For Goodness SAKE!
To consider that a genuine professional chef is simply determined by skills and knowledge is to only identify technical ability and supports the argument that being a professional chef is only about putting food on a plate.
There is a great deal more involved to being a genuine professional chef.
To only measure technical ability to be acknowledged as a professional chef, is akin to believing that a successful meal is determined by the plate alone.
Professionals understand that a great meal is influenced by many other internal and external influences to the kitchen, including service, company, ambience, wine, music and a myriad of other influences.
Anyone can cook, we see this daily with actors who have coined the phrase celebrity chef, who for publicity reasons, swear and throw food and unfortunately joined by many others who cook for a living, but unable to understand or even care to recognize that they additionally have a moral duty, if they are to be a professional chef. So what are the elements that make a professional? I believe they are:
Skills: The first and foremost element Confidence and consistency to technically procure, prepare, and present wholesome food within the cost and time constrains applicable to their work environment.
Provide evidence that you can do this and you score 25%
Attitude: The next essential element, because it shows a commitment to the industry and includes:
Valuing the need for continuous self development Respecting the part that history has played in cooking Acknowledging and correctly using the technical language Understanding the need to be involved in supporting networks / associations Following a recognized code of practices Being courteous to and openly sharing knowledge with colleagues Behaving and conducting oneself at all times as a professional Mentoring the futures industry Being proud to wear a full chefs uniform
Being passionate with and respecting food Being able to describe and defend what a professional chef stands for
Add another 25%
Knowledge: The third essential component includes: Following the laws of the land as applied to a working chef Knowing how to operate with integrity and honour Upholding the values of a professional cook Being aware of a wide variety of products and ingredients Understand the reaction of ingredients in preparation and cooking
Add 25% and you are still only three- quarters of a professional chef.
Experience – The final critical component Experience as a learner, apprentice or commis, experience as a cook, chef de parti, sous chef, chef de cuisine and/or as an executive chef. Experiencing how to be professionally treated in order to learn how to later treat staff. There are many different types of additional valid “experiences” which depending upon circumstances and may include: being an author of technical books, committed as a commercial cookery educator, gaining over a period of time an industry reputation for excellence, participation in Salon Culinaires particularly as a participant and showing leadership in a kitchen or a chefs association
All four – Now you are a professional chef With any one of the four essentials elements missing the professionalism of the chef would be in question. Call yourself a chef, even genuinely believe you are a chef.
Even con the media and the public into believing that you are a chef, however realise you have not reached the legitimate stature of a professional as yet.