Are you a closet chef? 8 ways to find out
A closet chef is to cooking what a bathroom singer is to singing! We’re often caught in the wrong job or pursuing a career path that doesn’t match our natural abilities. All we need is a small push in the right direction. This article is that small push for people who love cooking, and have everything a successful chef needs, but just don’t realize it yet! Here’s a checklist of things that will decide once and for all, if you’re a closet chef! If you relate to all or most of the items below– it’s time to come out of the closet and pursue your innate calling!
1. Cooking is your primary expression
Cooking is not a daily chore for you, it is an expression! You use it to express gratitude, affection or even empathy. The celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck says, “Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colours, there are only so many flavours - it's how you combine them that sets you apart.” So if you pamper your friends with fresh baked cakes or if your idea of a heartfelt apology is cooking a six-course meal – then you have it in you to become a professional chef.
2. You have personally ranked local restaurants
You have developed a ranking system for all the restaurants you visit. You judge a restaurant not just by its ambience and general taste. You take note of the chef’s credentials, the wine selection, the flavours and plate décor. Sounds familiar?
3. You don’t eat for mere survival
This is an obvious one. Food is more than a survival checklist for you. Its texture, aroma and the flavours mixed in every bite - are all an important part of the culinary experience. If you relate to this, you already have the number one requirement to be in the food industry. You have a holistic view of food, which is an absolute must for anyone aspiring to become a chef.
4. People almost always praise your food
People can’t stop raving about your food, and you don’t just get smiles and nods as feedback. You hear words like ”give me more”and ”delicious”, your recipes have the x-factor that people can’t resist! To be able to connect to your audience is most important. If you are already doing it without professional training, imagine what your life would be like as a chef!
5. You literally stalk cooking blogs and recipe books
Most of us look for recipes on the internet. Many of us have even tried them at home. But if you literally stalk food blogs, and make notes from YouTube food channels – you have a drive for cooking that most people don’t. Researching from different sources is an important part of being a chef. This skill could take you a long way in the industry.
6. You know your knives
This may sound odd on this list. But the great chef Nobuo Fukuda puts knife management at the top of a list mentioning important skills an aspiring chef must have! According to Brad Kaplan, “To a chef, to a cook, to a butcher, the knife is everything. It is the universal tool of the trade, regardless of cuisine, regardless of ambition, regardless of status or celebrity. It is the physical manifestation of their ability to get it done in the kitchen.”If you have it in you to be a chef, you probably spend a lot of time sharpening your knives and guarding them with an obsessive possession!
7. Presentation is important!
A famous chef once remarked, “I am not in the food business serving people, I am in the people business serving food". It is not just about how the food is cooked. It is about how it is made, how it is served, and on what it is served. If you agree with this, you are in the club. You probably micro-manage the table details and get restless if the fork is on the wrong side of the wine glass.
8. You cannot keep yourself from taking down a recipe
If you’ve spotted a new recipe at work, or even heard of one from a great dish that your friends are talking about – you find it hard to rest until you’ve got that recipe. You probably even have an old diary with hundreds of recipes. If this describes your passion for collecting recipes, you definitely should consider being a professional chef!
Crunch time! How many of these points can you relate with? If you could say, “that’s me!” to two or more of the above, then it’s time to take your passion to the next level. A culinary degree is something you may consider. Having a degree under your belt will not only open doors to learning different cuisines and the finer techniques of each, but will give tremendous confidence as you put your passion to work. Check out courses in culinary arts that prepare you for a chef’s role. While most of us love to eat, not everyone has the talent to cook well! Don't waste this special gift. There are people waiting out there to taste your delicious recipes! Take the leap. How to become a chef: courses, colleges, careers, salary