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A lot of people involved into gastronomy and cooking are not satisfied with their status of a short-order cook or a basic food preparation worker, they cherish an aspiration of reputable head chef career, something that goes beyond their current professional level. But the problem is you are not in position to get on the road to a new career without specialized additional training.
And nowadays this kind of training can be obtained through enrolling to one of accredited vocational training programs in the field of your professional specialization. The requirements of acceptance to a culinary educational establishment are rather strict and you need to present a high school diploma in order to be trained as a professional chef. On the other hand, if you are dreaming about a career of a chef and you are still in high school it would be a good start for you to get some basic gastronomy and culinary training, so later you will be in better position to go to higher levels of professional education in this field.
Some elementary basic skills, proper handling of food, dishes and appliances, the basic knowledge of safety when working in a restaurant environment can be obtained at many vocational schools or even at specialized courses at high schools. Do not forget that a professional chef has often to combine the direct professional duties with additional duties, such as some business aspects of the restaurant activities, so it would be an advantage for you to attend some basic computer and business classes that are usually provided by accredited vocational training establishments. A very good assistance for those who are just starting out on their way to top professional chef careers is often offered by some large companies; they arrange internships and summer assignments and ensure the financing for those activities.
Those students of accredited culinary vocational training establishments who are dreaming about a future position of a head chef, or an executive chef as this position is sometimes referred to, should bear in mind that the most reputable restaurants are known for their strict requirement as far as the work experience is concerned - the applicants should have at least several years of professional training and experience. In order to receive accredited training of suitable quality and to be qualified for the position of an executive chef a student should look for a reputable vocational establishment, such as an accredited cooking school or a professional culinary institute. The hospitality and culinary degrees can be obtained at some of universities with two or four year programs as well. Another option is to enroll to one of the executive chief training programs that are privately arranged by the most elite hotels and restaurants.
In the end of your training period the accredited training establishment will require from you participation in a kind of an internship or apprenticeships. Some accredited establishments conclude an agreement with some restaurant and students are placed for hand-on training at those restaurants to finish their vocational education and successful graduation. This kind of internships or hand-on apprenticeships is of paramount importance for any future head chef. Working side by side with actual professionals is exactly what a student of culinary art needs for further progress towards the head chef career. The professional will share their experience and teach a student a lot of valuable things, which are essential for a position in an advanced training curriculum.
It goes without saying that above-mentioned practical hand-on training at a fine restaurant is simply a must for anyone seeking a position of an executive chef at a reputable establishment. It should be realized that the way up to the executive chef level takes time, competition and additional certification requirements. Basic training at a culinary educational establishment provides a student with qualifications for lower level positions. From there you will have to work your way further and higher. And this process can be facilitated and made shorter by enrolling to some accredited extensive formal training program (or an apprenticeship). Such program will give you additional job experience, so you will be able to skip a couple of levels on your way up to the desired position of an executive chef.
In the United States the American Culinary Federation (ACF) has certified and supports over 100 accredited culinary training programs and many apprenticeships. As a rule it takes a student three years to get through a combination of class work and on the hand-on training side by side with professionals at a fine restaurant. The accreditation of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) is a guarantee of the highest standards as far the curriculum and services of those programs are concerned. Additionally any culinary professional or an instructor is in position to pass ACF certification and get the required certificate of qualifications. An ACF accredited culinary vocational training will be the most efficient and time-saving way to achieve the position of an executive chef you are dreaming of.