inventory; must order inventory; often visits markets; must create staff schedules; pays bills; and leads staff meetings. While the sous chef is usually the first to arrive for the workday, the executive chef is usually the last to leave.
The median pay for chefs in the United States is $41,500 annually, or $19.95 per hour. Keep in mind that you may have to start off at a lower position than the one you aim to have one day. You will have to work your way up, showing consistent dedication and a strong work ethic.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, the median salary for a sous chef is $45,552 per year, while in Dearborn, Michigan, it is $43,560. In Lansing, Michigan, the median annual salary for a sous chef is $41,324. As befits their higher status in the kitchen, executive chefs make significantly more than sous chefs. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, the median salary for executive chefs is $64,872, while in Dearborn it is $62,035, and in Lansing it is $58,850.
Chef Job Growth Information
The field of culinary arts is growing at a rate faster than the average of other occupations. That means that if you enter this field, you should find plenty of job opportunities when you finish your education.