If you want to become a chef de cuisine, you may require both formal educational training as well as a background in lower level kitchen positions. If you choose an apprenticeship or restaurant based training program, some kitchen staff positions may be unnecessary. Since chef de cuisine is the top job in any restaurant kitchen, you'll need to have top leadership, organizational and strategical skills as well as your own signature dishes.
As an aspiring chef, when developing your original recipes, you should be considering the season and using the freshest foods available. If you hope to become a chef de cuisine, you'll need the ability to stick to a budget and this means buying foods in season. You'll have to be a good menu planner capable of managing all aspects of running a restaurant kitchen. Physically, a chef must be able to stand for long periods of time as well as move quickly as needed through different areas of the restaurant.
Organizing different cooking or preparation stations in a restaurant kitchen and overseeing staff are necessary chef's skills. Common commercial kitchen stations are appetizers, fish, meat, salad and dessert. Depending on the type of cuisine or restaurant, these stations may vary widely. Being able to master all types of stations as well as preparation and cooking methods is crucial to become a chef de cuisine. Either through a cooking education at a college or restaurant apprenticeship, you'll need to be able to successfully prepare almost every type of food imaginable to exacting standards.
For example, you'll need to know when it's better to broil or braise a particular cut of meat. Understanding how to make a perfect soft boiled egg and cheese souffle must go beyond cooking school theory alone, but rather be solid skills you posses if you want to become a chef de cuisine. Food selection, storage and safety are also important areas in which a chef must have top knowledge. He or she must understand not only the chef de cuisine's job, but every kitchen position, including bakers and butchers.
While formal training at a vocational school or college may typically be two to four years, it may take you more like 10 years to reach the position of a chef. By this time, with hard work and dedication, you likely will have perfected your cooking techniques and signature dishes as well as be able to solve problems in any restaurant kitchen. You may want to become a chef de cuisine to eventually open your own restaurant.