How to Become a Preparation Chef

Becoming a preparation chef is usually the easiest way to begin a career in the culinary arts. Whether you just love cooking or aspire to some day become a head chef, being a preparation chef will be a great start.

What Is a Preparation Chef?

A preparation chef is a skilled individual who prepares the kitchen and the food for the other cooks.

How to Become a Preparation Chef

Prep chefs may filet fish, cut portions of meat and do other items that need to be done on a timely basis.

This may include chopping vegetables, creating stocks and creating the bases for many types of sauce.

Prep chefs may filet fish, cut portions of meat and do other items that need to be done on a timely basis. The role of a prep chef is a supporting and assisting role that necessitates good communication and dedication.

Many preparation chefs will move on to other roles within a restaurant. Being a preparation chef is an excellent way to get experience within a professional kitchen. Preparation chefs may have a culinary degree or may still be in school, and often a preparation chef will have a schedule that is flexible enough that they can study. Some school programs may also be connected to employment as a preparation chef, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a high school diploma is usually sufficient.

What Does a Preparation Chef Do?

High School or GED
1 to 5 years
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The preparation chef may begin earlier than other chefs to get the kitchen prepared for them. Throughout service the preparation chef will ensure that the chefs have everything they need to prepare food. This can include ensuring that the chefs have sufficient chopped vegetables or that the sauces that have been prepared are not running low. Preparation chefs may also be called upon to assist the other chefs during busy times.

While working, the preparation chef needs to be constantly aware of what is going on in the kitchen and ready to help. Many preparation chefs are learning about the kitchen and will want to be involved as much as they can to learn more.

Preparation chefs will usually take orders directly from the other chefs as well as the head or executive chef. Preparation chefs need to be able to work well with others and to handle many tasks at once.

How Do You Become a Preparation Chef?

Becoming a preparation chef usually isn’t extremely difficult. A preparation chef should usually have at least a couple of years in a kitchen environment. Usually a preparation chef is studying at a culinary arts school or has obtained a culinary arts degree. Many preparation chefs will start out in a restaurant or have restaurant experience.

Higher end restaurants may require that a preparation chef have many years of experience before being hired, while more moderate restaurants may hire preparation chefs on an entry-level.

Experience can usually be substituted for a degree within this field. Some preparation chefs may also work as an intern or apprentice. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, job openings within the field are expected to be high.

How Do You Advance as a Preparation Chef?

Preparation chefs are usually interested in eventually becoming a sous chef, executive chef or head chef. The career path for a preparation chef is usually fairly straightforward, with promotion being given based on the amount of experience a preparation chef develops and the amount of skill and talent they display.

Mobility is high within this industry, and many chefs will work for many restaurants during their career. The prestige of each restaurant the chef has worked for will be considered whenever a chef applies to a new position.

Within the job of preparation chef, higher rates of pay are usually acquired through positions with finer restaurants. Fine dining restaurants in major metropolitan areas have significantly higher rates of pay than the average restaurant.

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