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OPINION

DAD, I WANT

TO BE A CHEF! Stephen Hickmore, a recruiter for the hospitality industry with decades of experience, lists the top 10 pointers for making it as a young chef.

E

ver had that moment? You stand in front of your parents preparing to break the news of how you intend to spend the rest of your life. They stare with nervous anticipation, you stammer and squirm. “Sit down, son” booms your father. “Mom, Dad I have something to tell you” your eyes alternate from a spot on the floor to the expressionless faces of your parents. “I want to be a Chef!” After having spent a fortune on your education and nurtured you through the Maths and Sciences, your parents may have had the expectation that their darling son or daughter has what it takes

to be an engineer, doctor, accountant or lawyer. Most parents have a fear of their kids taking on certain careers, like circus performer, exotic dancer, tattoo artist or chef. Your father stares at you red faced with eyes full of disappointment, as your mother rushes from the room in tears “You want to be a chef?” he gulps. But, take it from me, you have chosen one of the greatest of all professions. As a recruiter for the hospitality industry I can attest that there is a worldwide shortage of chefs. We are literally crying out for talent. Whilst your school buddies who want

GET A FEEL FOR THE WORLD. REMEMBER THAT THE PRESSURES ARE HIGH, THE PAY ISN’T SO GREAT IN THE BEGINNING, THE HOURS ARE LONG AND EMOTIONS BOUNCE OFF THE KITCHEN WALLS LIKE OBNOXIOUS FOOD CRITICS. YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT OR HATE IT. IF YOU LOVE IT, YOUR LIFELONG ADDICTION WILL BRING YOU ALL THE CAREER HIGHS YOU NEED.

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to be lawyers, accountants and graphic designers will struggle to find employment simply because there is a lesser demand for those skills and far too many graduates. What should a high school student do to prepare themselves for entry into the world of professional cookery and what opportunities await?

1. Ask the question “Do I really know what it is like to be a professional chef”? This will take research. Forget the TV programmes like MasterChef, My Kitchen Rules and anything with Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson or Gordon Ramsey starring in it. That is not what it is like at all. Talk to all kinds of chefs, ask if you can work a shift in their kitchen. Get a feel for the world. Remember that the pressures are high, the pay isn’t so great in the beginning, the hours are long and emotions bounce off the kitchen walls like obnoxious food critics. You are going to love it or hate it. If you love it, your life-long addiction will bring you all the career highs you need.

2. Work hard at school

Just because a chef career is practical and creative in nature does not mean you can bunk school. You must

Profile for Film & Event Media

SA Chef Magazine Issue 4, 2017  

SA Chef Magazine is the official voice of the South African Chefs Association (SACA). In our fourth edition, we celebrate the outgoing presi...

SA Chef Magazine Issue 4, 2017  

SA Chef Magazine is the official voice of the South African Chefs Association (SACA). In our fourth edition, we celebrate the outgoing presi...

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