Category Archives: Career Path

The Path To Becoming A Sommelier

If you have ever wanted a snazzy job at a restaurant and enjoy talking about wine, you might want to be a sommelier. You might think that the person who oversees your selection at a fancy restaurant is a waiter, when, in fact, he is someone who has devoted a considerable portion of time to knowing as much as he or she can about wine. Being a sommelier is not an easy task, this involves understanding both people and wine. It involves discerning whether a person will favor a certain vintage over another based on his or her preference.

Choosing a Career
Choosing a Career

The Matchmaker

They do not read to you the entire contents of the wine list with a dead look in their eyes, as many of the waiters may do on a busy night. Sommeliers are so much more subtle. They start by asking you what you have ordered and offer you a few suggestions based on your preferences.

You might say that a sommelier’s job is that of a matchmaker. He or she understands people and their preferences. Once he or she has done that, he suggests a certain vintage that he or she feels the customer will enjoy, to sate his or her palate and compliment the meal as well.

What Happens Backstage

The sommelier job description is so much more complex. Please note that he or she does not just come in when the establishment opens, to take wine orders. He or she has other duties to take care of. The sommelier works with the restaurant owner and chefs to create a wine list that does the food justice. He or she also deals with wine suppliers and makes certain that the establishment’s wine cellar is stocked well. In addition, a sommelier has to work with the budget that the management has allotted for the wines. Thus, he or she must learn to find reasonably-priced wines, as well as expensive ones.

Becoming A Wine Connoisseur

The path to becoming a sommelier does not involve gulping down every known vintage and remembering what they taste like. He or she has to know how to serve the wine, know what glasses to use for each one, and he or she must also know the proper temperature to store and serve each kind of wine. Thus, to become one, a person has to understand wine and possess a passion for it.

To start, anyone with a passion for wine can become a sommelier. However, in order to gain employment, one has to take certification or competency examinations which reputable professional organizations administer. To prepare for these exams, a sommelier will require wine courses and a great deal of self-education. Please note that the organizations charge fees for each exam.

Becoming a sommelier takes a good deal of time, as when it comes to wine, you have to analyze appearance, taste and smell. One must also learn what food goes well with each type of wine. As a job, it can be highly demanding. However, if you understand both wine and people, you can enjoy a fruitful career with the right training.

How to Become an Executive Chef ?

Individuals that already have a high school diploma or a GED and are interested in pursuing a career as an executive chef should enroll in a culinary arts program. Students that are enrolled in this type of program can turn their passion for food and business into a lucrative and rewarding career. If you find yourself asking what is a executive chef, here is a general overview of the position.

Education

There are certificate, associate, and bachelor degree programs available for students that want to get their foot in the door or who want to explore a more specialized career as a chef manager. Although coursework will vary from school to school, full time students can expect to complete the certificate program within six months. Full-time study for the associate degree program is two years and four years for the bachelor degree program. Students will also gain a plenty of hands on experience and training to enhance their culinary knowledge and skills. Students that enroll in an executive chef-training program will develop a variety of skills, including multitasking, superior communication capabilities, managerial, and critically thinking while managing staff and productivity levels within the kitchen.

Role and Responsibilities

This professional is also known as the head chef, chef manager or chief cook in a kitchen. This person is responsible for every aspect of a kitchen’s daily operations, which include hiring, training, firing, delegating the roles of and responsibilities of other kitchen employees, maintaining good hygiene standards, and planning menus. While this professional is in charge of the kitchen, they generally do not cook. Cooking is often left up to sous chefs and other lower level employees in the kitchen.

The chief cook is also required to handle all administrative duties in the kitchen. These duties include scheduling kitchen staff, inventory, ordering supplies, and reporting to the owner of the establishment in which they work. In addition to overseeing the kitchen staff, this professional is responsible for the quality of dishes that come out of the kitchen. Through careful planning and innovation, this professional is required to make adjustments and modifications to the menu and the restaurants pantry as needed.

This professional is essentially the manager of the kitchen. The success and popularity of a restaurant or dining establishment is the direct result of the executive chef’s performance. Typical work attire for this professional is a monogrammed white chef’s coat, a chef’s hat, and black pants. Work attire may vary depending on the establishment of employment.

Career Outlook

Students that complete a chef training program can seek out opportunities in a variety of public, private, and government sector jobs. While the average salary for this position varies widely, there are greater earning opportunities available for professionals that work in large establishments or who decide to pursue entrepreneurial path.

Even though a degree is not required, pursuing a certificate, associate’s or even a bachelor’s degree in the culinary arts field is the best way for one to improve their career opportunities and salary potential.