Presentation of the cooked food
Presentation is one of the most important skills required in a professional chef. Most chefs can cook tasty food, but what really sets a master professional chef apart is the ability to make the food look irresistible as well.
Creativity in preparing new dishes
A professional chef is creative with the food he cooks. He is not afraid of taking risks with different dishes, and is always trying to create new dishes which appeal to different segments and cultures of society.
Organisation of the kitchen area
A chef who runs or works in a kitchen should be organised. Good organisation includes knowing where the required ingredients are, and keeping every cooking surface clean, and maintaining the overall hygiene of the kitchen.
Managing a team of chefs:
Quality dishes on a commercial scale cannot be created singlehandedly. A team of culinary professionals are required to keep up with this task. Therefore, every professional chef should know how to work in a team, and should be able to manage his team in such a way that each member provides optimum performance based on their individual skill set.
Being flexible and resourceful:
In addition to being organised and a team player, a top professional chef should be flexible. There are many times that a member of the team is absent, or some ingredient is not available. Also sometimes a customer demands something which is not on the regular menu. During such times a chef should know how to manage with the available resources to achieve the desired result.
In any business, customer is king, and it is the same in the culinary business. Customers are the only reason why professional chefs get paid. A good chef knows that on the bottom-line, what every customer wants is fresh food that tastes good and is presented attractively. Also he is able to handle complaints and requests from even the most unreasonable customers.
Apart from the above stated skills, there are various personality traits that define a professional chef- stamina, customer friendliness and financial management. A professional chef is able to work for a long time during rush hours without letting fatigue become a factor in the quality of his food. Being friendly to the customer’s also increases the customer loyalty to the restaurant. A professional chef should be able to create the menu such that the price generates a good profit and is still affordable to the customers.
In present times, choosing to be a chef as a profession is quite popular, and there is a huge demand for professional chefs. Thus, there are a lot of institutes which provide chef training as a course, including Le Cordon Bleu, Kaplan University, Penn Foster Career School etc.
What sets a professional chef apart?
To be a professional chef, a culinary degree from a recognised institute and the above stated skills are vital. But what is most important is the care and passion with which you prepare each dish, because any individual can learn to cook for his day to day life, but working hard on each dish until it develops the perfect taste, is what makes you a professional chef.