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Chef's Corner

A forum for chefs and cooks in the foodservice industry

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Forum Member Joined
Jun / 2016

Professional Chef?

I have been working in the food industry for 20 years. I started out working in a donut shop and have worked my way up. I am currently working as a baker for a foodservice company. I bake all desserts from breakfast pastries to gormet desserts. Can I call myself a chef even though I don't have a degree in cooking? Just wondering as it seems to me some do this. Thanks.


Forum MemberJoined
Jun / 2016
Forum Member

Dear Lisa: Your right, some people do use the title of Chef without ever having attended a culinary school, however most of the ones that are taken seriously have validated theit ability in a wide variety of culinary experience and the related management responsibilities that come with the positions. This is not to say that there are not wonderful chefs out there that have done nothing but cook, but in most cases they are usually self employed or work for a private establishment and do not need the "sheep skin" to get their foot in the door. I say solid experience is better than a degree anyday, but some employers do not agree - Only you can decide for yourself if you can "Walk the Walk" - Good Luck..H

Forum MemberJoined
Jun / 2016
Forum Member

Hi Lisa, Welcome to the forum. It's a lot of fun here. You don't need a degree to call yourself chef. To find out if you can call yourself chef, ask yourself these questions: Am I in charge of the kitchen? Will I get blamed if anything and everything goes wrong? Will I get the credit and kudos if everything goes right? Do I love doing this more than anything else? Do I enjoy working holidays and weekends while my family and friends are having fun? Do I have grease instead of blood running through my veins? Do I love the rush of adrenaline when there's so much work to do and so little time to do it? Do I have pride in my work even though it's a deadly sin? Would I rather die than disappoint a guest? There are lots of other questions to ask yourself, but if you can answer yes to all of these questions, you can go ahead and call yourself chef. Personnally, I tell people to call me by my first name as it doesn't say "chef" anywhere on my birth certificate. Ciao for now

Forum MemberJoined
Jun / 2016
Forum Member

Thanks so much for your responses! Yes Henry I do tend to agree with you. I certainly do "walk the walk," though sometimes it is more running than walking. lol. gbs, Yes to all your questions! Although I don't run the whole kitchen, I do run the baking section, make my own menus, inventory, direct others who might be helping me. I love what I do and it gives me great pleasure to see and hear customers reactions to the pastrys that I create. I don't think that I have grease running through my veins. Maybe a combination of butter and sugar. lol

Forum MemberJoined
Jun / 2016
Forum Member

Hi Lisa, The word Chef means in charge....If you are in charge of the baking department then you could call yourself the pastry Chef. Being a real Chef means being in Charge of the whole place. If you follow the line of protocal then you can't call yourself the chef, just a department chef. The Chef's job means you have to train all stations, cooking, food safety, WHIMIS, everything.... But being a Chef i don't think necessarily means going to school. I didn't and I know something about every type of food. Learn as you go and work yourself up the latter to be the ultimate CHEF who is in charge of everything. I worked and learned and wrote my Journeymans and Red Seal. So I have the papers. Different provinces and states have different rules about writing for papers, check them out. I persoanlly think you will have a better chance of learning if you self study and learn on the job, because then you will experience the real world of cooking, not a closed, regulated environment as in a class. Good luck, and watch out for the "bug"...once it stings you you're trapped Luanne

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