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Best Places to Work as a Chef

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Authored by Deborah Dera in Careers and Employment
Published on 10-09-2009

Congratulations on your decision to become a chef. Unfortunately, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you – not only in focusing on your culinary studies but in finding the perfect place to work once you’re finished. While most entry-level positions aren’t glamorous, the average chef doesn’t enter school wishing to work as a line cook or sous chef his entire life. If you want to get ahead as a chef you’ll have to target your job hunt to locations where chefs have more opportunities to work their way up and become successful.

Luxury Hotels

Landing a job at a luxury hotel may not be easy but if you can pull it off you’ll find yourself in line to reap a number of benefits. For starters, luxury hotels are usually located in luxury destinations, meaning you’ll be able to enjoy some exotic landscapes you may not have ever thought you’d be able to visit. Chefs in luxury hotels tend to make a competitive salary and there is often room for promotion as head chef or executive chef positions become available. In a regular hotel you may earn up to $40,000 per year as a chef whereas in a luxury hotel you may earn as much as $100,000.

Catering Groups

Catering organizations provide awesome opportunities for new chefs to show their skills and shine. The earning potential for a chef working for a catering company is moderate, but reasonable for a beginner. Catering groups do their best to maximize their profit while giving their customers the best deal possible. Catering doesn’t refer to weddings and parties alone, either. Some large businesses have full-time catering contracts to provide food for employees or special business events on a regular basis. If you land a job with a reputable catering group you can expect to earn anywhere between $40,000 and $80,000 per year.

Casino Restaurants

Look toward areas where casinos are located and you’re bound to see a wide variety of restaurants owned by top chefs like Bobby Flay, Gordon Ramsay, and their counterparts. If you want to learn about how the food industry works than you should aim to land a job in popular, well-known restaurant (even if it isn’t owned by a world-renowned chef – local popularity is great, too). You’ll often find yourself working alongside some of the most talented chefs in the industry and will find you have room for advancement as well.

Places to Avoid

If you really want to become a chef you’ll need t aim high. After culinary school, try to avoid working in diners, grocery stores, social service positions (like school cafeterias), or fast food restaurants. These jobs won’t pay you enough to life, won’t test your skills as a chef, and will eventually run you and your spirit for cooking straight into the ground. If you do work one of these positions, make sure that doing so does not take away from your ability to find other higher-paying and more reputable positions to add to your resume as a chef.

Becoming a top chef isn’t easy. The competition is fierce and only so many make it to the top of the culinary world but if you love what you do you’ll find the perfect position. Good luck making your mark on the culinary world!

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