When we sit down to enjoy a sumptuous meal, we often don’t realise the tremendous efforts and skills that go into crafting the perfect dish. Behind every memorable dining experience is a chef, a culinary artist who dedicates their life to mastering the art of food preparation. So, what does it take to be a good chef?
Who is a CHEF?
A chef is not merely a cook; they are culinary maestros who excel in all facets of food preparation, often specialising in specific cuisines. The term “chef” finds its origins in “chef de cuisine,” a French expression signifying the director or head of a kitchen. Chefs can acquire expertise through formal training at culinary institutions or apprenticing under seasoned professionals.
Students must have an interest and desire to venture into the culinary world. Interest is the first important factor for anyone who wants to make the chef profession a career. We need such interest to be able to explore the wonders of the culinary world. Interest could foster curiosity and improve our knowledge to become a greater person. We must realise that this culinary world has many branches, directions and possibilities.
The Power of Knowledge
Knowledge is the compass that guides a chef through the intricate culinary landscape. It also empowers people individuals to make healthier food choices. Therefore, it is important to teach future chefs how to cook and to encourage them to develop their cooking skills. These aspiring chefs must master culinary techniques, ingredients, appropriate temperatures, preparation times and safety and hygiene steps. All this implies great responsibility as it is required when handling the food for people to enjoy.
Hands-on experience is invaluable for aspiring chefs. Embarking on practical internships, particularly at renowned establishments like Le Meridien, Marriott, Westin, St. Regis, and W Hotels, offers a unique opportunity to hone one’s skills. As a chef, professional connection plays an important role in the hotel world.
Beyond skills and knowledge, specific values define a great chef, namely:
Honesty is the Best Policy
Be honest in your work, and cultivate a responsible attitude in managing the kitchen and your staff. Problems might occur, especially during peak hours, but do not blame others. Take the opportunity to learn and focus on finding the best solution.
Acceptance is Growth
Maintaining an open-minded approach to ideas and constructive criticism is crucial for personal and professional growth. Fostering a sense of happiness and belonging among your staff is equally essential. As a Chef or Leader, envision yourself as a tree, where your ideas and wisdom are like nourishing fruits and seeds of inspiration, providing shade to others and making them feel secure and valued.
Discipline Drives Success
No matter where or which kitchen you work in, all chefs must adhere to this rule of thumb – discipline. Discipline is the linchpin of a chef’s success, serving as an indispensable guideline for both chefs and their staff. Maintaining unwavering hygiene and cleanliness is a 24/7 commitment. A chef’s principles and standards are non-negotiable, ensuring consistent excellence in every culinary endeavour. So, have your principles and stick to them!
Becoming a successful chef is a journey that transcends cooking. It is a path of passion, knowledge acquisition, and embracing essential values. Chefs craft experiences, leaving indelible impressions and bringing joy to those who savour their culinary artistry. Aspiring chefs who embody these attributes are not merely cooks; they are maestros of the culinary world.
About the Author:
CHEF BUDIMAN BISTARI
Executive Sous Chef, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, and Industrial Advisor for School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, SEGi College Kuala Lumpur
Chef Budiman Bistari is an accomplished Executive Sous Chef with a rich culinary background and a commitment to culinary excellence. A top graduate of the University Technology MARA, he not only holds a Diploma in Chef Training but also possesses the coveted East and West Certificate. This Kedah-born maestro infuses his role at Le Meridien KL with a rich and multifaceted skill set. With over two decades of experience in hospitality and the culinary arts, Chef Budiman has emerged as one of the country’s premier’ anak Malaysia’ chefs within the hotel industry. His relentless dedication extends beyond the kitchen, as he continually contributes ideas and imparts invaluable training. Chef Budiman serves as a true inspiration to budding chefs, particularly those enrolled in SCKL’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. His unwavering support encourages these aspiring chefs and future hoteliers to chase their dreams and pursue their passions in the culinary world.