The ITH Culinary programmes provide students with both the theory and practical cookery skills needed to pursue a career in the field of Professional Cookery. We explore 10 career options these qualifications can give you access to.
Commis chefs/Line cooks
Commis chefs are very similar to trainee chefs. They learn on the job how to prepare different types of meals and various cooking techniques. They need to know all the health and safety rules of the kitchen and they work their way up in the kitchen ranks by starting as a Commis chef and learning the very basics of cooking.
Chef de Partie
Usually the Chef de Partie is assigned a specific section of the menu to focus on like starters, desserts, meat section, fish section and so on. They are responsible for cooking everything on the menu in that section. It almost always relates to a section on the hot station however there are exceptions.
A Sous chef is one just below an Executive Chef so the position is a very responsible one. The sous chef assists the Executive Chef in managing the kitchen, its staff, its stock or inventory, its menu, supplies and so. Sous chefs may be responsible for creating new dishes, training junior chefs, managing the pass, and more.
A pastry chef or pâtissier is a chef who works in a professional kitchen or usually within the kitchen brigade, and is skilled in the making of pastries, cakes, desserts, breads and other sweet or savoury baked goods. Most pastry chefs work in large hotels, restaurants, bakeries or bistros. The Pastry chef may be responsible for testing, tasting and developing new recipes for desserts and pastries, menu planning, sanitation and food safety, admin duties, budgeting, purchasing of fresh fruits and other fresh goods or supervising other staff/chefs in the kitchen.
Simply put, a chocolatier is a person who works passionately with chocolate to design, create and sculpt masterpieces. They are a rare bread these days as many exquisite chocolates are made by large (and well known) chocolate companies using expensive equipment or even machines. There’s no shame in that. However, the chocolatier is able to impart their own uniqueness to each and every chocolate delight and it often takes them years and years to perfect the craft… what a treat and a very special job to do.
Food stylists are becoming a more popular career trend. Once you know how to prepare delicious food, you need to learn how to plate the food so that it looks as good as it takes. Whilst plating techniques are covered in culinary arts training, some very artistic chefs are able to take the look of the food to the next level. Magazine, publications, recipe book authors and more are employing food stylists to help represent visually the food that they are preparing. A good eye for detail is essential.
This is often quite a unique and special job as it usually involves catering for a private household or celebrity. It involves preparing menus based on seasonal ingredients, dietary requirements and so on, and then preparing, cooking and serving meals to high-end clients as and when required. It may also involve travelling with the client to other venues and destinations to prepare food.
A recipe developer is someone who mixes art and creativity with the science of cooking. Having a solid culinary background helps those who wish to extend their culinary careers in to recipe development because it grounds students in the knowledge of textures, flavours and ingredients, and how they could or should work together. The ability to test and try out new ideas by combining scientific understandings of how cooking process and ingredients work, as well as using an artistic and fun approach to cooking makes for a successful developer. Of course, the ability to write all of these recipes, quantities and methods down in a readable and understandable format is paramount!
A caterer is a chef who prepares food for events either on site or off site. The caterer is responsible for dealing with a client, arranging food to be prepared and delivered, set up, served and cleared from a venue. Caterers often provide food at venues where weddings, baby showers, cocktail parties etc are taking place. A caterer must hold a license to prepare food and serve food. A solid culinary grounding is essential for this sort of job role.
It is not common for Culinary Arts students to walk straight into Executive Chef Positions however in some cases where a hotel or a restaurant is small, culinary arts graduates are snapped up to fill these roles. Typically though an executive chef is the most senior chef role and is usually reserved for large chef brigades where the executive chef will supervise all other chefs, create menus, order stock items and maintain the food or kitchen budget. In small hotels or restaurants, the executive chef is usually responsible for the cooking as well.
We hope you feel inspired to start a career in the culinary arts profession. If you have any queries or you would like to know more visit our Culinary programmes – https://www.ith.org.za/culinary-programmes/