As a culinary arts professional, the more skills you have, the more valuable you are. And, as with any career, the more valuable you are, the more successful you will become and ultimately the more satisfied you will be with your professional life.
In the culinary arts profession, it all boils down to your skillset. Following are some of the skills that a culinary arts professional needs in order to be successful. Whether you work in a fine hospitality establishment that caters to international guests, or you work in a small French bistro in the South of France, you’ll need to hone the following culinary skills.
Passion for the Culinary Arts
There’s no getting around it. If you do not have a passion for the culinary arts, you’ll never make a superb culinary arts professional. To excel in this capacity, you need to care deeply about what you are creating. And make no mistake, making food is a kind of creation. With every dish, you are inventing a new food experience for your customer, and you need to care passionately that the dish is pleasing in every way. Passion is also a necessity because of the demands of the job. In the hospitality industry, you will work long hours, often into the wee hours of the morning. You’ll work on weekends and holidays and often the shifts will be fraught with intensity and fervor.
How to Prepare Ingredients?
No matter what culinary arts profession you aspire to, you’ll need to learn the art of food preparation that is done by a sous chef. A sous chef is the person who does the peeling, grating, mincing, slicing and chopping of the food ingredients. Every one of these tasks must be performed correctly so that the ingredients go into the dishes in the correct way. So as you’re studying to become a culinary arts professional, you’ll learn how to peel carrots, slice onions, debone fish, stuff chicken, puree anchovies, core pineapple and much more.
How to Pair Foods?
Certain foods go well together and others don’t. While there are some food pairings that are probably yet to be discovered, for the most part, there are classic pairings that all good culinary arts professionals understand. A common example of this is chips and salsa. Everyone knows that they go well together. But did you know that rosemary pairs well with pork or that cayenne pairs well with chocolate? It’s these lesser known pairings that you will learn about in culinary school that will make every class so exciting.
How to Plate Dishes?
Plating is the term used when the culinary arts professional arranges the foods on the plate in an attractive way. Food presentation is a key focus in culinary arts schools because it can be done in so many interesting ways. It’s part skill, part artistry. When you learn to plate dishes in an extraordinary way, you can whet the customers’ appetite just by the visual experience.
How to Manage a Kitchen?
Managing a kitchen is the job of the chef and the restaurant owner or manager. However, all culinary arts professionals need to learn how to manage a kitchen. This is so that you can learn how a proper kitchen operates. There is a system in every professional kitchen and you must learn what the system is so that you can operate seamlessly within the system as you do your job. This is another skill that you will learn when you go to culinary school.
The Basics of Food Science
As a culinary arts professional, you’ll need to know a bit about food science. For example, you’ll need to understand under what conditions milk curdles so that you can utilize that knowledge when you need to make certain dairy ingredients. You’ll need to understand why hollandaise sauce separates so that you can figure out how to fix the sauce if it happens to a dish in your kitchen. These basics of food science will be covered in your culinary arts classes.
How to Handle Difficult People?
Working closely with other culinary arts professionals in a kitchen can be challenging. Whenever there are multiple types of personalities working together, there are bound to be tense moments of confrontation. And, some people are more difficult to contend with than others. When you study in a culinary arts school, you’ll learn skills that will help you to handle difficult people in a variety of situations.
These are just some of the essential skills that you’ll need to be a successful culinary arts professional. The more you study this fascinating career, the more you’ll see that there is always more to learn. You’ll learn from your teachers in the classroom, but you’ll continue learning from your colleagues as you move up in your culinary arts profession in the future!