Chef Career in India – Job,Scope,Salary,Course – A career as a chef is one of the newest career options in India.There is lots of scope for a good job salary and many hotel management colleges and courses that offer Diplomas,certification and degree courses to learn to become a chef.The degree course needs an entrance exam called as NCHMET.The best part is that this exam can also be attempted by arts stream students or others from any branch.
What is so exciting about this new industry? and what has changed over the last 20 years? let me tell you my own story.
In my family both my father and uncle did Hotel management i also thought i would give it a shot after 12th boards science.For me the paper was very easy and i cleared it without any problem.I went for the interview that was conducted by a panel of 4-5 elderly people at the IHM Dadar Catering College,which i also got through.However,i did not take the seat and decided to opt for engineering,because that was more challenging.
I completed my engineering which was very very hard and never worked as an engineer or in any field related to engineering.Now after so many years later,guess what i do, ,,,,,yes – i am a chef and run my own food business.
Advantages of a chef career
- If you have a knack for cooking,and love it,then this profession will be very satisfying and you will thoroughly enjoy your work.
- Unlike other desk jobs,this is a vocational career and you will never be bored and neither will it be monotonous.
- This may sound unimportant but you can eat how much you want and also the best food!No one ever questions what the chef eats!
- Salaries are on par with most office jobs,without the pressure to meet targets,deadlines or clients.
- There is a certain degree of artistic skill and talent that you give to each dish and express it.this gives you the freedom to unleash your creative best!
- Your skill will always be demand.You will never be out of a job.This is because the food industry is very old and will never go as long as people want to eat out.
- Cooking is a very basic necessary skill,not matter what.Even in your own home,if you cook for yourself for family,rest assured,you will never go hungry and never depend on someone else to prepare your meals.
Disadvantages of a chef career
- Environment – One of the main hardships that you face in this line of work is the environment.Unlike an office,a commercial kitchen is not for the faint hearted.It is extremely hot,humid,smokey and harsh to be in.In the middle of all this,you will be cooking for 8 hours a day.
- Timings – Talking about timings,8 hours a day is just the minimum you need to be there.during rush hours when there are more diners you cannot look at the clock and leave.
- Shifts – Most restaurants and especially starred hotels work around the clock and assign you shifts anytime during the day or even night.These odd timings are difficult to cope with.
Chef Career in India – How hard is a Chef’s Job ?
Once you finish the course and start work in a standalone restaurant or a 5 star,the work is physically enduring.You need to stand for hours at a stretch at peak hours.The time passes so quickly when you are making the food orders and you realize your are working for 3-4 hours without even a sip of water or food to eat- ironically you being surrounded by it all the time.At the most you will taste a little of the food to check the seasoning and taste.
If you love cooking and have being doing it since year you will enjoy this job,but otherwise it is too tiring.Another thing to remember is that as a chef you need some inborn natural talent and flair for cooking.Food taste is a subjective thing,one person’s tasty food may taste horrible to another man.This involves creativity and some skill- not everyone can cook.Yes after making the same dish 200 times you will learn what ingredients go into it and the method of preparation,but to make it stand out,it needs a special touch.
How to get admission into a chef course and fees of course
For admission into a course that teaches you to become a chef,there are three options you can take:-
1.B.sc in Hospitality and Hotel Administration – This is a 3 year Bachelors Degree course that you can apply to after 12th standard Higher Secondary board exams.You need to pass a Entrance examination that has all sections of General Knowledge and a little bit of Science related questions.For students of Arts or commerce who want to pursue this course,do not worry.If you cant answer the questions related to science then you can easily score in the other sections of the paper to make up for this.
Duration:6 semesters or 3 years
Fees:Approximately Rs.80,000 per year
2.Diploma in food production – This is a one and a half years short term course.It teaches you all the min essential subjects that are important.Of course it wont be detailed as the Degree course but the best part is that you get a valid diploma which is useful whereby you can get a job directly after finishing the diploma course.
Duration :18 months
Fees : Rs.40,000-Rs.50,000
3.Certificate Course – This is crash course in becoming a chef.There are many types of certificate courses,all having a separate specialty like a bakery course,pastry course, Indian Cooking,Cake and Frosting etc.These last for about 12 weeks and are great for working people with an existing job or for sit at home moms looking for a hobby that can be turned into a career.
Duration :12 weeks
Fees: Approx. Rs.25,000-30,000
Hotel / Hospitality management course subjects
Foundation Course in Food Production – I
Foundation Course in Food & Beverage Service – I
Foundation Course in Front Office – I
Foundation Course in Accommodation Operations – I
Application of Computers
Foundation Course in Food Production – II
Foundation Course in Food & Beverage Service – II
Foundation Course in Front Office – II
Foundation Course in Accommodation Operations – II
Principles of food science
Semester 3 and 4
Food Production Operations
Food & Beverage Operations
Front Office Operations
Food & Beverage Controls
Food Safety & Quality
Advance Food Production Operations – I
Advance Food & Beverage Operations – I
Front Office Management – I
Accommodation Management – I
Special topics/Guest speakers
Advance Food Production Operations – II
BHM352 Advance F&B Operations – II 0
BHM353 Front Office Management – II 0
BHM354 Accommodation Management – II
BHM305 Food & Beverage Management
BHM306 Facility Planning
BHM309 Research Project –
Special topics/Guest speakers
Chef Career in India Job scope and Salary
Once you finish with your chef training course of hotel management degree/diploma, then you can either start off with a job in a small restaurant or a 5 star if you get into one.You will start at the base and get a designation Commis 1,2,3 and then rise upto Junior Sous chef,Sous chef,Head Chef, Executive chef or Masterchef .Some hotel management courses have tie ups with 5 stars and some starred hotels even have their won chef training course after which you automatically get a job in that same hotel.
You can begin with a small salary of Rs.17,000-Rs.22,000 per month,and later as you get more work experience you can either continue working with 5 stars or partner up with a friend and open up a small cafe or work as anther post in a hotel in the food and beverage department ,front desk or administration.
Let me tell you,if you stick to cooking as a chef,the SKY is the limit.Cooking is a skill that few have and few have learnt.Not even the CEO of a fortune 500 company can do what you do, – remember this. Your skills are invaluable and in the current scene of high end restaurants opening in all major metros in the country,you will earn about a lakh of rupees within 5 years.
If you run your own restaurant you can earn atleast 3 lacs a month net.
Here are some job advertisement for chefs shown below: