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Cooking: A spicy career

Do you fantasize about becoming a chef in a top restaurant or someday opening your own little bakery? If so, it might be time to follow your heart and consider cooking as a career option or, as they like to say in the biz, a career in the culinary arts.

The industry/Career options

Food service is one of the fastest-growing job sectors. And employers and financial backers increasingly view a culinary-school degree or diploma as an indication of skill and commitment. Today, training as a food professional can lead to more than working in a restaurant. Other possibilities include catering, hotel and restaurant management, private and corporate dining, specialty food retailing, food styling, wholesale and retail baking, food and beverage consulting, freelance food writing and recipe development. Here's how you can get cookin'!

Qualification and training

If you want to become a chef, even though food craft training is sufficient, it is better to pursue a three-year full-time B.Sc. programme in Hospitality and Hotel Administration or a four-year Bachelor's degree in Hotel Management and Catering Technology, which may enable you to pursue an executive/supervisory career in the tourism/hotel and hospitality industry.

Food craft institutes provide training in food production, bakery and confectionary work, etc. for those with SSLC/Standard X or higher qualifications. After successful completion of a food production course, there are various stages to go through before one becomes a chef such as Commi - 3, Commi - 2, Commi - 1, Demi-Chef-de-Partie, Chef-de-Partie, Sous (Deputy) Chef and Executive Chef. One starts as Commi - 3, after two years, becomes Commi - 2 and three years later, if the performance is up to the mark, becomes Commi - 1. The higher stages that follow are Demi-Chef-de-Partie and Chef-de-Partie.

As a Chef-de-Partie, you will be in charge of one section such as Chinese, French, Continental, Italian, Banquet, Pastry or Butchery. Deputy Chef is the second man in command and assists the Chef. The Chef is responsible for the entire operation of the kitchen.

The Chef usually gets an attractive salary and other incentives. Sometimes the Chef acts as a Food Production Manager, Finance Manager and Human Resource Manager.

Remuneration

A good chef can earn as much as the General Manager of the hotel. As a trainee starting at anywhere between Rs 6000 – Rs 8000, your experience and ability to innovate can fetch you a cool Rs one lakh per month.

Professional courses

To qualify for jobs as hospitality managers, executives and other operational personnel in the hotel industry and allied sectors, one should either pursue B.Sc. in Hospitality and Hotel Administration or take up a Bachelor's Degree in Hotel Management and Catering Technology or related fields. These courses offer a blend of theoretical study and practical work experience.

Those who have passed Plus Two/equivalent examination with excellent communication and interpersonal skills, have proficiency in English and a pleasing personality are the right persons to choose a career in hotel management and catering technology.

The National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) and Indira Gandhi National Open University jointly offer B.Sc. courses in Hospitality and Hotel Administration through 24 Institutes of Hotel Management and six Food Craft Institutes located in different parts of the country.

The three-year full-time programme equips students with all the required skills, knowledge and aptitude to discharge supervisory responsibilities efficiently. The programme involves in-depth laboratory work for students to acquire knowledge and skills in the operational areas of food production, food and beverage service, front office operation and house keeping.

It also provides managerial inputs in areas such as sales and marketing, financial management, human resource management, hotel and catering law, property management, entrepreneurship development, etc.

Admission is based on the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) conducted for all the Institutes of Hotel Management by the NCHMCT. Total number of seats available on an all India basis is approximately 3000. Minimum eligibility for admission is a pass in Plus Two or equivalent examination in any group. Students appearing for the final year Plus Two examination can also write the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). Age limit for general applicants is 22 years and three years relaxation is given to Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe students. Every student should be physically fit for pursuing the course.

Total fee required for the course is approximately Rs. 1.5 lakhs (for more details visit www.nchmct.org).

The JEE is of three hours duration and includes test of reasoning, logical deduction and numerical ability, scientific aptitude, service and hospitality aptitude, general knowledge and English Language proficiency. Category-wise rank list will be prepared based on marks obtained in the entrance test.

Other universities/institutes

Some other universities/institutes that offer similar courses are listed below:

  • Amity School of Hospitality
  • Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Manipal, Karnataka
  • Institute of Hotel Management (Assisted by the Taj Group of Hotels), Aurangabad, Maharastra
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi, Jharkhand
  • Kumaon University , Nainital, Uttaranchal
  • University of Pune, Maharashtra
  • Osmania University, Hyderabad, Andra Pradesh
  • University of Mysore , Karnataka
  • Bangalore University , Karnataka

 

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