High school cooking and chef lessons are of special interest to students and future chefs. Many students are curious as to how they can get started in a career in the culinary arts. Here are some tips.
Take the Classes that Your School Offers
If your school offers a culinary course, that may be the best place to start. Many schools are responding to the new interest in cooking as a career and are modifying their home ec. curriculum to reflect the needed skills. In some cases, schools are offering separate class for students interested in the culinary arts. The difference is that rather than just learning how to prepare sausage, you would learn how to actually make the sausage. Instead of just cooking lamb chops, you may find that you are cooking lamb kidneys. And, rather than cooking fried chicken, you may pull together a classic aspic of chicken.
You should be aware that the classes at your high school might be at the level of high school cooking. Chef lessons may only be available at a higher education facility. Local colleges often offer culinary level classes and may let you attend or audit the class. They may not allow students under 18 to attend due to insurance issues, so it would be best to contact the administrators before showing up for class. If there is a local culinary institute, you could also contact them to see if they offer introductory classes.
A culinary institute may be a better option for many reasons. First, since they focus on cooking, they will offer more comprehensive information. They will also be insured in the case of a cooking accident and may be more willing to let a minor attend or audit a class. Another plus for the culinary schools is that they will have certified chefs in the class and as part of the facility. Attending a class where the teacher is an experienced chef is a great way to move up from high school cooking to chef lessons.
Talk to the Chef at a Local Restaurant
If you want to speak with a local chef, your cooking teacher or guidance counselor could contact the chef for you. It is not uncommon for a chef to employ a student to work in the afternoon. Usually, the student is there to do prep and light cooking. Sometimes the chef will have a student "shadow" them. This is when the student follows the chef around the kitchen as he or she goes though their daily routine. This benefits the chef since he gets a helper who is close by and able to find things the chef needs while acting as a spare set of hands. The student gets to see what a chef does and learns first hand the skills needed to advance in a kitchen. Of course, once you are there you should talk to the chef as often as possible. Find out where they went to school and ask about their favorite recipes and techniques. Find out what they think are good career options. Cooking in a real working kitchen is a great way to move up from high school cooking and chef lessons.
Other options are hotels and catering companies since they may be looking for someone to come in a few days a week. Hotels and catering companies are usually considered the best places to start a cooking career. They offer an opportunity to learn how to cook large amounts of food for large groups of people. The techniques you learn here will give you a good foundation for your future as a chef.
High School Cooking and Chef Lessons
Making the transition from high school cooking to chef lessons and beyond can be difficult, but the effort will be worth it if you are interested in cooking professionally. A career as a chef can take you around the world cooking at different hotels and restaurants or you could open a restaurant yourself and create a menu that reflects your style and tastes.