What Makes a Great Professional Chef?
Traits of a Great Professional Chef?First of all, what makes a great professional chef is a passion for food, to care about the service provided and customers they serve and the team he or she leads.
Secondly, a great professional chef thrives and becomes successful because they never forget what it’s like to sit in the dining room expecting a great meal.
And thirdly, it takes a desire to learn and an intensity to take that learning to the next level each time a professional chef steps into the kitchen.
A great professional chef knows there is no stopping point. There is always, always, always room for improvement and room for learning.
As soon as a Chef thinks they have reached Pinnacle Peak in their career they become stagnant, their creativity level falls by the wayside and suddenly their labor of love becomes a job!
George Burn’s Advice For a Professional Chef
George Burns, who died at the ripe old age of 101, put it all into perspective for me with his answer when asked, what was his secret was to a successful career and longevity? He replied, “Good, better, best – Never let it rest. Get your good better, and your better best!”
A Day in The Life of a Professional Chef
Professional Chefs endure long days and hard nights. They work at a fast pace for long periods of time under intense heat. They have to be able to go the distance physically and mentally and be as fresh at 11pm cooking as they were a 5pm cooking.
Good professional chefs are organized in every sense of the word. This is critical when working at a fast pace against the clock.
Organization goes beyond their prep work, meats, fish, poultry, soups, sauces, garnishes and ingredients.
A professional chef’s line-up of pots, pans, knives and utensils has to be at hand. Making sure the ovens are hot and all the equipment is firing on all cylinders. They also make sure their staff is effective and organized too and everyone comes together as a team in time for service.
A Great Professional Chef Knows More Than Cooking
A great professional chef knows food costs and labor costs. He or she creates a profitable menu while minimizing food waste and idle staff. They implement proper storage and handling procedures as well as inventory control, for example, F.I.F.O., First In First Out! Their kitchens are clean, efficient and organized. Great chefs are up to date on the food safety and employment laws for that town.
Problems Some Professional Chefs Have
The biggest problem in what it takes to be a great professional chef, is not realizing the difference between running a business and running a kitchen.
That’s not totally a bad thing, it just means the chef’s commitment, passion and desire is with the food end of the business not the business management end of the business.
Flexibility is a Great Trait For a Professional Chef
A great professional chef is also flexible. At times staff will be short and the chef will have to step up to the plate. They employ cleverness and smarts and work around obstacles. It is important to know every aspect in the kitchen. Being a master of many trades in the kitchen is also the trait of a great professional chef.
It also wouldn’t hurt to be able to load the dishwasher and pour a cocktail. The best chefs roll up their sleeves no matter what the task at hand. They surge forward and the show still goes on no matter what.
The Creative Professional Chef
A great professional chef’s creativity level is always high. That is what attracts them to their profession in the first place.
A shortage of ingredients makes them raise the bar and it becomes a challenge rather than a situation. They can apply their culinary skills in a multitude of unexpected delicious ways.
A Great Professional Chef
Great Chefs are leaders who attract followers. They bring their team along by working as a unit and inspiring them. When all these attributes are combined with great tastes, excellent cooking skills, and a sensational, profitable and varied menu, that is what makes a great professional chef.